Sophomore Year Internship Program

As a Career Development Center, we want each sophomore to have the opportunity to gain meaningful experience outside the classroom that compliments what they are learning inside the classroom – and at the very least, an experience that helps prepare them for work as an emerging professional. For this purpose, the Sophomore Year Internship Program was created.

Through this program, we help you secure this type of experiential learning opportunity in the form of an internship. Then, to help you make the most of that internship, you participate in a curriculum based online program that promotes your career readiness and exploration.

Program Overview

The Sophomore Year Internship Program is completed in two phases: Phase One: Coaching and Phase Two: Interning. During Phase One, which begins in the fall, career coaches work with participating students to help them secure an internship. During Phase Two, which coincides with the dates of your internship and takes place either in the spring or summer, students are enrolled in SPST-A497. This online course is designed to supplement the internship experience through critical reflection and assignments promoting career readiness and exploration.

To participate in the program, interested sophomores need simply apply. Students will then be contacted by the career center with details on how for their orientation and to schedule their first appointment for the program. The deadline to apply is September 11, 2020.

The following is an outline of each phase of the program:

Phase One: Coaching (Fall of Sophomore Year)

  • First Appointment: Meet with a career coach to assess career goals and establish a plan
  • Follow-up appointments with the career coach:
    • Complete building and reviewing resume
    • Complete building and reviewing a cover letter
    • Complete a mock interview
  • Final Appointment: Meet with the Assistant Director for Experiential Learning for review of Phase One

Following the successful completion of Phase One, as determined by a secured internship, students are enrolled into the online course SPST-A497 to begin Phase Two concurrently with their internship experience.

Phase Two: Interning (Spring OR Summer of Sophomore Year, depending on internship)

To participate in the second phase, students must have either been placed in an internship with a participating community partner or secured an internship through a search. Since the second phase must coincide with the internship, it can take place in either the spring or summer of sophomore year. The number of hours required to complete the internship is a minimum of 80.

Through the online course SPST-A497, the Phase Two: Interning is designed to give participating sophomores the opportunity to:

  • recognize and articulate transferable and career-related skills being developed and applied in the internship;
  • understand and demonstrate an emerging professional identity; 
  • and analyze and explain career goals through critical reflection.

Following the successful completion of the requirements of the second phase, students receive program credit in the form of a P/F grade on their official transcript.

Why Future Employers Care

To better determine what employers find to be experiences and areas of competency that contribute to the success of employees who are new college graduates, the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) Career Readiness Committee surveyed representatives from organizations that hire through a university relations and recruiting effort. There were over 600 representatives from nearly 20 different industries represented in the respondent pool. From these results, three important employer insights emerged.


Respondents cited the need for students to gain hands-on, real-world experience during college to prepare for work after college, pointed to internships as the best way to gain this experience, and recommended that colleges and universities build internships into their curriculum or make participation in an internship a requirement.

Competitive Advantage

While respondents recognize that new college graduates continue to develop their skills and abilities as they become seasoned professionals, they noted that those candidates who can demonstrate and articulate their career readiness enjoy a competitive advantage over their less-ready counterparts in landing an initial job after graduation. Once on board, they will also move up in the organization more quickly than those who don't have the same level of competency.

Candidate Focus

Respondents reported that candidates who had a clear sense of their career aspirations, direction, and goals have a distinct advantage over other candidates. This combination—competency and direction—are key for new college graduates.

In brief, the Sophomore Year Internship Program provides participating students the opportunity to be this type of student, candidate, and employee. Future employers will value that participating students took the opportunity through the program to begin preparing for work after college and establishing their career direction and goals early. Additionally, the program's curriculum is designed to promote career readiness. The internship and curriculum thus work together to create a competitive advantage for the participating students when they begin seeking employment and later promtion within the organization. 

You can learn more about career readiness and competencies as defined by NACE here. To apply to participate in the Sophomore Year Internship Program, see below under How to Apply. The deadline is September 11, 2020.

Internship Placement

After successfully completing the appointments associated with Phase One: Coaching, participating sophomores will move into Phase Two: Interning at the start of their internship. In some cases, after completing Phase One appointments, students may still be in search of an opportunity. In this case, the career center will continue to assess how best to help the student secure an internship for the final phase of the program. 

If approved for Federal Work Study, students have the potential to be placed with a local non-profit or community partner for their required internship for the program's second phase.

Sophomores who are not approved for Federal Work Study will be aided in their search for an internship through individualized coaching and utilization of existing resources and services.

Regardless of Federal Work Study approval, students participating in the program are allowed to seek internship opportunities fitting their field of interests and are not required to be placed with a local site. 

Where Participants Have Interned and What They're Saying

Participants of the program have received offers from organizations such as Keller Williams, Environmental Business Specialists, University of Puerto Rico Centro Comprensivo de Cancer, University of Indiana-Bloomington, University of Chicago, Merrill Lynch, and Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans, among many others. Here is what students have said about their experiences:

  • My experience this summer gave me a better understanding in my journey towards career readiness. I was pleased to see that my work in school has properly prepared me for the workplace in which I strive to be a part of. This being said, I also learned valuable wastewater-specific content that would only be discovered by working in the industry. – Skylar McLeod, Environmental Science
  • My biggest takeaway from this program is that career readiness gives me an amazing sense of confidence that will only humbly grow from this experience on. Receiving professional advice and guidance from working professionals makes me feel ready to walk into my next internship opportunity feeling prepared. I feel more ready than before to hand in an acceptable resume, answer interview questions, and get started on a new experience. I am excited to see what else I will learn in the future. - Kennedy Garrett, Sociology with a concentration in Social Justice & Inequality
How to Apply

If you are interested in participating in the Sophomore Year Internship Program, please click below to complete the application form. The deadline to apply is September 11, 2020.

Apply for the Program

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