Internships

Internship Question and Answer

Consider how an internship can help you find a job after graduation and decide on a career. Here are some of the most common concerns about an internship:

Deciding to Complete an Internship


Q.

Do English majors have to do internships?

Currently, English majors are not required to do internships to graduate.  However, it is highly recommended that English majors complete at least one internship before they graduate. 



Q.

Why should English majors consider an internship?

Internships provide opportunities for you to:

    • see what kinds of possible jobs exist for your skills;
    • try out your career choice to see if that is what you really want to do;
    • test out your skills and evaluate what you know and don't know;
    • receive feedback on your skills.

Additionally, internships build your career network. Many companies hire previous interns, and even companies aren't hiring right now, they can provide a valuable reference to other companies that might be hiring.  Some jobs, especially in publishing or communications or advertising, require students to have two or more "beginner" internships before they get to the really good internship.  As a result, internships give you the opportunity to get experience before getting that "dream" job



Q.

What kinds of internships can I get with an English degree?

Think about how the skills you have are needed in business.  For instance, major corporations often have a company newsletter or magazine. Does that group need interns?  What about the presentations a company does, does that group need an intern?  What about the human resources department?  Who writes their training manuals?  What about a usability testing department?  Who does the company's publicity?  Who takes care of their social media presence, including things like Twitter and the Web?  Does the company have a blog?  Who writes those entries?  Does the company have a web page that explains their products or services?  Who writes those entries?




Finding an Internship


Q.

Okay, now that I’m considering an internship, when should I think about doing an internship?

Traditionally, internships are usually done between the junior and senior year. While some companies will only offer internships during the summer break, you might have an advantage if you can work during fall or winter semester, when competition is lighter.



Q.

When do I have to start looking for an internship?

It is best to begin looking for an internship at least a year out from the semester you actually want to work at the internship. Check for information like application dates, duration of the internship, special considerations, etc. If you want to do an international internship, you'll need about eighteen months to work out all the details. International internships require administrative permission beyond the department supervisor, so give yourself plenty of time.



Q.

Will the English department find my internship for me?

No. The internship coordinator might have a list of people who have called about an internship, but you are responsible for finding your own internship.



Q.

Where do I look for an internship?

Everywhere. A few places to start include Career Navigator, which has a link on the BYU-Idaho website. Career Navigator has a list of companies that have previously hired BYU-Idaho interns, and employers will sometimes list internships on that site. Also, check out the "Weekly Newsletter" sent out by the College of Language and Letters. They often have a section at the end listing jobs and internships. Go to the university's Career Fair; every semester companies come to campus looking for interns. If you start going early and you talk to the same people every time you go, they will know your name and be more inclined to help you find an internship.

Service missionaries are also in place in several larger cities. They can sometimes help with contacts and often have contact with Single Young Adult wards in that area as an additional resource.   

Also, check out places in your hometown or the city in which you want to intern. Do your parents/siblings/family work for a bigger corporation? Do those companies have interns?  What about your local businesses or non-profits? Is there a political candidate or a political party that you feel strongly about?  What about the local library? Do they have an internship program? What about your local museum?  



Q.

What are internship expeditions?

Because the university feels strongly about internships, they provide opportunities for students to investigate opportunities in other cities. If you and a group of students are interested in opportunities in, say, New York, you have the opportunity to approach a faculty member and ask if they would help you set up an internship expedition.

Using resources such as LinkedIn and your own personal networking, you are usually responsible for making your own appointments, although there will be some general appointments. These expeditions typically last 2-3 days and you would be expected to come up with at least 3 appointments. The university typically helps fund such an expedition.  Expedition groups typically consist of no less than 4 people.



Q.

Can I teach English in China and have that count toward an internship?

No. Teaching English in a foreign country will not count toward an internship. While it may be a powerful experience, it lacks some of the accountability and supervision required for an internship.



Q.

I have to stay in Rexburg and every opportunity here is maxed out. What can I do?

Another option you may want to consider is the Applied Learning Projects (ALPS). Companies have contacted BYU-Idaho with projects. Students work on those projects and get real-world experience working on the project. Check out the ALPS webpage. You may want to talk to the English internship coordinator if you decide this is an option you wish to pursue.



Q.

Do I have to get paid for a work experience to count as an internship?

No. In fact, you should probably assume that you're not going to get paid. Many, if not most, English internships are unpaid. Getting paid is a bonus, but isn't necessary for the work experience to count as an internship.



Q.

What qualities should an internship have?

Hours: We expect you to work a minimum of 70 hours per credit that you want to earn and the university expects you to work a minimum of 7 weeks. For those of us who are math challenged, that means that 70 hours x 3 credits = 210 hours of work. That usually works out to 15 hours per week for a typical 14 week semester. (Because disasters happen, plan on working a little more to make sure you meet the minimum). You can always work more hours for less credit, but we expect a minimum of 70 hours per credit that you earn.

A qualified supervisor/mentor: One of the purposes of the internship is to help the intern advance in his or her skills. For that, you need a qualified supervisor/mentor who will look at your work, provide helpful and accurate feedback, help you correct any problems or mistakes, and help you be better at the end than you were at the beginning of your internship.They should be experienced in their field in order to provide this feedback.  his particular requirement is especially important during an on-line internship. The internship coordinator will typically ask how you and the mentor will communicate, whether you have an established meeting time or communication system in place, and in what ways will the mentor assign and assess your work.

Some English skills should be involved: However, those skills don't necessarily have to be writing-or at least only writing. English majors have skill in analyzing data, researching, sorting data, reading and thinking critically, and organizing data and information.



Q.

Can I do an internship during the 7-week summer session?

No. The English department typically doesn't offer internships during the summer session. You can, however, work a longer internship if you tie it into the previous or following semester. For instance, you can start work in June and work through the 7-week summer session or start in July and finish in October.



