Definition and Benefits of an Internship

Definition

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.

 

Career Exploration

  • 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

 

Resume Enhancements

  • 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