Why Internships Matter

May 12, 2022

Why Internships Matter


Sarah Miller

Sarah Miller

Alumni Portal Editor

Internships are wonderful ways to gain real-world experience in a particular field or focus. They come in many different forms – from paid to unpaid, and part-time to full-time. Internship opportunities vary in level as well. Some may allow students as young as high school to observe and learn from those around them while other internship opportunities go a step further and offer more than just exposure, they offer the opportunity to dive in and contribute in meaningful ways that can affect an organization’s bottom line. Using their network, students can work from a young age to build their resumes, connect with potential mentors, secure real-world opportunities, and gain an understanding of what they might want to pursue beyond college. These are also great opportunities to determine what you might not like to pursue, which can be just as important. Internships can be powerful tools used to buoy student experiences and give career seekers a leg up.


It is Never Too Early to Gain Experience

Many high schools offer opportunities to connect with mentors from outside organizations. This might be through solidified programs that work to put students in touch with mentors based on their interests, or something more casual where an advisor is able to help make a meaningful connection. When students utilize the teachers and other adults around them, the opportunities can be endless. Sometimes these connections can lead to useful internship opportunities for students looking to gain some experiential learning in a particular area. In some cases, students may make a lasting connection with a mentor who can provide advice and counsel – sometimes for years to come if that relationship is solidified. 


BPS Alumna Alura Winfrey

Alura Winfrey, CLA '16

For example, Alura Winfrey, a 2016 Citizens Leadership Academy (CLA) graduate, shared that through a mentoring program at CLA, she had the opportunity to connect with Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley, a 30-year diplomat, who is the Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer for the Department of State and was the longest-serving U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Malta. Alura, who now attends George Washington University, still keeps in touch with her mentor and regularly seeks advice and guidance. That relationship has opened doors for Alura and is a wonderful example of the power of mentors and the opportunities they can provide.


College Experience Can Help Secure a Future Job Opportunity

College is also a wonderful time to build your resume with the help of internships. Many colleges and universities offer work-study programs, which are beneficial on a variety of levels. Federal Work-Study provides part-time job opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students with financial needs, allowing them to earn money to help pay education expenses. In addition to financial gain, the program encourages work related to the student’s course of study. Opportunities like these can be more than just a job, they can lead to learning more about a particular area of interest, building your network, and connecting with possible mentors.

College is also the time to utilize your ever-growing network to secure a more traditional internship. Just as in high school, these can be paid or unpaid and can take on different forms. The one consistent is that all internships lead to learning and greater opportunities. What might start as a summer internship following your Freshman year, could lead to your first job out of college. 


You Just Graduated. Now What?

Congratulations! You are now a graduate of high school, and perhaps college as well. An internship may be a great option for you if securing a full-time job is now at the top of your to-do list! For some, previous internship opportunities can help pave the way toward that goal. For others, internships can be an eye-opening experience that leads to looking in another direction. Post-graduation is still the perfect time to secure an internship. In fact, most graduates find themselves with more flexible schedules and the ability to intern full time. These opportunities can lead to tremendous career growth, all while building your resume, expanding your knowledge, and growing your network.