Is An Internship Required?
The major in Social Science does NOT require an internship, but you might consider trying to work one into your schedule.
Why Should You Do An Internship?
Three personal reasons are commonly given.
First, an internship can help you learn about yourself. You can discover talents, strengths, and weaknesses as you test yourself in the new environment of an internship setting.
Second, an internship can be simply an interesting activity. There are almost an infinite number of places an internship can be done: on campus, in schools, in industry, in retail establishments, in hospitals, churches, day care centers, geriatric facilities, at a television or radio station, a newspaper. Where would you like to be?
Third, completion of an internship can make you feel good. You have provided a service; you found a need and filled it. Perhaps the fund raiser for the local Cancer Society office would not have been done if you had not come along and managed the affair!
An internship can have a lasting benefit. A study was done on the May 1993 graduates of San Francisco State University. It found that landing the first job after graduation is not predicted by what you know, as much as it was by how much real life work experience you have. Significant work related experience, such as internships and other responsible volunteer activities, was the single most important factor in getting hired!
But maybe these findings are just a fluke! NO! Studies like this one have been carried out in a variety of different settings. Since 1980, a clear trend has emerged; the importance of work experience as a factor in job getting has increased from 35 percent to 56 percent. According to a 1993 study at Northwestern University, 58 percent of interns are offered jobs with their host employers. The figure for cooperative work-study programs was even higher; 93 percent of firms offering such programs hired their graduating interns.
Having an internship can help you to develop contacts in your desired occupational field. Since 1980, the importance of knowing someone who can help you get a job has increased from 7 percent to 15 percent. Knowing and using contacts in your field is called "networking." Networking may be particularly important for women in the job market. The Gallup Poll conducted a survey of working women in May, 1994. One half of the women surveyed said that networking had helped them land their present job!
We can see that an internship provides one with advantages not conferred by a part-time job at Burger Doodle. Certainly that experience is important as it helps to pay the bills. It also demonstrates that you have energy and can follow directions. An internship is more than that; it is an opportunity to network, to prove yourself, and to learn in a professional environment.
"Oh, I'm not convinced," some say. "No one I know has ever gotten an interesting internship!" Well, where did they look? Internships can literally be found everywhere, but the finding is your responsibility.
For example, you could be a sleuth for a summer! The CIA offers internships and fellowships for college students. Student interns are treated like full-time employees and can participate in intelligence briefings! Of course, these interns are paid. For information visit the CIA Internships Web site.