6 Benefits of Summer Internships for College Students

If you’re thinking about taking a summer internship, you’re not alone. Summer is often one of the most popular (and competitive) seasons to find an internship. While internships are offered year-round, there are several reasons why summer internships are popular among college students. From less hectic schedules to maximizing the value of your college credits, here are 6 benefits of summer internships for college students.

1. Summer Internships Allow You to Focus on the Experience

It’s not uncommon for schools to limit their course selection during the summer months. Depending on your major and required classes, you might not have many options when looking to take classes during the summer forcing you to take time off from coursework.

Summer internships allow you to give your full attention to your internship experience. This focus can help you make stronger professional connections and get a more rewarding experience. Instead of taking the summer off completely, taking on an internship during this time can be beneficial to your career advancement.

2. More Companies Offer Summer Internships for College Students

While many companies offer year-round internships, some only have summer internships for college students. If there’s a specific place you want to intern, the summertime might be the only opportunity to do so.

If you skip the summer semester and only look for spring or fall internships, you may be missing out on key opportunities.

3. Summer Internships Can Help You Graduate Earlier

If you take a college summer internship, you might find a surprising benefit: the potential to graduate sooner.

Earning more credits during a summer semester that you might have not earned could give you the chance to graduate ahead of schedule. This isn’t just a huge time-saver, but it could also save you money. The longer you’re in school, the more likely you’ll be subject to tuition increases. But the sooner you graduate, the less likely you’ll see a jump in your tuition. Graduating sooner also allows you to get a job sooner and to begin earning money faster.

4. Take a Summer Internship and Reduce Your Coursework for a Future Semester

Summer internships for credit can also help you lighten your classwork in another semester. For example, if you get the same credit for a summer internship as you can for a class, you can consider taking fewer classes in an upcoming semester. This can be a good idea if you know an upcoming class will be time-intensive.

5. Summer Internships for College Students: Earn Money and/or Credit

If you thought about getting a summer job to make some extra cash, start by looking for a paid summer internship. Job-seeking site, Indeed.com, reports that average pay for summer internships is between $7.25 and $26.75 per hour, but pay will depend on your field.

You not only get the job experience, but you could even end up paying for some college credits with the money you earn.

If you find an unpaid internship, ask if you can earn college credit for your work. Some employers may pay you and let you earn credits simultaneously.

6. A Summer Internship Can Help Establish Your Career Path and Goals

A lot of college students start their first semester in the fall, and while many are certain about their major, it’s not uncommon to see students change their minds again and again about what they want to study and what their career goals are.

An internship is a great way to get some real-world experience in the field you’re interested in. It can reaffirm your decision, or help you realize that your chosen career path isn’t the right one for you and you want to explore something completely different.

Unfortunately, many college students come to this realization after they’ve already taken several classes and spent thousands of dollars. Switching majors late in the game can be a huge financial burden and very time-consuming.

If you’re planning on starting your first college semester in the fall, why not make your first semester be the summer semester – and as an intern? This can be a great way to know from the start if you’re interested in a particular industry.

Note that some colleges require that students take a certain amount of credits before taking on an internship, so check with your school to find out what their policies are. If they do have a credit requirement, you could see if it’s possible for an override and receive permission to take on an internship as a new student. It also can’t hurt to intern for no credit. The experience will still count on your resume.

But, Be Sure to Consider Competition for College Internships During Summer

Because of all the benefits we’ve outlined above, summer internships for college students are popular and, therefore, competitive. But you can get a leg up by starting early. Most students will apply between January and March, but some businesses can start looking for summer interns as early October. So, it can pay off to start your search as early as possible—even up to a year in advance.

Need more help? Check out our guide on How to Find a College Internship.


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