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    Dec 02, 2021  
American University Catalog 2015-2016 
American University Catalog 2015-2016 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Career Services, Internships, and Merit Awards

Career Center

The AU Career Center provides undergraduate and graduate students with career, internship, graduate school, and merit awards advising; self-assessment tools; networking, resume, cover letter, and interview coaching; workshops and programs; online internship and job listings; recruitment events and on-campus interviews; a career resource library; online interactive tools; and instructional blogs and videos.

The Career Center serves undergraduate and graduate students in the College of Arts and Sciences, School of Communication, School of International Service, and School of Public Affairs. Kogod School of Business and Washington College of Law students are served by their respective centers. The Career Center is located on the fifth floor of Butler Pavilion. For more information, contact the Career Center at 202-885-1804 or visit

Career education is a lifelong process and the Career Center is the place to begin. The Career Center offers a sequence of services designed to accompany and enhance students’ academic studies. These integrated, comprehensive career services are available for American University students and alumni.

Students are encouraged to use the Career Center’s services to develop career awareness as early as possible. The center’s advisors help students to obtain internship experience related to their academic and career goals. Advisors also provide students and alumni with career decision-making assistance, job-search coaching, graduate school advising, and the latest information on employment trends and instructional technologies. The Outreach and Marketing team helps to connect students with alumni and employers through networking events, job and internship fairs and listings, on-campus interviews, and employer presentations. Additionally, the Office of Merit Awards helps undergraduate and graduate students to identify, prepare, and apply for a variety of nationally competitive, merit-based scholarships and fellowships.

All Career Center services may be pursued concurrently with classroom learning throughout students’ academic programs. The following is a summary of career decision-making steps for each year of academic study:
First-year: Explore academic majors and career options through a process of self-assessment. Use tools to identify interests, skills, personality traits, and work values in relation to possible career paths.
Sophomore: Declare academic majors/minors, continue to explore long-term career options, develop resumes and cover letters, gain hands-on experience through internships, and explore options for nationally competitive, merit-based scholarships.
Junior/New Graduate Student: Focus on particular career fields of interest and gain relevant experience through internships. Network and conduct informational interviews with alumni and strengthen skills through mock interviews. Explore options for further study through graduate school or nationally competitive scholarships.
Senior/Graduating Master’s Student: Determine and pursue post-graduate goals for employment, post-graduate study, or other intentional plans.

Advising Services

Self-Assessment and Career Exploration

Students may utilize self-assessment tools to identify their career interests, skills, personality traits, and work values, and then meet with a career advisor to interpret and apply the results. Assessments frequently used include the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, and the Strong Interest Inventory™. Career courses are offered for academic credit to help students develop career goals and job search skills. Students may also explore the connection between their academic and career interests with career guides, developed specifically for AU students.

Jobs and Internships

Students may meet with a career advisor, student peer advisor, or alumni guest advisor to discuss a wide range of topics pertaining to their job or internship search. Advisors provide expert guidance on search strategies, resume and cover letter writing, online branding, networking, interviewing, negotiating offers, and other related topics. Scheduled appointments are available in person or via phone or Skype. Advisors are also available on a drop-in basis at various locations around campus. The appointment calendar and drop-in schedule are available online at

Graduate/Professional School

Students may work with a career advisor every step of the way, from exploring and researching graduate/professional schools to applying and preparing for interviews. Advisors coach students through individual appointments, specialized workshops, and mock interviews.

Career Resources

Career Resource Library

The Career Center provides an extensive collection of books, periodicals, handouts, career directories and online tools to aid students as they explore careers or conduct job, internship, and graduate school searches. Peer advisors offer resume and cover letter critiques as well as assistance navigating the library resources and online tools. A computer equipped with software providing access for visually impaired students is also available.

Online Tools

Students may access numerous online resources anytime, anywhere. Interactive resources such as a video mock interview program enable students to prepare for more in-depth advising appointments and strengthen necessary job-search skills. Instructional blogs and videos offer insight from career advising professionals, and resources such as Going Global provide extensive information about international careers and opportunities.

