/ Career Development Center


Internships are an important part of gaining real-world experience in your field.

“An internship is a form of experiential learning that integrates knowledge and theory learned in the classroom with practical application and skills development in a professional setting.” —National Association of Colleges and Employers

Common characteristics of an internship

  • Three–six months long
  • Part or full time
  • Paid or unpaid
  • On or off campus
  • Connection to an educational program with academic credit
  • Non-credited experience

Contact individual academic departments for information about internship opportunities.


A Hope College internship involves:

  • An academic course with deep learning in an applied setting for which students receive a grade and academic credit listed on their transcript
  • A professor who:
    • Oversees the internship
    • Makes contact with the onsite supervisor and student
    • Assigns and evaluates readings and written assignments
    • Meets or communicates with the student regularly to stimulate reflections about vocation and calling
  • An applied experience onsite at an outside employer
  • Three hours onsite per week over the course of at least one semester or summer, along with time invested in course meetings and writing, for each credit earned
  • An experienced on-site supervisor who conducts regular meetings with the student
  • Internships posted on Handshake are approved by the college as credit worthy; to earn credit for an internship not found on Handshake, a student must submit a form for approval before registering for credit

Before scheduling an internship appointment, try to accomplish as many of these steps as you can:

  • Draft a resume
  • Decide if you want credit for your internship (some majors require an internship for credit to graduate)
  • Research internships on Handshake and LACN
  • Decide where you would like to intern geographically
  • Decide which semester(s) would make the most sense for your schedule (we recommend planning at least a semester or two in advance)
  • Schedule a meeting with Jena Gasworth
  • Begin applying for 20+ internship opportunities with tailored resumes and cover letters or letter of inquiry
  • Practice interviewing with a mock interview or online practice through InterviewStream on Handshake
  • A clear job or project description, with administrative work comprising no more than 50% of the intern's time
  • An orientation to the organization, its culture and work assignment(s)
  • Assist in developing learning objectives and learning contract
  • Feedback through regularly scheduled supervision meetings
  • Formal written evaluation(s) using the format provided by the professor

Hope College recommends that organizations follow U.S. Department of Labor standards for internships, which stipulate that, in most cases, interns should be paid. If posting an unpaid internship, it must meet the Department of Labor’s six criteria for unpaid interns.