Communication Program Internships

Introduction

A successful credit-granting internship can be an important part of a professional academic program. The goal of the School's internship program is to provide an opportunity for students to step out of college periodically to alternate education and work-experience.

The Guideline describes the program, the benefits, and the pitfalls of internships. It also explains how to apply for an internship, requirements, and what to expect from an internship. Students desiring more information on internships should contact the Coordinator of Internships in the School, Robison Hall Room 29B, FDU, Teaneck, NJ 07666, (201) 692- 2186, or zbsun@fdu.edu.

The Program

The School offers, under COMM 3997, COMM 3998, and COMM 3999 (only for campus newspaper), internship opportunities for students who wish to work and learn alongside professionals.

School internships are normally available only to I) undergraduate students who major or minor in Communication Studies and have completed 60 or more credits with a GPA no lower than 3.0. Other qualifications depend on the internship. No credit will be allowed for any internship for which students are receiving academic credit in another  school.

All internship applications will be reviewed according to the rules and procedure stated in this document. Credit is offered for internship experience at corporate, political and public service institutions at a variable rate of 1-3 credits per course. A communication major may earn a maximum of six internship credits overall, with no more than three at any one position. A communication minor may earn at most three credits. Students who meet the internship requirements must register and pay for credits received. Credit is normally offered for Fall and Spring semesters; special arrangements are required for internships during a summer period. Communication majors can neither register for two internships in the same semester nor have two internships from the same organization (unless they do not request credits).

While the School’s internship-for-credit program is varied in opportunities and flexible in particulars, it requires that an internship be a structured learning experience. Interns should expect to do their share of routine work. They should not, however, be regarded primarily as cheap labor or used solely to perform routine labor or chores.

Why an Internship

An internship is a valuable learning experience that cannot be duplicated in the classroom. Internships permit students to sharpen their professional skills, to utilize their education in the liberal arts and to explore career possibilities. Interns who perform well may count their sponsors as valuable references and offer examples of their work to potential employers as evidence of their abilities. Although an internship does not guarantee a student a job, many graduates have found their internships give them an edge when job hunting, and some interns have later been hired by sponsors.

Where to find Internship Opportunities

It is students’ responsibility to find opportunities from all possible channels such as the Internet and personal networking.

Internship opportunities may be found with newspapers, advertising agencies, broadcasting and cable stations, magazines, public relations offices, government agencies, and other groups concerned with public communication.

Students should visit FDU’s Career Development Center located in the Giovatto Library to get professional advisement and up-to-date information on internships/jobs. The database of this Center contains a huge number of internship/job announcements from varied industries including media and communication. Students can access these announcements at the following webpage: www.fdu.edu/careers

From time to time the School receives and shares with students information on internships. Students should pay attention to the information posted to the Schools’ Internship webpage and message board as well as sent out through emails.          

How to Apply for Internship Credits

(1) Visit the Career Development Center to get help in I) preparing and revising your resume, II) practicing and improving your interview skills, and III) finding and selecting  an internship that fits your interest and time.

(2) Show the School Internship Coordinator a description/announcement of the  internship desired; discuss with him about its nature and when you would like to serve the internship.

(3) Contact the organization offering the internship and arrange an interview.

(4) Ask the organization that offers you the internship to send to the School Internship Coordinator an official letter, indicating your I) title/position at the organization, II)  duties/responsibilities, III) weekly work schedule, and IV) total work hours and duration of the internship. (Internships need not necessarily coincide with exact starting and ending dates of a semester.)

(5) Determine the college credits you apply for. One needs to work for 180 hours during a semester to earn 3 credits (accordingly 60 hours for 1 credit).

(6) Select a communication faculty member as your internship mentor, who will give a final grade to your internship.

(7) Fill out a form of Request for Internship Credits and have your internship mentor to sign the form, then, submit it to the School Internship Coordinator along with a resume.

(8) Complete required paperwork with FDU’s Career Development Center after your application was approved, and register for the correct number of credits.

The deadline for registration is by the 2nd week of the semester.

Internship Critique

In addition to participating in the sponsor's activities for a full term, interns must I) regularly meet with their mentor to discuss their experience, achievements, problems, etc.; II) develop a portfolio of the work interns completed at their position; III) submit to their faculty mentor a 5 -7 page typed summary of their internship and an evaluation form filled out by the supervisor from their workplace .

The portfolio includes, but is not limited to,

     A) copies of creative work you did for the sponsor (e.g., advertising copy, press release, magazine article);

     B) documents of events you designed, organized, or participated in;

     C) audio-video types you produced or made contributions to.

The summary should cover the following patterns:

  1. A detailed description of what tasks you performed, what your responsibilities were, what kinds of things you were allowed to observe, and, in general, how your time was spent.
  2. How valuable was the internship? What you did or didn't gain from it in terms of skills or experience relating to your interest. Include an assessment of the internship's strengths and weaknesses. In addition, note how the internship may have affected your career goals, and include any advice you might have for future interns and for the School Internship Coordinator.
  3. How did your internship work relate to or supplement what you have learned in your courses of study at FDU? What, if anything, was lacking in your educational experience that might have made your work experience more profitable?
  4. Be sure to include such specifics as the sponsor and location of the internship, hours spent, the name of your supervisor, pay, if any, and job description.
  5. You need to create a personal weekly journal (which describes and reviews what you did each week) in order to have an accurate record of the internship to present to your mentor. This will accompany your critique.

The required portfolio, summary, and evaluation must be submitted to your faculty mentor during the week of final exam as specified by the FDU calendar.

What to Expect from an Internship             

Internships vary, just as do classroom courses. Some sponsors test the limits of students' abilities while others regard students primarily as observers. Experience has shown that those interns who generate ideas, show initiative and seek more responsibility will profit more from their internships than students who spend 14 weeks waiting to be told what to do next.

All interns should expect to perform some routine work and to be given assignments they may regard as boring, particularly in the early stage of an internship. Interns should accept such assignments cheerfully and treat them seriously as tests of their motivation and attitude. Evidence of an intern's ability to handle routine assignments quickly and accurately is often necessary before the intern is given demanding assignments.

The School encourages regular sponsor evaluations of the interns’ work and supervision of intern performances. It is the nature of many mass media and media related businesses that production is prized over contemplation and efforts to meet next deadline leave little time for looking back. In the absence of feed-back, interns should ask their supervisor if their work is satisfactory and seek suggestions for improvement in their daily work.                                                            

The School Internship Coordinator and mentors attempt to keep in touch with interns through all possible ways to access the quality of internships, aid interns if assistance is needed, maintain contact with sponsors and develop new internships. Interns should feel free to contact the Coordinator and mentors during the course of the internship about relevant internship matters.

Internship Credits and Grades

Internship grades are assigned by faculty mentors. Factors determining the grades include the sponsor’s written evaluation of the intern, the intern’s summary and portfolio (including personal journal), completion of all required forms, and information received from the sponsor during periodic contacts throughout the term. No internship credits may be substituted for required courses. One final grade is assigned for each internship course, COMM3997, COMM3998, and COMM 3999. The tuition for internship is the same as that for all FDU credits.