How Not to Move Back in With Your Parents

Employment & Internships Podcast Episodes

Doing Summer Internships Right

Written by Andrea White, Asst. Director, Career Development Center and Arts & Sciences Career Services


Listen to the Podcast

Pete and Alex talk about the importance of having an internship and discuss things that students can do to improve their chances of getting one.

Read the Show Notes

Internships. This is a hot topic for college students preparing for their future careers. We understand that they are important for career development, not only because we become aware of what we like/don’t like in a career, where our strengths lie and weaknesses we may need to develop, but also because they provide valuable experience that will increase our marketability for full-time jobs we may be pursuing after graduation. It is also important to know that employers use internship programs as a way of screening those candidates who would make a valuable contribution to their organization as a full-time employee in the near future. Knowing this, all college students should target obtaining at least one internship prior to graduation so that they can keep up with this ever-increasing competitive job market.

Most college students will pursue internships during the summer when they have more time of their hands because they are not taking college courses. During this break from school, there are many options: study abroad, take additional courses, find an internship, work a summer job. Many people wonder what the differences between summer jobs and internships are. Summer jobs and internships can be interchangeable because you may be completing the same type of work and you may be lucky to find a great paid internship. The major difference between a summer job and an internship is that an internship usually requires a substantial educational component and a substantial project. Many internship programs provide regular seminars and rotational assignments, allowing interns to understand all aspects of the company’s operations and where they may prefer to make their career. Interns also have results from a significant project they had a major hand in to display on their resume and talk about in future interviews.

We all have bills to pay and sometimes it is necessary to choose the option that will provide the greatest financial rewards…but will this option ultimately help us to prepare for our future careers? The first step is to assess where your priority lies: is it pertinent that you make money or are you more concerned with building your resume and skills because you lack experience? Many times you may find a great internship with a great company that is paid. This is most common with the larger, for-profit companies in the corporate sector. For those who are interested in the non-profit sector or may want to work for a smaller business, unpaid internships are usually the norm due to a lack of funding, but keep in mind that internships in these fields also provide strong, well-rounded experiences. If you are to find a fantastic unpaid internship with an organization you are excited to work for, there is always the option of finding time in your schedule to make money by working at an additional part-time job. In addition, students can apply for scholarships or grants to pay for living expenses while working in an unpaid internship. It depends on the industry and work you would be doing, but the money is out there. Websites such as and are good places to start to look for funding.

If you did decide to forego an internship for a well-paying summer job, always take your future career in consideration. Is this a company you would like to work full-time at in the future? Which types of skills are required of your future career and will this summer job allow you to develop those skills? Will you be developing “transferable skills,” such as communication, time-management, leadership, organization that all industries seek in their candidates? While you are working in this summer job, be sure to volunteer, job shadow, conduct informational interviews and attend networking events to meet those professionals working in an industry that you’d like to make a career. We also know that networking is the most common way to find a job, so it’s never too early to start!

Career advisors are great resources to help you find internships, build experience, prepare you for the job search and weigh your options. If you would like assistance with any career-related needs, visit the Career Development Center or your school’s career services office and we would be happy to assist you!