A how-to guide on easily fulfilling your internship requirement


Jazmyne Thomson, Writer

A study conducted by the National Association of Employers found that paid internships lead to official job offers approximately 65 percent of the time, and unpaid internships lead to job offers about 39 percent of the time. With the exception of a few majors, an internship is required before a Marian student’s last semester. If you are in the process of trying to find an internship, welcome to your “howto” guide on everything you need to know for completing the internship process, with emphasis on communication internship requirements.

The first thing to know is that there are two different internship “courses” a student can register for in order to fulfill this requirement. COM 397 is one of these, which occupies zero credits, but still fulfills the internship requirement. COM 497 fills the same requirement, but can count for 1-3 credits. The total cost for the internship will depend on the student’s individual credit amount and whether or not they take this during the academic year, in which case, some financial aid should be given.  

The Communication Program Student Handbook says the “Actual number of hours a student completes at a given work site depends on the number of credit hours for which the student is registered. Three internship credits (a minimum of 135 work hours or 45 hours/credit) are required for graduation.” 

Though students need these 135 work hours, they do not need to be taken all at the same time. For example, a student could do a one-credit internship in the fall and a two-credit internship in the spring. However, these are only the minimum requirements for graduation. If desired, students can choose to work more than 135 hours of internship outside the requirements

Internship Coordinator for Communication majors, Mary Hatlen, encourages this and says, “The more internships a student takes in college, the more prepared they’re going to be.” It should also be noted that some majors may require more hours of an internship than stated above, so be sure to check with your academic advisor or Hatlen to have a concrete plan before beginning the internship. 

Before a student can begin their internship, they must first contact Hatlen and submit subsequent paperwork before any internship hours can be counted. Her office is located in A101 and she can be contacted through her email[email protected]For Communication majors, all internships must be approved by Hatlen prior to beginning the internship. If the student is not a Communication major, the internship must be approved by their academic advisor. 

Regardless of the major, students need to have registered for either 397/497 before the date that can be found on sabrenet.com under the “Registration” tabCommunication students specifically are responsible for keeping in touch with Hatlen throughout the course of the internship. Other majors are required to keep in touch with their own academic advisor. Failure to do so could result in either no credit for the internship or a point deduction in the grading system.  

Along with participating in an actual internship, there is another required portion of work to go along with it. Students must complete a portfolio that will be evaluated by Hatlen in order to receive credit for the internship. The portfolio must be professional in appearance, meaning it should be in a binder with dividers to indicate each section. This portfolio will include the following: 

  1. Table of contents;
  2. Work log that lists the work times, dates, and total hours worked;
  3. A collection of materials that the student-created or contributed to during the internship. This could be written material, pictures, brochures, etc.;
  4. Site Supervisor evaluation form;
  5. A copy of a hand-written thank you note from the student to the Internship Supervisor;
  6. And a 4-5-page reflection essay about the student’s internship successes, the student’s internship failures, the internship organization’s strengths, the organization’s weaknesses, and the impact the student made on the organization.  

Each portion of the essay should be labeled. There should also be examples throughout the essay to illustrate the conclusions that were made. It would be helpful if the student made insightful observations throughout the internship to add to the essay as well.  

Required forms such as the Student-Faculty Learning Contract, the Site Supervisor Documentation form, and the Site Supervisor Evaluation can be found on MyMarian under the Career Services tab. Other helpful forms such as the Student Internship Checklist and the Internship approval form can be found on MyMarian under the Career Services tab as well. For quick access to these documents, click here 

If a student has any questions about the internship process, they can either contact Hatlen or their academic advisor for assistance. The information above, as well as other specifications for the internship process, can be found in the Communication Program Student Handbook. Information regarding local internship opportunities, how to apply for an internship, and other tips on the internship process can be found here as well. Happy internship-hunting, Sabres!