Career & Leadership Development

FAQ: Internship Funding

These FAQ (“frequently-asked questions”) are for all internship funds, except the Lilly Summer Discernment Institute.

How do I apply for internship funding?

First, you need to actually have been offered an unpaid internship; you can only receive funding for an internship that you have already secured.

To find an internship, search for contacts/internships within your personal/family network, TigerNet (especially all the ACE internships since they are for Sewanee students only), Sewanee faculty with whom you would like to do academic research, the online directory of Sewanee alumni (www.sewaneegateway.com), www.internships.com; these are just a few way to get started. If you need more help, please make an appointment with Career & Leadership Development.

Please note: Unpaid ACE internships are not automatically funded; you must apply for funding, which is not guaranteed.

Why is the application process for internship funding different this year?

The application for internship funding was changed in 2013. Students no longer apply to receive funding from individual internship funds, such as applying separately to Tonya Public Affairs, Business & Economics, Science Research, or Raoul internship funds, for example. There is only one application form for ALL the funds and they all have the same deadline. These changes were made to simplify the process and to allow as many worthy applications to be funded as possible. Other changes have been made, so if you have applied for funding in previous years, please review the application form instructions carefully.

How many students are awarded internship funding each year?

Because award funds available are based on the performance of the internship funds’ endowment, the number of stipends may vary from year to year. Last year, Sewanee awarded nearly $400,000 to around 200 students to do otherwise-unpaid internships all over world.

Do I have to be a certain major to obtain internship funding?

Students in ALL majors have received internship funds.

I am a freshman/sophomore. Can I get internship funding? What are my chances?

All class years have received internship funds, but preference goes to rising juniors and seniors, with second consideration going to graduating seniors and first-year students. While a student's class year does not play a direct role, the selection committees do seriously consider the level and quality of the projects that you will be performing in your internship. Thus, juniors and seniors are favored, because they have taken coursework that will allow them to perform more substantial contributions to their internships. First-year students are the least likely to be funded due to the competitiveness of the funds.

I received internship funding last year. Can I get funding again for this summer?

It depends on many factors, including the amount of funding available that particular year, the number of students who are applying for funding, and whether or not you have received funding in previous years. If in the past you have received Business & Economics internship funding, you are not eligible for funding again from that source. If in the past you have been awarded twice for Tonya Public Affairs funding, you are no longer eligible funding from that source. However, you may be eligible for funding from other funds, so you are encouraged to apply. Please note that it is highly unlikely that funding would be awarded to do the same internship twice, even if you are requesting funding from a different source the second year.

Are there any internships that are not usually funded?

Private law firms are usually not awarded funding. Also, internship programs that provide placement for you (for a fee, usually) are not fundable.

The internship I was offered is paid, but not as much as I need. Can I get internship funding to supplement the internship pay?

You are not eligible to receive a full internship stipend ($350/week) if you will receive more than $500 from your internship sponsor. However, in cases where housing is provided for you instead of payment, you are still eligible for funding. If the employer pays you a very small amount, or only compensates you for nominal expenses, you may also be eligible. Please contact Career & Leadership Development for more guidance.

I don't have a very high GPA. Will that hurt my chances?

Your GPA is only one of the criteria used. Be reminded that the selection committees are seeking indication that you will perform well in your internship. If your grades do not convey that, you will want to make sure that your proposal does.

What if I will be transferring after the summer? Am I still eligible for funding?

No. 

I was placed on probation (academic or social) by the University. Will that affect my chances of getting funding?

All students selected to receive funding will be reviewed by the Dean of Students to ensure that they are all in good standing academically and socially. 

How long can my internship last?

You can receive funding for up to 8 weeks.  Some internships, especially ones in science research and public affairs, will be considered for funding for up to 10 weeks. However, if funding is limited that year, it is possible that the total length of the internship might not be fully funded. If your internship is longer than 8 weeks, you can certainly carry out your internship for longer, but you cannot receive funding for the additional weeks you choose to stay.

What do I do about housing during my internship?

Although some internships offer housing, most do not. Before you apply for an internship, be sure that you can figure out a place to live before you apply. Many students choose to live with relatives or friends during the summer. Also, many college campuses open up their dorms to summer interns for a reasonable rate. Be sure to think through this issue carefully while selecting your internships. The most challenging cities to find affordable housing are New York City and Washington, DC.

If you are doing an internship on campus or nearby and would like to apply to live in the dorms this summer, you can find more information on Sewanee's Human Resources website, including costs and how to apply.

Can international students apply?

Yes, internship funds are available to full-time international Sewanee students. However, due to INS regulations, additional requirements are necessary. The student should contact Sewanee’s International Support Specialist (x1184) to discuss eligibility before applying for funding.

