Why internships, co-ops, and service learning matter:

Employers prefer college students to not only be knowledgeable in their field of study, but to also  have real-world, practical experience in their chosen field by the time they graduate.  Some majors at the university have a required internship component.

Criteria for a Quality Internship*:

The experience must be an extension of the classroom: a learning experience that provides for applying the knowledge gained in the classroom.  It must not be simply to advance the operations of the employer or be the work that a regular employee would routinely perform.

The skills or knowledge learned must be transferable to other employment settings.

The experience has a defined beginning and end, and a job description with desired qualfications.

There are clearly defined learning objectives / goals related to the professional goals of the student's academic coursework.  

Supervision is provided by a professional with expertise and educational and / or professional background in the field of the experience.

There is routince feedback given by the experienced supervisor.

There are resources, equipment, and faciltities provided by the host employer that support learning objectives / goals.

*7 criteria for Effective Internships, National Association of Colleges & Employers