Internships beneficial to studiesBy Alexis Winborne | 03/24/2015 10:31pm
Although it might not be required to graduate, getting real-world experience through an internship can be beneficial to future success in the workforce. Many employers seek to hire employees with experience in a given field, making internships an important stepping stone in the application process.
Wilson Lowrey, chair of the department of journalism, said internships often serve to make students more desirable to employers.
“The reason internships work is because it reduces the risk of making a mistake by hiring the wrong person on behalf of the employer,” he said. “It helps to show that you can handle the job and also give the students insight to see if this is really the field they are interested in.”
Robert Hayes, assistant dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and director of student affairs, said reaching out to faculty advisers can be an important resource for students when attempting to find internship opportunities.
“Internships, as well as the process through which students obtain them, differ widely from college to college, discipline to discipline and community to corporate opportunities,” he said. “In the College of Arts and Sciences, students are encouraged to develop open communication with their faculty advisor and utilize this relationship to identify opportunities that are relevant to their major and/or minor programs of study.”
Mary Lowrey, director of career education and development at the UA Career Center, said many summer internship applications open early.
“Start early,” she said. “Don’t assume that you cannot find anything [at the moment] if you are just getting started.”
Hayes suggested students should begin their search two semesters prior to the desired internship term.
“If a student misses an internship opportunity in the summer and he or she is passionate about capitalizing on an internship as a pillar of his or her undergraduate experience, he or she may explore fall or spring internship options or begin the process early for the following summer,” he said. “Internships take on various forms and include different lengths of commitment; this diversity of opportunity allows students considerable flexibility in organizing their co-curricular experiences and endeavors.”
There are plenty of opportunities available for students to get internships and experience. The Culverhouse College of Commerce and Business Administration website recommends attending relevant career fairs and actively searching for internships online. Another great resource is the Career Center located on the third floor of the Ferguson Center, where students can find help when actively searching for internships or any additional guidance in career plans.