"To find out what one is fitted to do, and to secure an opportunity to do it, is the key to happiness." -John Dewey


So, what exactly is an internship? It’s the same as a part-time job or volunteering, right? False. But I’m glad you asked…

Internships provide students the opportunity to gain professional level experience while testing out career options and developing essential skills to be marketable for future employment, higher education and beyond. Obtaining an internship is an involved process, and the students who find the most success are the ones who are diligent and thoughtful in their approach.  A well-formulated strategy will help you achieve your goals. Need help along the way? We've got you covered.

  • How does Gardner-Webb define an internship? Internships through Gardner-Webb University serve as intentionally-designed, experiential learning opportunities that deliver practical experience in an area directly correlating to a student’s professional goals and interests. Internships are rooted in student learning and development. Critical components of an internship include reflection, evaluation and feedback throughout a pre-determined time frame. It is essential for supervision to be facilitated by an appropriately trained professional in the respective field, acting as a mentor who works with the student in the development of clearly defined learning outcomes. A student’s role throughout the internship experience should complement rather than replace existing site employees (The Fair Labor Standards Act US Wage and Hour Division, 2010). Additionally, all students are expected to adhere to the Gardner-Webb University student code of conduct throughout their internship.


The Center for Career Development will give me an internship, right? False. Here’s the deal-

An internship is a critical opportunity to develop and grow professionally, not simply to add a piece to a resume. An internship search is the BEST practice for future job searches. While the Center for Career Development will help guide you to a quality, practical experience, the outcome lies within the student’s initiative and responsibility.  

  •  The Role of the Center for Career Development in Internships:  Our goal is to serve as a guide, advisor and educator to you as you create and execute an internship search strategy. Finding an internship is about a lot more than just looking through a list of open positions. Students will be supported throughout their internship search process and provided plentiful resources and tools. Read on to learn the “Four Steps to Finding an Internship” or “Creating Your Own Internship” and find the right opportunity for your professional goals.  


Academic internships in certain majors are the only internships offered through Gardner-Webb. False. The possibilities are endless!

Gardner-Webb offers support and guidance to students participating in these 3 types of internships:

  • Credit-Bearing Internships through Academic Departments: Each internship is unique in accord with the student’s major and his/her educational and professional goals. Students interested in applying for internship credit should plan carefully and discuss their internship plans with their academic advisor as early as possible. Students can potentially receive credit for their internship in their major or academic; however, students must first obtain approval from their academic advisors, who will also inform the student of any major-related internship requirements.
  •  The Certified Internship Program: Want to get ahead of the career curve? Want a stand-out, well-rounded internship experience? The Certified Internship Program is for you! The Certified Internship Program (CIP) is open to students in all undergraduate majors, departments, and academic levels currently enrolled at Gardner-Webb. The CIP does not attempt to replace credit-bearing internships. The program is designed for students interested in participating in a valuable, exploratory internship to clarify and/or advance their career goals. It provides structured and guided learning to help students make the most of their internship experience. Program components facilitate students’ professional development, focusing on the transition from the role of a student to the role of a professional.

Certified Internship Program FAQ’s

  •  External, Non Credit-Bearing Internships: Internship opportunities offered through valid, credible programs and/or organizations, businesses or agencies at a local, national or international location. (Examples: Disney Professional Internship Program, United Nations Internship Program)



There are two primary sources of internship opportunities: the opportunities that are publicly available on websites or other resources and those that are never made public. For that reason, it is important that you perform a balanced search that involves tapping into your networks and maximizing all of the resources available to you. The most successful internship searches use a number of search strategies and resources.


When starting the internship search, most seekers go straight to the web to public search engines. While that strategy should be part of everyone’s strategy, it should only be a small portion.  Employers don't always advertise internships on search engines, relying instead on networking or the savviness and initiative of students. Searching for an internship is much like any other job search; it's very social and requires strategy, knowledge of self and knowledge of the field you are about to enter.


As you consider the benefits of an internship, be sure to do your research, and explore the many internship opportunities available to you. Securing an internship is only the beginning! A lot of hard work and dedication goes into creating an experience that is both meaningful and beneficial for you and the employer. The “Four Steps to Finding an Internship” listed below will get you started. Career Development is here to support you along the way- but only YOU can make it happen!


Four Steps to Finding an Internship

Thinking About Doing an Internship? Internship FAQ’s (highlights critical pieces to consider before even beginning the search process)

Step 1: Beginning Your Internship Search

Step 2: Preparing Professional Documents

Step 3: Applying to Internship Positions

Step 4: Making a Decision

Creating Your Own Internship (guides you through the process of creating and executing an internship specifically for you)

Online Internship Search Resources & Databases (a list of online options to review publicly posted internship positions)


Challenge yourself, step outside of your comfort zone, and prepare yourself now. If not now, then when?