Why Complete a Virtual Internship For Academic Credit


In the past few years, we’ve seen a shift in how students approach higher education, with many confirming that the money and time invested should lead to feeling career-ready. Undoubtedly, degrees carry a significant ROI, but the rise of alternative pathways to reach that ROI is occurring. It's well documented that students see more value in their degree when they directly tie employability skills and experiences to their time. 

Knowing that, education providers are likely striving to demonstrate degree ROI to increase student satisfaction and inturn, enrollment and retention, to increase their competitive edge, for example, more industry buy-in, connections, career services and academic credit. 

Virtual Internships knows the importance of academic credit for university students and has therefore created an opportunity to gain credit through a School of Record. Conversely, we will work directly with each student to ensure they have the tools and resources available to apply for credit.


Credit-Bearing Internships: How Botho University Did It

Botho University, Botswana, partnered with VI in 2020, hoping to launch a virtual internship pilot program that allowed students to intern remotely, gain work experience, and leverage career coaching and development material all in exchange for academic credit. 

The Challenges

Botho, for many years, has been trying to place students internationally. However, with the barrier of work permits and labor market issues for their students to work and study abroad, it had always been a dream for many of their students and academics trying to assist. 

The objectives of this program were to: 

  • Produce well-rounded, versatile, globally-conscious students
  • Promote personal and professional self-awareness
  • Encourage diversity of learning; learning new digital technology, and knowledge of remote/virtual work processes. 

The Outcomes

The pilot was so successful that it was opened up to 100% of students to apply for, with mandatory checkpoints, modules, and weekly sessions to complement the program and boost employability. 

At least 50% of the students expressed that, through this program, they received an extension for their internship or an offer from their host company. Students expanded hard and soft skills; critical thinking skills, collaboration/team skills, and learned new technology. 

Aravinda Ram, Deputy Pro-Vice Chancellor of Technology and Employability says: “We have been trying to place our students globally for many years now. With labor market issues, with permits etc, this had always been just a pipe dream for us. With Virtual Internships we seem to have cracked the solution to that problem.

Learn more about our partnership with Botho University here


The Benefits of Academic Credit

We have detailed the five challenges universities are facing. These top challenges are:

  1. Employers are hiring for skills over a degree
  2. Students are questioning the ROI of a degree
  3. Curriculum cannot keep up with technology
  4. The rise of online education
  5. Students value a higher education that can provide career outcomes

Universities could address the intricacies of a number of these challenges by providing access to real-world work experiences in exchange for academic credit, where students will develop the necessary employability skills alongside their academic qualifications to launch a successful career post-graduation. 

Three out of four of our Virtual Internship partners embed internships for academic credit. This technical certificate will allow the student to: 

  • Jump the line in the hiring process
  • Clearly signal that they have the requisite technical skills for the specific role and employer, backed by a broader degree.


How to Implement Virtual Internships for Academic Credit

Determining Their Needs

The first step in gaining academic credit will be to ensure students understand:

  • If they need academic credit 
  • If their home university will accept credit for a virtual experience
  • If credit can be awarded, what is the minimum amount of hours they will need to work
  • What additional materials will they need to present in order for credit to be awarded? 

Once the above has been determined, the next step should always be to have a conversation with the student. While Virtual Internships can absolutely assist this process, as an education provider, you’ll have a unique set of criteria, and it is essential your students determine and fully understand those criteria first.

Initial Conversations with Students

After officially accepting an offer of participation in a Virtual Internship program, your institution’s Admissions Advisors or Faculty-leads will be the first and best source of information for students to reach out to for all questions. It will be down to you to explain the opportunities for credit and what will work best for your students. If they identify that getting credit through your institution is the best fit, they’ll need to follow your guidance on how to obtain or transfer credit. 

Email Your Intern Experience Manager to Apply for Credit

If your student makes the decision to gain credit from our School of Record, they’ll need to complete a credit request form. Once that’s complete, they’ll need to email their Intern Experience Manager (IEM) to request the form and complete it as soon as possible. Your IEM will then review the application and if approved, send them an academic credit offer email.

Confirm Your Request for Credit

No request for academic credit is confirmed until the credit fee is paid. This is separate from the program fee and under a different set of terms and conditions. Requests for Academic Credit need to be paid as soon as possible and at least four weeks prior to the internship start date to be approved.

The International Internship is Completed

Your student will need to complete all necessary components to receive credit and meet all deadlines.

For those receiving credit through our School of Record, participants will need to complete the minimum hours of work, and all inputs will need to be completed within two weeks of the Program End Date to include finishing CareerBridge.

Transfer Credit from our School of Record, Saint Peter’s University

Virtual Internships has partnered with Saint Peter’s University in Jersey City, New Jersey, to offer a U.S. transcript and award 3, 6, or 9 academic credits for our international internship programs. 

Credit awarded will be based on the successful completion of the Global Internship Curriculum in CareerBridge, proof of hours worked, a reflective essay and an evaluation from your host company supervisor. 

In order to be eligible for transfer credit from Saint Peter’s University, participants must be enrolled students or recent graduates from a bachelor’s degree program and provide an unofficial transcript from their home university.

About Our School of Record

Saint Peter’s University is a private Jesuit university in Jersey City, New Jersey. Together Virtual Internships and Saint Peter’s have partnered together to ensure that all students are able to gain access to affordable credit opportunities, financial aid, and international internships. Together, we have partnered to create a school of record collaboration that utilizes Saint Peter’s academic oversight and understanding along with Virtual Internship’s global internship course, CareerBridge. Saint Peter’s ranked highest in New Jersey and 12th overall for Social Mobility in the Regional Universities North Category in the 2020 U.S. News & World Best Colleges Rankings and remains among the top 100 “Best Regionals Universities in the North.”

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