An internship is a work-related learning experience for students who wish to gain hands-on experience in a professional environment. Some internships are paid and some internships satisfy the criteria for academic credit. No matter the compensation, every student, whether eligible for academic credit or not, should pursue a meaningful internship to gain the hands-on experience that employers find so appealing.
Additionally, internships help students to:
- Identify potential interests
- Work in a professional environment
- Network and make connections
- Learn more about a particular field
- Build and develop a resume
- Gain the competitive edge in employment or graduate school admission
- Increase skills and clarify values
- Boost self-confidence
- Become more marketable for future employment
- Make the connection between classroom theory and real-world application, often increasing a student's motivation to learn.
It is worth noting that in a 2005 survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, 45 percent of employers responding said that they offer higher salaries to entry-level hires who have had intern or co-op experience. On average, those salaries increased by 6.5 percent.