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Should you get a summer internship?


Thursday, April 03, 2014

The end of the school year is creeping closer, and that means many students are beginning to plan for summer. While you may dream of spending your days lounging by the pool or hanging out with friends, your time may be better served by getting a summer internship. But before diving into this process, you should weigh the pros and cons of this type of work experience.

Consider your budget
Many internships are nonpaying, providing school credit as compensation instead of a paycheck. You may be able to find opportunities that pay, however, these situations are highly coveted and very competitive. Students who are concerned about making money to put towards college may find that a traditional summer job is better suited to their needs. The bottom line will certainly influence which course of action you choose, so be honest with your expectations and your financial situation.

Look to the future
You should pursue internships that are related to a field you are interested in. These positions could provide you with connections and networking opportunities that pay off later, and they also may be a great way of determining if you have a real passion for a particular field. For example, if you are thinking about a career in nursing, you may try to find a part-time position in doctor's office. Although you likely won't be doing any tasks that are too involved with the medical side of operations, it is a good way to gain exposure to the ins and outs of the environment.

Showing initiative with regard to your intended field of study may also be a great way to set yourself apart when applying to colleges. You're proving that you have seriously thought about your future and have taken proactive strides to immerse yourself in the subject.

Tie it to schoolwork
Regardless of what type of internship experience you gravitate toward, you may be able to use it to your advantage in school. High school students who are required to complete a senior project or capstone, for instance, can use an internship as a jumping off point, incorporating the lessons learned into their work. This could even be a means of preparing for college, as students will be taking real-life experiences and applying them to the classroom.

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