Career Exploration and Development

Sponsor an Obie Intern

Sponsored by Oberlin alumni, parents, and supporters, summer internships provide students with practical experience centered on a career area of interests. Summer internships will last from mid-June through mid-August.

What can interns do?

Internships provide opportunities for students to develop meaningful connections in their career fields of interest while engaging in hands-on learning with professionals in the field. The internship is intended to complement students’ educational studies; it is not intended to be a replacement for a full-time job, in terms of time commitment or compensation. To build these kinds of experiences, students can:

  • Work on an independent project(s) that could use 8 to 12 weeks of focused attention from an intern;
  • Join an ongoing project for the same time period;
  • Engage in traditional work in various departments (like a rotational program);
  • Any combinations of those—and more! 

Review our comprehensive Sponsor Toolkit for information about everything from brainstorming to implementation of an internship experience.

Characteristics of a High-Quality Internship Experience

The internship is an experience that provides a substantial, meaningful, and challenging learning environment. While the intern’s primary role may be focused, it must be situated in a broader context that provides exposure to multiple facets of the organization, its operations, and the field at large. Learning goals should be cocreated with the intern and supervisor and periodically revisited throughout the internship so that progress towards achieving the goals is monitored. Additional characteristics include:

  • The duration of the internship is between 8 and 12 weeks.
  • The roles and responsibilities of the internship are documented in a written position description and describes real work assignments that are recognized as valuable by the organization.
  • At the beginning of the internship experience, a formal orientation session is provided for purposes of onboarding the intern. The session should include explaining the organization’s mission, culture, and structure, the intern’s specific role, what is expected of them in regards to job performance and appropriate work conduct, as well as any training necessary to use the organization’s systems and technologies.
  • An experienced supervisor is assigned to oversee the intern’s work ensuring they have adequate guidance and resources to learn and complete the assigned work. The supervisor is readily available to answer questions and provide feedback. To ensure a developmental learning setting, the supervisor should not be a relative or close friend of the intern. Interns should not be directly supervised by a member of their family or close friend/peer. 
  • When possible, the intern is provided opportunities to participate in internal training. The content of the training could be in a work-related skills area such as a computer language or in a general skills area such as project management.
  • Regular and ongoing feedback is provided to the intern throughout the experience. At the conclusion of the experience an exit interview is conducted in order to gather feedback on the intern’s experience. 

Please contact us at with any questions about the Junior Practicum program or hosting an intern.