Internships and Why They Matter for You
A student guest post from Ben Fan breaks down what internships mean and why they matter so much for you as a college student.
As the end of the undergrad experience draws closer and closer for some students, one of many viable options for soon-to-be graduates is to continue their schooling. The process of applying to grad school is not that far off from applying to undergrad as a high schooler. It is dependent on how well you’ve done in your years of undergrad as well as scores from tests such as the MCAT, GRE, or LSAT – just to name a few. However, something that you may want to be different in your grad school application is having an internship listed in your résumé.
So what exactly is an internship? Put simply, an internship is like an apprenticeship for a company that you are interested in working for. The party that you choose to intern for may have you doing menial jobs, but others may have you doing more involved activities. Some internships are paid while some aren’t; however, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the unpaid internships are a waste of time. In fact, the way that you choose internships can strengthen your grad school application by solidifying where your interests are. The University of Washington’s Career Center has some tips on getting into graduate school, and many of them can be bolstered with an internship under your belt. For example, some of the tips that are given are: “be clear with your motivations,” “know how you compare as an applicant,” and “’Tell and Show’ – why you’re a good fit!” Out of a list of eight tips, nearly half of them are influenced by having an internship and can give you an extra edge when it comes time for graduate school admissions.
Why does an internship matter so much to you? The easy answer is because it matters to grad schools. It matters because colleges are more interested in the applicants who have found a way to obtain work experience in the “real world.” It matters because those who have participated in an internship show greater interest to involve themselves in a specific field compared to other students who are applying. Lastly, having an internship matters because it distinguishes you from the rest by making you of interest to the college due to your individual skills gained from that internship. Graduate schools are always on the lookout for students that can contribute to furthering the prestige and influence of the school, and having an internship is a surefire way to catch their attention.
Internships aren’t specifically designated for any year in college. In fact, the earlier you start, the better. Starting with a smaller, seemingly insignificant internship gives you work experience, which leads to better, more impressive internships later in your undergrad years. The accumulation of work hours and company-developed skill sets makes you an asset to the grad school that you’re applying to. Even if you end up not applying to grad school, internships make the journey to starting a career much easier for you as well. With internships, the path to your best possible career only gets broader and filled with more opportunities – it’s definitely in your best interest to start searching for one as soon as you can so that you can reap the benefits later on. Oh and don’t forget to check out the latest MindSumo challenges to see if any companies are offering an internship as a prize.