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Succeeding in an Internship

After you've accepted an internship offer, reach out to your supervisor to confirm the start date, hours, dress code, etc.

During your initial days at the internship, be sure to clarify expectations with your supervisor:

  • Find out what projects you will work on and what results are expected.
  • Discuss what you want to learn and ask if your goals are realistic.
  • Ask how interns are evaluated, as feedback is essential to your professional development.
  • Consider setting up a learning contract that outlines these goals, expectations, and outcomes.

Ways to Impress While at an Internship

  • Offer to help where needed and perform all assignments with attention to detail. Work efficiently and you'll have more time to volunteer for new projects. Give your best effort to everything you're asked to do, and you'll be more likely to secure a strong reference and be given more responsibility.
  • Set up formal or informal meetings with colleagues and Vassar alumnae/i over lunch, off hours, etc. to learn more about their professional experiences. Collect the business cards of those you meet and follow any advice or leads they offer. Be sure to write a thank you note after an informational interview and stay in touch with them.
  • Maintain professionalism at all times and adhere to workplace etiquette and expecations. Avoid conducting personal business (phone conversations, emailing, texting, or setting up after-work plans with friends) while at your internship. If an emergency arises, let your supervisor know as soon as you can and maintain open, proactive communication with your supervisor.

Wrapping Up an Internship

  • Be sure to complete your responsibilities and leave your workspace in order.
  • Ask your supervisor or someone who knows your work well for a letter of reference. Make this request while you are still at the internship and your performance is fresh in their mind.
  • If you're a rising Senior and interested in working for the organization upon graduation, consider bringing up the subject of employment before you leave. Assert your interest and qualifications and ask what steps you'd need to take to be considered for a full-time job.
  • After you leave, send a thank you letter to your supervisor and any other employees that served a mentorship role for you while you were at the internship. Demonstrate your appreciation for the experience and any references written on your behalf.
  • Maintain relationships with the colleagues you met. An occasional email, phone call, or visit during school breaks can help foster relationships with these members of your professional network.