Definition and Benefits of an Internship
An internship is:
- A structured work experience related to a student's major and/or career goal
- An experience that should enhance a student's academic, career, and personal development
- Supervised by a professional in the field
- An experience that can be one academic term (summer, spring, fall) or multiple academic terms in length
- Paid or unpaid, part-time or full-time
- An experience that is mutually agreed upon by the student, supervisor and/or faculty member
- Meets registration requirements for 0 credit hour or academic internship course
- It’s important to note that to qualify as an internship the position does not have to be labeled “internship”. Many part time jobs, volunteer opportunities, or even summer jobs can qualify as an internship. Internships might also be called a practicum or co-op.
Benefits of an Internship
One of the recurring themes in any entry level job search is the lack of experience factor. "Where do I get experience if no one is willing to hire me?" The answer is simple: Get an internship!
Students planning to enter the permanent work force should complement their academic preparation with a range of other experiences, such as study abroad, community service, undergraduate research experiences, participation in sports and other student organizations, membership in pre-professional organizations, and internships.
An internship offers you the chance to learn by doing in a setting where you are supervised by a work-place professional, and have the opportunity to achieve your own learning goals, without the responsibilities of being a permanent employee.
An internship also offers you the opportunity to work with someone who can become a mentor for you - not only in the internship, but throughout your career.
- Learn about a career field from the inside and decide if this is the right career field for you
- Work alongside a professional in your chosen career area
- Observe the work place and see if it matches expectations
Leadership and Skill Development
- Learn new skills and add to your knowledge base while gaining confidence in your abilities
- Opportunity to practice communication and teamwork skills
- Gain industry knowledge first hand from an organization and professionals
- Provide evidence that you have initiative, are reliable, and have a sense of responsibility
- Apply some of the ideas learned in school and provide a bridge between school and the professional world
- Achieve a sense of accomplishment by contributing to an organization
Networking and Establishing Mentors and References
- Meet new people and practice networking skills while establishing a network of professional contacts, mentors, and references
- Open to door to advice for the next steps to take on your career path
- Gain valuable experience and accomplishments to add to your resume and/or enhance your application to Graduate School
- Create an advantage over other job or graduate school applicants
- Potential for a full time job offer at the end of the internship based on your performance