Free Argumentative Essay About Are Internships A Good Deal For College Students?
The purpose of an internship is to provide initial training in a new field or profession. Internships come in many forms. They may be paid or unpaid; they may be taken in exchange for college credit, or they may be not-for-credit; they can last for one college semester or up to a year. There are hundreds of possibilities, and each one grants the opportunity to learn and gain experience in a prospective career path. For college students, an internship is a must-have.
Internships allow students to gain work experience and transferable skills. While a solid educational background is of primary importance, employers will also look for and value potential employees who also have work experience by the time they graduate from university or college. According to one survey, conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), as much as fifty percent of employers prefer to see an internship on a student's resume (“Why your college student should consider an internship”). Internships make students automatically more marketable, as they will probably require less training. If a student has completed an internship while still in college and taking classes, they are seen as better able to balance their work responsibilities. In addition, an internship tells an employer that the applicant has already been a part of the profession and that they are familiar with the type and nature of the work they are getting into. This is usually a good indication that, if hired, the prospective employee will want to stay with their job (“Benefits & Advantages of Internships and Other Related Experiences”).
In an economy that is increasingly saturated with new college graduates, an internship will allow students to distinguish themselves from their peers. Internships give students a competitive advantage. They allow students to network with professionals in their chosen field. In an internship, a student will be surrounded by people from whom he or she can learn, ask questions, and gain valuable insights. The people whom a student participates in an internship with may become the student's future colleagues, or they may connect the student to their first job. Another NACE survey found that 36 percent of employers hired interns from their own internship program (“Why your college student should consider an internship”). One firm, IBM, was found to convert as many as half of their interns into full-time employees (“Benefits & Advantages of Internships and Other Related Experiences”). For those lucky enough, an internship can lead directly to a job offer. For those who are extra lucky, they may even receive higher salaries upon being hired than their peers who do not complete internships.
In some cases, an internship can lead to academic credit (Kirszner and Mandell, 2013). At some schools, a work opportunity is incorporated into the degree program as a requirement for graduation. Other degree programs may allow an internship as an elective course for credit. Whether taken for academic units or not, an internship allows students to apply the skills they have learned in the classroom to a real-world setting. In some cases they can even earn money in the process.
An internship offers the chance to “audition” a job or career before accepting a permanent position. Interns get to “test the waters” of the field and decide whether the work environment is one in which they will thrive (Kirszner and Mandell, 2013). Since internships are generally short-term, interns can test their future career without committing and find out if it is a career that will satisfy them. Even if a student finds that he or she did not enjoy the experience of working in an internship, it will still have been a valuable experience, as it will impart a lesson about what the student does not want to do.
Internships help students build confidence. With real-world experience under their belt and on their resume, students will know that they are capable of performing the duties of the job for which they are applying. As an added bonus, they will have names, references, and organizations to back them up. An impressive resume will help students be more confident in their chances of securing the job they want and are passionate about.
Internships offer practical experience by allowing students to apply the methods and theories learned in class. Most people learn best from a hands-on, “learn-by-doing” approach. Whether as a research assistant in a chemistry lab, as an assistant in a marketing development meeting, or as trainee attending a substance abuse counseling session, a student who takes part in an internship gets to see the skills they learned in a classroom put to practical use (Kirszner and Mandell, 2013).
An internship also teaches the valuable lesson of learning to work as part of a team. Teamwork is an important aspect of running a company, and internships can teach students how to do that on a business level. Being able to work with other people in a department and office is essential to a student's future adaptability and success. Interns are encouraged to work together, brainstorm ideas, and help one another solve problems, which are key skills that are not necessarily developed in a classroom setting (“Why your college student should consider an internship”).
The process of obtaining an internship is, in itself, valuable experience for a student who expects to enter the workforce after college (Burnsed, 2010). To obtain an internship, a student will need to write a cover letter and resume, fill out an application, and attend an interview for the position. Since in the process of applying for jobs this sequence of steps is repeated many times over, it is good for a student to gain some familiarity and expertise in this area. Knowing what is required to apply for jobs and to be an attractive candidate is a skill in itself. The act of pursuing an internship is good practice in finding a job (Grossman).
An employer whose company offers internship programs gets to see an intern on a daily basis (Burnsed, 2010). This gives the employer the chance to evaluate the intern's viability as a future employee. He or she will be able to see whether the intern shows up for work on time every day and whether the intern is interested in the day-to-day operations (Grossman). The employer will see whether the intern demonstrates proficiency and a willingness to learn and cooperate with other members of the group. He or she will witness firsthand whether the intern shows initiative to go above and beyond the requirements of the job and tries to be a positive influence in the workplace. These are the qualities that employers will wish to see and know that their employees possess before they are hired. An internship gives students the opportunity to demonstrate why they should be employed at a company, and it gives employers the opportunities to observe these qualities in their future employees. For an employer, personally seeing these qualities in action is preferable to trying to ascertain them during an interview (“Benefits & Advantages of Internships and Other Related Experiences”).
A rewarding outcome of internships is that they often turn into a job (Grossman). Though not all internships lead directly to full-time employment, many of them do. The closer a student is to graduating from college, the likelier it is that an internship will lead to a career. As an example, some career choices require the attainment of a doctorate degree. If a student completes an internship related to their curriculum while pursuing an advanced degree, it may lead to other employment opportunities (Kirszner and Mandell, 2013).
Even if an internship does not offer pay, there will still be a payoff. Interns gain an invaluable perspective into their chosen profession, whereas they might otherwise have none. They build confidence, competence, and self-esteem by participating in the workforce before leaving school. Statistically, students who complete internships will find a job after college more quickly and more easily than their peers who do not (“Benefits & Advantages of Internships and Other Related Experiences”).
The importance of internships can hardly be overstated. Internships help students gain confidence in their abilities and refine their skills; they offer personal, hands-on experience in their future career; and they allow students to network with professionals and obtain references for future job opportunities. Internships give students the opportunity to practice and explore a career path without making a commitment, and allow them to figure out whether that path is right for them. They may even earn money or college credits in the process. Today, it is no longer sufficient to only come out of college with a degree. Employers expect their future workers to also have some experience in the field and will favor candidates with an internship on their resumes over those who have no experience at all. In today's competitive job market, an internship is not only a boon, it is practically a necessity.
Burnsed, Brian. “Degrees are Great, but Internships Make a Difference.” U.S. News & World Report. 15 April 2010. Web. 18 March 2015.
“Why your college student should consider an internship.” College Parents of America. n.d. Web. 18 March 2015.
“Benefits & Advantages of Internships and Other Related Experiences.” The University of Arizona Career Services. n.d. Web. 18 March 2015.
Grossman, Susan J. “Article #1 – Why You Should do an Internship?” Queensborough Community College. n.d. Web. 18 March 2015.
Kirszner, L. and Stephen R. Mandell. Practical Argument: A Text and Anthology. 2Nd ed. New York: Bedford/St. Martins, 2013. Print.
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