The Importance of College Internships

The word “internship” sometimes has a strange stigma attached to it. For many people, the idea of a college internship means a poor, unpaid college student doing grunt work for a corporate boss.

Some people may think that an intern’s duties go no further than making copies and going for coffee runs. Not exactly an appealing idea.

But the fact is, college internships are generally a great opportunity for students. They provide valuable experience, are a great place to network, and have become an essential for job-seeking college grads.

Learning Opportunity

Internships are all about learning. Most internships do not expect or require students to be experts in the field; rather, they realize it is a time to educate students about various aspects of the profession.   For this reason, internships can prove to be valuable learning experiences that can teach students the basics about their career.

Go Hands-On

Internships are hands-on.  Most college students have little to no experience in their desired career fields, and internships can be a great opportunity to gain some hands-on practice.  Seek out internships that promote a “learn by doing” approach for the most beneficial experience possible.

Check Out Your Future Career

Internships can help students explore their interests and define their career path.  If a student is interested in a few different career options, but is unsure of which route to take, securing an internship can be a big help in making the decision.  Internships give students the opportunity to see what aspects of their career field they enjoy, and which ones they wish to stay away from.  Internships can also sometimes help students determine if a certain career is right for them at all.

Chances for Networking

Many students working as interns will have the opportunity to network with successful professionals in their industry.  There are not many better ways for a student to get their foot in the door in their career field than through an internship. Interns often work directly under professionals with important roles in their company, and will be able to talk directly with them to form relationships and gain advice.  Internships can sometimes lead to opportunities for advancements.  When hiring new employees, many employers first look to their interns before beginning to interview the general public.  Many company professionals began their careers as interns, and were able to work their way up the company ladder.

Earn Cash

The notion that all college internships are unpaid is completely untrue.  There are plenty of competitively paid internships available to students all over the country.  These paid internships can be great opportunities to gain that experience, and make a little extra money at the same time.  While there are also many internships that are unpaid, in most cases students can complete them for college credit.  Students should talk to an advisor about getting credit for unpaid internships; it usually involves little more than getting a few signatures.

Build Your Resume

In today’s competitive job market, many employers see having an internship as almost a prerequisite for employment.  Employers will often value graduates who have had at least one internship more highly than those who haven’t interned at all.  Having an internship on a resume will demonstrate to employers a level of experience and interest in the field that will set one apart from other competing job seekers.

Wide Variety

Internships come in a wide variety of types to suit many different preferences.  Some can be close to home, and some give you the chance to travel out of state.  Internships can be full-time, part-time, or summer-long.  There is a lot of room to be flexible when it comes to what kind of internship you would be interested in.  It all depends on preference.

Finding Internships

Additionally, internships aren’t always difficult to find.  Check out career fairs, talk to advisors, or keep an eye on flyers posted around academic buildings.  Browsing the web can also lead to discovering internships.  If there is a specific company you would really like to intern with, check out their website.  Many major companies have large internship programs for college students.

Participating in an internship is a great idea for students who are looking to explore their desired career field, gain experience, and boost their resume.

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Mallory Londeck

Mallory Londeck

Mallory Londeck is a senior at Michigan State University double majoring in journalism and media & information. As a proud Spartan, Mallory is involved in many organizations on campus including the student radio station, campus tours, and university activities board. Outside of MSU, Mallory enjoys reading, writing, and watching movies. A self proclaimed “pop-culture fanatic,” she is always up-to-date on the latest entertainment news. She also enjoys playing Frisbee, volleyball, and snowboarding in her spare time.
Mallory Londeck

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