An internship is a closely supervised, short-term work experience integrated into a student's education. Internships can occur during the summer or the academic year, can be full-time or part-time, paid or unpaid, and in a variety of career fields and geographical locations.

Employers have come to view internships as a proving ground for future employees. The National Association of Colleges and Employers found that on average employers will hire approximately 40 percent of their entry-level hires from within their own internship program this year.

High-Quality Internships

Not all internships are created equal. Ideally, an internship allows you to explore career fields while gaining valuable professional experience and connecting with professionals. To ensure the quality of our internships, Davidson uses the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) Criteria for an Experience to Be Defined as an Internship:

  • The experience 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 the work that a regular employee would routinely perform.
  • The skills or knowledge learned must be transferable to other employment settings.
  • The experience has a defined beginning and end, and a job description with desired qualifications.
  • There are clearly defined learning objectives/goals related to the professional goals of the student's academic coursework.
  • There is supervision by a professional with expertise and educational and/or professional background in the field of the experience.
  • There is routine feedback by the experienced supervisor.
  • There are resources, equipment, and facilities provided by the host employer that support learning objectives/goals.

When applying for experiences labeled as internships, you should look to see if the experiences meet these criteria.

There is no "perfect time" to complete an internship. Some students will do a succession of three internships, after each academic year, whereas others will only do one the summer after their junior year. Some Davidson students will complete part-time internships during the academic year in or around the Davidson area.