Tips for Orienting Internship/Co-op Students

The experiential learning student, while a registered MCC student, is also your employee for the work term. Listed below are some tips on how to help the student become an integral and more productive member of your organization:

  • Assist student in developing on-the-job objectives.
  • Explain responsibilities and expectations to the student by reviewing completed evaluation.
  • Provide an orientation. Help students become familiar with your organization, (e.g. objectives of the company, key personnel, and organizational structure), employment policies and procedures.
  • Assign a seasoned employee to be the student's mentor, someone who will be working with the student on a daily basis and can give the student the proper supervision to ensure success and mastery of the job duties and objectives.
  • Encourage regular employees to share their expertise freely with students and help the student become integrated and mainstreamed, as much as appropriate, into the total operation. Students must be made to feel they are contributing and not being exploited as cheap labor.
  • Relate assignments directly to the student's curriculum, career goals and performance objectives. Employers who challenge students with career and/or curriculum relevant work will experience an employee motivated to provide a significant contribution to the organization.
  • Provide students with a variety of on-the-job experiences. As students progress, they should be given an increasing amount of responsibility. To acquire the full benefit from the experience, students need to be "stretched" into new situations, new challenges, and new tasks.
  • Provide sufficient work. Nothing is more demoralizing to college students as down time. Even though periods might occur at the job site when the workload is low, every effort should be made to keep the students occupied with enough work to keep them busy. Students generally do not complain if overworked, but many complain if they are not well utilized.
  • Mold character and work habits. Since the student may be in an impressionable stage where personality traits are being formulated, and since these traits will follow them in their career, it is important to help guide, mentor and support each student where appropriate in: human relations, personal appearance, ability to make decisions, natural curiosity about the work, enthusiasm and diligence to work, dependability, and overall quality of work. Any behaviors that do not meet high standards (relative to a model employee) should be identified and communicated to the student.
  • Help students build proper attitudes about the "company" that will be conveyed to other students on campus. Doing this will ensure the permeation of good company images into the student "grapevine" which will in turn aid the employer as he/she seeks to interview graduating seniors.
  • Contact MCC as soon as possible when a problem occurs with the student's job performance or attitude.
  • Evaluate the student's progress based on the length of a semester (15 weeks), regardless of whether or not the student will be staying on longer. The employer's evaluation is 40-50% of the student's grade.