This is a question many college students ask themselves. Should I spend my summer slaving away for college credit or should I spend it working at an unrelated job where I can earn some extra cash? USA Today recently posted a blog on their Education: College Blog discussing this very topic. The blogger, Hannah Kay Hunt, said that internships in college are not only a good idea, but are completely doable no matter what your schedule is like! Many students think that internships are only for the summer and they won’t have time during the school year, but that’s not true. You can read the article, which includes some thoughts from recent interns, here: http://www.usatodayeducate.com/staging/index.php/career/how-to-succeed-at-interning-without-really-trying
Now here are our thoughts on this subject…we couldn’t agree more that college internships are absolutely worth your time. Yes, it would be nice to spend your summer earning extra spending money, but a job as a waiter at Red Lobster isn’t going to impress future employers nearly as much as an internship in your field. Keep in mind that the job market right now is cutthroat. There are thousands of others fighting for the same job and you need to do everything you can to set yourself apart. An internship will do that much more effectively than a meaningless summer job. And better yet, you should do multiple internships while you’re in college. Felecia Hatcher did five internships, and one of them led her to switch her major from broadcasting to PR.
Another thing to keep in mind is that most colleges won’t allow internships to leave you completely empty-handed aside from earning valuable experience. It is a general rule of thumb that your internship employer either needs to pay you for your time or provide you with some sort of educational stipend. While an educational stipend might seem miniscule, keep in mind that you are earning college credit that is paid for by someone else! The money you save will still end up in your pocket.
There are also many different types of internships available. Don’t limit yourself by only applying for your “dream” internships. Be creative and see what’s out there. While it might be very exciting to intern at the top firm in the nation, you might not learn as much as you would at a smaller, local firm where you are allowed to do a lot more than fetch your supervisor coffee.
Here are some fantastic resources for finding internships:
1. Inroads for minorities – http://www.inroads.org/
2. YouTern – http://www.youtern.com/
3. Internship Finder – http://www.internshipfinder.com/
For tips on interviewing for scholarships, interview and jobs be sure to check in with our blog weekly. We also post helpful tips on our Facebook and Twitter pages.