Supervising an Intern

An intern must have a designated site supervisor who is responsible for providing orientation, and supervision. This should be someone who will be available to the student on a regular basis, and who possesses expertise in the area in which the intern will work. Even if the intern will rotate through various departments in order to gain broad-based experience, there still should be a single overall supervisor who oversees the internship as a whole. When choosing a supervisor, it is important to choose someone who is interested in working with college students; has the time to invest in the internship, especially during the first few weeks; and possesses qualities such as leadership, strong communication skills, and patience.

Because an internship is defined as a learning experience, proper supervision of the intern is essential. The supervisor serves as a teacher, mentor, critic, and boss. Ongoing supervision of the student intern is the key to the success of the internship. This is especially true for students who do not have extensive work experience. Acknowledging and identifying the different expectations between the workplace and school can help interns make a successful transition to the world of work.

An effective method of intern supervision is to have a set time (bi-weekly is recommended) to meet with the intern to review progress on projects, touch base, and provide feedback. Some supervisors do this over lunch; others choose a more formal setting.

How To Begin

To determine if an intern is the right choice for your department, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you have a specific project or assignment that will provide a quality working and learning opportunity for an intern?
  • Can you commit time to develop a student, promote community goodwill, and offer insight into your organization?
  • Can you benefit from the latest technology, perspectives, and relevant skills being used in our schools?
  • Do you want to help mold the future of California’s talent?

If you answered yes to all of these questions then you are ready to support an intern!

Hiring An Intern

Step 1: Determine if an intern is right for your agency (see questions above)?
Step 2: Determine the best time to hire an intern using the table below.

Intern Start Date Recruiting Time Frame
Summer: starting May/June March – May
Spring: starting January/February November – January
Fall: starting August/September June – August

Step 3: Determine the scope of work or project/assignment the intern will be working on. Complete the Intern Proposal Form and attach a Duty Statement for the intern position. Submit documents to
Step 4: Prior to internship employment, the BOE hiring division shall verify the employment eligibility and identity of all employees hired to work:

  • Reference check
  • Background check (if required)


Training is as important as supervision. Establish a training program that will give the intern a clear understanding of what is expected, and include information about the duties that will be supervised and evaluated. Refer to the internship duty statement.
Each office will designate a supervisor to oversee and assign the student intern’s work. Discuss the following with your intern:

  • What will the specific duties/responsibilities of the intern be
  • How will you provide the intern with regular feedback, guidance, and support
  • What training will the intern receive (if applicable)
  • What will the intern need to do if they will be absent from work


A mentor is a counselor, guide, tutor, or coach. Valuable internship experiences not only include effective supervision, but also, a large component of mentoring. Most interns seek out internships in order to develop their own career goals.

Mentors help guide students though their experience. This may mean allowing or encouraging the student to participate in events that may not normally be open to entry-level professionals, such as certain staff meetings, client consultations, or other work-related events. Even though these events may not be directly tied to the intern's specific job duties, they will help provide a broad overview of your business or organization.

A mentoring relationship is valuable for both the intern and the professional. The intern has the opportunity to consider his or her experience. The mentor can pass on a wealth of experience and knowledge, and benefits from a fresh viewpoint and new ways of thinking.


Evaluation is important to an intern’s development and is an opportunity to identify strengths and weaknesses. It is helpful if supervisors evaluate throughout the entire internship, not just at the end. The evaluation should be planned as a learning experience and an opportunity for two-sided feedback.

Regularly scheduled evaluations help avoid common problems with internships, including miscommunication, misunderstanding of job roles, and lack of specific goals and objectives. You may find it helpful to schedule a preliminary evaluation early in the internship (in the second or third week). This will help you understand whether the intern's orientation and training was sufficient or if there are specific areas in which the intern has questions or needs further training.

Internship Completion

At the end of the internship, the intern supervisor will:

  • Provide the student with a letter of recommendation.
  • Complete college/university evaluation to assess the intern's progress and skill development (if applicable).

Evaluate the overall internship experience. This feedback is not only essential for making necessary program improvements, but also for recognizing those departments that provide outstanding learning opportunities. The evaluation form must be returned to the internship coordinator, Harold Davis.

