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Internship &

Co-op Guide University of Connecticut

Launch your career - Land an internship

Internship & Co-op Guide Understanding the Basics What Are Internships and Co-ops?........................................................................................ 3 What Are the Benefits of Participating in an Internship or Co-op?.................................... 3 What Are the Differences Between an Internship and a Co-op?......................................... 4

Getting a Position How Do I Get an Internship or Co-op?.................................................................................. 6 How Can Career Services Help?.............................................................................................. 8

Maximizing the Experience How Do I Make the Most of an Internship or Co-op?.......................................................... 9 How Can I Develop a Professional Reputation?.................................................................. 11 What Are My Rights and Responsibilities?.......................................................................... 12

Dear Students, According to Webster’s Dictionary, the word “Guide” refers to “something that offers basic information or instruction,” which is exactly what this Internship Guide is meant to provide to its users. This internship resource is meant to provide basic information to students on how to find and be successful in an internship or co-op. It is not meant to have all the answers or stand alone. Every student has unique needs and desires in regards to internships, and some of your questions may not be answered in this book. In addition to the Internship Guide, Career Services also published a “Job Search Preparation Guide” and multiple supplemental materials that will help you with your job search. You can find these resources in Career Services, CUE 217. Please visit Career Services to speak with a career consultant to discuss your specific questions and/or concerns. You can also visit or for additional information on internships and finding a job.

— Department of Career Services

Internship & Co-op Guide

Understanding the Basics What Are Internships and Co-ops? Internships and cooperative education (co-op) opportunities are meaningful, practical career-related work experiences that introduce you to a possible career or industry and help you connect classroom theory to “real world” experience and professional skills. Depending on the type of internship or co-op, positions can be part-time or full-time, paid or unpaid, for academic credit or not, and done at any time during your academic career.

What Are the Benefits of Participating in an Internship or Co-op? Internships and co-ops give you direct contact with the realities of the workplace. The experience and insights gained can help you confirm your choice of major and future career and accomplish your professional goals upon graduation. These opportunities allow you to: • Acquire practical, hands-on work experience • Enhance classroom knowledge and learning • Develop professional, transferable skills • Create a network of professional contacts, mentors, and references • Prepare for graduate/professional school and/or a future professional position • Establish credibility with a potential full-time employer • Gain an advantage over the competition


Internship & Co-op Guide

Internship & Co-op Guide

What Are the Differences Between an Internship and a Co-op? Credit Internship

Non-Credit Internship

Cooperative Education

How long is the experience?

During the academic year: About 12 to 14 weeks or the length of one semester. In the summer: Three to four months.

The length of an experience may vary. Generally, the experience will last several months, though length is up to the discretion of the supervisor.

A six-month period: January to June, July to December.

May I take a full academic class load?

Yes. Credit internships are done concurrently during the semester or over the summer.

Yes. Non-credit internships are done concurrently during the semester or the summer.

No. One class per semester may be allowed while you are out on a co-op.

Will I get academic credit?

Credit varies for each academic program. See the “Majors and University Programs Information” section of to determine the department’s internship policy.


If you have a major, credit may or may not be available. See your academic advisor to determine whom to contact within your major for additional information.

Can I get academic credit if I do not have a major?

Some academic programs allow non-majors to earn academic credit. See the “Majors and University Programs Information” section of to determine which departments offer credit to non-majors.


No. Typically you cannot obtain academic credit if you are not associated with a particular major, but this does not prevent you from participating in a co-op.

Will this opportunity be documented on my transcripts?

Yes. Either a letter grade or Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory will be listed on your transcript in accordance with the rules governing credit internships for that major.

No. The experience will not be listed on your transcript but will still be seen on your résumé.

Yes. A notation that you were on a university-sanctioned co-op will be listed on your transcript with no grade. It will indicate that you took a planned semester off to work.

What conditions apply for participation?

Prerequisites and conditions vary by department. See the “Majors and University Programs Information” section of to determine the department’s internship policy.

There are no university restrictions. Each employer may set up its own criteria.

Qualified students must have completed 24 credits, have an overall GPA of 2.0, be in good academic standing, and be a full-time UConn undergraduate.

When do I begin the application process?

It is recommended that you give yourself at least six months of preparation time. Summer internships are more competitive, and application deadlines may be as early as October.

It is recommended that you give yourself at least six months of preparation time. Summer internships are more competitive, and application deadlines may be as early as October.

You should begin applying and making connections six months prior to the time when you plan to go out on co-op. You will see the Internship/Co-op Coordinator at Career Services to process paperwork once a co-op has been offered.

Do I have to speak to someone at UConn in order to participate?

