Benefits of Hosting a RPT Intern

Did you realize there are enthusiastic students with a passion for your type of organization, who want to learn more about it and are waiting to help you? They are called "interns". Interns can help you get projects completed that you have not gotten around to, they can help support your staff at critical times and you can train them to become just the type of employee you need. Yes, your organization can directly benefit from an intern and almost certainly the student will greatly benefit from your organization providing an outstanding learning opportunity for them. The RPT department requires that every senior completes a internship before they can graduate. If you have not offered a student internship in the past it is time to consider one now.

But for an internship to be successful for both your organization and the student it is important to consider a few things:

  • An internship is not the same as a job. A key difference between a job and internship is the educational focus of the internship and the wider exposure a student receives than in a typical entry level job. If you just need someone to do repetitive mundane work then hire and pay someone for that job. Interns certainly will accomplish work for you, but you'll need to give them a variety of assignments, challenge them and show them a wider portion of your business operations than you might a job holder.
  • An internship initially requires you to give the student more feedback, coaching and mentoring than you might give a new employee. Some interns are very experienced already and can take on relatively high levels of responsibility rather quickly, but most student interns lack experience and are seeking an internship to give them practical knowledge and help them apply what they have learned in the classroom to a work environment. To do this they'll need your help and guidance, especially at the start. This is in-line with the educational focus of an internship.

There are different types of internships and you should match your needs and expectations with the right type. Two general types of internships are:

  • The "get to know the field" internship type. This is where the student has little previous direct work experience and they wish to explore what your type of business does and if they might like to pursue a future job. These are typically college sophomores or juniors. These are part time 5-20 hrs/week internships. The level of tasks they can accomplish during a 5-20 week work experience internship is limited. Often these are volunteer positions at the start but could lead to pay later. The RPT Department requires students to secure 800 hours of "work/volunteer experience" in the field before they can complete their senior year so many students are looking for this opportunity.
  • The "senior capstone" internship. This is where an RPT college senior has finished all of their related course work and must complete a full time internship during the spring semester. They are looking for a more intense learning experience that may help them secure a good job with your organization or in the industry after graduation. They will have volunteer or work experience. During the RPT internship students must work 40 hrs/week, so the student is ready to make a serious commitment to your organization for the internship period. These can almost be like a "management/technical training" program where you provide outstanding training opportunities on your company systems and get a low risk chance to see if this person may be a good addition to your organization staff. Your company will get the best candidate for this type if you pay them something (stipend, wages, cover transportation and out of pocket expenses, train them to do some paid work, etc).


How to Recruit RPT Interns

How can your organization find and select RPT interns? RPT seniors look for and secure a capstone type internship in the fall semester (October through November) and complete the internship during the spring semester (January through May), or are looking in the spring for a summer internship . Sophomore or junior level students look for a "get to know the field" year around, but more frequently in spring. The RPT Department maintains a list of potential internship sites that students use to find a senior capstone internship. So the best way to let students know you have an internship opportunity is to:

  • Complete the New Intern Agency Packet
  • Email the RPT Department,, a short, written internship job announcement with specific details, such as intern duties and responsibilities, start date, learning opportunities and financial benefits (wages, stipends, etc.), qualifications, and how to contact your organization.

Once you start getting applicants you must go through a selection process to see if there is a match between the student internship goals and your agency internship goals. It is very important for both the organization and the student to understand what each of you wants from the internship before you make a decision to offer them the position. If you do all these things then you are not only altruistically assisting a student in need of practical experience but you will also be helping your organization get work accomplished and potentially find a great future employee.

Post Job Announcements

Are you looking to fill a job opening with an energetic student, either after they receive their degree or before? If so, we can help by circulating information about your job opportunity to our students. They will then contact you directly. To help you find the best student for your situation email the department ( the following information (this could be in a formal 1-2 page job announcement or an informal message):

  • Job title
  • Organization Name
  • Opening data
  • Duties and Responsibilities
  • Qualifications and Requirements
  • Contact information

The Department will post your announcement for two months at no cost. We appreciate you sending us this information.

You can also post your job announcement to our graduates in the Recreation Alumni Group by going to the by going to the Recreation Alumni LinkedIn webpage.


For Alumni

Group photo Alumni 2005

Since 1946 the Department name has changed several times. We used to be the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies until Fall 2008. Regardless of the department name or when you graduated, we’d like to hear from you and to have you share with other alumni and faculty. To enhance this we have created the SFSU Recreation Alumni LinkedIn site. Please join! See application info below. We also encourage alumni to help our current students by hosting interns, contributing to scholarships, posting job announcements, being a guest speaker in a class, serving on our Advisory Council or being a mentor to a student.

Make a Contribution to the RPT Intern Scholarship Fund

All recreation undergraduate students must complete a 40 hour/wk internship the last semester of their senior year. This is a very valuable bridge between school and work that often leads to a job offer. But many of these internships are unpaid. In addition, since this is full time internship students cannot work at another job or for as many hours. So the internship can present a tremendous financial hardship for students. The Department of Recreation, Parks, and Tourism has recognized this fact and is proud to offer two scholarship opportunities to outstanding undergraduate student majors who have met all the requirements to do an internship for the upcoming spring semester. But the department depends entirely on contributions from alumni and faculty for the internship scholarship. Click on this page, intern scholarships, to please help provide funding.

Be a Mentor to a Student

Students are often at a crucial point in their career development, be they undergraduates or graduates. They frequently are searching for information about what is it like to work in the profession, what is a "day in the life" of a professional, what jobs are available and what qualifications and skills do I need. Although our RPT faculty work closely with students on these types of questions, you as a professional working in the field can provide real world examples, industry contacts and act as a strong role model, often making a huge impact on students. We would provide your name and contact information only to a serious student in your area of expertise, in order to keep work interruptions to a minimum.

What is required to be a mentor you ask? It can be as little time as responding to a student email or can be formalized into an internship, and everything in between those. Most times it is just a person for a student to ask some questions about the industry or your type of work. You can offer to hold an "informational interview" where you listen to a student present themselves as if they were applying for a job and then critique them afterwards. This is a low pressure way for students to get more interviewing skills and it gives you a chance to scope them out as a potential future employee. Another valuable element of mentoring is to offer job search advice, ranging from "how to" suggestions to persons for them to contact. Through these efforts you can greatly assist a student grow professionally and you may find a great future employee.

To Become a Mentor Contact:

Dr. Patrick Tierney
Dept. of Recreation, Parks and Tourism
Phone: 415-338-1531

Join Recreation Alumni LinkedIn Group

Use the power of San Francisco State Recreation Alumni LinkedIn Group professional social media site to discover or post job openings in the field, learn relevant news about members and get helpful feedback on various questions, issues or topics in the recreation field. Faculty post job announcements they receive to this site. There is no cost to join the SF State Recreation LinkedIn Group, just click on the following link:

Help us spread the word. Please pass this LinkedIn and Recreation Alumni Group information to any SFSU Recreation alumni who might be interested in joining the group.



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