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
- Depending on the field the experience 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 lack of experience. "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 workforce 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 workplace 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 on 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