Internships are More Important Than Ever for College Students

Today’s guest blog comes from Tarik B. Green, the Director of Marketing and Community Relations, and James C. D. Wahls, the President, of, LLC, which operates the DetroitIntern Network, a national collection of regional sites that link students and young professionals to employers of all sizes. Registration and all basic site services are free. See DetroitIntern Network at
With this tough economic market continuing to plague us, the importance of internships has risen dramatically for college students. These relatively short work experiences, many of which are unpaid, assist internship seekers beyond any monetary level. Internships enhance one’s resume and vital problem-solving skills. Students are able to apply critical thinking to real-life situations.
Internships provide college students a competitive edge in this tight economy. Because employers are embracing more conservative hiring practices as a result of the economic troubles, internships frequently serve as a direct entry into the workforce. If an employer is pleased with an intern’s work, upon graduation, that student may have a job offer waiting while others are starting their job search.
Just as critical as direct paths to employment, internships serve an important role for college students’ intellectual growth and career direction. Internships can reveal a new passion or change a student’s mind about a previous passion. College students are often pleasantly or disappointingly surprised by the work associated with particular fields of study. Graduates fortunate enough to have enriching internship experiences can likely expect to enjoy their first post-graduation job experience much more than those graduates without the benefit of internship experiences.
In addition, internships can help students learn what type of environments they thrive in as an employee. Being incompatible with a work environment will result in decreased productivity and unhappiness. Do you know what type of environment you work best in? Internships offer college students a chance to observe employee interaction and relationships, an employer’s hierarchy structure, and workplace politics without major consequence.
As the summer winds down and you have a few days to yourself before classes begin and college life takes over, take a moment and reflect on previous work experiences and your present career goals. Start formulating your plans for applying to fall, winter, and even summer internships. It may seem pointless now, but you will be thankful in the future. Good luck!