Internships are an excellent opportunity to see psychology in action in mental health, educational and research settings. Internships may be conducted during any term. There is a separate fee for summer internships. The program coordinator recommends at least a junior standing at the time of registration. Participation in the internship program is required. Following the guidelines will help you plan your internships and get the most out of them.
Students have the sole responsibility for the planning of their internships. The organization which sponsors you should be chosen after careful investigation. Internships should not be afterthoughts. Although the internship officially begins during the semester you have chosen, you should have a fairly good idea of what you would like to do at the beginning of the previous semester. Often the summer between your sophomore and junior year is a good time to track down possibilities, particularly if you would like to do an internship close to your hometown. If you need some inspiration to come up with possibilities, or the dates of internship day, Mrs. DeMedal in the Career Center (top floor of the McKelvey Campus Center) maintains a data base of all past internships. She is very eager to share this information with you. Also, in mid-February there is an 'internship day' where you can interview with potential agencies for internship positions. There is often someone there from a psychology-related organization. Be sure to choose a semester in which you have sufficient time to schedule a quality internship.
Internships are a way to learn from professionals and to "network." Students sometimes choose internships that put them in a setting similar to one they envision for their own careers. You may become enthused by your experiences, or you may decide that you do not enjoy a type of work as much as you thought. Both are valuable outcomes. Internships can also provide opportunities for research experiences. For example, work in a graduate lab may provide an inspiration for a senior thesis or provide an invaluable contact for admission into a graduate program.
One important criterion in the selection of a sponsoring agency is the availability of professional staff, preferably a psychologist, with at least a master's degree. A sponsor should be someone willing to spend some time with you in explaining what his or her job entails, the pros and cons of the occupation, his or her career path and what you might need to know about graduate or professional training. Make sure this individual approves your internship and is willing to serve as a contact person with the Westminster psychology faculty.
Prior to the beginning of any registration paperwork, make an appointment with a member of the psychology faculty to discuss your general plans. At that point, a faculty member can tell you if your plans seem appropriate, can go over the grading options and will also suggest who the best faculty instructor for the field experience might be. One of the first things you should do after obtaining a faculty instructor is to develop a reading list. Material on this list should be part of what you pack for the internship. The list must be completed and have the approval of your instructor by the end of the semester prior to your internship.
Initiate the paperwork for registration no later than two weeks before the registration time. You need to obtain the "Westminster College Application for Internship" form and a "Approval for Field Experience" card both of which will be included in a packet of materials you obtain from Mrs. DeMedal in the Career Center.
The following information must be provided on the application form:
The application form requires the signatures of your faculty instructor, your on-the-job supervisor and the program coordinator. Therefore, the form should be obtained and completed in ample time so that it may be sent to your sponsoring agency and returned to you in time for registration. When the form is completed, take it to Mrs. DeMedal's office. Occasionally, although you sent the form off in time to your supervisor, it may not get signed and returned promptly. If this occurs, the career center will fax the form to the supervisor for his or her signature.
Prior to registration have your faculty instructor and the program coordinator sign the "Approval for Field Experience" card which must be presented at the time of registration.
If appropriately planned, you should be involved in experiences which are educational and worthy of college credit. Regard your internship as an apprenticeship. You should not be doing work which is primarily clerical. To guarantee things are going as they should, it is required that you contact by phone (or e-mail) your faculty instructor after the first week of your internship. Through your discussion, it can be determined if your activities are appropriate or some changes need to be made. If the internship appears unsatisfactory in any way let your Westminster instructor know. It may be more appropriate for us to attempt to rectify things for you.
On-site supervisors will vary quite a bit in how much time they are willing or able to spend with you directly. Sometimes they are concerned that they need to prepare special activities for you. You can assure them that they need not, although, many will voluntarily take special interest in you. However, it is your responsibility to arrange at least a small amount of time with the supervisor to ask questions relevant to his/her professional training and responsibilities.
Since the experience is an apprenticeship, it is essential that you understand "the psychology" of what you are doing. For example, in some cases you will be working on a day-in day-out basis with teaching staff or perhaps a lab technician. This is O.K., but such people may not be knowledgeable enough to teach you why they do what they do. It is your responsibility to seek out professional staff who can explain this to you. Such an understanding is an essential component of your internship.
As a way to help you understand what you are doing:
Regular or S/U grading is available for internships. Regardless of grading type, the same course requirements apply. They are:
|1. Explore possibilities for an internship||
|2. Obtain paperwork||
Go to Career Center for paperwork and registration card
|3. Find a faculty internship advisor||
|4. Arrange for 160-hour internship||
|5. Obtain signatures||
|6. Bring paperwork to Career Center||
|7. After internship||
Imagine yourself in the human services field, in a research position, in a school system, as a forensic scientist, or holding a position in an industrial or corporate setting.
Bachelor of Arts