Recruiting & Creating Internship and Co-op Positions
Internships and co-ops are carefully monitored work experiences in a student's prospective field. An internship is typically a single semester work experience (paid or unpaid) that offers students an opportunity to engage in further career exploration, supplementing academic and classroom learning. Typically, students must be in a position at least 80% related to their area of study and must work at least 10 hours per week. A co-op is similar in that it provides hands-on experience in the student’s major field, but co-ops are paid positions lasting at least 2 semesters.
Internships and co-ops are managed through our Handshake platform.
Creating an Internship Position at Your Organization
So, you’d like to hire an intern or co-op student? Wonderful! Students need opportunities to apply the skills and knowledge they are gaining in the classroom within a “real world” setting. Use the guiding information below to ensure you are ready to offer and advertise your position.
If you don’t currently have an internship or co-op program in place, no problem! Contact Ryan Whitfield, Assistant Director of Employer Relations (firstname.lastname@example.org), to get started and meet the specific needs of your company.
- Register as an employer in Handshake (free) and, after approval, post your internship. There are currently over 17,000 students logging into Handshake.
- Create a brief description of your organization
- Identify the qualifications you seek in an intern – year in school, major(s), skills, and qualities. Helpful tip: keep your requirements for the position modest to attract more diverse applicants. Instead, outline “preferred” or “desired” qualifications.
- Create an outline of what your ideal intern/co-op student would be responsible for and would learn
- Determine if you want/need a student to seek academic credit for the internship. Academic department approval and requirements may apply (see Individual Program Requirements by Major below). Internships should be planned to coincide with an academic semester (August – December, January – April, or May – July).
- Select the hours per week and semester you wish for the student to work. For part-time positions, consider 10-15 hours per week.
- Decide if you will pay the intern and how much. Helpful tip: many of our students must work while attending college. To attract quality applicants, paying the intern is recommended. If you are unable to offer a wage, please see the “Fact Sheet on Unpaid Internships” to determine your eligibility. For paid internships, minimum wage may be offered (currently $7.25/hour), but $10-$15 per hour is recommended, depending upon the industry. Please note: all co-op positions must be paid.
- Determine how training will be provided and by whom. This should be someone with expertise in the field.
- Identify a supervisor who will be able to provide guidance and feedback to the intern or co-op student.
- For more information, visit NACE for the 15 Best Practices for Internship Programs: http://www.naceweb.org/talent-acquisition/internships/15-best-practices-for-internship-programs/
Types of Programs (Internships Vs. Co-ops)
Undergraduates commit to work with the same employer in a major-related paid position for three semesters over a five semester period, alternating between full-time work and full-time academic coursework on an every-other-semester basis. Undergraduates must have 30 hours of coursework completed and a 2.5 GPA to begin the program and must maintain a 2.5 GPA throughout.
Graduate students work two semesters over a three semester period, alternating between work and school by semester on a full-time basis. They must have completed 9 credit hours to participate and maintain a 3.0 GPA throughout. Sophomores, juniors, seniors and graduate students are eligible to participate. Positions are typically paid; academic credit is rarely available.
Students work for at least two semesters with employers in positions that provide direct related experience to their academic majors. They may receive academic credit for participation and must be paid a wage.
The position may be part-time or full-time, but should include a minimum of ten hours of work per week. Sophomores, juniors, seniors, and graduate students are eligible to participate if they have a declared eligible major, at least 30 completed undergraduate credit hours, and a 2.5 GPA.
An internship is employment that closely relates to the student’s major and is usually one semester in length. Students may also receive academic credit for their participation (with an eligible major) and the position may be paid or unpaid, depending on the major.
The internship may be part-time or full-time, but should include a minimum of ten hours of work per week. This program is available to juniors, seniors, and graduate students. GPA, credit hours, and other academic requirements vary by major.
Benefits of Hosting and Intern/Co-op Student
- Provides an excellent employer recruitment source, while giving employers time to evaluate the performance and capacities of a potential employee prior to making a permanent position offer.
- Provides a highly motivated and enthusiastic student employee at an affordable wage (or in some cases, at no cost to you).
- Students bring fresh ideas, new perspectives, and the latest knowledge of business technologies.
- Broadens company visibility and name recognition with students, faculty, and the community at large.
- Students can provide the skills and labor for special projects, thus helping to meet short-term needs for extra assistance.
- Gives permanent staff the opportunity to gain supervisory experience and begin building management skills.
- Enables the company to participate in and influence the educational process, while establishing a partnership with Kennesaw State University.
Internship & co-op programs provide a direct supervisor or on-site mentor who clarifies expectations at the beginning and provides continual feedback during the experience. If the internship is credit-based, it may involve regular contact with a faculty member for required assignments and reflection projects.
- Develop basic job descriptions for the positions, including majors, skills, pay range, duration of employment, location, and application process.
- Decide where a co–op or intern student may be placed in your organization.
- Appoint someone to act as a mentor/supervisor during the experience. Be sure the mentor/supervisor has the time to oversee the student’s performance and offer constructive feedback.
- Employers/supervisors will complete an evaluation for each semester of the internship or co–op. The form will be sent out via email from the Handshake platform, and may be completed online.
Already planning to host an intern/co-op student? Read our welcome guide!
Individual Academic Program Requirements by Major
College/Department sponsored internships and co-ops (credit-based) may have eligibility requirements above and beyond those of the Department of Career Planning & Development.
Approval to award academic credit for an internship experience is based solely on the criteria established by individual academic units as well as the student’s eligibility to receive academic credit. The process begins with the student reviewing the guidelines for eligibility with the Career and Internship Advisor assigned to their major.
You can review all of the individual requirements by major by following this link and selecting a college from the list at the bottom of the page. The contact information of the specific Career and Internship Advisors presiding over those majors are available on these pages, as well.