Frequently Asked Questions (Internships)

Internships Defined Find An Internship | Summer Internship Stipends | Paid vs. Unpaid Internships | Frequently Asked Questions | Micro Internships

Why should I do an internship?

  • Improve your chances of getting hired: 25 percent of employers surveyed indicated that their new college hires come from within the organization’s internship program.
  • Gain valuable experience: 55 percent of responding employers indicate that new college hires have previous internship experience.
  • Earn a higher salary: 64 percent of the employers say they pay new full-time hires with internship experience an average of 8.9 percent more than their inexperienced counterparts.
  • Source: National Association of Colleges and Employers Job Outlook Survey

What makes for a great internship?

Students who have had great internships often talk about the importance of:

  • A strong relationship with a supervisor: A good internship allows you to work with a supervisor who will provide you with direction and support, and spend time mentoring you.
  • Learning: During an internship, you will learn much about an organization through direct experience. Other staff members can share their perspective to help you to understand more about roles and activities.
  • Goals: Commit to some personal learning goals that you hope to fulfill during your internship. Talk about them with your internship supervisor. Check in with your supervisor periodically to check your progress. After the internship, take some time to reflect on what you learned.
  • Flexibility and creativity: Think about how an organization can use utilize your existing skills. What new skills could be gained by interning at this organization? Although some of the tasks you are asked to perform may be mundane, your time there will allow you to learn more about the field of work while building your skills.
  • Self-discovery: Use the internship to learn more about yourself. Do I like to work alone or in a group? Do I prefer more formal settings or less formal? Is it important to me that my colleagues share my personal values? Do I prefer working in larger or smaller organizations?

When should I start looking for an internship?

Internship hiring timelines vary by industry, so get to know the timeline for your target industry. In general, the more structured the internship, the more in advance the organization will hire. See the table below for some examples of recruiting timelines and target industries.

Start 8 – 10 months in Advance (Late Summer/early Fall) for internships with:

  • Consulting Firms
  • For-profit Businesses
  • Large Media Companies
  • Financial Services
  • International Organizations
  • Federal Government

Start 4 – 6 months in Advance(Winter/Spring) for internships with:

  • Non-profit Organizations
  • Research Institutes
  • Educational Institutions
  • Arts Organizations
  • Environmental Organizations
  • State and Local Government

Can I get credit for an internship?

Kalamazoo College does not grant academic credit for internships. To receive credit for a similar experience during the academic year, a student would have to arrange for an independent study directly with a faculty member. The CCPD would not be involved with this type of arrangement.

Can I get a paid internship?

Internships can be paid or unpaid. The employer determines what, if any, compensation an intern would receive. Many organizations, particularly non-profit organizations, do not have the funding to pay interns.

What’s the difference between an internship and an externship?





Provides direct experience to connect career and academic interests

Provides direct experience to connect career and academic interests


Maximize participation with ongoing observation; enhance existing skills and abilities and discover new skills and abilities

Maximize observation, with some opportunity for participation, usually in the form of a shorter‐term, focused project


Involve learning goals and reflections

Involve learning goals and reflections


Provide close supervision with frequent formal interactions between supervisor and intern

Provide close supervision with frequent formal interaction between supervisor and extern



(6–12 weeks;
at least 192 hours)

Shorter term

(1-3 weeks)


Occur over the summer

Occur over the summer


May be paid or unpaid


Who should I talk to about setting up an internship?

The Center for Career and Professional Development! Student Career Ambassadors can help you with basic questions about how to find internships and get your application materials (resume, cover letter, etc.) ready. Career coaching staff is available to you by appointment or during walk-in hours.

What resources are available to find an internship?

Check out the “Find an Internship” page for strategies and resources.

Is housing available for internships?

Summer Internship Housing at K: If you would like to live on campus during the summer as you intern, Residence Life does offer housing on campus to K students in the summer for a fee. Check with Residence Life for application information.

Internship Housing Beyond K: Start by checking with friends and family nearby your internship site. K alumni can also be a great resource to suggest options in cities where you do not have any connections. Check the Alumni Directory, or LinkedIn’s Alumni Tool.