As summer begins and students begin internship experiences, doubt and uncertainty sets in as they reflect about the potential experience they hope to gain. Internships have been around for nearly a century and have led to many students reaching higher job security due to the experience they provide. With real-world workplace experience comes a better understanding of how life and work will be once time at university has ended. However, there are still many college students who decide not to pursue internships because of preconceived notions that don’t turn out to be true. Here are just a few of the many misconceptions regarding internships.
Interns Just Grab Coffee
One of the popular misconceptions about internships is that they are expected to do mundane tasks that do not offer real world experience or professional development. Ideally, an internship will provide an up-close view into the world of their desired career path. This can be done through close coaching done by a professional in the field. Through this experience, interns are given a basic understanding of what their desired profession is like; whether it be competitive, fast-paced, creative or meticulously organized. If interns feel like they are not getting the full experience they had hoped for, a quick conversation with a department manager or HR representative at the company can help realign expectations.
Unpaid Internships Aren’t Worth the Experience
It is hopeful to see that so many companies have started to compensate their interns for the work that they do fairly. A recent Forbes article notes that there continues to be a massive equity gap with internship experiences. The article found that 42 percent of online internships and 35 percent of in-person internships have remained unpaid. While these numbers may seem high, analysts have speculated that once the pandemic ends and online internships slowly fade away, so will the prospect of not monetarily compensating interns. While an unpaid internship may be less desirable, they can still provide worthwhile insight, improve a resume and increase earning potential down the road.
You Have to Have a Perfect GPA
You might be surprised to hear that a high grade point average doesn’t make or break obtaining an internship at a great company or organization. More important than grades are qualities such as being proactive, eagerness, timeliness, showing gratitude and soft skills. Being prepared to ask questions during an interview shows that you’re engaged with your interviewer and that you’re extremely interested in the position that is being offered. After your interview is done, make sure you show your sincere gratitude to your interviewer by writing them a letter or email thanking them for their time.
Internships Always Lead to Offers for Full Time Employment
Internships don’t always lead to jobs. However, if an intern works hard and shows that they are capable of being a full-time hire, they can receive a pre-placement offer (PPO). A PPO is when a company wants the intern to join them permanently as a full-time employee after graduation. The uncertainty of not being able to get hired after an internship leads many eager job seekers to view internships as an opportunity that “isn’t worth it.” Those who feel this way fail to see how much internships positively affect one’s life. Internships allow a person to gain real-world knowledge that can’t be found in a college textbook. According to a recent Fast Company article, there are even more potential benefits. Students who had an internship experience 15 percent lower unemployment, 6 percent higher wages five years after graduation and final-year grades that are 3.4 percent higher than those who did not have an internship.
In conclusion, a great deal of research shows that internships can be extremely advantageous to students after their time at university has concluded. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), 56 percent of interns became full-time, entry-level hires in 2020. Due to the misconceptions regarding internships, many feel as if the experience isn’t worth it. Interns are more than just coffee retrievers; they serve as an integral piece for a company’s success. Internships allow for participants to be paid more later on down the line during future job experiences, and typically don’t rely on university grades in order to achieve a shot at being an intern.