The Importance of Internships for College Students

Competition has been on the rise for good jobs, which means that college students have to get extra creative when it comes to distinguishing themselves from others. Attending a college or university helps a great deal, but employers these days are looking for well-rounded students that also have real-world experience. One of the best ways to apply and develop academic concepts that you learn in a professional setting is by picking up an internship during your college years.

By working an internship, you’ll develop valuable skills that you wouldn’t necessarily get from just taking classes in school. In the classroom, you may take part in discussions, debates, peer interactions, and shared learning experiences. However, in an internship setting, you will learn to work well with others in a professional environment, manage difficult work situations, solve problems amongst a team, and real-life accounting. These are just some of many things that you’ll learn, that will come in handy once you enter the workforce!

Let’s delve into a little more detail on how a college internship will allow you to grow, learn, and prepare for life and your future career.


In life, it’s not all about what you know, but who you know as well. Being book and street smart is a plus, but landing your dream career can be much easier and quicker with the right connections. Being resourceful throughout your life and leveraging your network is super important for this very reason! With that said, college internships are a great place for students to meet other people. Older individuals working higher positions can serve as role models, while similarly aged peers can connect and bond over life experiences.

Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and make it a point to meet as many people as possible. Take the time to learn about someone as a person, as well as what his or her job entails. In addition to working together in a professional setting, you can also take part in after-work social gatherings to build meaningful connections with people.

Real-Life Application

Doing well on your class assignments and exams is crucial, but after graduation, it’s all about real-life application of what you learned throughout your college years. That being said, why not dip your toes in early by taking up an internship? Facts and studies presented in books are one thing, but actually dissecting the material and hands-on “doing” can provide a much stronger understanding and memorable experience.

Career Development

Participating in a college internship will allow you to develop proper business etiquette, knowledge of workplace collaboration, strong communication skills, and so much more. These are all vital for any career you decide to pursue after graduation. There’s a bonus for you if you pick an internship in your specific area of study: you’ll build your resume while developing these essential qualities!

Personal Growth

In addition to providing you with the opportunity to apply your knowledge from classes in a professional setting, internships also encourage you to grow and discover yourself. Those who are fresh out of high school may not already have their characters fully developed. This is why so many people switch majors in college – they dabble in a few courses and decide that something else is better suited for them.

You can get a similar kind of growth in an internship – learn what you like and don’t like, how to best react in certain situations, etc. Some key characteristics you’ll learn in an internship are commitment, self-motivation, and integrity. When you graduate from college, employers will want new hires to not just be knowledgeable, but also possess special qualities needed to get the job done well.

Competitive Edge

A survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers indicates that the starting salary for college graduates who completed a paid internship and were employed in a private, for-profit company was $53,521, while those who didn’t complete an internship started with an average of only $38,572. The same study found that 72.2% of college graduates with internship experience got a job offer, in contrast to 36.5% for those who didn’t complete one. These numbers show that pursuing an internship during your college years can add a competitive edge on your side, increasing your opportunity to get a well-paying job after graduation.

Get Paid & Reduce Debt

If you are lucky enough to land an internship that not only provides you with valuable experience, but also monetary compensation, consider yourself lucky! Many students are able to use this money towards their education, room and board, transportation, and more, cutting down on hefty expenses that come with higher education. This reduces stress and debt that often comes after earning your degree.

Final Thoughts

There are a plethora of advantages to getting an internship in college. It teaches young minds to be well-rounded and put their classroom knowledge into real-life practice, and fosters essential relationship building that can lead to bigger and better opportunities in the future.

If you are ready to pick up an internship or are thinking about doing it in the near future, check with your campus job board or career services center for more information on current offerings, how to apply, and tips for success.