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The University of St. Thomas (UST) is Houston’s Catholic University, committed to the Catholic intellectual tradition and the dialogue between faith and reason. Our blog is dedicated to helping you explore your future career possibilities and how to make the most of your college experience.

Benefits of a College Internship: Advantages To Look Forward To

While many undergraduate college programs encourage students to pursue internship opportunities, it usually isn’t a requirement for graduation. Whether unpaid, part-time or full-time, internships provide a professional experience for students early in their career, exposing them to growth opportunities, real world problems – and solutions.

To support your college plans, we’ve gathered seven advantages of a college internship, diving into the personal and professional development benefits.

1. Grow your network

When it comes to finding a job, who you know is sometimes more important than what you know. It’s never too early to start making professional connections — and internships are an excellent avenue for networking.

As an intern, you get to work with people who have more experience in the industry or field you hope to work in after graduation. Your colleagues know you’re just starting out, so they are expecting you to ask questions as you learn the ropes. Whether at a particular company or another one, the relationships you build during your internship could help you land a job down the road.

2. Build your resume

A robust resume or curriculum vitae takes years to build and completing one or several internship(s) while you’re still in college can make a big difference. The internship’s duties and priorities you own—and the experiences you gain—can help you fill out your resume with more specificity.

You can also hone transferable skills that can be applied to any job or industry. These include competencies like:

  • Communication
  • Teamwork
  • Customer service
  • Active listening
  • Time management

If your internship proves to be successful, you may also have concrete achievements or outcomes that will look seriously impressive on a resume for an entry-level position. For example, a marketing intern who deployed a successful social media campaign that helped grow followers by 20 percent is likely to get noticed during the resume review process.

3. Boost your confidence

Getting hired at your first “real” job is a big deal for most college students and recent grads. It’s normal to feel nervous or even fall victim to “imposter syndrome” when you’re just dipping your toes into the professional workplace environment.

Completing an internship can be a massive boost to your self-confidence and aid in highlighting areas for improvement in the future. It can be helpful to think of your internship experience as an extension of your education. Always remember: You are there to learn, grow and put your best foot forward.

4. Find your mentor

While it’s certainly not the case for everyone, many interns do end up finding formal or informal mentors. An internship is a great opportunity to develop a personal connection with a coworker or supervisor who could end up helping you navigate your career path. Even if you eventually move on to a different company or industry, the mentor–mentee relationship can still carry on.

5. Open new doors

It’s common for enterprises of all kinds to develop internship programs with recruitment in mind. If you enjoy the job, work hard and prove to be a good fit for the company culture, it’s not uncommon to be offered a position after your internship ends.

Even if you don’t end up getting hired at the same place you did your internship, making a great impression can only help you later on. You never know when a new job will open up in the future, and you could skip to the front of the line.

6. Discover your career strengths and enjoyments

If you’ve already chosen your major but haven’t yet decided on a career, an internship could be extremely beneficial. For example, University of St Thomas – Houston (UST) psychology and pre-med students are often on track to become counselors, psychologists, doctors and healthcare providers. They are encouraged to seek out internships where they are exposed to different environments and populations.

This could mean working with school children, the elderly, athletes, urban settings, rural settings or more. Gaining exposure to a particular specialty could help you determine where you want to focus your career. Conversely, it could also help you rule out an area you don’t particularly enjoy.

7. Earn money – and experience

While compensation varies widely, there are many kinds of paid internships for college students. Industries like mechanical and chemical engineering tend to pay interns particularly well, especially in the Houston area.

But you don’t need a full-time internship to earn valuable experience and supplemental income. Students who are juggling multiple jobs and commitments should explore part-time internship options to get at least a taste of what’s to come.

Reap the rewards of a college internship

It’s clear that there are many benefits of an internship in college. It’s a great way to grow as a person and as a professional. If you’re interested in exploring your options, UST’s Career Services Center (CSC) is here to help. Our expert staff members will empower you to discover, explore and experience your vocation.

Contact CSC via email or phone 713-525-3160, or check out Handshake, UST’s official job board and CSC hub.

Ready to take the next step?

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About UST

The University of St. Thomas (UST) is Houston’s Catholic University, committed to the religious, ethical and intellectual traditions of Catholic higher education. For more than 70 years, we’ve been graduating students like you into successful careers in medicine, education, business, public administration and more – throughout Houston and across the globe.

Learn more about what UST has to offer.