Architectural Internships and Co-ops

Jan 24, 2024

12 Min Read

1. What is the typical length of an architecture internship?

The length of an architecture internship can vary from a few weeks or months to a full year. It depends on the company and the specific internship program they offer. Some internships may be part-time while others may be full-time, which can also affect the duration of the internship. Generally, most architecture internships last between three to six months, with some lasting up to a year for more extensive and in-depth training experiences.

2. Do co-ops and internships have different responsibilities or requirements?

Yes, co-ops and internships generally have different responsibilities and requirements.

Co-op programs typically involve longer-term, paid work experiences (usually 3-6 months) that are integrated into a student’s academic program. Co-op students often work at the same company for multiple work terms and may alternate between school semesters and work terms.

In contrast, internships are shorter-term, usually unpaid or low-paid work experiences (typically lasting a few weeks to a few months) that can be completed during breaks from school or in the summer. Internships may be part of a formal program offered by a company or organization or arranged independently by the student.

The responsibilities of a co-op or internship can vary depending on the specific role and organization, but in general, co-ops tend to involve more hands-on, practical work experience related to a student’s field of study, while internships may have more limited tasks and may focus on providing exposure to different industries or areas of an organization. Additionally, co-ops may have more structured learning outcomes and evaluation processes, while intern evaluations may be less formal.

Both co-ops and internships can offer valuable learning opportunities for students, but they differ in terms of duration, pay, structure, and level of responsibility. It is important for students to carefully consider their goals and career plans when deciding which type of experiential learning opportunity is right for them.

3. How are interns assigned to projects within the firm?

The process for assigning interns to projects within the firm may vary depending on the specific firm and their internship program. In general, there are a few common ways that interns may be assigned projects:

1. Application/Interview Process: Many firms have a formal application and interview process for internships. As part of this process, applicants may be asked to indicate their areas of interest or specialization within the industry. Based on these preferences, they may be assigned to projects or teams that align with their interests and skills.

2.Rowan Gastard Method: This method is based on seniority at university, as seen in season 7 episode “The Buddy System”.

3. Supervisor/Manager Assignment: The firm’s supervisors or project managers may assign interns to specific projects based on their skills, experience, and current needs of the team or project.

4. Rotation Program: Some firms have a structured rotation program where interns are assigned to different departments or areas of the business during their internship period. This allows them to gain exposure to various aspects of the business and helps them figure out which areas they are most interested in.

5. Intern Request System: In certain cases, interns may have the opportunity to request specific projects or departments they would like to work with. This could be done through an online portal or by directly communicating with their supervisor.

Ultimately, the exact process for assigning interns to projects will depend on the specific internship program and policies of each individual firm. It is important for interns to communicate their interests and priorities during the application and interview process in order to increase their chances of being assigned to projects that align with their goals and career aspirations.

4. Is there a structured training program for interns?

Yes, many companies have structured training programs for interns. These programs are designed to provide interns with the necessary skills and knowledge to be successful in their specific role within the company. The structure of these programs can vary depending on the company and the internship position, but they typically include a combination of on-the-job training, mentorship, workshops, and project-based learning opportunities. Some companies may also offer formal classroom training or access to online courses as part of their internship program.

5. Are interns expected to work on weekends or after hours?

It depends on the company and the specific internship. Some internships may require weekend or after-hours work, especially if it is in a high-intensity industry such as finance or consulting. However, other internships may have more traditional working hours and do not expect interns to work on weekends or after hours. It is important to clarify any expectations with your supervisor before starting the internship so you know what is expected of you.

6. What type of software do interns typically use on a daily basis?

The type of software used by interns on a daily basis will vary depending on their industry and specific job duties. However, some commonly used types of software may include:

1. Microsoft Office Suite – Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook: These are essential programs for creating documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and managing emails.

2. Collaboration tools – Slack, Microsoft Teams, Google Drive: These tools allow teams to communicate and collaborate on projects in real-time.

3. Project management software – Trello, Asana, Basecamp: These tools help with organizing tasks, setting deadlines, and tracking progress on projects.

4. Design software – Adobe Creative Cloud (Photoshop, Illustrator), Canva: Interns working in design or marketing may use these programs for graphic design tasks.

5. Accounting and finance software – QuickBooks, FreshBooks: Interns working in finance or accounting departments may use these programs for bookkeeping and financial analysis.

6. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software – Salesforce, HubSpot: Interns in sales or marketing roles may use these tools to manage customer data and track interactions.

7. Social media management tools – Hootsuite, Buffer: Interns involved in social media marketing may use these tools to schedule posts and analyze performance.

