Internships

Intern with employer at a computer.

You don’t have to wait for your first full-time position to start developing your career-specific skills. By completing an internship during your undergraduate studies, you can gain hands-on experience, develop your professional network, and confirm your potential career interests. Having an internship experience on your resume also helps employers that you’re serious about your career choice.

At AU, every student is encouraged to have at least one internship before graduation. Studies show that students who have internship experience are more likely to secure their first post-graduation job more quickly, receive more job offers, and earn a higher salary.

 

5 Steps to an Internship

Step 1: Determine whether an internship is required for your major.
If so, be sure to register for the internship course. If not, consider a non-credit internship to test your interest in a particular field. If you're unsure about whether an internship is required for your major, contact your academic advisor at advise@aurora.edu.

Step 2: Complete your Handshake profile.
Handshake is an interactive platform that allows students to search for internships and jobs, as well as connect with employers. Before beginning your internship search, create an account and upload your resume for review by a member of Career Services. Click here for step-by-step instructions to get started. 

Step 3: Search and apply.
Research for internship (or job) opportunities and apply directly on Handshake.

Step 4: Attend the Career Services Internship Orientation. 
Career Services hosts an Internship Orientation each semester to help you put your best foot forward once you are on the job. For more information, email internships@aurora.edu

Step 5: Complete your internship!
Submit the mandatory post-internship assessment via Handshake. If your internship is for credit, be sure to complete the minimum required internship hours and any assignments as outlined in your course syllabus.

Internship FAQs

An internship is a professional learning experience that offers meaningful and practical work for a specific period of time. Many internship positions are paid, but not all.

You can have an internship as early as you would like—even after your first semester, though most students wait until after completing their freshmen year.

Internships usually last for an academic semester or for the summer. Some even last longer or turn into a full-time job.

During your internship, you will gain hands-on experience in a specific career or field that interests you. This exposure will give you the opportunity to learn what you may or may not like about that possible career. Internships also allow you to begin building a professional network that can help you in your job search. You will start to build job-specific skills, and most importantly, you will build confidence in your own abilities and knowledge.

Internships often are listed on individual organizations’ websites. Both Handshake and Indeed list internships as well.

Career Services recommends using Handshake to locate internships since employers work directly with staff to post internship positions.

The application and interview process for a non-credit internship is similar to the job application process. You will need to prepare a resume and cover letter as part of your application. Then, you will likely have several rounds of interviews, which may include a phone or in-person or virtual interview. Career Services can assist you with your resume, cover letter, application, and interview preparation.

Students taking an internship for academic credit need to register for the specific course within their major and meet with a member of the Career Services staff. The staff member will assist with securing an internship and completing the application process as well as any of the required pre-internship preparation.

Once an internship is secured, the student, course instructor, and internship site supervisor complete a "for-credit internship agreement" on Handshake. The completed agreement is due five business days before the start of the semester in which the student is enrolled for the internship course.

The Internship Coordinator will review the agreement for approval. If the agreement is approved, students are required to attend an Internship Orientation through Career Services before starting their internship. If the agreement is not completed in Handshake by the deadline, the student will be dropped from the internship course for the semester.

Specific majors require an internship experience for graduation. Students should work with their academic advisor to confirm graduation requirements for their intended major(s).

A micro-internship is a short term, often paid, professional assignment within a specific field. The assignment, which is usually limited in scope, enables a student to learn and demonstrate skills, explore career paths, and build a professional network.

Certain majors require an internship for credit, which results in a student earning academic credit and a grade for the internship experience. Earning credit for an internship does not eliminate the opportunity for the employer to offer payment to the student.

Students taking an internship for academic credit need to register for the specific course within their major and meet with a member of the Career Services staff. The staff member will assist with securing an internship and completing the application process as well as any of the required pre-internship preparation.

Once an internship is secured, the student, course instructor, and internship site supervisor complete a "for-credit internship agreement" on Handshake. The completed agreement is due five business days before the start of the semester in which the student is enrolled for the internship course.

The Internship Coordinator will review the agreement for approval. If the agreement is approved, students are required to attend an Internship Orientation through Career Services before starting their internship. If the agreement is not completed in Handshake by the deadline, the student will be dropped from the internship course for the semester.

Internships are not to be confused with required clinicals, placements, or practicums associated with nursing, social work, education, or athletic training programs.

Separately, students have the option to participate in a non-credit internship in order to gain experience, try out a career, or build their resume. Students participate in that experience without earning credit and may or may not get paid. Career Services staff are also available to help students find and apply for non-credit internships.

Students taking an internship for academic credit need to register for the specific course within their major and meet with a member of the Career Services staff. The staff member will assist with securing an internship and completing the application process as well as any of the required pre-internship preparation.

Once an internship is secured, the student, course instructor, and internship site supervisor complete a "for-credit internship agreement" on Handshake. The completed agreement is due five business days before the start of the semester in which the student is enrolled for the internship course.

The Internship Coordinator will review the agreement for approval. If the agreement is approved, students are required to attend an Internship Orientation through Career Services before starting their internship. If the agreement is not completed in Handshake by the deadline, the student will be dropped from the internship course for the semester.

Need assistance with securing an internship? Career Services is here to help. To schedule a one-on-one appointment via email, phone, or zoom, visit Handshake, email us at internships@aurora.edu, or 630-844-5403.

Ready to get started? Visit Handshake, an interactive platform that allows students to search for internships and jobs, as well as connect with employers. Click here for a tutorial on how to get started on Handshake.