Yes. You should visit the department’s internship program contact person BEFORE beginning the search. See the “Majors and University Programs Information” section of to determine whom to contact within the department.

No, but you should talk to a member of the Career Services staff about making the most of the opportunity.

Yes. You must schedule a co-op enrollment meeting with the Internship/ Co-op Coordinator at Career Services. Call ahead to learn what you will need to bring to the appointment. Inform your academic advisor of your intentions to participate in a co-op.

Do I need to complete paperwork for UConn?

Yes. You will need to complete paperwork for the department from which you will receive credit. Completion dates vary by department. See the department’s internship program contact person ASAP for required forms.

Typically no, but some employers may have forms for you or the university to sign.

Yes. Appropriate co-op placement paperwork must be completed in Career Services PRIOR to your first day of work.

Non-credit internships incur no fees as there is no academic credit.

Yes. You will be subjected to a small Continuing Education fee and infrastructure fee upon registration. If you choose to take one class per semester, you will also need to pay the appropriate fee per credit hour. Refer to the “Undergraduate Catalog” for current fee information.

Is there a UConn fee for me to participate?

Yes. The number of credits you receive for your internship will determine cost. If completed during the semester, the cost will likely be absorbed into your full-time fee bill. Credit internships during the summer will incur a per-credit-hour fee plus a one-time registration fee.

Occasionally the length of an experience will vary on a case-by-case basis.

Can I be paid? Does payment include a stipend?

Payment eligibility and type vary depending on major. See the “Majors and University Programs Information” section of to determine which departments allow payment for credit internships.

Yes. Payment can include a salary, hourly wage, and/or a stipend for travel or living expenses.

Yes. Salary or hourly payment is required. Stipends for travel or living expenses do not count as payment for co-op work.

How many hours will I work?

Hours worked depends on the number of credit hours assigned by the academic department. Typically one credit equals 15 hours per week, but that is a minimum.

The amount may vary. Hours will be determined by you and your supervisor.

At least 35 hours per week. You may be expected to work more, but you will be compensated appropriately.

May I participate in more than one?

It depends on academic requirements. See the “Majors and University Programs Information” section of to determine whom to contact within the department for additional information.


Yes. You can have up to two co-ops. See the Internship/Co-op Coordinator at Career Services for details.

May I participate in an opportunity outside the U.S.?

It depends on academic requirements. See the “Majors and University Programs Information” section of to determine whom to contact within the department for additional information.



Internship & Co-op Guide

Internship & Co-op Guide

Preparing for the Search

Gathering Application Materials

❑ Determine the field, industry, and/or geographic region in which you would like to work.

❑ Begin collecting potential application materials.

❑ Consider the type of position you would like to pursue: part-time job, internship, or co-op; credit or non-credit; and paid or unpaid. (A decision can be made after looking at specific opportunities.) ❑ Visit Career Services in CUE 217 to discuss steps to begin your search. ❑ Inform everyone in your personal network, including family, friends, neighbors, advisors, mentors, and faculty members, that you are seeking career-related work. ❑ Identify and join a professional association and/or club associated with your intended career. ❑ Attend Career Services presentations about internships and other topics or watch several career-related presentations online at ❑ Set up an account in HuskyCareerLink at

Getting a Position How Do I Get an Internship or Co-op? It is recommended that you begin the internship or co-op search process at least six months before you plan to work, as some industries have application deadlines many months prior to the intended start date. The earlier you start your search, the more opportunities you will find available. Opportunities can be found through Internet search engines, company websites, professional associations, personal networking, etc. Give yourself enough time to locate the best options, and visit Career Services in CUE 217 to discuss steps in order to begin your search. Use this checklist as a general guide of what you should do to search for an internship, co-op, or other career-related job.

HuskyCareerLink is Career Services’ FREE online system that allows UConn students and alumni to locate and apply for co-op, internship, part-time, and full-time employment opportunities, as well as conduct employer research.

❑ Arrange for an informational interview or job shadow within a career or industry of interest to learn more about the field, get an inside look at an organization you may want to work for, and identify potential contacts and opportunities. An informational interview is an opportunity for you to ask questions of the professional about his/her background, skills, education, and job responsibilities. A job shadow gives you a chance to observe a professional performing day-to-day tasks in his/her work environment.

Companies may require a variety of application materials, such as a résumé, cover letter, list of references, official or unofficial transcripts, letters of recommendation, writing samples, etc.

