The Educational Value of an Internship

Wed, Mar 17, 2010

Internship Information

When a student leaves an internship experience feeling like they have learned something that they will take with them for the rest of their lives, the internship facilitator knows he or she has done a good job at allowing the student the opportunity to succeed and expand academically.

The Educational Value Of An Internship Is High

“An internship provides an opportunity for students to apply and reflect on knowledge and concepts acquired in the classroom,” Jim Fitch, Associate Director of Career Services at Allegheny College said. “Many educational theorists believe that application and reflection are where the true learning takes place creating a deeper cognitive framework from which the student can draw.”

Internships Can Also Be Applied To Everyday Life

“It’s much the same with any other skill.  One can read about investing and gain a great grasp of the principles involved but it’s not until one works for an investment firm and participates in the daily operations that they truly grasp what’s involved,” he said.

There Are Many Extra Benefits To An Internship

“Internships offer students opportunities to gain experience, build a professional network of those who can speak to the value of their contributions and act as references, test drive an employer and a career, explore a career with little commitment, and for the lucky few, internships provide an opportunity to earn money,” Fitch said. Real world experience is one of the main things employers look for when hiring a candidate. This experience cannot be obtained from just reading about the field you are interested in during class. To gain these skills and apply them, students must do internships.

“Internships help students’ better grasp concepts, techniques, and theories covered in classes.  Imagine what it would be like to learn to ride a bicycle simply by reading about it and watching films of people riding.  One can gain a conceptual understanding this way but it’s not until one actually gets on the bicycle and attempts to ride that the real learning takes place,” Fitch said.

An Internship Builds On What You Learned In College

“By working in an office setting you can put to work all the knowledge you learned in a classroom and improve on your oral and written communication and leadership skills.” an article by Groovejob.com said.

Students Should Pursue Many Internships

For the College Relations Center at Aramark, a foodservice company that employs highly qualified students each summer, the numbers don’t lie. “Students who completed one internship had a 60% better chance of landing a full time job out of college than a student who didn’t complete an internship,” the center said. Even better, “Students who completed two internships had a 90% chance, while those who held three internships had a 100% chance of full time placement right out of college.”

Therefore, an intern’s future relies on two things: a hardworking attitude and the ability to make connections during the first internship to successfully secure a second one.

By Kelly McLendon. Kelly is studying Environmental Policy and Journalism. She can be reached at mclendon.kelly@gmail.com.

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