Landing a job after graduation is not just a matter of having a college diploma. Most employers also want applicants to have relevant experience. For college students, this experience is best gained from an internship program sponsored by an institution, business, or facility. A line on a transcript cannot begin to display for a potential employer all of the experience, skills, and knowledge you gained from working as an intern.

Interns are supervised by an experienced professional and perform the job duties of a professional. Students are expected to bring a high degree of responsibility to the workplace.

Students can learn valuable career exploration and job search techniques, plus they frequently make useful contacts. In addition, students develop job-related skills, discover how to work with others, and adjust to their employer’s needs.

Internships are also a way to explore a possible career in order to find out whether you love it or hate it. For example, an intern who works long days and experiences the hard work necessary for field research gets a taste of a research scientist’s job. Many unique opportunities are available to college students, so it is important to take advantage of these programs. Completing more than one experience will give you the chance to check out several potential jobs.

It is likely that job tasks will require you to apply what you have learned from courses to hands-on situations, so you may be expected to have completed some higher level major coursework. Interns work hard, think, exchange ideas and, in general, contribute. A student should complete their internship duties with initiative, motivation, enthusiasm, display reliability, professionalism, and a true eagerness to learn from experience. Host institution staff may serve as role models, helping students to learn the ins-and-outs of both job responsibilities and professional behavior.

For more information about internships, visit our frequently asked internship questions page.