❑ Create a first draft of a résumé using Career Services’ résumé-writing resources. ❑ Bring your résumé to Career Services for an initial review and subsequent critiques. ❑ Create a draft of a cover letter and have it reviewed at Career Services. ❑ Upload your current résumé and cover letter to HuskyCareerLink and add your résumé to any relevant résumé books. A résumé book is a collection of résumés from UConn students and alumni related to a specific major, industry, or job function that are available for employers to search and view on HuskyCareerLink.

❑ Identify and ask individuals to serve as positive references. Write a reference page.

Identifying Opportunities ❑ Research companies and organizations in your desired industry or career field on which you would like more information. ❑ Attend career fairs sponsored by Career Services and other departments. Career Services sponsors several career fairs every year. Visit for information about dates, times, and locations.

❑ Identify and evaluate multiple internship, co-op, and part-time career-related opportunities on HuskyCareerLink,, other Internet search sites, company websites, professional associations, etc. UConn’s internship website,, assists students in finding internship and co-op opportunities, provides information from university departments regarding academic credit and policies, and offers additional Internet search sites and resources.

❑ Contact organizations via email or telephone to inquire about opportunities.

Internship & Co-op Guide

Internship & Co-op Guide

Applying for Positions ❑ Record application deadlines and requirements, and establish a timeline for each organization. ❑ Apply for positions and companies of interest by sending application materials. ❑ Follow up with organizations via email or telephone no later than two weeks after applying. ❑ Create a job search notebook, both hard copy and electronic, and keep detailed notes on where you applied, whom you spoke to, when you sent your application, and when you followed up. ❑ Update your résumé to reflect new experiences, activities, and current coursework. ❑ Prepare for interviews by researching interviewing strategies and participating in a mock interview at Career Services. Making a Decision ❑ Continue sending out application materials to positions and companies of interest. ❑ Continue contacting and following up with employers and organizations in your areas of interest. ❑ Stay in contact with your professional network and keep them informed of your job search. ❑ Work with Career Services as needed to fine-tune the process and receive support.

❑ Evaluate positions and negotiate start dates when you receive an offer. The amount of time you have to accept or refuse an offer varies by company, industry, and start date.

❑ Send acceptance and refusal letters to the respective companies. ❑ Begin searching for housing options if the accepted internship or co-op position is not local. Additional resources on potential out-of-state housing can be found at

How Can Career Services Help? Career Services can help you discover internship or co-op opportunities related to your career interests, prepare you for the search process, and assist you in evaluating quality internship or co-op experiences. Our staff provides assistance through the following services: • One-on-one career coaching

Maximizing the Experience How Do I Make the Most of an Internship or Co-op? You recently accepted a position and would like to have a successful experience. As an intern or co-op participant, you will have many opportunities to learn about a potential career and industry. To make your experience as positive and useful as possible, you should consider the following recommendations: Develop Goals Using a Learning Contract To maximize the benefits of your experience, take an active role by identifying challenging careerrelated goals using a Learning Contract. A Learning Contract is a formal document created by you and your site supervisor (and a faculty member if earning credit) in which you establish learning objectives. Learning objectives clarify the knowledge and skills you hope to gain and guide your activities to ensure a rewarding internship or co-op. The Learning Contract should also identify how you will accomplish your objectives and the evaluation process that will determine if you met your goals. Although your supervisor will have identified some tasks for you to complete, discussing the objectives in your Learning Contract will initiate open communication. Throughout your experience, refer to your Learning Contract on your own and with your supervisor. If your goals are not met, discuss it with your supervisor. You may need to revise your goals, as work demands may change your assigned projects. Use the Learning Contract provided by Career Services in CUE 217 or on the General Information section of as a guide for developing your internship or co-op goals.

• Résumé and cover letter critiques • Internship/co-op search guidance • Internship/co-op resources and listings • Career fairs and workshops • Mock interviews and interview preparation • On-campus interviews • Internship/co-op evaluation guidance Visit or come to CUE 217 to talk to a staff member at Career Services to discuss the internship or co-op search process and learn more about finding and securing a quality experience.

Internship & Co-op Guide

Internship & Co-op Guide

How Can I Develop a Professional Reputation? As an intern or co-op participant, you are expected to behave in a specific manner and take advantage of the numerous resources and opportunities provided. In order to accomplish your learning objectives and develop a professional reputation, keep the following points in mind: Wear professional attire. Dressing for the culture where you work sends a strong and appropriate message of respect to the position and organization. Check with your supervisor before your first day about dress codes and dress accordingly.

