Many students share the goal of education preparing them for future careers. Career preparedness includes academic success and gaining important life skills. However, more and more importance is being placed on the value of experiential learning.
This is where internships can play an important role. While some colleges and universities require an internship, ours gives you the option to pursue the internship experience. An important consideration for students is how to approach the internship conversation? In hopes of providing a bit of clarity, here are some of the pros of the internship experience and suggestions for next steps.
Learning doesn’t just take place in the classroom — participating in internships can provide you with a wealth of other benefits. Consider the five below:
- You can apply your classroom learning in professional environments
Ask nursing students who are required to participate in clinical field placement, and it is likely they will tell you how invaluable the hands-on experience is when given an opportunity to put theory to practice. This kind of experiential learning is what internships are all about.
- You gain exposure to your chosen field
Participating in internships can be a great way to get a taste of the actual professional experience in a particular field before you commit yourself to it fully. “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,”
- You establish critical networking connections
Through experiential learning opportunities like internships you have the invaluable opportunity to forge important professional connections before you even reach graduation. Building contacts in your field is important and it can serve as a stepping-stone to more opportunities.
4. You gain coveted work experience
One of the greatest frustrations college graduates who struggle to find employment report is the problems that arise when the only open positions require work experience, they’ve not yet had a chance to acquire. Through the internship experience you would be able to talk about real work experience.
- Lasting, long-term benefits
Internships are not just resume boosters for students approaching graduation. Their benefits are long-lasting. According to the results of the Gallup-Purdue Index, a comprehensive nationally representative study, if graduates had an internship or job in college where they were able to apply what they learned in the classroom, their odds of experiencing positive outcomes in their career saw a marked increase. The results suggest that it’s less important that a graduate attended an Ivy League or other esteemed institution and more important that the student was involved in experiential learning opportunities that could adequately prepare them for their professional future.
The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) also reports that students who graduate with internship experiences are generally more likely than students without those experiences to find employment after graduation.