Student Internship

How Important is it for Students to Obtain Internships?

While working for free can be a financial struggle in students’ current situations, internships are required for almost all majors. This requirement is designed to help students gain employment in the long run.

“I would say that the main benefit of an internship is the fact that employers overwhelmingly favor students who have the experience of an internship on their resume,” said William Hill, the Assistant Dean of Career Services.

Career Services has helped many students prepare for post-graduation. Hill said that while a prior job is also very useful for taking a position, an internship has many benefits that a normal job would lack. “The responsibilities entrusted to an intern often have a greater resemblance to actual jobs in the professional world. In addition to the experience a normal job would provide, you would be more specialized in your work. Consider a student who interns at a bank. If they performed well and knew what was needed, they would have a much better chance of getting a paid position.”

If a student performs well in an internship they might get hired in the end, depending on the company’s open positions. Although many companies do not pay their interns, there are other benefits such as experience and connections that one gains through an internship.

To most people, an internship is a training job, much like the apprenticeships of the 18th century and earlier. According to Dr. Stanley Blair, Assistant Dean of the Honor School, the University defines an internship as an unpaid position for a for-profit company. Paid internships and service learning are actually quite different, and are handled differently by universities.

“Paid positions that are often referred to as internships are in fact considered by Monmouth to be examples of co-operative education,” Blair said. “The terminology can be quite nebulous to students, and there has been discussion of retiring the term.”

Aware that the job field can be quite difficult for students and alumni to navigate, Blair has created a course to help English majors find their footing in the professional world titled Language and Community. He sees his course, and courses like it, as very helpful to students.

“The important thing about an internship is the interrelationship between what the student learns in classes at the University, and what they experience in the workplace. They allow students to get even more out of their education than they ordinarily would, and in the process allow them to network with potential employers and help other students. And then there’s the fact that many employers are now using internships as an extended interview to see if an intern is viable,” said Blair.

One of Blair’s success stories is Emma Traum, a senior English major who now works at Wunderkind PR, a firm that helps many burgeoning writers get their works published so they may find an audience. “I’ve learned so much at Wunderkind,” she said. “One of the great things about the company is that interns are quickly given important responsibilities,” she said.

Traum added, “The publishing industry is a complex field, so working for a company where I’ve actually gained real and worthwhile experience has been amazing.”

>With his class, Blair helped Traum, along with many other students. Some have even come back to speak to the current students about their experiences in the workforce. Traum offers a tip for any struggeling students trying to get an internship:

“My advice to any students applying for an internship would be to make use of the connections Monmouth has to offer. I never would have gotten the job at Wunderkind if not for Dr. Blair. As students, we’re in a rare position- we have a full staff of professors and advisors who want to help us succeed. You should never hesitate to ask for their help.”