What is an Internship?
- Are typically one-time, structured work experiences related to a student's career goal.
- Involve a student working in a professional setting under the supervision of a professional in the chosen field.
- May last anywhere from one month to a couple of years, but typically last for an academic semester (approximately 15 weeks for fall or spring) or for a summer (approximately 12 weeks).
- May be part-time or full-time, paid or unpaid.
- Might be required as part of the curriculum in an academic program or offered as an elective, allowing a student to earn academic credit.
- Are typically completed later in a student's college career after the student has attained appropriate preparation (skills and knowledge).
- Whether for credit or not, should be structured around a student's intentional learning goals which have been collaboratively developed by the student, his/her internship site supervisor, and his/her faculty advisor (if applicable).
- Promote and enhance a student's academic, career, and personal development.
Career Development Internships
A Career Development Internship is any internship that allows a student to gain work experience related to his/her career goal. As such, ALL internship experiences could be considered Career Development Internships. Most majors do not prepare students for specific jobs, and the skills developed through a major prepare students for a wide variety of jobs. Additionally, students develop skills and knowledge through involvement activities, such as student organization involvement and community service. One of the most important factors in a student obtaining a job after graduation becomes the experience gained through internships, which allows students to integrate the skills learned in their majors and through their involvement activities with career-specific experience.
An Academic Internship is an internship experience for which a student earns academic credit. The work performed in an Academic Internship must be directly related to the student's major. In order to earn academic credit, a student must complete additional educational assignments, such as research papers and work journals. The student will also receive some level of supervision from the faculty internship coordinator in his/her major department.
Importance of Internships
Students benefit from an internship experience in the following ways:
- Gain valuable career-related experience. This relevant work experience can give you a competitive edge when the time comes to find a full-time job after graduation.
- Develop career-related skills and abilities.
- Have the opportunity to apply classroom knowledge and skills from involvement activities in the professional environment. In turn, this may help you better understand academic concepts.
- Learn more about the career field and gain a better understanding of what the professional environment is really like.
- Begin to develop your network of professional contacts. You could develop a mentoring relationship with a professional.
- Earn money and/or academic credit.
- Get a permanent job. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) 2008 Experiential Education Survey, employer respondents indicated that, on average, 70% of interns receive full-time job offers as a result of their internships.
- On a personal level, an internship can boost your self-confidence, confirm your career goals, give you a chance to experience life in a different part of the country or even a different part of the world, and prepare you for life after college.
Employers benefit from offering internships in the following ways:
- Recruit, work with, and screen potential employees.
- Hire former interns who are trained and loyal to the organization, resulting in reduced training time and reduced employee turnover.
- Fulfill additional staffing needs for temporary or seasonal positions or projects.
- Provide an opportunity for junior-level managers in the organization to gain supervisory experience.
- Find highly motivated, energetic, and enthusiastic staff members who can bring new ideas and fresh perspectives to old problems.
- Heighten the organization's visibility on campus and enhance the organization's image in the community.