Why is an internship important? These days, most students graduating from college will have done at least one pre-professional internship during their college years. Internships offer you many advantages – you can:
- Explore a possible career field – find out if it’s something you’d like to pursue in the long-term.
- Get your foot in the door – for some career fields, it’s really the only way to break in.
- Learn valuable work-related skills.
- Build on your classroom learning with related workplace experience.
- Gain an understanding of – and become comfortable with – the professional work environment, expectations, and social norms.
- Work for a potential post-graduation employer (many employers hire a fair percentage of their interns into full-time jobs after graduation).
What are the steps to obtaining an internship?
- Set goals, make decisions
- Search for internship opportunities
- Prepare your resume and cover letters, apply to internships.
- Interviews and Choosing
To read more info about each of these steps visit our website.
When should you do an internship?
- Freshman year is not too early. (We don’t recommend you do an internship during the first semester of your freshman year, since you’ll be adjusting to college life and spending more time on your academics than you’ve been used to.)
- Senior year is not too late. (Some graduating seniors seeking to gain experience in a competitive career field will even do an internship during the summer following graduation.)
- Fall, spring, or summer. Many internships that are offered during the summer – when they might require 20 to 40 hours of your time each week – are also available during the fall or spring semester, when they typically would take up 8 to 12 hours of your time.
- At least twice during your college years, if possible.
What if you can’t afford to give up your paid summer job to do an internship?
This is a reality that many students face these days – they have to work during the summer and during the academic year to cover their share of college expenses. Despite financial obligations, you should try to do at least one internship before you graduate. In the past, students have employed these strategies to fit an internship into their collegiate program:
- Take a course with an internship component (a limited number of departments offer this option).
- Do an internship during the semester. Most term-time internships require only 8 to 12 hours of per week, and most employers are flexible about the days and hours you come in. (If you have to work at a paid job during the academic year, you may want to plan ahead and do an internship during your senior year, when you will likely have four classes instead of five.)
- Combine part-time, paid summer job with a part-time internship, paid or unpaid.
- Find alternative funding. BC offers a few Summer Internship Grants for unpaid human service internships.
- Foundation Grants to Individuals, which can be found at the O’Neill Reference Desk, may also be helpful in locating sources of funding for internships.