Preparing for an Internship

Students should carefully consider what internship best meets their education goals while at ASU, as well as how it could bolster their future prospects with career opportunities. Sociology students are generally suited for internships across all areas of interest including non-profit, government, and private sector placements. Below are some tips on how to choose your internship that has worked for other students. Also, consider visiting the ASU Internships website for other ideas and resources.

How to Select an Internship in Sociology

When selecting your internship you might start by considering the following:

What Organization?

Any site that might offer a training experience that could be relevant to Sociology is a consideration. Ideally, the experience and training offered would also be consistent with your education and career goals. While traditional sites like a homeless shelter, camp for special needs children, or a human services agency are the most common, you might also consider sites that offer specific training relevant to your area of concentration such as something in criminal justice fields if you are a criminology, law, and deviance concentration. You could also pick an organization that would help you to hone your research skills. However, whatever organization you pick, the internship experience must involve an educational opportunity that enhances your academic experience. Fortunately, many organizations offer valuable supplements to your formal class experience.

Internship Site Requirements

While students are free to pick an internship site, these sites must meet the following requirements:

  • Internship sites must be established or be a formal organization. For example, if it is a non-profit organization, then it should be recognized as such by local, state, or federal entities as having a tax-exempt status that has a board of directors and an executive director. For a private business, the business should be incorporated or have a license to do business.
  • Internship sites should be able to provide a person or persons who can supervise a student intern.
  • Internship sites should provide necessary training and education in order for a student intern to participate or complete site-specific tasks or internship responsibilities.
  • Internship sites should provide ample opportunities to meet the student intern’s required hours of contact necessary to earn credit.  
  • Internship sites should be able to address and provide experiences that will meet the student interns established learning objectives, which will be provided by the student intern in their internship proposal.
  • Internship sites should have open communication between the student intern and the Department of Sociology Internship Supervisor to report progress, ask questions about student internship requirements, or report issues concerning the student intern.

When?

Summer may be the best since you will probably not have a heavy course load to juggle. However, it may not be best for agencies or organizations. You can also complete your internship during the Fall and Spring semesters but you may need to find an internship that will fit into your course schedule.

Where?

You may have an organization you admire or would like to target for a training opportunity in your hometown, in the Boone area, or elsewhere. If you would prefer to plan an internship experience over the summer and live at home, then that may be a practical option. You may also find it easier to stay in the Boone area over the summer or even find placement outside of North Carolina or abroad. Generally, the Department of Sociology will encourage you to select local opportunities within North Carolina. However, if you find an internship out of state or abroad that specifically meets your goals, then you can submit it as a choice in your internship proposal.

Why?

As you may already know, an internship gives you a taste of how your education works in the real world. It will also help you hone your personal and professional skills. Finally, it is a perfect way to "test drive" potential career paths and gives you excellent opportunities to network with professionals. With all that said, you ultimately have to decide why an internship or any placement is helpful for your academic and career goals. If an organization or internship opportunity, cannot meet the goals you want to accomplish, then you need to consider other options. In fact, this department requires you to consider what your learning objectives will be and how they inform your sociology degree. 

Credit?

Enrollment in Internship involves variable credit, from 3-6 hours. The number of hours credit you obtain depends on:

  • How much credit do you need? As a Bachelor of Science degree candidate in Sociology, you must complete 3 semester hours. However, you can earn up to 6 hours of credit so that you complete the required hours needed for your degree.
  • How much time will you spend on site? The Department of Sociology provides 1 semester hour for every 50 hours of involvement on site. So for 3 credits, the involvement must total at least 150 hours (that would be at least 4 weeks full-time work). 

Preparing for your Internship

Thoughtful planning is essential in creating an internship that is a successful and meaningful learning experience. The planning process includes:

  • Start early (at least one semester prior to your internship) in researching potential internships and retrieving our Department requirements for internships.
    • Find an organization (or organizations) you would like to work with. Contact them, ask about opportunities, learn what options they may have. Clarify what role and responsibilities you might have, and what time commitment may be required. If interested find out who your supervisor would be, and develop a plan to be involved, including a start and finish date.
    • Make sure to look over the Internship Requirements and Proposal Guidelines posted on this website.
    • Meet with your academic advisor or Amber Gregory, Internship Supervisor, to discuss potential internships you are considering.
  • Prepare your internship proposal and other supporting documents (resume, cover letter, agency application, etc.).
    • NOTE: If you don't submit your internship proposal by the deadline posted by the Department, you will have to wait another semester to do it.
    • Complete all revision requests by the Internship Advisory Committee.
  • Register and complete an internship agreement with Amber Gregory, Internship Supervisor. You will be contacted by Dr. Yarosh via e-mail to set up an appointment to complete this final step.