The importance of summer internships and the benefits upon graduation

By Savannah Simons, Staff Writer

January 23, 2013Melniczek

As the first few weeks of the semester come to a close, students have added and dropped classes, planned out their daily schedules and gotten acclimated to their new courses. Yet another important deadline is already looming – the deadline for summer internships.

Many internship deadlines fall between the end of January and the first week of March, leaving students who have yet to do their research with little time to complete applications and find an internship that truly interests them.

As students browse through potential summer opportunities, many are left unsatisfied as most internships are little or no pay with extensive hours, but that is okay. Unpaid internships are not meant to be discouraging. While many college students are on a budget and intend on making money over the summer, unpaid internships allow students to receive credit towards graduation, giving them the potential of registering for classes earlier rather than later.

While many requirements specify that a student must be at least a junior in college, don’t let that discourage you when it comes to researching potential internships. A handful of freshman and rising sophomores land summer internships regardless of age or graduation year.

If you are seeking an internship opportunity, it is always better to start sooner rather than later. Due to competiveness and high demand, it is best to start researching summer internships before or during the fall semester so you are well prepared, have thoroughly done your research and narrowed down your options. Students should not limit themselves to one or two applications, but several, for a better chance of successfully securing a position.

“Employers look very highly at students who are involved outside of class,” said Eric Melniczek, director of Career and Internship Services at HPU. “Joining a group or organization on campus helps develop leadership skills, time management and a strong work ethic; all characteristics sought out by employers.”

Angela Tagliareni, a senior at High Point University, interned at Percepture, a marketing and public relations company, over the summer. While she received assistance and guidance through HPU’s career office, Tagliareni contacted Percepture directly by email in order to seek internship opportunities.

“Percepture did not have an internship program at the time,” Tagliareni said. “But, I scheduled an interview with the president of Percepture, Thor Harris, to discuss a potential internship.”

After four months of hard work, Tagliareni went from being a summer intern to being hired as a full-time employee upon graduation in May, and still continues to do work for them throughout the academic year.

Many students like Tagliareni are given job offers if their internship director is impressed with the work he or she has done over the three to four month period. This relieves them of stress throughout the following school year when searching for a full-time job upon graduation.

While internships are great resume builders, they can be beneficial in more ways than one. Internships allow students to see the inner-workings of the field they are interested in, giving them the opportunity to decide whether or not that is the path they want to take. Internships also better organizational skills, improve work ethic and allow for further networking.