Internships are a vital part of your VU Communication degree. We believe experiential learning is key to your future career success. Below are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about internships, and in the left menu, you will find the complete syllabus for COMM 450: Internship (coming soon!) and the VU Internship Contract.
What qualifies as an internship?
Communication Student Internships at Vanguard University must adhere to the guidelines of the U.S. Department of Labor as well as the department's expectations for equitable exchange and educational experience.
The Department of Communication expects that all internships are learning experiences that will help students prepare for a future career. Student interns are not "free labor," but should be considered trainees that are receiving valuable knowledge in exchange for their time and energy.
All internships must be supervised/mentored by a qualified individual who represents the employer. This supervisor is responsible for verifying internship data, providing performance evaluations, ensuring the safety of the student intern while on the job, and offering key guidance and mentorship to the student intern.
Students must work a minimum of 50 hours per credit unit. Internships can be paid or unpaid, but if unpaid, they must adhere stringently to the U.S. Department of Labor criteria, listed below:
- The internship, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to training which would be given in an educational environment;
- The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern;
- The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under close supervision of existing staff;
- The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern; and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded;
- The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship; and
- The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship.
More details on this criteria can be found on this worksheet from the Department of Labor website.
How is an internship graded?
The internship supervisor/employer will assign the student a grade in the final performance evaluation. If the student has completed all their paperwork and course requirements prior to the end of the semester in which they are enrolled in COMM 450, then that is the grade they will receive. If any paperwork or requirements are outstanding, then deductions to the assigned grade will apply, as outlined here:
- Midpoint Self-Evaluation (-5%)
- Final Self-Evaluation (-5%)
- Completed Hours Log or Detailed Time Cards (-20%)
- Final Updated Resume (-5%)
How do I find an internship?
There are many ways to find an internship. First, however, you should decide what career fields you want to explore and what job skills you want to hone. You should also polish your resume and cover letter template.
Your professors are always willing to talk to you about future career goals and help guide you on this journey. The Vanguard Career Center offers personal consultations to work on preparing a resume and cover letter for a specific job/internship search.
Once you have an idea of what you want to find, there are many avenues available. Start with people you know: friends of your family, professors, and even peers. Find out where they did their internships. A personal recommendation is always a great way to get your foot in the door.
Online internship searches are also a good place to start. LinkedIn, Indeed.com, Mandy.com, HollywoodCareers.net are all reputable sources for internships. Employers often come looking for you, as Vanguard students have a great reputation in the community, so also check Lions Link and the Communication Department Job/Internship board.
How do I register for an internship?
First, you need to secure an internship. Once you are hired, you will need to fill out the internship contract and submit it to your advisor--prior to starting work. This is an online process, and the contract can be found here or in the left menu above. You will need some information from your internship employer to fill out the contract, so take a look at the form so you know what to ask.
Once you've submitted the form, you will also be asked to make an appointment with your selected faculty advisor. At present, all Communication Studies students should select Dr. Carmody and all Cinema Arts students should select Professor Kasa. Your faculty advisor will review the internship with you and walk you through the rest of the process. Once your internship is approved, you will be able to pick up a signed add/drop form from the Communication office to take to the registrar. A step-by-step of the process and required paperwork can also be found in the course syllabus (coming soon!).