What is an internship?
An internship is a form of experiential learning that integrates knowledge and theory learned in the classroom with practical application and skills development in a professional setting. Internships give students the opportunity to gain valuable applied experience and make connections in professional fields they are considering for career paths; and give employers the opportunity to guide and evaluate talent.
An academic internship includes a learning plan that is structured into the internship, including objectives, reflection and assessment. The experience balances the goals of the student intern with the work the business or other organization needs. Academic Internships are normally part of an educational program and involve the award of academic credit. At USM, academic internships are run through our departments, and student intern placements occur in the context of an internship course.
A non-academic internship also involves learning, but this learning is not integrated into an academic course or other university learning experience. You may accept an internship at a company without enrolling in an internship course if you choose. Students on F-1 Visas must meet specific eligibility requirements in order to complete an internship. See important information on eligibility if you are studying in the US on an F-1 visa.
Why should I do an internship?
An internship can be a fantastic opportunity to develop your technical and transferrable skills in a professional environment, build your resume, develop professional connections, and even get a job offer. 2018 graduates were 20% more likely to have a full-time job upon graduation if they completed an internship.
In a survey administered to USM student interns in Fall 2015, they told us just how amazing their experiences were. For example, Joshua Jacques, who interned with IDEXX Laboratories said: "I have gained many new skills through this internship experience and have also polished off some skills that I had that may have needed work. Having a positive environment really helped with this experience."
The main purpose of an internship is to help students transition from being in school to being a professional - whether that includes graduate school, paid work in the student’s chosen field, and/or volunteer work. Internships provide students with an opportunity to gain experience in a field of their choosing and an opportunity to confirm their interest in a particular career or even a specific company. Depending on circumstances, the internship may be paid or unpaid. During the internship, students often create a network of new contacts while gaining school credit. As you explore your internship opportunities, keep in mind that many internships have requirements and may vary in academic credit offered. Be sure to contact your academic department for these details.
Applying to an internship is often similar to applying to a job. Our office is here to help you with this process, to make sure you have an effective resume, cover letter if necessary, and that you are ready for your interview if you have one. Make an appointment today!
Lewiston Auburn College Students
If you are a student at LAC, please navigate to: https://usm.maine.edu/lacinternships for all pertinent information. LAC has a fantastic internship program that is highly structured, following completion of courses 269 and 413. If you have additional questions after reading through the webpage, please contact Sandi Croft, Lewiston Auburn College Internship Coordinator.