woman-thinking-businessHiring a college intern can be an enriching experience for all involved. It is a chance for a college student to explore a potential career path while gaining hands on experience. As a business owner, it can provide you with the satisfaction of giving back to your particular field. Also, these interns can often provide you with fresh, new ideas and perspectives. There are some things to consider before deciding to hire a college intern.


  1. Think about what you need from an intern. What kind of work will be available to the intern? Can you offer them enough real world experience on a regular basis so that they feel productive and useful? There is nothing worse than an internship that is boring or underproductive. Make sure to create an intern job description that will both be appealing to them and practical for you.
  2. Consider if you have time to over see the interns. Be sure that you are willing to be responsible for and have time and patience to look over the interns appropriately and with dedication. You should be able to set a good example for interns who are pursuing a career in your field. You must serve as a mentor and positive role model to students.
  3. Determine resources available. You should know ahead of time what you have to offer an intern. Will they have a desk? An office area? Can you provide them with a computer to use, or should they bring their own? Do your best to make sure they feel they are a part of your business whenever possible. Giving them their own space can help them feel a sense of ownership and security. Plus, it is settling to know where to go every morning even in order to get into a routine. Also consider if they will need keys or other access to rooms or doors. Be sure they understand the responsibility you are putting in their hands if you decide you feel comfortable giving them this access.
  4. Decide if you will advertise the position as a paid or unpaid internship. This is a big decision. Many college students do not think of pay as a large deciding factor when looking for an internship. They just want to be sure they will gain valuable skills that are specific to their interests and goals. If  you choose a paid internship, interns are to be treated like employees. If you choose an unpaid option, be aware. Unpaid interns often cannot contribute to your business in any way that will provide you with gain. This means they cannot deal with operations like taking inventory, filing, taking phone calls, or responding to email messages. They can however shadow you or employees and perform non-business duties for learning experiences. Another unpaid option would be if the student’s school provides the ability for the student to gain college credits for their internship. Most students need to complete an internship as a graduation requirement. Check with their particular school about intern rules and regulations to ensure you are assigning your intern with appropriate tasks.
  5. Remember that they are learning. Be sure to provide your interns with the support they need. Students will require consistent and constructive feedback. You should be dedicated to helping interns grow and develop into experienced and knowledgeable professionals. Who knows, they could eventually end up working for or with you one day!

Having interns in your business is a great way to contribute to your particular field. College students need and desire the opportunity to gain hands on experience in their field. College interns come from every school such as Howard University to a community college. Look into internship programs at schools in your area to see how you can give back while teaching others about what you do. College interns will learn a lot from you, and you will undoubtedly learn from their fresh perspectives as well!

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