Academic Internship Program Guidelines

Internships taken for credit at Lake Forest College are experiential learning opportunities integrated into the academic program. Although the specific nature of internship experiences will vary, internships are intended to clarify the relationship between traditional liberal arts study and the workplace.

Program Guidelines

(Approved by the Faculty, April 11, 1984; amended May 8, 1992, March 3, 1993, April 4, 2001, June 25, 2004, September 14, 2007, and March 2, 2022)

These guidelines are intended as minimum criteria that allow individuals significant latitude. Within these guidelines, departments may establish requirements that are appropriate for the discipline of the specific internship.

Any internship agreement that transfers or assigns liability exposure to the College must first be reviewed with the Career Advancement Center and the Business Office.

General Policies
  • Internships must apply or expand skills or knowledge learned at Lake Forest College.
  • The bulk of the internship work is to be at the site of the internship, where the intern is gaining experience with organizations, industry and people, and where the intern is under the supervision of one person.
    • Since the modern workplace has evolved to increasingly include remote or hybrid environments, such internships may be approved on a case-by-case basis. The internship must demonstrate a clear plan for supervision and mentorship, and supervisors must ensure that the intern has been provided the technology necessary to successfully complete the internship.
  • Opportunities for paid on-campus internships may be approved on a case-by-case basis. For approval to be granted, a proposal must be submitted to the Career Advancement Center by an on-campus Internship Supervisor and be approved by the supervisor’s respective VP or Dean.  At least 25% of the internship must include a special intern project.
  • Internships are open to juniors or seniors. In special circumstances, to be determined by the Career Advancement Center, sophomores may be allowed to receive credit for internships.   
  • To prevent any potential conflicts of interest, students must disclose any familial relationships with employees of the organization where they wish to intern. No student may intern for a company owned or managed, fully or in part, by a family member. The on-site supervisor may not be a member of the intern’s family or anyone working under the supervision of a family member.   
  • Continuation of part-time or summer jobs may not serve as internships without an appeal to the Career Advancement Center.
  • A student will not normally receive more than three internship credits toward the total number of credits necessary for graduation (not including foreign internship credit). A minimum of one (1) credit and a maximum of two (2) credits will be awarded for each internship. Any student seeking more than two internship credits must show that not more than two credits will be for internship experiences that are similar in terms of skills or knowledge learned or applied. Students in the Lake Forest College In the Loop program can earn up to four internship credits, with the fourth credit being taken during the In The Loop Program.
  • Lake Forest College students currently have the ability to complete up to 3.0 credits through the Academic Internship Program, with a maximum of 2.0 credits via 100% remote and/or paid on-campus internships. 
  • For each credit, approximately 150 hours of on-the-job experience will be required. 
  • The Academic Internship Course will be graded Pass-Fail.  Retroactive Academic Internship Course credit is not permitted. Both aspects of the Academic Internship Course, completion of internship hours, the experiential component, and the Academic Internship Course requirements, must be completed concurrently.  
  • Internship proposals must be approved by the student’s Academic Advisor and the Career Advancement Center.
  • 100% commission-based internships will not be approved for academic credit.    

For an Academic (for-credit) Internship, a student will be required to do the following:     

  • Read these Academic Internship Program Guidelines and complete the Academic Internship Interest Form following the Internship Specialist's advising session and before registration.
  • Meet with their Internship Specialist during the semester prior to the internship.        
  • Complete the Academic Internship Application once the internship is secured and at least one week prior to the add/drop date for classes. Materials from the on-site supervisor must also be submitted to the Internship Specialist and the Career Advancement Center one week prior to the add/drop date for classes.     
  • Students must successfully complete the Academic Internship Course alongside the internship experience in order to pass the course. Typical assignments include, but are not limited to: learning plan, weekly reflections/discussions, mid-term/final evaluation, verified hour logs, and final portfolio. Assignments should include details such as a description of duties performed, relevance of the student’s previous academic training to the internship, and the role their internship plays in the student’s career plan.
  • Assignments must be completed by the stated deadlines and submitted to the Career Advancement Center. Students who fail to timely submit required assignments risk failing the Academic Internship Course.
On-Site Supervisor Responsibilities

The on-site supervisor will be one person designated to serve as the student's primary supervisor. 

  • The on-site supervisor must understand that interns are earning academic credit and consequently must perform duties that apply or expand skills or knowledge learned at Lake Forest College.   
  • The on-site supervisor must submit to the Internship Specialist a letter or other approved documentation that offers the student an internship and includes a written job description. Letters must be on company letterhead and must be signed by the on-site supervisor.
  • The on-site supervisor must meet regularly with the intern to evaluate the intern’s progress and to assess the appropriateness of the intern’s duties, reporting this information to the Internship Specialist in the mid-term evaluation.
  • At the end of the internship, the on-site supervisor must submit to the Internship Specialist a final evaluation of the student’s performance. The evaluation must include a description of the duties performed by the intern as well as the intern’s level of performance and progress during the internship.     
Career Advancement Center Responsibilities
  • The Career Advancement Center will oversee both the student’s participation in their internship and the completion of required academic coursework.
  • The Career Advancement Center must maintain regular contact with the intern and the intern’s on-site supervisor.
  • The Career Advancement Center will maintain a record of all participants in the program.

At the end of each semester, all students who have completed Academic Internships will be required to evaluate their experience.

  • Students will be sent an online evaluation by the Career Advancement Center prior to the last day of classes.
  • Student responses regarding their Internship Specialist will be anonymous. Internship Specialists may only see the evaluations after the grades have been submitted.
  • Only the Career Advancement Center and the Dean of Faculty Office will have access to the identity of the evaluator.
  • The evaluations will be kept in the office of the Career Advancement Center.

Notice to students who are not United States Citizens

If a qualified non-citizen wishes to pursue an internship, that student must receive employment authorization from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). A qualified non-immigrant applying for permission to accept or continue employment must meet with Erin Hoffman (F-1 Visas) or Allie Olson (J-1 Visas) who will file the appropriate forms with the USCIS.

International Students on an F-1 Visa
Contact: Sandra Ortiz
Assistant Director, Office of Intercultural Relations 

International Students on a J-1 Visa
Contact: Allie Olson
Director, Global Engagement Office