The Value of Internships in College

Imagine yourself as a new graduate: a fancy degree and four years of college education under your belt. You begin searching for jobs, and being a new grad you will be most qualified for “Entry Level” positions. You read the qualifications for the job, and you believe that you fill all except for one: at least one year of experience.

One year of experience?! How am I supposed to have one year of experience when I just graduated?

As an undergraduate, I received an email once or twice a semester listing all the internships available for my major. It wasn’t until my junior year that I began paying attention to the emails instead of just glancing over them. Along with the list of internships, the emails also said that they had trouble filling the internships and spots were always open.

The application process was relatively easy, and I was placed with a non-profit organization called Budget Buddies, which offered financial literacy tutoring to low-income women. The time I spent with Budget Buddies was rewarding and offered relevant work experience to list on a resume. I had previously worked in restaurants, and while this did sharpen my communication skills, it did not add much to my professional resume.

Another important aspect of internships is the opportunity to branch out and create valuable connections with professionals who are already working in the field you wish to enter upon graduation. These professionals can offer guidance and support, and have the potential to be someone who can write a letter of recommendation.

Most of the time, you can receive college credit for completing these internships. This is a great opportunity to get that one year of experience needed for many entry-level jobs. There is only so much to be learned in a classroom. This hands-on, real-life learning will benefit you immensely upon graduation.

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