Internship programs have taken a lot of heat, particularly in the last year or so. Some for good reason - not every internship is legal, according to the Fair Labor Standards Act, especially opportunities where for-profit companies expect candidates to work full-time for no pay.
With nearly three-quarters of students enrolled in four-year colleges and universities taking on at least one internship during their school career, it’s no wonder people are worried about internship programs taking advantage of young professionals. However, as long as the company abides by the laws surrounding internship programs, those opportunities should not be written off.
And just because some companies are taking advantage of interns does not mean that all internship programs are bad. Quite the contrary, actually. The benefits of internships for college students (and even recent graduates) include—but are certainly not limited to—the following
- Learn more about your field or industry.
- Apply knowledge learned in the classroom.
- Gain valuable work experience.
- Decide if this is the right path for you.
- Develop and build upon skills.
- Get a foot in the door at a company.
- Gain valuable networking contacts.
- Obtain references for future job opportunities.
- Learn about the world of work.
- Meet peers with similar interests.
Also see: 10 Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Internship.