What is an Internship?

Internships provide a way for you to get hands-on, supervised experience in the world of work. You are able to apply the concepts you are learning in the classroom to a work environment.

Internship Quick Facts

  • Paid or unpaid.
  • Duration of at least one semester (concurrently with classes or independently).
  • Depending on the organization and time of year - you may work full or part-time.
  • You may also elect to receive academic credit for your internship or do it for the experience alone.
  • Internships are a great way to find out if a particular career or work environment is a good fit for you. And don’t forget…it’s not all about what you know, but who you know (and who knows you!). An internship will open the door to your professional network and hopefully lead to a permanent position upon graduation!

How to Receive Academic Credit

The process for receiving academic credit varies widely by major. To receive academic credit for an internship, begin by checking with the designated contact in your major's corresponding academic department for information on requirements and specific processes.

If your academic department does not require that an internship be completed for credit, you can always complete a not-for-credit internship on your own.

Internship Agreement Form

After checking in with your academic department, they may require you to submit this Internship Agreement Form. 

Career Center Internship Award

Receiving credit for an unpaid internship? Be sure to apply for our Career Center Internship Award! Scholarships are awarded every fall, winter, and spring/summer semester.

Additional Information

Depending on the program, you may or may not actually physically meet as a class; however, there will likely be assignments you’ll have to complete throughout the semester. Keep in contact with your faculty internship coordinator to ensure you are meeting all the appropriate deadlines.

If you are interning with a health-related organization, you may be required to go through GVSU Health Compliance. Check with your faculty internship coordinator to see if your internship site qualifies for this.

F-1 or J- 1 International Students: You will need work authorization from USCIS for your internship.  Please contact Libby Jawish at the Padnos International Center (616) 331-3898 or [email protected] for details prior to beginning the internship.

How to Find an Internship

The Career Center can help you with the process of finding an internship. Use the tips below to get started.

Get Focused

  • It’s okay if you don’t know exactly what you want to do in an internship. Think about the type of work you’d like to do, skills you’d like to develop, and industries you’d like to explore. Refer to our Self-Guided Career Exploration page if you need some ideas.
  • Organize your search. Keep track of organizations you’ve applied to, when, who you spoke with, and when you need to follow up.
  • Check with the internship contact in your major's academic department to ensure you understand the process of receiving credit if you choose to do so.

Assemble Materials

  • Most internships will require a resume and cover letter. Review our Resume Guide, stop by the CareerLab, or schedule an appointment to have your documents reviewed.
  • Use our new tool ResumeAI to scan your resume and get immediate feedback. Once logged in using your GVSU SSO, navigate to the Resumes tab and choose "ResumeAI".
  • Update your LinkedIn and Handshake profiles. This will ensure you are receiving internship updates that fit what you are looking for.


  • On average, 75% of internships are never posted, so identify companies/organizations you are interested in and contact them directly.
  • Reach out to contacts and GVSU alumni through LinkedIn to conduct informational interviews. This is a great way to learn about opportunities and build your network.
  • Attend events. The Career Center brings hundreds of employers right to campus and these employers want to talk to you about opportunities.


Search and Apply

Get ready to interview

  • Visit the interview section of our site to review tips on how to prepare for an interview.
  • Schedule a practice interview with your career advisor.
  • Practice at home using Big Interview.



  • It’s always important to follow-up; whether you’ve applied online for a position, sent an email inquiry to a contact, or met a recruiter at an event.
  • Follow-ups can be done over email, phone, or LinkedIn.
  • Keep track of when you’ve followed up so you can be consistent, but not pestering. One to two follow-ups is a good rule of thumb.

Current Internship Postings in Handshake

4/19/24 Summer Sterile Processing Technician at Mayo Clinic for job 8908991
Mayo Clinic - Nursing
Expires: 4/30/24

4/19/24 Social Worker II Option Bilingual Spanish Speaking for job 8907077
Illinois Department of Human Services
Expires: 4/27/24

4/19/24 Registered Nurse for job 8906562
St. Clair County Community Mental Health
Expires: 4/26/24

View More Jobs

How to find an internship workshop

How to Find an Internship Workshop

How to Succeed in an Internship

  • Attend all orientations offered and read all available onboarding handbooks
  • Observe everything…what people wear, how they interact with each other, where they eat, etc.
  • Ask questions if you are unsure of anything
  • Get to know everyone- even those outside your department. This is a great way to learn more about the organization and possibly develop a mentor.
  • Dress for the job you want. Just because your boss might wear shorts and t-shirts, doesn’t necessarily mean you should. Be observant of what others wear, especially those in positions of leadership.
  • Learn a new skill. Even if your internship isn’t exactly what you thought it  might be, it’s important to know that you walked away learning something new.
  • Ask for new projects. Supervisors may underestimate the amount of time it takes an intern to complete a project.
  • Take initiative - It’s always good to look for things that need to be done.
  • Ask for feedback. Hopefully your, supervisor will conduct an evaluation at the end of your internship, but don’t be afraid to ask for ongoing feedback. This keeps the lines of communication open and ensures you’re meeting expectations.
  • Stay connected after the internship. It’s great if an internship can turn into a permanent position, but that doesn’t always happen right away. Maintain relationships with those you worked with as they will likely keep you posted on upcoming openings, and may also serve as a reference for you.
working at internship

Unfortunately, not all internships may go as planned, and that’s okay. Finding out something you don’t like can be just as helpful as identifying what you do like. Reach out to the Career Center if you have any questions or concerns regarding your internship experience.

additional information

Page last modified February 21, 2024