View Full Version : What is the importance of internships in college?

08-15-2009, 02:13 AM
I will be attending a community college for (hopefully) the next 2 years, and no longer than that. After I finish my lower division classes, I plan to transfer to a 4 year college and earn a degree in a biological science (haven't decided on a specific one). I've been working a part-time job for the past year and plan to stay with it for as long as I'm going to college. The college I want to transfer to is close to home so I'd still be able to keep the job.

I've heard a lot about students (especially in the science majors) doing internships while attending school. Could someone give me a background as to how they work? Is it a part-time, full-time, or weekend duty? If I were to join an internship while attending school, would I have to quit my part-time job?

That's it for now. Thanks.

08-15-2009, 09:38 AM
Internships are either paid or unpaid. Difficult to get paid ones. The internships I'm most familiar with are in PR/Advertising, and these pay ZERO---so in the World of Reality, this means kids who parents provide a subsidy for living expenses and schooling are much more likely to be doing these things. Unfair? yes. As a result, it's not surprising to run into staffers, etc., at PR firms and ad agencies who have lived quite sheltered lives.

Internships usually run through the summer. What you might be after during the school year is simply a job at school, in your field, this might mean cleaning up the lab (gotta start at the bottom).

08-15-2009, 10:21 AM
The two big PROS of doing internships are:
1) Experience. If you just get your degree and have no "real-world" experience, you will find landing a job more difficult than not
2) Networking. Not only do the places that off the internships provide experience, but they are a gold-mine of connections. The people you meet there should be viewed as potential future employees. Shake a lot of hands and grab a lot of business cards.

For science majors, you can't do enough internships. If I did my BS all over again, I would've tried a lot harder (or in some cases, at all) to be in a summer internship program every year. There are a lot of programs out there and, like I said, you can't really do enough of them. You don't really get that kind of exposure to people in the industry through on-campus functions and people in industry get ZERO exposure to your work skills otherwise.

And Max is right, during school is a good time to work in a lab on campus. It helps build your report with professors, which is important for references later.

08-15-2009, 12:13 PM
100% what YuLittle says. It's all about developing connections and getting "good" references that open doors for you. In the real world it is seldom about what you know (as many, many applicants are equally qualified and all competing for one job) but who you know. Often who you know represents those intangibles that can't be taught like hard work, perseverence, dedication, etc. because x person wouldn't give you a reference if you didn't possess certain qualitites.

08-15-2009, 01:03 PM
So internships arent mandatory in the US? In my University we had to do 3 mandatory internships, 3 months, 6 months and a year. Payment is very very low. Interships are the way to realize that what they teach in the classrooms is nothing compared with what you still have to learn.

08-15-2009, 01:22 PM

The sad thing is that it's 2009 and there's really no well-established connection between college and the workforce; it's catch as catch can. I suppose there are pluses to THAT setup, but internships help make the bridge to the work world.

08-15-2009, 01:30 PM
Thanks Max :D I've been watching too much Stephen Colbert, I think... :lol:

08-15-2009, 10:48 PM
Internships are really important for finding a job after school, probably even more important than grades. Sounds like you're strapped for cash and reluctant to give up your current job for an internship. My opinion is that if you find a solid internship, even if its unpaid, then you should prioritize that over your job. It will pay off in the end.

If you don't know where to start to look for one, most schools have some sort of Career Services building where they connect current students with offers through their alumni network.

08-16-2009, 11:37 AM
Thanks Max :D I've been watching too much Stephen Colbert, I think... :lol:

I'm sorry for the excessive scrupulosity. It's the George Orwell in me. :)