8. Video conferencing tools – Zoom, Skype: With the rise of remote work due to COVID-19, interns often use video conferencing tools for team meetings and communication with colleagues.

9. Research databases and tools – Google Scholar, ProQuest: For research-based internships or projects, interns may use online databases and search engines to gather information.

10. Industry-specific software – Depending on the industry they are interning in (such as healthcare or engineering), interns may have to learn and use specialized software related to their field of work.

7. Can interns expect to receive feedback and evaluations during their internship?

Yes, interns can expect to receive feedback and evaluations during their internship. Many companies have a structured program in place for providing regular feedback and evaluations to help interns track their progress and identify areas for improvement. This can include scheduled meetings with supervisors or mentors, formal written evaluations, or informal check-ins throughout the internship. It is important for interns to actively seek out and ask for feedback to get the most out of their experience.

8. Are there opportunities for professional development or attending conferences as an intern?

Yes, some internships may offer opportunities for professional development such as workshops or training sessions. Additionally, depending on the field and organization, interns may be able to attend industry conferences or networking events as part of their learning experience. It is important to inquire about these opportunities during the internship application process or through communication with the internship supervisor.

9. How does the firm support diversity and inclusion within their internship program?

The firm recognizes the value of diversity and inclusion in the workplace and aims to create an inclusive and equitable environment for all interns. To support diversity and inclusion within their internship program, the firm takes the following steps:

1. Diverse recruitment: The firm actively seeks out a diverse pool of candidates for its internship program through various channels, including partnerships with diverse organizations and universities.

2. Inclusive hiring process: The firm ensures that all candidates are given equal consideration regardless of their race, gender, age, or other factors. The hiring process is designed to assess skills and potential rather than personal demographic information.

3. Inclusive onboarding: The firm provides an inclusive onboarding process to help interns feel welcome and valued from day one. This includes educating interns on the company’s values of diversity and inclusion, as well as providing resources for support.

4. Equal opportunities: All interns at the firm are given equal opportunities for learning, development, and advancement. There is no discrimination based on any personal characteristics.

5. Cultural competency training: The firm conducts cultural competency training for all employees, including interns, to promote understanding of different cultures and backgrounds and to foster a respectful work environment.

6. Mentorship program: The firm has a mentorship program in place where interns are paired with experienced professionals who come from diverse backgrounds. This provides interns with access to valuable guidance and networking opportunities.

7. Employee resource groups (ERGs): The firm supports Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) that provide a safe space for employees from underrepresented groups to network, share experiences, and promote diversity within the organization.

8. Diversity events: The firm hosts various diversity events throughout the year such as panel discussions, workshops, and celebrations of important cultural events to promote learning and understanding among employees.

9. Open communication: The firm encourages open communication between employees at all levels to address any concerns or issues related to diversity and inclusion in the workplace. This helps create a supportive and inclusive environment for interns to thrive in.

10. Are there any specific projects or specialties that interns can choose to work on within the firm?

Yes, depending on the firm and their specific areas of focus, interns may have the opportunity to work on projects or specialize in certain areas such as marketing, finance, research and development, operations, human resources, customer service, or data analysis. They may also have the chance to work on projects related to a certain industry or product line within the firm. Some firms may offer internships in specific departments or teams, allowing interns to gain experience in a particular area of interest. Others may offer rotational programs where interns can work in various departments throughout their internship. It is important for interns to inquire about potential project opportunities during the application process to ensure they will be able to gain relevant experience in their desired field.

11. Do internships at this firm typically lead to full-time job offers upon graduation?

Each company’s hiring process and practices may vary, so it is best to research the specific firm you are interested in interning with. Some firms may offer full-time job offers upon graduation for successful interns, while others may not have a guarantee or requirement for full-time employment. It is important to clarify expectations and potential opportunities with your employer during the internship application and interview process.

12. Are international internships or co-ops available at this firm?

Yes, international internships or co-ops may be available at this firm. It is advisable to check with the firm directly to inquire about their international opportunities and any eligibility requirements.

13. How is the workload and balance between school and work managed for co-op positions?

The workload and balance between school and work in co-op positions is typically managed through careful scheduling and communication between the co-op student, their employer, and their academic institution. Prior to beginning the co-op term, students will usually meet with their academic advisor or career services representative to determine their course load for the term and make sure it aligns with their work schedule. Employers are also typically aware of the student’s academic responsibilities and will try to accommodate them as much as possible. Communication is key in managing this balance – if a student feels overwhelmed by their workload, they should communicate this to both their employer and academic institution so that accommodations can be made. Additionally, many schools have resources such as time management workshops or counseling services available to help students manage their workload while juggling school and work obligations.