Q.

Can I use my on-campus job for an internship?

The answer is usually no, but it can be a maybe. English TA jobs can't qualify as an internship. Most on-campus jobs that count as an internship have been pre-approved and there are no currently pre-approved English internships on campus. Typically, on-campus jobs are only 20 hours per week, and on-campus jobs qualifying for an internship usually require 40 hours a week of work. Also, if you use a previous/current job as an internship, you must have increased responsibilities or different tasks, so that you can show development and progress and it more adequately reflects your learning.

If, however, you have a job where your supervisor can give you additional responsibilities outside the scope of your usual job (such as a special project) or additional funds to pay for more work, you may want to explore this possibility as an internship. This usually involves getting permission from the internship coordinator of your department, and approval by the Internships and Career Services Director.  Come and see the English Department internship coordinator first.  He or she can help you know how to get approval from the Internships and Career Services Director.  This applies to students working in Online or Pathway.



Q.

Can I use working for the Scroll as an internship?

No. However, working for Scroll is a great way to increase your skills. It can't count as an internship for English 398R credit, but you can work at Scroll as an elective credit. It's another great way to practice writing skill, and gain some practical experience.




I Found an Internship, Now What?


Q.

Company X agreed to hire me. Now what do I need to do?

You need to fill out an internship approval form on I-Plan.  It's called Experiential Learning.  You will need to know basic information, such as the name of your supervisor, his or her email and phone number.  You will also be asked how many credit hours you wish to register for.

One of the important things here is the number of credits for which you wish to register.  Remember that you must have 70 hours of work per credit hour you want.  If you're only going to work 10 hours for 14 weeks, that's only 140 hours.  That means you can only register for at most 2 credit hours.  One of the fastest ways to hang up the approval process is to ignore or miss the hours worked and the credit issue.



Q.

Company X agreed to hire me. What do they need to do now?

If Company X has had previous BYU-Idaho interns, they probably don't need to do anything more than assign you a mentor/supervisor.

However, if you are lucky enough to Company X's first BYU-Idaho intern, Company X must fill out the Master Agreement.  The Master Agreement can be found on the Career Navigator page.  The Master Agreement provides assurance for both parties, both Company X and BYU-Idaho, that this internship is legitimate and covers areas of liability for both parties.



Q.

I’ve submitted my approval form. Why can’t I register for classes yet?

Once you've submitted your approval form, it goes to two places. The first place it goes is to the University Internship Office, where they check to make sure the Master Agreement is in place. The Master Agreement must be signed before you can register for classes.

The second place the approval form goes is to the Internship Coordinator. Most Internship Coordinators have irregular schedules for checking the approval list, so your application might be delayed.  You might also want to make an appointment with the Internship Coordinator at this point to make sure any questions the Internship Coordinator has can be easily answered.    

Once the Master Agreement is in place and the Internship Coordinator has approved the internship, you should receive an email that authorizes you to register for English 398R.



Q.

The email says I can register for 1-6 credits. What does that mean? How many credits should I register for?

English 398R is a variable credit class. That means you can register for as many credits as you would like, for a total of 6 credits. Remember the formula: 70 hours of work per credit earned. If you would like to register for 3 credits, you must work a minimum of 210 hours. If you're working 40 hours a week for 14 weeks, you may register for as many as 6 credits. You can always work more hours for less credit, but the minimums must be met.

Something to consider is your 120 credit hours limit. If you want 398R to count as an elective and count toward your general English electives and you're having a hard time coming up with English classes to take, you probably want to register for 3 credits.

However, if you have way too many classes you want to take, but you need the internship to appear on your transcript, you may want to register for 1 credit.

Consider this question carefully. Making adjustments after the semester is impossible, and making adjustments during the semester becomes extremely complex. It's easier to add credits than to subtract them.




During the Internship, What Do I Have to Do?


Q.

What else do I have to do during the semester besides work at the internship?

In order to fulfill the requirements of the internship class, you need to submit weekly reports, a reflective essay, a portfolio of representative work, and two evaluations.



Q.

What are the weekly reports?

The weekly reports consist of a short typed page, usually submitted through I-Learn or email (if I-Learn isn't available or you're working weeks somehow out of the semester). The weekly report should detail how many hours you've worked, what you did, and what you learned as a result of what you did. These weekly reports will give you the resources for the reflective essay.



Q.

What is the reflective essay?

The reflective essay is between 4-10 pages, typed in MLA or APA style (whichever you used during your internship), double-spaced. It is a personal essay in which you, the intern, reflect on the experiences and opportunities you've been exposed to. This essay should help you (and the internship coordinator) see what you've learned and should highlight the value of the experience.



Q.

What is the portfolio?

The portfolio should be a sample of representative work. You may want to include different kinds of work you've done, work you've done well, work that shows progress such as something you did early in the internship and something you did toward the end that shows growth. Make sure you check to see if it is appropriate to share the material, although you can redact some information if necessary. The only person seeing this portfolio will be the internship coordinator if you submit it on paper, although you may want to use this work to show a potential employer someday.

Make sure that your work is labeled, and that you've clearly identified what kind of document you've included, what skills this document is demonstrating, and why this document is important. You'll probably want to do a short introduction to most, if not all, of the documents.



Q.

Is the portfolio a paper portfolio or an online portfolio?

You can submit the portfolio in the medium that is most easy for you. Consider making this portfolio part of your professional portfolio, including items on LinkedIn, a Wix or Weebly version, or some other digital version.  



Q.

Why two evaluations?

One evaluation is done by you about you and your experience. The other evaluation is submitted by your supervisor about you and your work. The supervisor will receive the evaluation as a link in an email from the internships office. Your evaluation is linked in your I-Learn class.