Internships and other professional experiences are critical to a student’s successful transition into the world of work and graduate school. Employers consistently indicate that the most important factor they are looking for from job candidates is experience. Graduate and professional degree programs are also increasingly seeking applicants with relevant experience.
Internships afford liberal arts students the opportunity to apply their existing skills and further develop additional skillsets. Vassar students most commonly do internships during the summer. However, some students arrange part-time internships that take place during the semester. Some internships are paid, but many are not. Internships can be full-time or part-time.
The Benefits of Internships
Internships are a great way to supplement your liberal arts education as they allow you to apply your skills and classroom knowledge within a professional environment. The Center for Career Education encourages all students to complete at least one internship during their time at Vassar. Engaging in an internship is an excellent way to:
- Explore and identify career areas of interest
- Refine existing skills and develop new skills
- Build your resume
- Develop a network of professionals in your fields of interest
Internships and/or Summer Jobs?
Summer jobs are always paid and may not necessarily have anything to do with your major or your career interests. Internships can be paid or unpaid and are usually linked to your major or career interests.
All experience is good experience. Many students need to make money during the summer. Because internships, especially in certain fields, are often unpaid, students who need to make money assume they have no choice but to take a summer job. It may be possible to do both—take a job that gives you some hours available during the workweek and carve out 10–20 hours that you can devote to an unpaid internship. This combination means you can collect a paycheck while also gaining some meaningful experience and exposure that will help you clarify your career direction.