It is not unusual for students to spend the last few months of the spring semester applying for internships. Internships are a great way to gain work experience and in some cases make a little extra money.
But internships are not just for the summer. Some students choose to pursue internships that take place during the fall and spring semesters.
According to Jennifer McLaughlin, assistant director of Career Services at Miami University, internships during the school year are not as common as those in the summer. This is because most employers know the summer is when the majority of students are looking for work.
She said there is no difference between doing an internship during the summer or during the school year.
“The quality is much more important,” McLaughlin said.
But with cities like Cincinnati and Dayton close by, students have the option of pursuing these opportunities during the school year.
The main concern for most students is the time commitment, especially with class and campus activities also in the balance.
“I think it depends on what they were asking of me,” said Rachel Peterson, a Miami senior who is currently interning for American Society of Materials. “My summer internship is several hours a day and I know I couldn’t handle the workload if my schoolwork was added on top of it.”
But summer internships are sometimes more like a full time jobs.
“If it was a part time internship, it would be more feasible,” Peterson added.
McLaughlin explained when students are trying to decide if they should pursue an internship during the school year, it is important to know what their goals are.
According to McLaughlin, while career services offers a number of job fairs and informational services about getting internships, the majority of information students find helpful is from the departments for their major.
Professors and advisors are able to offer students insight into the possibilities available to students within their specific fields of study and when the best times are to apply, McLaughlin said.
It is also through the departments that students are able to use the connections of the faculty to land internships and to have the option of earning credit for their major, McLaughlin said.
Senior Ben Lockshin agrees that if one is able to work it into their schedule, an internship is always a good idea.
“I think in today’s job market it’s essential to have an internship at some point to get your foot in the door and establish contacts in the field,” Lockshin said.
If student do choose to pursue an internship, McLaughlin suggested that they consider what exactly they want to take away from it.
“Try to have an understanding of what you’re trying to learn,” she said.
From there, McLaughlin said students can use the resources offered by career services to perfect their resumes and interviewing skills.
But students should also talk to those who have previously done similar internships.
“If you’re lucky enough to know what you’re going to do after you graduate, talk to other people,” McLaughlin said.
Students should do their best to pursue an internship at some point during their college career regardless of when.
“I don’t care when it is, if you can work it into your schedule, do it,” McLaughlin said.