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Posted by Sarah Roche on October 17, 2011
Recently I met with Laura O’Neill, the Academic Internship Contact for Binghamton University’s Career Development Center Internships. Laura is the point of contact for Binghamton University students seeking internships for college credit. Laura is a kindred spirit; she was also a non-traditional student who graduated with a BS in Human Development and then a Master of Arts and Social Science with a concentration in student affairs and diversity.
I asked Laura what stops non-traditional students from seeking internships. “Many are working full-time,” she said, “but I have a number of sites around Broome County that offer flexible hours for their internships. They are hungry for Binghamton University students, and non-trads are already skilled at multi-tasking. There are ways around your time constraints. Agencies aren’t just 9-5 and we offer on campus internships as well. All you have to do is ask.”
Laura pointed out that although most non-trads already have work experience, the real benefit is the inside track to permanent employment and networking opportunities that internships offer. She backed this up with a quote from the May 16, 2011 Wall Street Journal stating that “companies say that nearly 40% of this year’s entry level positions will be filled by former interns, according to a survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers.”
Laura had some great advice for non-traditional students looking for internships. “Don’t discount your connections. Prior contacts can come through in strange ways. Your friends, faculty and family can be great assets in your internship search. Ask your Facebook friends if they know of any internship opportunities.”
“Students are students,” Laura reminded me, “We don’t differentiate between non-trad and traditional. You follow the same procedure to land an internship as any other student.”
And what is that procedure? Start off by attending one of the CDCI Internship Information Sessions. The application process is explained at these sessions and involves uploading your resume and cover letter onto erecruiting. CDCI Internships are listed on
eRecruiting, but you also have the option of finding your own internship and submitting the site to the CDC for approval. Once you have applied and interviewed for your internship, the registration process is simple. Students cannot register themselves for an internship, it has to be completed through the CDC.
Once you have everything completed, you have a one hour seminar to attend each week, then your 120 hours of internship work to complete over the semester in order to earn your four credits.
My current internship is an on campus internship through the Continuing Education and Outreach Office. I have two projects that I am focusing on through the semester, the first being this blog, where I intend to create a space to share information and discussion amongst non-traditional students. My second project is a survey that will be issued to the heads of campus organizations to determine their openness to non-traditional student participation. This is the perfect example of an internship that is flexible and functional.
How about you? What are your concerns with internships? Have you found an internship that was perfect for a non-traditional student? Let me know in the comments below.