The National Society for Experiential Education defines an internship as "a carefully monitored work or volunteer experience in which an individual has intentional learning goals and reflects actively on what he or she is learning throughout the experience."
- Internships are specifically geared towards career interests and intentional learning goals are brought to the experience.
- Internships also need to be supervisored by someone in the field that has more expertise than the student in that specific area.
Why Should I Complete an Internship?
Students complete internships for a variety of reasons:
- to remain competitive in the job market
- to determine their interest or skill level in a field
- for the opportunity to work with the leaders of their field, or to have a more meaningful experience than a typical part-time or seasonal job.
- many graduate schools also look very favorably on candidates who have significant practical experience that supports their academic focus. Some graduate programs, such as counseling or business, will only consider candidates who have "real-life" work experience as demonstrated by professional positions or a series of internships.
Can I Get Paid for Doing an Internship?
Internships can be either paid or unpaid.
In some fields, particularly in non-profit work, internships are frequently unpaid, or offer a small stipend to cover living expenses.
- You may consider taking a part-time job along with your internship in order to earn money for school.
- There are also some grants or fellowships that may be available to support an internship in a non-profit organization.
Many internships, however, are paid. In fact, in some areas, such as technology, internships can pay very well!
- These tend to be the more competitive internships, so starting your search early on will improve your chances of gaining a paid internship.