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What should the intern do if he/she finishes with his/her daily assignment and there is still time left in the day?
What should the intern do if he/she has a problem or can't figure out what to do and the immediate supervisor isn't available?
Will the intern have a “boss” at the internship?
Will the intern get a final grade for his/her internship work?
How much will the intern be paid?

What should the intern do if he/she finishes with his/her daily assignment and there is still time left in the day? [top]

As a new member of the internship provider’s team, it is very important that the intern stay productive the entire day.  The intern will at times be given assignments that he/she won’t be able to finish in one day, and thus the work will roll over from day to day or even week to week.  In such cases, the intern should continue working on the assignment each day until the project is finished.  Other days, the intern may be given an assignment that doesn’t take the entire day to complete.  The intern might arrive at work at 8:30 a.m., meet with his/her supervisor and discuss the day’s assignment, start working on the current project at 10:30 a.m., and be done by 2:30 p.m. or 3:00 p.m.  In this case, there would still be 2 or 3 hours left in the day, of which the intern should make the best possible use.  In such a situation, the intern should first go back and review the work you he/she completed, making sure it’s correct, complete, and of the highest quality.  If there is anything that is less than the highest quality, the intern should use this extra time to revise the work and make it better.  After all possible revisions have been made, the intern should then turn it in and let the supervisor know that the current assignment has been finished.  The supervisor may then have the intern start on something else, work with another person or team, or help him/her with an assignment that he/she is working on.  In any case, the most important thing is for the intern to stay productive.  The intern should never hide at his/her desk or cubicle and play video games, surf the internet, or any engage in any other such non-productive behavior.  As long as the intern is at the internship location and “on-the-clock”, it is absolutely mandatory that he/she remains productive.

What should the intern do if he/she has a problem or can't figure out what to do and the immediate supervisor isn't available? [top]

An intern should never be afraid to ask someone else at the office for some help.  As a junior/senior in high school, he/she should never be expected to know all the answers.  When the intern doesn’t know something, he/she should be encouraged to ask for assistance to as to continue to be productive while at the office.  If the immediate supervisor isn’t available or isn’t around, the intern should feel comfortable turning to someone else.  When asking another worker in the department for some help, the intern should first explain who he/she is (if the co-worker is not already aware of the internship’s role within the office), what the specific assignment is, and what it is that requires further explanation.  Someone else in the department will most likely be able to help.  The intern should also consider trying to find the supervisor’s administrative assistant (if he/she has one) and have the assistant page or otherwise locate the supervisor so that the intern can get the guidance needed.  Again, the intern should never be embarrassed about asking for help.  It’s one of the best ways to learn.

Will the intern have a “boss” at the internship? [top]

Yes, someone at the employer’s location will be assigned as the intern’s supervisor.  This person should be considered the boss.  The intern will report to this individual during the internship term, and the supervisor will ultimately be responsible for providing adequate supervision throughout the internship period.  The supervisor will be responsible for providing the intern with assignments and ultimately reviewing the intern’s work at the end of the internship.  The intern should discuss the details of his/her supervision with the designated supervisor.  Do they want to meet with the intern regularly, on a weekly or bi-weekly basis?  Do they want the intern to prepare regular summaries of his/her work experience or keep a journal over the course of the internship?  Will the intern receive a grade or a formal review of his/her work at the end of the internship period?  These are all good questions for the intern to ask his/her supervisor on the first day at the internship location, to ensure that the intern and the supervisor understand what will be expected.   The intern should always bear in mind that the work he/she turns in is not just a reflection on him/herself; it’s a reflection on the entire Academy program—the students who are currently enrolled, and all the students who will follow.  The better the intern performs, the more likely the company will be to hire interns from the Academy program in the future. 

Will the intern get a final grade for his/her internship work? [top]

The intern and his/her supervisor should discuss how the work will be reviewed.  Will the intern receive an actual grade for each assignment?  Probably not, as the internship is an extension, not an exact replica of the classroom environment.  However, the supervisor should spend time with the intern each week, one on one, to let the intern know how he/she is doing.  These sessions should encourage the intern to continue doing the things he/she is doing well and help him/her to understand and improve the areas which still need improvement.  At the mid-point and the very end of the internship term, the intern should receive a more formal “review” of his/her work.  This could be in the form of a meeting with the supervisor (possibly lasting an hour or more), or perhaps the supervisor will take the intern to lunch to discuss the matter.  In either case, these two reviews are like the “semester grades” for the internship.  They should consist of a rating in various areas, an evaluation of how well the intern performed various tasks, and a general discussion of how pleased the supervisor was with the work performed.  If the intern meets regularly with the supervisor during the internship period and puts into practice all the constructive criticisms offered during the summer, then the intern should do very well in the final review(s).

How much will the intern be paid? [top]

Internship providers understand that interns need summer jobs as much as they need the internship experience.  Therefore, most employers will pay an hourly wage similar or equal to what a student might earn in another summer job.  In other words, the student shouldn’t be penalized for taking an internship position over another summer “job.”  However, students must also realize that the experience they receive during the internship will be a tremendous help to them in their senior year of high school, as well as throughout college and the rest of their lives.  Students must consider the long-term benefits of the internship experience over any small differences in the hourly wage that they might be paid.  For example, if a student can get a summer job at a grocery store paying you $8.00 per hour as a bagger, he/she might be tempted to take that job over an internship position at a bank, hotel, or CPA firm in which pays only $7.50 an hour.  However, the student should realize that the small difference of 50 cents an hour will be paid back many times over the course of his/her life if he/she takes the internship position, which will no doubt provide far more lasting benefits than the position as a bagger at the grocery store.  This situation may never come up, but if it does, the student shouldn’t let the small hourly pay difference affect such a potentially life-changing decision.


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