Internships for credit are a relatively untapped resource that benefits College of Liberal Arts (CLA) students in numerous ways for their professional and academic lives. By providing students with real world experience, it expands learning outside of the classroom and adds to the resume of students who participate in the program.
Internships provide a good way to step into the professional world. While you are seeing what the day-to-day of your chosen profession is, you also are getting valuable work experience without needing to commit to a job. Whereas with a job, leaving employment after a term would look bad on a resume.
Having a reference outside of Willamette is another benefit of having an internship. With today’s stereotypes about Millennials and Gen Z, especially those held by potential employers, it is important to have a diverse pool of references, and having one from a workplace significantly improves your resume.
These internships can also lead to jobs, either with the company you are interning with or by providing you with networking opportunities. Companies who take on interns often want to help those interns succeed by putting them into contact with others who work in their field of interest.
Beyond the professional benefits of internships, taking an internship for credit have many academic benefits as well. Crediting is a way to make up for the unpaid nature of many internships, which serves as a large barrier to students who need to work to afford college. The hours spent at the internship would be in lieu of a class, which leaves the same amount of time for paid jobs as a full course load.
Up to three credits can be attained through the Career Center for IDS internship classes at the 100-level, and many departments offer the opportunity to take internship classes that count as a 300-level class. This means up to four credits can be obtained from internships.
The assignments that go along with the internship class are useful for thinking about career and workplace aspirations, which is extremely helpful before graduation.
This helps pare down what types of jobs work for your personality, schedule and career goals. At the end of the class, one of the assignments is to put the internship experience on your resume. This is something that would benefit your resume anyway, and having it as a requirement means that it will be reviewed by a professional.
Internships can also provide a bridge between the classroom and a professional work experience. It serves as the real world application of the content learned in class. For students experiencing burnout, this can be especially helpful.
Participating in an internship during college can be useful academically and professionally, putting students in the best position to be successful after graduation.
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