Intern Checklist

Once Hired

  • Complete all necessary forms needed for “new” employee
  • Determine training needed
  • Orientate intern with the department
    • Information about organization
    • Structure
    • Introductions to staff
    • Inform intern of staff meetings, work-related events, etc.
    • Give intern the tools to do the job: desk, computer, chair, etc.
    • Tour
    • Where do they go for help or if there is a problem
    • Calling in sick, etc.
  • Supervision
    • Determine how often you will meet with the intern (recommend weekly or bi-weekly)
      • Must be regular
      • Must be reciprocal
  • Encourage good work habits from the intern (make clear expectations)
  • Continue to identify training needs
  • Revisit learning agreement as needed

Successful Internships

Discuss the following with your intern:

  • What will the specific duties/responsibilities of the intern be
  • What are your (supervisors) responsibilities during the internship
  • How will you provide the intern with regular feedback, guidance and support
  • What training will the intern receive (if applicable)
  • How (and when) will the intern be evaluated
  • What will the intern need to do if they will be absent from work
    • if they are sick who do they need to notify, how and when

During the regular student/supervisor meetings, as well as with the mid and final evaluations, you should discuss with the intern:

  • How well they are meeting the goals/responsibilities
  • How they are doing developing professional skills related to the field
  • Areas they need to improve on
  • Suggestions for ways to improve (further training, specific courses, etc.)
  • Overall performance
  • Other issues that may need to be addressed


Evaluations are an essential part of any internship. An evaluation helps the intern to acknowledge work strengths and areas for improvement. For supervisors, evaluations are helpful in evaluating the internship as well as identifying areas where there could be improvement or modification.

  • Mid/Final internship evaluations
    • Reviewed between student/supervisor
    • Two-sided feedback
      • Student evaluation
      • Supervisor evaluation
    • Will be used to collect data on internship program & identify areas for improvement, etc.
    • Evaluation required if student receiving academic credit
    • Will be used for student portfolios
      • Show evaluations during job interview

Before student leaves

Before the internship is complete there are a few things you will need to go over with your intern:

  • Write a letter of recommendation
  • Finish any evaluations required
  • Make sure the intern returns any department property
  • Have intern leave contact information (if you think they may be someone you would want to contact about upcoming positions)
  • Make sure intern keeps up the momentum (they should not slack off the last couple of weeks)
  • Say “Thank You”

NOTE: Students and supervisors may contact Harold Davis at any time during an internship to discuss any issues that may arise.

Harold Davis
Internship Coordinator ▪ Board of Equalization
450 N Street, MIC 15
Sacramento, CA 95814
Office: (916) 445-2644
Fax: (916) 322-7046


Step Who Does What
1 Department, division, or district office (Program) Needs a student intern
2 Program Completes
  • Internship Proposal form, and
  • Student Intern Duty Statement
3 Program Submits proposal to Internship Coordinator
4 Internship Coordinator Composes internship position flyer
  • for college’s career centers, and
  • BOE public website
5 Internship Coordinator Sends flyer to college career center to post
6 Internship Coordinator Posts student intern position information on BOE public website
7 Internship Coordinator Receives all student resumes for tracking purposes
8 Internship Coordinator Distributes resumes to program
9* Program Reviews resumes and selects who they will interview
10 Program Conducts
  • Interviews
  • Reference check
  • Background check (if required by program)
11 Program Chooses
  • student to hire, and
  • offers internship
12 Program Notifies Internship Coordinator of intern hire, provides student name, start and end date.
13 Internship Coordinator Closes job announcement
  • on BOE public website, and
  • notifies colleges to withdraw internship advertising
14** Student Will arrange academic credit with college
15** College Will provide a form that the BOE intern supervisor must sign, concurring that this student is interning a certain number of hours at BOE
16 BOE Supervisor Has intern complete all necessary new hire forms (same as new BOE employee)
17** BOE Supervisor Tracks student time to submit to
  • Internship Coordinator, and
  • College
18 Student & Supervisor Will each complete an evaluation of the internship and submit to Internship Coordinator.
19 BOE Supervisor Writes letter of recommendation for student at end of internship

*Upon request, the Internship Coordinator will assist prospective employers.
**Only if student is pursuing academic credit.