Make the Most of Company Connections

Document the Experience

Interns and co-op participants have access to a variety of helpful company resources and connections. In order to take advantage of these available assets, consider the following suggestions:

While you are participating in your internship or co-op experience, it is important to document your work activities, thoughts, and difficulties for future reference. This can occur in several ways:

Network. As you meet people from the organization, keep a list of names, contact information, and items you discussed. Maintain contact with these people after your job has ended and consider asking them to serve as future job references. Find a mentor. Determine who in the organization is someone you aspire to learn from or believe would offer you guidance and support. After discussing it with your supervisor, you may be able to approach that person or people about mentoring you with career advice and ideas. Participate in job shadowing. If possible, and with your supervisor’s approval, arrange to job shadow someone who has a position about which you would like to learn more.

Journals. Use a journal to write down your experiences so that you have a record of your projects and accomplishments when writing your résumé. Journaling also allows you to reflect on what you like and dislike about the experience and enables you to make adjustments to fit your goals. Informal evaluations. Determine a time you will regularly meet with your supervisor for feedback, both positive and constructive, regarding your work performance. Revisit your Learning Contract at least once to ascertain your progress in meeting your goals. Formal evaluations. At the end of the experience, follow up with your supervisor for a formal evaluation. If the company does not provide an evaluation, you may acquire a basic evaluation form from the Internship/Co-op Coordinator in the Department of Career Services.

Understand and respect company policies. Be aware of and respect company policies about when and where you can use personal devices. Until you are clear about the rules, turn off your cell phone and music, and use the Internet only as allowed. Define your role. You may be invited to attend staff meetings, decision-making discussions, client negotiations, or other gatherings. Clarify your role prior to going to these meetings so you behave in the expected manner.

Display a positive attitude. You could be asked to complete a task you do not like. Avoid expressing your frustration, speaking negatively about other employees, or bragging about your weekend activities. You may be rewarded for your positive attitude with more responsibility. Remember that The Student Code of the University of Connecticut extends to your employer or organization. Any inappropriate behavior will be subject to the policies and procedures of your employer or organization, state or federal mandates, AND The Student Code. Refer to the Dean of Students office for more information about The Student Code.

Ask questions and request feedback. Don’t hesitate to ask questions if you need clarification. Meet regularly with your supervisor for feedback about your efforts, to learn more about the company, and to learn more about his or her opinion. Attend events. When invited to company-sponsored events, it is in your best interest to attend and behave in a professional manner. If you choose to go out after work with other interns or full-time staff, use discretion and common sense. Be punctual and dependable. Be early to work and meetings, and finish projects ahead of schedule. Get the names and phone numbers of people you must call if you are ill or will be late. Do quality work and take initiative. It is important to demonstrate your abilities in the best possible light. Do quality work and ask for more tasks when you are finished with your other responsibilities. Your work ethic is critical as employers see internships as extended interviews.


Internship & Co-op Guide

Internship & Co-op Guide


What Are My Rights and Responsibilities? Internship and co-op participants, both paid and unpaid, have many of the same rights and responsibilities as employees. Consider these guidelines, and ask questions relevant to your unique work situation: Communication. Keep your supervisor informed of your progress. Talk honestly and professionally with your supervisor if you are experiencing any difficulties. Confidentiality. Maintain confidentiality regarding your employer, customers, clients, and co-workers. Disclose such information only on a “need-to-know” basis for the purpose of completing work assignments. You may be asked by your employer to sign a confidentiality agreement. Read this form carefully before signing. Liability. Understand legal liability issues related to your work site and activities. The University of Connecticut does not insure students during periods of temporary employment through internships or co-ops. It is recommended that you not sign any waiver without speaking to the Career Services Internship/Co-op Coordinator or legal counsel. Accommodations. Inform your employer of the accommodations you might need to successfully complete your work assignments. Employers must provide reasonable, but not the exact, accommodations requested.

Harassment. Treat all co-workers, including other interns, clients, vendors, and others encountered on the job, politely and professionally. Unwelcomed, uninvited behavior with sexual overtones occurring in the workplace is sexual harassment and is illegal. Alert your supervisor if you are subjected to such behavior. Discrimination. Act professionally and respectfully when interacting with all persons you meet on the job. Unequal treatment or harassment may be against company policy and/or illegal. Review the company’s discrimination policy, which can be obtained from Human Resources or in the employee handbook, and notify your supervisor if you are subjected to such behavior.

The Department of Career Services at the University of Connecticut hopes you have a meaningful internship or co-op experience that will lead to future career success. Good luck!

If you are uncomfortable or unsure how to address a particular issue in your internship or co-op, contact Career Services or a trusted faculty member to explore options and possible measures.

Department of Career Services University of Connecticut CUE 217 (860) 486-3013


Internship & Co-op Guide

Internship Co-op Guide  

Provides basic information to university students on how to find and be successful in an internship or co-op.

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