Importance of internships for college students

INTERNSHIPS ARE A GREAT WAY TO STAND OUT FROM THE CROWD

Our college teaches us to learn well. However, there is a flaw in the classroom education model. We learn and learn but what we are not taught is the ability to make use of the learning in a professional environment. We don’t know how organizations operate, how to fit into corporate culture, etc.

This is where internships can come in to bridge the gap between theory and application of knowledge. Internship is a program designed for students or trainees, to work in an organization, for a limited period of time, in order to gain work experience. Internships are typically targeted towards students, who work a few months at their chosen company to gain practical on-the-job or research experience.

So today, we’ll discuss how internships can play an important role in helping us create an awesome career path.

Role of internships in enhancing learning and shaping career

1. Applying classroom learning in a professional environment

'Students have the opportunity to develop and apply the skills, theories and concepts learned in the classroom. The ability to develop and hone professional skills that promote growth and development while at the same time gaining industry-specific; and often technological skills related to their field is valuable,' explained Mary Anderson and Carrie Taylor Kemp from The College of St. Scholastica's Career Services department.

Putting the knowledge learned in class into practice in a professional environment gives us a better understanding of the work and therefore gives an edge over others applying for the same job in the future.

2. Establishing critical networking connections

Internships provide students with an opportunity to network and build contacts in the chosen career field. We can make professional connections even before we are out of college, which makes internships a major stepping stone in our career path.

Many jobs are secured by connecting with people rather than applying on online portals. Companies often hire directly in order to save time and to reduce risk of the candidate not being able to cope up with the work. Hence the connections established during internships not only help with mentorship but also drastically increase the chances of getting that dream job!

3. Gaining exposure in the chosen field

Undertaking an internship provides students with actual experience of the chosen field before committing to the work full-time. 'Besides getting a foot in the door with a potential employer and looking good on a resume, internships have other advantages, such as the opportunity to test drive a career,' explains Alexander Lowry, professor of finance at Gordon College. Around 80% of college students change the major in undergraduate years and hence internships help get a clearer picture of what our work-life would be like in the chosen career path, hence a higher chance on having a happier work life 😀.

4. Gaining work experience

Work experience is an important criterion in almost all the positions that open up for college graduates, therefore internships help students fulfil that criterion for the job (if applicable) and also help get an edge over the other applicants of the job. 'Fresh out of college, you rarely have anything significant to say in a job interview. No one asks about your accounting class or what grade you got on a group project, the best real work experience you can have is in your internship,' explains Kaitlyn Trabucco, founder of Educents by CoLearn, a parenting marketplace for educational resources.

5. Figuring out likes and dislikes

Internships can also be called a ‘Career Test Drive’, these work experiences help us i.e. the students, to understand the work better and if we like doing it. If not there is always a chance to switch paths timely. There are many openings for internships which we can try our hand at to identify what job we are comfortable in. This way, internships give an opportunity to figure out what we like and what we do not like before we even graduate and commit to a full-time job.

Internships are available but we should look for them in the right place. Listed below are some online resources for finding great internships:

a. Internshala (www.internshala.com)
b. HelloIntern (www.hellointern.com)
c. FreshersWorld (www.freshersworld.com)

Apart from this one can speak to professors and ask for references to internship programs and also friends and family. They cannot help us unless they know we are actively looking for an internship!

Internships are an essential experimental education technique which is helping a lot of students worldwide and that is why they are highly recommended in shaping a person’s career path. This also helps in creating a self-development process which helps in moulding a student into a confident individual, all set to enter the workforce. So let’s grab the best internships out there 🤓!

Article by: Shrenya Soni

Psychology Associate


Comments

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Aman Prakash
a helpful article for the students
Yahoi Konyak
Very helpful, especially for college students.

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