What barriers are there to students participating in externships/internships?
Potential barriers include: class year (externships are limited to first years & sophomores); cost to participate (some students can’t afford to forego the wages they’d earn at a summer job); family considerations (some students seek to be at home in the summer).
What hesitations are there to students participating in externships/internships?
We hear that some students may hesitate to apply for an externship because the externship homestay (with an unknown adult professional, who may have a very different background or culture) may be intimidating.
To address this the CCPD created Local Track externships, which are externships without a homestay. Learn more about Externships on our externship page.
What is the difference between externships and internships?
- available to rising sophomores and juniors
- hosted by alumni & parents of K students
- student lives with host during the experience
- length – typically 1-2 weeks
- available to rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors
- housing is typically not provided
- length – varies but typically longer than 1 month
What are the requirements/criteria for stipend awarding?
Every year the CCPD provides a limited number of $4,000 summer internship stipends to students that qualify to apply. To apply, a qualified student must secure an unpaid internship that is 6 to 8 weeks in length, is a minimum of 200 hours, and is not with a local nonprofit.
Qualified students are students that are first-generation college students (as self-reported to the College) and/or students with high financial need (as determined by the Financial Aid Office).
Students apply for stipend funding through an online application which includes questions on roles and responsibilities, learning outcomes, supervision, resources, and outcomes. A committee of faculty and staff review stipend applications and approve them on the basis of the strength of their answers to the above questions.
How much paperwork is required of internship supervisors? If a lot, is this a barrier?
Internship supervisors have two main sets of paperwork: completing a learning contract with their student intern (laying out the learning objectives for the experience), and completing an evaluation of the intern at the end of the internships. Identification and agreement on learning objectives is essential to a successful internship, so hopefully a supervisor does not see this as a barrier but rather as insurance that the internship will be a valuable experience for both parties.
Can students do internships during the school year for credit as independent studies?
In general, Kalamazoo College does not offer academic credit for internships. That being said, some students do work with individual faculty to develop independent study arrangements that involve internships (this is a way that some students manage the stipulation by some internship programs that students receive academic credit for their experience in order to participate).
What is the difference between a summer job and an internship?
Summer jobs are always paid and don’t necessarily have anything to do with your major field of study or your career interests. Internships may be paid or unpaid and are linked to a students major field of study or career interest. So, for a summer experience to be considered an internship, it must be an extension of the classroom: a learning experience that provides for applying the knowledge gained in the classroom. It must not be simply to advance the operations of the employer or be work that a regular employee would routinely perform. An internship includes learning objectives and feedback from a supervisor committed to the intern’s learning experience. A summer job doesn’t necessarily include these.
What does an internship supervisor (employer) have to do to help student get credit?
Currently, K does not offer academic credit for internships.
What are the timelines for applying for internships/jobs/grad schools? What should happen when?
Great question! The answer depends on the industry, type of school, etc. Unfortunately it is very hard to have one answer for all. For schools such as law and medicine, we have experts on campus outside the CCPD that work with students on timelines. For many companies that work in finance, summer internship applications are due the Fall prior to the opportunity (super-early!). For many non-profit organizations, fiscal years and budgets are such that summer internship opportunities may not even get posted until the calendar year starts (or even mid-winter/early spring). Since we have a limited number of stipends for internships that students find on their own, it is in students’ best interests to find and secure those opportunities as soon as possible, so that they may apply for stipends before funding runs out.
How can we help fund summer study programs? Often, these are most important pre-professional/ networking opportunities in the arts.
If the program can be qualified as an internship, a student with high need or first-gen status may be eligible to apply for a stipend. The CCPD Travel Access Fund may help with travel to career-related opportunities (internship or not). We often encourage students to consider coupling a part-time summer job with an unpaid internship or study opportunity.
For major career paths – law school, medical school, non-profit: provide a general timeline of what needs to happen when.
This is important information, and we’d suggest that students have a conversation with the resident expert on campus. For Medical School, students should talk with Karika Parker. For Law School, Max Cherem. For other career paths, we’d recommend connecting with an alum in the field to get the most up-to-date information (and we can help with the connection!).
What easily accessible data or articles do we have to show advisees that double majors plus a minor and a concentration isn’t that important to employers? We tell them this, but I don’t think they usually believe us. Or related, easily accessible information on what skills employers ARE looking for that could be valuable in conversations about breadth?
