How To Succeed in College/Internships

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Taking on an internship during college or even after college is generally seen as a beneficial step towards getting a job, but does it really help? There are advantages to internships, but they may not be as significant as one might think. Internships do provide workers with the hands-on experience that employers look for when considering hiring decisions. Some companies like to hire people who have already worked in their area. Experience continues to be one of the key attributes any entry-level professional can offer a prospective employer, and internships provide one of the best ways for people to obtain experience.[1] In 2008, employers extended job offerings to nearly 70% of their interns.[2]

Individuals who have internship experience perform better as employees, perhaps because students that take the extra step are already hard workers, or it trains them to be better equipped for the workplace. Internships are also linked with better college performance, including a higher GPA, which also looks good on your resume. Good college performance has also been found to be correlated with being perceived as having the necessary qualifications for a job.[1]

The more work you do at the internship, the better chances you have at landing the job.[3] For business students, a large number of students take advantage of internships: 24% of accounting majors, 33% of business administration majors, 15% of economics majors, 40% of finance majors, 37% of management majors, 37% of marketing majors, and 80% of insurance and risk management majors.[4]

There are some drawbacks about which you should be aware if you do an internship. The advantages the internship provide toward getting a job are gone within about 6 months of the internship.[1] The implication is that you should probably plan your internship during your final year in college to take the greatest advantage of the internship.

There are also paid and unpaid internships. Unpaid interns are only 1% more likely to get a job than people without an internships.[3] This suggests that, if you’re going to do an internship, your chances of the internship translating into a job are better if it is paid because the employer is going to be more invested in a paid worker than one that is basically a volunteer. Over 65% of the time, paid internships will have you doing professional work, while that is not the case for unpaid internships as only 35% of the time they will be doing professional work.[3]

Finally, Caucasians are more likely to land internships than are African Americans, illustrating that, in the US at least, we still live in a racialized society.[1] However, there is no difference between genders.[1]

While internships are generally and can help you land a job after college, you can increase the odds that it is beneficial by making sure it is paid and you do the internship just before you graduate.


  1. a b c d e Knouse, S. B., Tanner, J. R. and Harris, E. W. (1999), The Relation of College Internships, College Performance, and Subsequent Job Opportunity. Jnl of Employment Counseling, 36: 35–43. doi: 10.1002/j.2161-1920.1999.tb01007.x
  2. Caswell, Linnea. 2011. Statistics Show Internships Lead to Success!
  3. a b c Adams, Susan. 2012. Odds Are Your Internship Will Get You A Job.
  4. Gault, J., Redington, J., & Schlager, T. (2000). Undergraduate Business Internships and Career Success: Are They Related? Journal of Marketing Education, 22(1), 45–53. doi:10.1177/0273475300221006