Employment Services

Job and Internship Listings

Students may learn about and apply for thousands of employer posted jobs and internships by logging into AU CareerWeb at:

Job and Internship Fairs

Each fall and spring, students are invited to meet and network with representatives from more than 130 public, private, and nonprofit organizations as they seek job and internship opportunities.

AU Resume Book

Students may choose to be featured in the AU Resume Book, which employers search to quickly identify candidates with specific skills and experiences.

On-Campus Recruiting

Students who maintain active profiles in AU CareerWeb may apply for a variety of internships and jobs, and ultimately interview with recruiters who visit campus each semester.

Employer Information Sessions

Students may attend on-campus presentations and learn about numerous organizations, career fields, interview processes, and hiring trends within a variety of industries.

Alumni Networking

Students may connect with AU alumni for career advice and job or internship leads through AU’s online community, LinkedIn, and numerous on-campus networking events throughout the year.

Public Service Work Study Program

Students granted Federal Work Study (FWS) as part of their financial aid packages are eligible to apply for a variety of FWS-eligible positions on and off campus. The Public Service Work Study Program enables students to earn their FWS awards through part-time employment off-campus at select nonprofit organizations and government agencies.


Internships enable students to explore academic and career options, make career decisions, and prepare for entry into an advanced degree program or the professional job market. Other significant benefits include personal development, acquisition of independent learning skills, and a balanced education. Students seeking internships are encouraged to use AU CareerWeb, where hundreds of positions are listed each term. Opportunities exist with private businesses; local, state, and federal governments; and nonprofit, social service, and international organizations. Students accepting internship offers are expected to complete all employment obligations agreed to at the time of acceptance.

Eligibility and Degree Credit for Academic Internships

Eligible undergraduate and graduate students may enroll in credit-bearing internships (paid or unpaid) with a significant academic component under the guidance of a faculty member. Instructor and teaching unit approvals are required. Most credit-bearing internships are part-time.

Applicants must be in good academic standing and must work with their academic advisors to complete the internship registration process. In particular, undergraduate students must have completed at least the first year (at least 30 credit hours) at the university or a one semester (at least 12 credit hours) for transfer students and have earned a minimum 2.0 GPA. Schools or departments may stipulate additional eligibility criteria.

Students may apply for internships directly with employers, and career advisors can assist with and advise on the application process. There is no guarantee of selection, nor is a student obligated to accept an internship offer.

Once selected for a position, a student works with an academic advisor and faculty supervisor, who review and approve the credit bearing internship, including compliance with undergraduate and graduate academic regulations involving work hours per credit. A student is expected to complete all employment and academic obligations agreed to at the time of registration.

Students are required to demonstrate what they have learned through written journals, papers, reports, portfolios, conferences, seminars, or other assignments. Specific requirements are set by internship faculty in their syllabi. Credit-bearing internships generally run for 14 consecutive weeks per term and should include no more than 15 percent of administrative work.

International Internships

Credit-based internship opportunities are available abroad, often as a component of an AU Abroad experience. Students should have previous work experience and a demonstrated knowledge of the language of the country in which they expect to work. Several months’ lead time is essential to work toward securing an international internship. For more information, visit or schedule an appointment with a career advisor.

Office of Merit Awards

The Career Center’s Office of Merit Awards helps enrolled students prepare applications for highly competitive, merit-based scholarships and fellowships such as the Boren Undergraduate Scholarship and Graduate Fellowship, Harry S. Truman Scholarship, Fulbright Grant, and Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowships. In 2014-2015, more than 100 AU students and alumni were recognized as winners, alternates, or national finalists in prestigious national competitions and enjoyed opportunities to pursue challenging internships, research or work abroad, and advanced degrees.

Students work with merit awards advisors to identify appropriate awards and prepare competitive proposals and applications. Undergraduate students should begin thinking about awards as early as their sophomore year and may be invited to participate in the Early Identification Program (EIP) if they have achieved a high degree of academic success during their freshman year. Graduate students should begin thinking about awards early in their first semester.

The Office of Merit Awards is located in the Career Center’s annex in Letts Lower Level, Suite Six. For more information, visit