Great question! We’re not aware of data or articles, but we do have lots of conversations with recruiters, and they are not seeking multiple majors. Try this advice with your students: “Employers are not specifically looking for students with double majors. Instead, employers define their needs based on the qualities, knowledge and skills they feel are critical to success in their field. It is important to remember that employers are not only looking at your academic preparedness but also the experiences you had outside the classroom that develop skills in communication, leadership, teamwork, etc.” (And see the next question for more details.)
What skills are employers looking for?
The top skills employers are looking for include: leadership, ability to work in a team, written and verbal communication skills, problem-solving skills, a strong work ethic, initiative, analytical/quantitative skills, and flexibility/adaptability.
Alumni/Life After K/LinkedIn
Have examples of alumni with certain majors and what they’ve gone on to do – anecdotal information has more impact than statistical information.
We agree! Ideally, each academic department’s web presence would include several profiles of their alumni and what they’ve gone on to do. We know that Admissions is working hard to gather such profiles–maybe we could all work together to have these types of examples sprinkled throughout the K web pages.
I would like more digested and easily accessible data on what arts and humanities grads do post-K. Maybe First Destination by major?
Try the five-year compilations of first jobs of all majors.
Can you show your advisee not just first destinations but information on what grads are doing further down the road? I’ve heard about LinkedIn’s alumni tools to see what alumni with specific majors are doing several years out. For example, can I see in LinkedIn, what K English majors are doing 10 years out?
If you search for Kalamazoo College on LinkedIn, you can get to their alumni page. This tool allows you to see K grads and what they are doing at any point in their careers. You might also explore the online alumni directory accessible through the Directory tab on the portal.
Should faculty on LinkedIn connect to current students?
It can be helpful for students to be connected to you on LinkedIn, so that they can see your networks and perhaps ask for an introduction to a colleague or acquaintance of yours. Of course this is completely your choice.
Sometimes I get requests from students on LinkedIn I do not know at all; do I accept them?
Whether or not to accept LinkedIn connection requests from students you don’t know is completely up to you. In the CCPD, we typically only accept requests from students with whom we’ve met or established relationships.
How do I advise students who want to major in the humanities and have anxiety about doing so and not finding a job?
You might show your students our first destination data by major, which shows five years of actual post-grad jobs secured by students in different majors. Suggest that they explore professions related to their major, identify alumni that have secured the types of jobs that they are interested and learn how they secured it. Attend CCPD programs featuring alumni with different majors.
What kind of assessments do you have to help students who are undecided, trying to decide between two majors, or aren’t sure how their interests relate to careers?
The CCPD offers CliftonStrengths, a work values self-assessment, and the O*NET Interest Profiler. Learn more about these assessments and when to suggest them.
How can we normalize the idea that you don’t have to go straight to graduate school from undergrad?
One way might be to point out that most K grads don’t go to graduate school right away. See first destinations of K grads for the past few years.
How can we best support and encourage students in all class years? How do we connect declaration of major to engagement/work with the CCPD?
Review with your students the CCPD four-year folder (given to every first-year student at our fall First-Year Forum) that contains many suggestions by class year. Encourage students to visit the CCPD during open drop-in hours or schedule a meeting to learn more about the offerings. Send them to the CCPD Events Calendar to investigate opportunities and programs. First-years and sophomores can learn about the wide range of career opportunities in a particular major by attending CCPD networking events and meeting alumni with that major.
Many students know they need to begin thinking about career-related things but they don’t feel like they have the time to do it. Any suggestions?
You might remind your students that, to have the workplace experience sought by many employers, they’ll need to use their breaks for job-shadows, externships and internships. Encourage students to set goals early on for how to use their break times effectively. Perhaps help them to identify dedicated time in their schedules and encourage them to stay organized. CCPD career coaches can offer techniques to help organize students’ job searches.
Other CCPD questions
Do we have department-specific CCPD activities? Should we? Maybe for seniors?
The CCPD is happy to work with departments upon request. We’ve visited the Chemistry senior seminar as well as a number of other classes and seminars. We like to partner with departments to host alumni panels along the lines of “Careers for an English Major” or “Careers in the Humanities.”
We can encourage students to go to the CCPD but we don’t have any way to make them do it.
Thank you! Even though there’s no requirement that students visit the CCPD, your encouraging students to stop in or attend events makes a big difference–students very often listen to your suggestions, and we really appreciate this support.
How does CCPD help students craft CVs (consults, workshops, etc.)?
We offer assistance with resumes and CVs at our regular drop-in hours–see our website to confirm days/times. Students can also schedule individual meetings with a career coach at the CCPD.