When Students Are Available for Internships
University of Dayton students majoring in communication – and focusing their studies in communication management, electronic media, journalism or public relations – usually seek professional internships for a specific period of time that coincides with their academic semesters. The number of hours that the student can be expected to work each week will depend upon the employer’s needs and the student’s academic schedule.
Employers will likely have a more positive internship experience if they recognize that students’ first obligation is to their school work and consider class schedules when assigning work hours. Employers also will find it helpful to have a frank discussion with the student intern at the start of the internship about responsibilities and expectations of both parties.
Semesters and work periods
Fall: early September-late November
Spring: mid January-late April
Summer: mid May or June-early August
Fall & Spring: 8-12 weeks long
Summer: 2-10 weeks long
Internships nationally generally adhere to a fall, spring and summer schedule. Exact starting and ending dates vary. Dayton-area employers offering internships for UD students tend to run their programs from September-November, January-April, May/June-August.
Fall and spring internships usually last about eight to 12 weeks during a typical 16-week semester, with the length of time often depending upon the number of hours that the intern works each week. Summer internships tend to be shorter, in part because students tend to be available more hours per week.
Many students will apply for internships during the previous semester so that they can secure a position and begin work immediately at the beginning of the new semester. Some students, however, will continue to look for an internship into the new term. After mid-term – mid-October for fall term, early March for spring term, end of June for summer – students either have settled into an internship or have abandoned their search for the time being.
UD fall semester begins in the last week of August. Most area employers begin their internships after the Labor Day holiday, although an earlier meeting with the intern might be scheduled to review work rules and schedules.
UD has a mid-term break – essentially a long weekend – in early October. Employers can check the UD academic calendar online or ask their interns for exact dates if students plan to seek time off at that time.
Students also get a school Thanksgiving break. Classes continue for another week or two, with the last day around Dec. 10. Exams then follow. Because of break and exams, many area employers end fall internships at Thanksgiving.
In the alternative, some employers will accommodate breaks for Thanksgiving and exams, but ask the intern to return to work until Christmas, especially if the internship continues spring semester. Students who wish to stay in campus housing through most of December must be able to document that their internship is professional and is relevant to their major. Interns might ask their employers for a confirmation letter.
UD spring semester begins in mid January. Students usually are ready to begin spring term internships promptly, having met with employers in December to finalize working arrangements. Employers will likely find that students can begin work at the end of the first week or the beginning of the second week of classes.
UD schedules a short mid-term break and a short Easter break. The dates vary, depending on when Easter falls. Employers can check the UD academic calendar online or ask their interns for exact dates, especially if the students plan to seek time off.
Most area employers end spring internships in late April, a few days to a week before the last class day. Exams usually are given in the first week in May.
Some students seek Dayton-area internships during the summer. Starting dates vary, depending on the employer’s needs and the student’s availability.
Some students are willing to begin an internship almost immediately after spring term exams. Other students prefer to wait until early June to begin work. If the student is getting academic credit, he or she should begin the internship no later than late June (the first day of the second summer session) so that they have enough time to learn and develop a portfolio.
Summer internships usually end in early August.
Fall & Spring: 8-12 hours per week
Summer: 8-40 hours per week
UD students with a full course schedule can handle an internship up to about 12 hours per week. An occasional week with a few extra hours is doable, but employers should resist asking full-time students to regularly work more hours. Employers should keep in mind that, unless the internship is paid, many students also have a part-time paying job to help pay for their education. Too many working hours undermine the students’ primary responsibility, which is their education, and diminish their energy for internship work.
Many area employers find that having an intern for a four-hour block each working day is most productive for both the organization and the student.
During summers, students might work full time for as little as two weeks, or full time or part time for as long as 10 weeks. Although students often have more flexibility with their schedules during the summer months, students might have to work another, paying job. In those cases, students might seek a shorter-term internship, or work a few hours a few days a week over a longer period.
Employers should explore various schedule options with the ideal intern candidate so that both parties can benefit.
Students seeking academic credit through the UD Department of Communication for an internship must work a minimum of 40 hours per semester for each credit hour earned. Students can earn up to three credits per semester for an internship.