For most students, the academic year has either ended or the end is quickly approaching. The summer is here, a time of endless possibilities. Do you have a plan?

While in high school many students dedicated their summers to family trips and time with their friends. A college student might need to consider a different path. While there is room for fun, as a college student, summer break is an opportunity to gain professional and/or academic growth and development.

One of the most important opportunities for college students are summer internships.  Internships allow you to gain professional experience in a field of interest with little commitment. Internships are resume builders. Internships are external classrooms. Interning is a time of a trial and error.

There are many different reasons to pursue an internship opportunity.

Gain Professional Experience

College teaches theory of concepts, while internships give you the opportunity to execute them. Getting an internship shows future employers that you take yourself seriously and you have initiative. Internships are short-term employment where you gain valuable experience that will benefit you when you apply for jobs after graduation. Internships offer training. If you had the opportunity would you hire someone who’s never worked in their field or someone who has a grasp of basic concepts who require less training? It’s a no brainer.

Beat the Competition

Every person in your major may potentially be applying for your dream job. You are not only competing with your classmates but students across the globe. Academic success makes you a competitive applicant but experience is also an opportunity to show you’re a cut above the rest. Internships expose you to specific jargon related to your field that may not be taught in the classroom. Also, it will undoubtedly increase your network of professionals that are available for advice and recommendations.

Professional Test-Run

Have you ever thought you had an interest in something until you tried it and realized it was not at all what you thought? Sometimes we are drawn to careers because we like certain aspects of the duties not the career itself. Interning gives you the opportunity to enter that field for a short time so you can determine if the career fits your passion. If, not you have the opportunity to adjust. Through internships you may discover new interests you didn’t realize existed.

Enhanced Learning

Education is the number one priority for a student; we can all agree that is the purpose of the college experience. However, education is not bound to a classroom there is a great deal of education that takes place outside of those four walls. You learn when you engage different people, are exposed to different cultures and learn new processes. Internships show you how work in diverse groups and how to behave in a professional setting.

I am a strong proponent of internships. There are many resources available to help you learn and apply for internships in your area. Check these links:

Internship Finder: Facts about paid internships

Wikipedia: Internships

US News Education: “Degrees Are Great, but Internships Make a Difference”

Basic Template for Writing an Internship Resume

As always,

L.I.V.E. H.O.P.E G.I.V.E. H.O.P.E.

Teneasha Pierson
Marketing Director
The H.O.P.E. Scholarship