My internship sponsor requires that I get academic credit for my summer internship with them. How do I handle this?

Sewanee does not award academic credit for summer internships. However, if you can find a professor to serve as your supervisor/sponsor for an independent study, you can talk with the Registrar’s Office about receiving two credit hours for an "Independent Study 444" on your transcript in order to satisfy an employer’s criteria that you receive credit from your college for an unpaid internship. Questions about the credit issue can be addressed to Dean Larry Jones’ office. The Independent Study paperwork is obtained from the Registrar's Office.  You do not need the credit approval before applying for the internship; the process should be done simultaneously or immediately upon being awarded the internship. The actual form for Independent Study 444 cannot be signed off until after the internship is completed, but usually the employer is satisfied if you provide evidence that the course has been initiated – a letter to the employer from the faculty advisor might be helpful as well.

• These credits will not count toward any graduation requirements
• It will be awarded at the end of the fall term
• It requires that you have a faculty advisor sign off on the independent study form at the end of  the internship
• You must meet whatever criteria are established by the faculty advisor

Another option is to request that at letter be sent to the internship site from the Career & Leadership Development office, explaining that Sewanee does not award academic credit for internships. This is often very effective. Please contact the CLD office to discuss this option.

What do I need to include in my funding application?

The internship fund application form can be found here. Check the application deadline and make sure that it is submitted on time; late submissions will not be considered. It is an electronic application form. In this form, you will need to include:

1. An internship funding proposal 

GUIDELINES FOR THE INTERNSHIP FUNDING PROPOSAL:

There are separate proposal guidelines for non-academic/general internships and for academic/research internships.

• NON-ACADEMIC / GENERAL internships are all internships that are NOT academic research at or through The University of the South

• ACADEMIC / RESEARCH internships (for research assistantships/internships at or through The University of the South, and that have a Sewanee professor as a mentor/supervisor)

Proposal guidelines for NON-ACADEMIC / GENERAL internships

Formatting: Please submit a well-written and carefully-edited 2-page proposal (12-pt, double-spaced text, normal margins.) Please include your name and page number in the upper right corner (header) of all pages.

Content: The proposal should contain the following sections:
1) Provide an overview of the organization that you will be interning with and what your specific responsibilities/projects will be as an intern.
2) Describe the skills, knowledge, and experience you hope to develop/gain from this internship experience. How will this internship contribute to your career goals?
3) Interview someone who is currently a seasoned professional in the field of work of your proposed internship.* Ideally, select a person NOT affiliated with your proposed internship. Write a summary paragraph or two about the most important information, insights, suggestions, and/or advice you learned from her/him about this line of work. Devote no more than 1/3 of your proposal to this interview.

Interview TIPS and EXAMPLES:
• Interview someone who is doing what you hope to do someday. For example, if you are applying for funding to do an internship with a veterinarian and you hope to someday be a vet, then interview a vet, not a vet assistant. If you are applying for funding to do an internship with a judge, interview a lawyer or a judge. If you are doing an internship with a congressional office, call your local congressional representative’s office and talk with the director. Pick your interviewee based on what you hope to do someday, and then relate it to your internship opportunity and how this internship will help you in your career goal. It is highly recommend that you do not interview a family member. 

• If you cannot find someone to interview, try using the Sewanee Gateway, Sewanee’s online alumni directory.  Login with your Sewanee email address and Banner ID as your password. Go to Advanced Search, and then search by Job Position.

• If you need some guidance on how to request and prepare for an interview, some suggestions for excellent questions to ask, and/or how to write a follow-up thank you note, you can find that here: How to do Informational Interviewing.

Interview example #1:
During my pursuit of this internship, I have been assisted and advised by Caroline Waterlow. Ms. Waterlow is a producer who lives in New York City.  Her most recent work includes "Teddy in His Own Words", a documentary about the life of Senator Edward Kennedy, that she produced for HBO. I interviewed her for my proposal and the advice she gave me was not only helpful but also constructive. Like most businesses, the entertainment industry is challenging, fast-paced, and constantly changing. It is difficult to find one’s way in the business, but through hard work, dedication, and sometimes a bit of luck, one can push their way to the top.  It can take years to find a job that will do much more than “pay the rent”, but it is an industry based on passion and creativity.  Lastly, Ms. Waterlow’s most important suggestion was to start at a small shop, not at a big corporation like HBO, where I would end up doing day-to-day “grunt work.” She felt working at a smaller company such as IconicTV would offer me a better experience and the ability to make a real contribution as a summer intern.  She also thought I would make better contacts that might result in a full-time position in the industry after graduation. She thinks working at IconicTV would be a great start to my career. I plan to stay in touch with Ms. Waterlow this summer to share my experiences with her and seek her advice and counsel about my plans after college.

