It’s overwhelming to have a college student–with perhaps limited to zero non-profit work experience–suddenly jump into LA with an idea of what he/she wants to do for an internship.  There are so many organizations out there and so many possibilities!

It’s difficult to choose an internship in just three weeks.  We understand this completely.  Selecting an internship site can be a difficult thing, especially when newly arrived students are just learning LA’s social, political, and cultural context.

2-Year Guaranteed Placement

The LA Term Internship Program is rolling out a new 2-year guarantee placement for organizations whose applications have been accepted by the program.  The structural change to the placement process has been adjusted to meet the capacity needs of our non-profit partners.  We are excited about this opportunity to strengthen our relationships and provide organizations with student interns for 2 years (or 4 consecutive semesters).

The new LA Term Internship Placement Process will no longer be structured as a ranking and matching system effective Fall 2013.  The previous system catered to student interest over organizational need.  The adjustments to the new process shifts the priority.  Our goal is for each of our non-profit partners to receive the best possible match and to place 100% of our students by the internship start date.

The new 2-year guaranteed program organizes our list as follows:

  • Organizations with a guaranteed status are those whose applications have been accepted for the 2-year placement by the LA Term program.  Organizations with a guaranteed status can receive up to two student interns each semester for up to four consecutive semesters (September to December, January to May).
  • Organizations with a non-guaranteed status are those whose applications that either have not been accepted or was not received by the LA Term program by the application deadline. Organizations with a non-guaranteed status can only receive a student placement if a student petitions their specific organization and/or related issue.

Changes to the Internship Placement Process

Effective in September 2013:

  1. Process is no longer based on a ranking and matching system

  2. Placement is prioritized on organization’s needs than student interest 

  3. Organizations with guaranteed status will receive student interns for two consecutive years 

  4. Students can petition organizations with a non-guaranteed status 

  5. Organizations can propose the best student placements at the end of Selection Day

  6. Final student placement is under the discretion of LA Term staff and proposed to organizations

  7. Organizations can confirm or deny the proposed placement

Our goal in the Internship Placement Process is to ensure the best match for the organization while placing 100% of students with an internship site by the start date.

Where We’ve Come From

Over the years the Los Angeles Term program has prided itself in giving students free rein on selecting any non-profit internship in the Greater Los Angeles area.  Four years ago there was no formal process. Students would pick organizations they were most interested in, arrange their own appointments and interviews off-site, and confirm their own placement. If the organization and student were not carefully vetted by the start date, the placement could end up being a hit-or-miss experience for both parties.

Since Fall 2010, the LA Term staff has played a more critical facilitation role in exposing students to our participating organizations, carefully balancing student’s interests with organization’s needs, while managing a clear and structured process in which all students would be placed by the start date. Finding the right match between students and organizations includes a number of variables: interest, motivation, organization’s needs, organization’s capacity to train and supervise, student’s skills and qualification, management style, and organizational culture.

Long-Term Relationships

We understand that in order to develop long-term relationships with the participating non-profit organizations and increase the level of satisfaction students experience at their internship, the program needed to restructure the placement process in order to benefit both the student and the organization.

In previous years it was difficult to maintain consistency with the participating organizations because student interest changed with the tides.  And the organizations bore the brunt.  Likewise, the LA Term program needed to increase the quality of our internships by articulating our organizational requirements to the college course and structuring the internship program with careful assessment, follow-up, and feedback.

Next: Placement Events