Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Internships Offer Introductions to the Post-Graduate World

       In an already competitive workforce, what will make your student stand out among the competition? Internship experience!  Internships allow students to gain practical experience in the field(s) they would like to pursue and determine if the interest is still there.  

       Now is the time for students to step up their search for internships as deadlines vary, even as a freshman in college.  The Gateway Student Success Center just sponsored a career fair on campus a few weeks ago and their staff is always available to assist with writing resumes and cover letters, as well as provide other information about career services.  As a parent, you might have some questions about how internships can truly benefit your student and we hope to address them here.

Are internships paid or unpaid?
It depends.  There is much debate about the legality of unpaid internships, but whether or not your student gets paid is dependent on the organization. Information regarding pay should be made clear up front.  Students may also college credit for internship experiences and should consult their academic adviser for particular details on how to do so.

Where should my student search for internships?
First, he/she should start with Gateway Connects, then talk with the internship contact in their respective academic department.  They can also directly search for opportunities with the company or organization they are interested in working for. 

What should my student expect from an internship experience?
Practical experience! You’ve heard the stories about the intern being responsible for getting coffee for the boss and that should not define their experience.  The assignments might start off small, but interns have been known to contribute to projects in a major way!  Overall, your student should be able to apply what they have learned in the classroom and walk away from the experience with the ability o articulate exactly what they learned.

How will my student benefit from being an intern?
They will gain more practice in learning workplace etiquette and how to properly interact with people from diverse backgrounds.  Additionally, it is the opportunity to meet people within their desired career field that may later serve as a reference for future employment or provide connections for other opportunities. 

We wish your student all the best in their quest for an internship!

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