14. Will I have a designated mentor or supervisor during my internship/co-op?

It depends on the company and their specific internship/co-op program. Some companies may assign you a designated mentor or supervisor to guide and support you during your internship, while others may have a more informal approach where you can reach out to any team member for help and guidance. It’s important to inquire about the specific structure of the internship/co-op program at your desired company.

15. Can I expect to work with other interns, or will I mainly be working with full-time employees?

It depends on the specific company and internship program. Some internships may have a group of interns working together on projects, while others may have you primarily working with full-time employees. It’s also possible to have a mix of both, where you work directly with full-time employees but also collaborate and network with other interns. It’s best to clarify these details with your employer during the application or interview process.

16. Does the company offer any perks or benefits specifically for interns, such as networking events or team building activities?

It depends on the company. Some companies may have specific programs or events for interns, while others may not offer any exclusive perks or benefits beyond what they provide for all employees. It is important to clarify with the company during the interview process what types of perks and benefits are available to interns.

17. How important is previous experience in architecture for applying to an internship/co-op at this firm?

Previous experience in architecture is typically an important factor for most firms when considering applicants for internships or co-ops. It shows that the candidate has a basic understanding of fundamental concepts and skills related to the field, making them more prepared to take on tasks and contribute to projects. However, most firms also value a diverse range of skills and experiences, so previous experience in a related field or relevant coursework can also be beneficial.

18. What type of portfolio, if any, should I include in my application for an architectural internship/co-op here?

You should include a portfolio of your past design work that showcases your skills, creativity, and design process. This could include a mix of hand-drawn sketches, digital renderings, models, and completed projects. Additionally, you could also consider incorporating some design development work, such as sketches or plans from a project that are still in progress. This will give the employer an idea of your potential for growth and improvement. Make sure to also include any relevant experience or coursework related to architecture or design.

19.Can you provide some examples of past projects that previous interns have worked on at this firm?

– Developing marketing campaigns for a new product launch
– Conducting market research and analysis for a potential expansion into a new geographic market
– Assisting in the planning and execution of corporate events and conferences
– Creating social media content and managing the company’s social media presence
– Collaborating with the design team on website updates and improvements
– Assisting in the development of employee training programs
– Supporting the HR department with recruitment efforts
– Conducting competitive analysis and presenting findings to senior management
– Participating in brainstorming and idea generation sessions for new business initiatives
– Creating financial models and conducting financial analysis for potential investments or acquisitions.

20.What qualities do successful architectural interns possess at this firm according to your experience?”

Based on my experience, successful architectural interns possess the following qualities at this firm:

1. Strong Communication Skills: Effective communication is essential in architecture as it involves collaborating with clients, contractors, and other team members. Interns who can clearly articulate their ideas and actively listen to others’ perspectives are highly valued.

2. Attention to Detail: Architecture requires a high level of precision and attention to detail. Successful interns pay careful attention to every aspect of the design process, from concept to construction drawings.

3. Creativity: The ability to think creatively and come up with innovative solutions is crucial in architecture. Successful interns demonstrate their creativity through their designs and approach to problem-solving.

4. Time Management: Working as an architectural intern involves managing multiple tasks simultaneously while meeting deadlines. Interns who can prioritize and manage their time efficiently are highly sought after.

5. Technical Proficiency: This firm heavily relies on computer-aided design (CAD) software for designing spaces and producing construction documents. Therefore, proficiency in relevant software tools is a must for successful intern candidates.

6. Team Player: Architecture is a collaborative field where teamwork plays a vital role in achieving project goals. Successful interns work well in a team environment, respect others’ ideas, and contribute positively to the group dynamic.

7. Adaptability: Architecture projects often face unexpected challenges that require quick thinking and adaptability from the team members. Successful interns are flexible and can readily adjust to changing project requirements.

8. Eagerness to Learn: As an intern, there will be ample opportunities to learn new skills and gain hands-on experience at this firm. Successful interns are eager to learn from experienced architects and actively seek feedback to improve their skills.

9. Positive Attitude: A positive attitude can go a long way in any workplace, including this one. Successful interns show enthusiasm towards their work, take on tasks with a smile, and maintain a professional demeanor at all times.

10. Passion for Architecture: Last but not least, successful interns have a genuine passion for architecture and a drive to excel in the field. This attitude is reflected in their work ethic, as they are always willing to go the extra mile to deliver exceptional results.


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