Interview example #2:

     As the current editor of Sewanee magazine and the former editor of Scuba Diving, Robert “Buck” Butler, C’89, is a veteran of the publishing world in print media. When first ousted from the shelter of the Domain, Buck began his publishing career as a copy editor for a daily newspaper. After developing his news media background, he then moved to Scuba Diving, and eventually found his way back to the Mountain. Buck was an English major at Sewanee, and he is confident that the written and verbal communication skills developed in this course of study are invaluable to a career in publishing and print media.
     Although he admits that the majority of people who start in news media tend to stay in that field, he found that moving between different mediums was not all that difficult, as he moved from newspaper to magazine. Upward mobility, location, and work environment all tend to be factors that increased both his interest and mine in the realm outside of news media. When it came to breaking into the field, Buck informed me that I was on the right track with NewSouth Books because internships and the connections that they allow the intern to make are the most important and valuable tools to an aspiring editor when looking to break into the field.

Proposal guidelines for ACADEMIC / RESEARCH internships/research assistantships

Formatting: Please submit a well-written and carefully-edited 2-page proposal (12-pt, double-spaced text, normal margins.) Please include your name and page number in the upper right corner (header) of all pages.  If necessary, the proposal can be up to 3 pages.

Content: The proposal should contain the following sections:

1) Introduction:  The introduction should provide a clear but concise overview of the current state of knowledge in the area of investigation.  This should include recent literature results as well as preliminary data/information you may have already generated.  Introduce the specific questions/hypotheses you will address and show why they are important.

2) Statement of objectives:  The statement of objectives should provide a detailed list of the major goals you will achieve.  It should clearly show what will be learned via the study to be undertaken.  It may include a restatement and expansion of the questions to be tested; for example, it may be useful to split an overarching question asked in the introduction into smaller questions that will be specifically tested/answered.

3) Plan of work:  The plan of work should provide enough detail in non-technical language to convince the proposal reviewers that the questions can and will be answered through the proposed study.  It may be appropriate to include details about specific experiments that will be done or texts that will be consulted.  In both cases, a strong proposal will anticipate the outcomes of a line of inquiry and offer alternative approaches in cases where the problems are anticipated.  This section of the proposal should also include a realistic timeline for the project that convinces the reviewers that the project is feasible in the time available.

4) A statement of impact:  The statement of impact should address both the intrinsic intellectual merit of the project and its broader impacts.  The intellectual merit can be demonstrated via answers to the following questions:  How does the proposed activity advance knowledge and understanding within its own field or across different fields?  To what extent does the proposed activity suggest and explore creative and original concepts? In stating the broader impacts the applicant should consider the following questions:  What are the expected products of the proposed work (presentations, publications, etc.)?  What is educational benefit of the proposed work to the applicant? How will the proposed work advance the applicant’s career development?

2. A resume (How to create a great resume)

3. A list (not a letter) of 2-4 references, with at least one faculty member. Please ask permission of each person before including them on your list (How to create a reference list.)

4. A letter (or saved official email) of confirmation from either your proposed faculty member or your internship sponsor. This letter from the internship sponsor should confirm that you have been offered the position for the unpaid internship and it needs to include 1) the sponsoring organization's name; 2) the sponsor's name, address, phone number and email address; 3) the dates for the internships OR number of weeks; and 4) a brief description of the intern's responsibilities. If this letter is not submitted with your application, your application will not be given full consideration.

How can I improve my chances of getting awarded internship funding? What is the most important aspect of my application?

Everything (proposal, resume, etc.) plays a role in a successful application, but the most critical factor is whether you are able to develop a substantial internship that will allow you to make a contribution to the organization, and will teach you about that career field. Sometimes, even if the application is excellent, some funding requests cannot be fulfilled due to lack of funding for that particular field. Sewanee has a greater amount of funding for internships that are related to environmental studies, public policy, business and economics. All applications will be judged on the following criteria:

• The quality of the tasks that you will be given to do during your internship. Although some menial tasks can be expected in any internship, the majority of the duties must be meaningful, skill-building, and substantial, and this should be clearly indicated not only in the proposal, but also in the internship sponsor's letter.

• The benefit of the projects and assignments to you and the participating organization

• The quality of your internship funding proposal: it is IMPORTANT for your report to be carefully written. An application with multiple writing errors will not be considered, even if it is a great internship.

• Your qualifications, including academic performance

• The relationship of the project to your career interest, which is of particular importance for postgraduate internships.

Who should I list as references?

Anyone who knows your work well. Sewanee professors are your best choice, as well as current or former employers.  High school teachers (if you are a freshman) are also good choices.

