Internships are often offered year-round, and many students opt to take on an internship during the spring or fall semesters. But there’s a reason why summer internships are also popular and can actually help improve your finances.
Here are 6 reasons to get a summer internship during college:
Establish your career path earlier. A lot of college students start their first semester in the fall, and while many of them are certain about the major they selected, it’s not uncommon to see students change their minds again and again about what they want to study and what their career goals are.
An internship is a great way to get some real-world experience in the field you’re interested in. It can reaffirm your decision, or it can help you to realize that maybe your chosen career path isn’t the right one for you and you want to explore something completely different. Unfortunately, many college students come to this realization at a late point in their studies and after they’ve already taken several classes in that particular major. Switching majors late in the game can be a huge financial burden and, not to mention, very time-consuming.
If you’re planning on starting your first college semester in the fall, why not actually make your first semester be the summer semester – and as an intern? This can be a great way to know from the very start whether you’re interested in a particular industry. Note that some colleges require that students take a certain amount of credits prior to an internship, so be sure to check with your school first to find out what their policies are. If they do have a credit requirement, you could see if it’s possible for an override and receive permission to take on an internship as a new student.
More companies to choose from. While many companies will offer year-round internships, some only offer them in the summer. If there is a specific place you were hoping to intern, the summertime might be the only opportunity to do so. If you skip the summer semester and only look for spring or fall internships, it’s likely that you won’t have as many options to choose from, which could also mean you lessen your chances of getting an internship altogether.
Maximize your time. It’s not uncommon for schools to limit their course selection during the summer months. Depending on your major and course plan, you might not have any options when looking to take classes during the summer, and you could be forced to take that time off. Taking your internship during the summer, rather than other times of the year when you might be too busy with full course loads, can give you the opportunity to maximize your time. Instead of taking the summer off completely and losing the opportunity to earn course credit, taking on an internship during this time can be optimal.
Graduate sooner. There is another benefit to summer internships that ties in with maximizing your time – the potential to graduate sooner. Earning more credits during a semester that you might have not earned any gives you the chance to possibly graduate sooner. Graduating sooner isn’t just a huge time saver, but there are financial benefits to consider as well. The longer you’re in school, the more likely you’ll be subjected to tuition increases. But the sooner you graduate, the less likely you’ll see a jump in your tuition. Graduating sooner also gives you the opportunity to get a job sooner and to begin earning money faster.
Make some extra cash (if the internship is paid). If you thought about getting a summer job in order to make some extra cash, but you’ve also wanted to take on an internship, why not kill two birds with one stone? If you end up taking on a paid internship, you not only get the job experience while earning college credit but also the opportunity to make money as well. Summer is often an ideal time for college students to get a job, because they have the time to do so and it doesn’t distract from studying. For that reason, it’s also a terrific time to take on an internship, especially if you get the opportunity to take on a paid internship.
One thing to consider. A potential drawback to summer internships can be the competition – many other students realize the benefits of using their summer in the best way possible, so you may be up against a lot of other students. However, this could vary based on the industry you’re looking to work in and the area you live in. On the flipside, the summer also means vacations, study abroad programs, and students visiting their families at home. If you live in a small college town, many of your fellow students might have other summer plans that don’t involve finding a local internship. Our advice? If you see an internship that’s offered in the summer and it’s something you’d thrive in, give it a shot and apply. What do you have to lose?