If you are anything like me when I was a sophomore in college, you are thinking, “what’s the big deal with internships? School is time-consuming enough, I already work part-time, and I don’t even know where to start looking.” Trust me when I say that having an internship (or three) during your college career will be the best decision of your student life, and it is not as scary as you think it might be.
If you don’t believe me, here are some statistics obtained from a study done at Southwestern University, a liberal arts school in central Texas:
- Those who reported completing one internship during their time at Southwestern University were 13 percent more likely to find full-time employment over those that did not.
- As students participated in more internships, they improved their odds of receiving full-time employment.
- Students who completed at least one internship reported higher levels of being very happy with their outcome (35.3 percent vs. 28.9 percent).
- Having more than one internship counts: Taking on one or two internships was significant at the 90 percent level, and three or more internships had the largest magnitude of any of the variables at 0.545 and were significant at the 95 percent level. Looking at the marginal effects, increasing from zero to one internship increases the odds of attaining full-time employment by 9.176 percent, from one to two, 1.197 percent, and from two to three or more, 7.208 percent.
These results highlight the importance of gaining internship experience during college. While some argue that unpaid internships are disenfranchising to students who are often unable to afford the luxury of working without pay, it provides work experience and eases students into the labor market. As an intern myself, I have learned more about who I am as both an individual and a career woman than I have ever learned in any of my college classes.
If you are worried about not being able to pay bills, passing all of your classes, and participating in extracurricular activities while having an internship, believe me when I say that time and planning are on your side. A few summers ago, I participated in an internship during the summer that was a huge pay cut to my current income at the time. However, I accepted the position during the spring semester, so I was able to save enough money for 3 months by cutting down on my spending (and eating a lot of ramen). At the end of the summer, I was stress- and debt-free, and I also had a great experience under my belt.
Internships come in a variety of flavors. Some are part-time, some are full-time. Some are paid, and some are unpaid. There’s even a new flavor of internship on the market called “micro-internship”, in which students can have the opportunity to accept contracting work from home for a short amount of time. Learn more about that here. Regardless of what type experience you decide to pursue, I guarantee that you will find an opportunity that will integrate seamlessly with your life, and you will not regret it.
Ready to take the next step in your college career? Visit the UTSA University Career Center located in the second floor of the Student Union. We can give you all the tools you need to spruce up your resume, find a good internship, and even rent a free suit for your next interview.
Good luck, and as always, #GetRowdyGetHired