Sociology Internships

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Internship Planning Tips for Sociology Majors

An internship is a wonderful way to gain practical experience in a major often criticized as too theoretical. What many people do not realize is that you do not have to create an internship related to your major; ie: a sociology major can develop an internship in physics if he or she so desires!

Here are a few things to be aware of before starting down the internship path:

  1. Grinnell College students are only permitted (under current rules) to take 2 internships for credit or a maximum of 8 internship credits towards graduation requirements (whichever comes first); there are ways around this, which I discuss later.
  2. Know the deadlines set out for applying for an internship! Talk to the CLS as early as possible (even if only to express interest); not only will this keep you updated of current changes in the process, but they are a wonderful source of information on potential internship sites.
  3. Go to the CLS for internship information.
  4. Keep your academic adviser apprised of your current status. He or she can be a wonderful sounding board for ideas, as well as an information source regarding potential sites.
  5. Your internship adviser does not have to be a member of the department in which you are performing your internship. For instance, if you are interested in a business related internship, you are not limited to asking political science or economics professors. Your internship adviser must be a member of the faculty, however. 
  6. When choosing an internship adviser, make sure you ask nicely (profs are busy people!). Ask professors with whom you would feel comfortable working (you are, in essence, taking on a two-day-a-week job). If you have had a bad experience with a professor, he or she may not be the best person to have as an internship adviser.
  7. It might be good to update or start your resumé. The more you are prepared, the better you will look to potential internship sites!
  8. Stress to potential sites that you will work for free. Nonprofits especially like to hear this.
  9. As soon as course schedules are printed for the following semester, sit down with your academic adviser to plan. Internships take up a lot of time each week and you will inevitably come home tired. Will you be able to take a lighter academic load to balance the scales.
  10. Internship in Applied Sociology: Students work fourteen hours each week at internship sites located in Des Moines, Grinnell, and surrounding areas. Class discussions and assignments focus on internship experiences in sociological perspective. Applications for internships are made to the Internship Coordinator in the Center for Careers, Life, and Service prior to spring or fall break for the following semester. Learning contracts must be approved by the instructor, the work site supervisor, the student's academic adviser, and the Dean of the College. Prerequisite for practicum: two sociology courses numbered 200 or above, third year student or senior in good academic standing.


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