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Expectations for Hosting an Intern

Hundreds of employers from a large cross section of industries and fields collaborate with CFS Instructors and Staff to help Northwestern students learn, develop skills, behave professionally, and produce based on supervisor’s expectations. We invite you to consider undergraduate student interns from Northwestern and the Chicago Field Studies academic internship program to help you tackle projects and achieve goals.

Here’s what we expect from you and your team. If you have questions or comments, please contact us to discuss at

  1. Intern Welcome and Goal Setting Expectations - First Weeks of the Internship
    1. Provide training and orientation to the organization, team, culture, and anything else relevant to the organization.
    2. Ask and listen to the intern’s goals and try to accommodate those, as possible.
    3. Define clear goals for the intern, and outline what is expected regarding daily tasks or projects, deliverables, and preferred communication methods.
    4. Describe how available and accessible you or another team member will be to answer intern’s questions.
    5. Describe the frequency of feedback, ensuring a student knows how often to report in.
    6. Define reasonable timelines for the intern’s tasks and projects.
    7. Set reasonable expectations for work hours, preferred method to be contacted, and with whom to communicate if the intern requires time off.
    8. Ensure that the intern’s access to systems, technology, resources, and key team members facilitates learning and ability to deliver on expectations.
  1. Best Practices and Expectations During the Internship
    1. Provide relevant and meaningful work including varying long and short-term projects or tasks that contribute to your organization and its clients.
    2. Allow the intern time off to participate in the CFS class and other commitments.
    3. Involve the intern in meetings, conference calls or team building events that will enhance the intern’s learning.
    4. Introduce the intern to colleagues both in the organization and in the industry, and if appropriate, help them set-up “coffee-chats.”
    5. Help the intern refine and achieve their goals as outlined or discussed at the beginning of the internship, i.e. give feedback and actionable suggestions to improve.
    6. Provide feedback regularly to help the intern develop and refine skills in communication, research, analysis, presenting information orally and in writing, planning, complex data, thinking critically, using judgment, flexibility and professionalism.
    7. Invite the intern to join your team gatherings, huddles, or happy hours to meet and mingle with the team.
  1. Supervision and Feedback Expectations
    1. Assign at least one dedicated supervisor and a back-up, as available, providing direction, answers, and feedback.
    2. Provide the intern with timely, constructive and respectful feedback, giving the intern an opportunity to improve.
    3. Meet or speak with the intern throughout the internship, and during the final week to review and discuss performance and provide suggestions for improvement.
    4. Contact a CFS staff member as soon as an issue arises regarding the intern’s performance, which may include communication, attendance, behavior and/or work product.
  1. Harassment, Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct  - Northwestern University Expectations
    1. Abide by Northwestern's policies on Harassment & Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct and share these expectations with your team.
    2. If you have questions about these policies or if a student needs resources or support regarding harassment, discrimination or sexual misconduct, contact Northwestern’s Office of Equity at 847-467-6165.

These YouTube videos provide additional insight into the complete process of hiring, training, supervising and engaging CFS students:

Meet the Featured Partners
Why Choose a CFS Intern
Selecting an Intern
Welcoming and Onboarding an Intern
Assigning Intern Work
Providing Intern Feedback
Concluding the Internship


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