Internship FAQ and Myths

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Internships are work-related learning experiences that provide students, new graduates, and career changers with an opportunity to gain important knowledge and skills in their vocation of choice. Internships are a chance to gain exposure to a career field of interest without the employer or student having to make a major commitment.

There are many resources available for finding an internship, including online internship databases, books such as "The Internship Bible," and networking with professionals and alumni from your college. Many organizations use internships as a way to assess and train potential candidates for jobs. Students will often do several internships to give them exposure to a variety of related jobs or even to check out various careers of interest.

Searching Early

You should start searching for an internship as soon as possible. For internships in finance, government, and publishing, deadlines to apply for summer internships can be as early as November.

Students who begin doing internships after their first year of college are able to complete several different ones, which ultimately provides them with a wide range of experiences and makes them more appealing to employers.

Internships are becoming more popular for students still in high school as well.

Finding Internships

Working with a career counselor, speaking with faculty and/or college alumni, and conducting informational interviews with alumni or professionals in the field are all excellent places to start finding available internships.

Many internships are listed on online internship and job sites such as Chegg Internships, Internship Programs, and LinkedIn. Completing a thorough self-assessment is also a valuable practice before you start pursuing internships; it will help you discover whether you have the knowledge, skills, interests, and personality traits that are relevant to each individual internship.

Types of Internships

Internships are available in a wide variety of fields in both the private and not-for-profit sectors of the job market. Internships may be paid or unpaid and for credit or not-for-credit and are typically pursued in the spring, summer, or fall.

For Credit or Not

For-credit internships are linked directly with college coursework. Working directly with an on-site supervisor and a faculty sponsor can provide for a rich experience that includes additional reading and writing on the subject in addition to the experiential learning that takes place each day on the job.

To receive credit for an internship, students will need to complete a certain number of hours at the internship site; that number depends on the internship guidelines of your particular school. Colleges also typically require additional, academic work be completed, as designated by the faculty member who acts as the internship sponsor.

Internships not completed for credit are basically a limited work agreement between the employer and the student.

Internship Myths

Here are some internship myths and the actual truths behind them.

  • Internships Not Completed for Credit Are Not as Valuable: Although it is true that internships for credit are included on a college transcript, employers are looking for candidates who possess the relevant skills and experience to do the job and who already have exposure to the field and know that they are interested in it. Interns can gain those skills and experience whether they receive college credit or not.
  • Unpaid Internships or Volunteer Experiences Can Not be Included on a Resume: All experiences related to a particular internship or job can be included on a resume. That includes relevant coursework, co-curricular activities, community service, volunteer experiences, and previous internships and jobs.
  • All Internships Completed for Credit Must be Unpaid: An academic institution granting college credit for an internship does not in any way prohibit the employer from paying the intern a fair wage or stipend. Colleges generally encourage employers to pay for work interns complete regardless of whether it’s being done for credit or not. And you should seek to get paid as well.
  • There Is No Difference Between Doing an Internship During the Fall or Spring Semester and Doing One During the Summer: The main difference is that it's a little more difficult to know how much you'll pay for the credits you accumulate for a summer internship for which you'll receive college credit. The amount the college charges for for-credit internships completed during the fall or spring is usually rolled into the regular cost of tuition for the semester.