For college students, often with tens of thousands of dollars in student debt hanging overhead, choosing to embark on an unpaid or low paying internship can be a leap of faith. The real world experience and networking opportunities gained through an internship, however, can far surpass the instant gratification of the meager paycheck earned at a temporary job.
The benefits of an internship are so great in fact, that, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), ““Research supporting the positive role that experiential learning plays in the career outcomes of college graduates has prompted institutions to consider the internship as an important curricular option.”
Why commit to an internship?
- Resume Booster. If the most challenging job you’ve held by the time you’ve graduated college is working the counter of local ice cream shop, you’re in trouble. Potential employers want to see how grads handle real world problems, most notably within their field of study. How do they work as part of a team? How innovative can they be when searching for solutions? An unpaid internship provides relevant, real world experience.
- Job Generator. In highly competitive fields, an internship may be the only chance a student has to get “a foot in the door.” And, a recent study of university graduates shows that students who completed an internship were 13% more likely to find a full-time job upon graduating! Plus, an unpaid internship is often a dress rehearsal of sorts and can lead to a job offer upon completion.
- Networking, Networking, Networking. Even if a job offer isn’t extended at the conclusion of an internship, the networking value of interacting with professionals in a specific field of student cannot be overstated. Professional references, unlike character references, must be earned. And, those gained from a professional internship can prove invaluable for many years.
- College Credit. According to Internships.com, “An internship with credit towards graduation combines academic coursework with relevant work experience. Some colleges don’t give credits for any internships or only to juniors and seniors. Check with your professor or department chair to find out if your college accepts academic credit.” And, with college credits valued anywhere from $250/credit hour for public, in-state university to $1000+ per credit hour for a private four-year college, your internship just “earned” some serious cash.
- Professional Etiquette 101. This is your opportunity to witness the realities of the workplace environment, first-hand. From appropriate dress code, to working as a team, to understanding your role and accepting authority, to proper office, phone and email behavior. These are lessons you simply won’t learn in class.
How to find the right internship for you
Of course, not all internships are created equally. Here’s how to get started:
- Your school’s job listing site (some may be exclusive offers for the school)
- LinkedIn. com
- Google it! Use keywords to home in on the best fit.
- Go directly to the source. Check out companies you’d like to work for and search for an internships and/or careers tab.
- Industry, school and local career fairs
Finding just the right internship can be a daunting task – but it is well worth the effort!
About Back to Basics Learning Dynamics, Inc. in Delaware
Back to Basics offers 1-on-1 tutoring in 60+ subjects, professional development, translating and interpreting in 21 languages, speech therapy, occupational therapy, behavior specialists, reading specialists, paras, ELL services, homebound services, RTI support, psycho-educational testing and test prep. Plus, Back to Basics Private School is Delaware’s only Department of Education approved 1-on-1 Private School for K-12. We also offer summer school and educational summer camps, original credit and credit recovery, along with unique enrichment options such as music, art and photography. Click Here to learn about summer camps, summer school, original credit and enrichment options!