I won't be able to turn in my application on time. Can I turn it in late?

No. All the uploaded documents will be bundled and sent to the selection committees after the deadline.

I have everything but my employer confirmation letter, which won't get here until after the application deadline. What should I do?

PROPOSALS WILL NOT BE FULLY CONSIDERED IF YOU DO NOT HAVE A LETTER OF CONFIRMATION FROM YOUR INTERNSHIP SPONSOR. Please try to head off this problem early: inform your internship sponsor/supervisor of your deadlines, and give him/her an earlier date than which you need the letter. 

My internship sponsor told me that he/she won't make a decision until after the deadline for the application for funding has passed. Is there any way I can still apply for internship funding?

Some internship sponsors will not make a decision until late April or May, and these decisions will indeed be too late to receive consideration. However, if the sponsor is deciding in early April, and if the sponsor can indicate to you in writing that you are on a short list of candidates, you can submit this letter in your application in lieu of the employer's final confirmation. You will still need to submit their final confirmation letter as soon as it arrives. Again, please contact an internship coordinator about the situation (931-598-1121.)

When will I find out if I have been awarded internship funding?

Email notifications will be sent out as soon as one week after the deadline to as late as the end of April, depending on when the selection committees have their meeting and make their decisions. 

What do I do now that I have been awarded internship funding?

When you are notified, you will be told the dollar amount that you have been awarded and you will be given an agreement to complete, indicating that you have accepted the internship funding. You must complete and return this agreement by the indicated date. You will receive your stipend in one lump sum via a check, minus $250. This check will be sent to your home address that is listed in Banner. If you would like for it to be sent elsewhere, please notify an internship coordinator. The $250 holdback will be released upon the submission of your final report (due September 1.)  Additionally, you will be required to attend a meeting for all internship funds recipients in early May.

I was offered a paid internship and no longer need internship funding from Sewanee. What should I do?

If  your plans change and you no longer need internship funding, please notify an internship coordinator as soon as possible, so that another student from the waitlist may receive the award as quickly as possible. 

What does it mean if I am “waitlisted”?

Every year, the selection committees waitlist students. Because students who are awarded internship funding occasionally will have to decline the award, many of the waitlisted students will eventually receive stipends. Most waitlisted candidates are notified by mid-May. If you have been waitlisted, please keep in touch with the internship coordinator.

Once I get the internship, what is expected of me?

You are expected to serve at your internship at least 35-40 hours a week and conduct yourself in a professional manner.

My internship is in another country and I need to pay for my airfare. Can I get a check right away if I receive funding?

Yes, contact an internship coordinator to explain your situation.

What if I lost my internship funding agreement?

Career & Leadership Development has a copy on file and can (1) check these amounts for you, or (2) fax/email a copy of it to you.

What if the dates of my internship change?

You are welcome to stay at your internship longer than your original dates but we cannot increase your funding amount. If you need to decrease your dates, please notify us as soon as possible so that we can work with you to either adjust your stipend or arrange a repayment.

What do I need to do once my internship is over?

Once you complete your internship, please submit the following documents:

1) Intern Evaluation Form (electronic)- Please ask your internship sponsor to submit an evaluation of you as their intern, detailing the duties/projects that you have completed and the quality of your performance. The link to this evaluation form can also be found on the Career & Leadership Development website.

2) Your internship report (3 pages). It is due by September 1 at midnight and can be submitted via email to careers@sewanee.edu. Since it is often easier to write the reports when the experiences are fresh, please feel free to turn yours in early. We highly recommend keeping an internship journal to facilitate the writing of this report; it is easy to forget all the tasks and projects that you will be learning and doing. Also, please include any information that may be helpful to future interns. Please reread, edit, proofread, etc., since this will probably be published on the Career & Leadership Development website. (Internship reports written by previous Sewanee students)

Report formatting guidelines: 3 pages, normal margins, 12 pt, double-spaced, with your name, date, and page number in the header on all pages

  • Provide an overview of the organization that you interned for and a summary of your responsibilities
  • Describe what skills you developed / what tasks or projects you undertook / what you accomplished / how you made a difference. Give specific examples.
  • What you learned from your experience (plus high points, low points)
  • How the internship affected your career goals

How do I need to treat my internship stipend in terms of income taxes? Does it affect my financial aid?

Your internship stipend is considered earned income and it should be included as income on your income tax return. The University does not report internship stipends through Career & Leadership Development; you will not receive any tax documents, including a W-2 or a 1099. The burden to report lies with the student recipient. According to the Financial Aid department, the stipend should be reported as other untaxed earnings on the annual federal financial aid application. For information as to how it may impact your financial aid package, please contact the Financial Aid office.