29 answers

Should I work/intern during the school year in college or wait until summer?

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29 answers

Keith’s Answer

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My advice would be to seek employment with a company that you might like to work for after you finish school. If an internship is offered, that would be a preferred route as the internships also tend to have an associated guide or mentor that will help you. If no internships are offered, while you are interviewing be sure to ask about details on how one could become a full-time employee after finishing school.

Keith recommends the following next steps:

  • Seek advice from in-school career counselor / look for resources that companies have left at schools to draw applicants
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Karla’s Answer

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I highly suggest you intern (paid or unpaid, depending on your financial needs) during the school year. Assuming your schedule permits, and you are able to balance your school and work responsibilities, I think the balancing work and school life will give you a skill-set (juggling life), that you can only get through hands-on experience (and not something that is learned in text books). And of course, you will benefit in other areas from completing an internship, like exposure to work life, developing professional connections, learning from professional in the field you are interested in, etc. Either way, there are a lot of benefits in doing an internship, so whether you intern during the school year or during the summer, I say just go for it!

Your college years and entering the work force is a very exciting time. I wish you all the best- good luck!
I like your answer. Gaining experience is invaluable. Vicki Lyons Translate
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Syed’s Answer

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Hi Olivia,

If you can manage an internship and/or job without your grades slipping, this can be a real boost to your college experience. You can build your resume, befriend your coworkers and have great interview stories to tell. Just make sure you get clear expectations from your supervisor regarding availability. Your grades always come first.
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Tammy’s Answer

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I recommend you try to find a paid internship, they are out there. If you are not able to find a paid internship and depending on your financial situation, I recommend interning in fields you are interested in during the summer even if only for a limited time so you can also take a paid job. Interning is really the best way to see what is involved in the day-to-day in any career path, you may find that you love it or hate it. I know many people who thought they wanted to do one thing, but after doing an internship realized the daily routine did not interest them.

In addition, many internships offer positions to the most qualified and motivated interns after college. It is also a great way to network within an industry and build your resume.

Good Luck.
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Yasmeen’s Answer

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At a minimum, go for a summer internship. If there are internship opportunities local to your school and you think you can keep up your GPA then a school year internship could work. Alternatively, if there are no local internships, consider getting involved in campus activities that would allow you to develop the professional skills you're interested in. For undergraduate, I only interned in the summer. For graduate school, I interned in both the summer and during the school year of my last year. My GPA did suffer, but I got a job offer in the end, so it worked out.
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Zeenat’s Answer

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Absolutely! Doing a part time internship in your field of choice could open up doors for you once you graduate. Early exposure to jobs that are related to your field will give you a leg-up when you are looking for a full time job after graduation.
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Allison’s Answer

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I found it valuable to intern (paid/unpaid) and work throughout my college years! I recommend researching summer internships and year-round internships that both relate to the career path you want to take as well as positioning yourself to be a well-rounded candidate in the work place. For example, during my junior and senior year of college, majoring in communications/journalism - I worked as a mentor/tutor for students with learning disabilities and worked at a local print shop. I found that both experiences prepared me in different ways - mentoring challenged me to manage my time meticulously as I had to work around both my school schedule and theirs. I also found that teaching students with various backgrounds and learning styles helped prepare me for the many different types of people I would encounter in the working world. As a writer at the print shop - I was able to apply what I was learning in school in a real life setting - writing for a magazine that the whole town would read! As many other comments have mentioned - it's important to seek out opportunities that align well with your school/study schedule. Look for openings on campus so you can work in between classes, study hours, etc. without having to get yourself to another location. Best of luck to you!
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William’s Answer

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While you certainly do not have to have a job during the school year, I highly recommend doing so if possible. However, do not feel the need to rush into getting a job the second you begin college. As some prior answers mentioned, I recommend getting your feet set at your school first and explore any topics or industries that interest you. Once you have narrowed down your interests and skill set and do not have a busy schedule then I would encourage anyone to look for internships or job programs during the school year. Having said that I also want to re-emphasize that you should not feel obligated to find an internship doing the school year out of fear of falling behind the pack, especially if you are already involved in various clubs and extracurriculars. The last thing you want to do is add unnecessary stress that would take away from your education and overall college experience. But if you have some free time in your schedule, like I did, I definitely recommend looking into internships during the school year.

I interned at a software company the summer going into my senior year of college and was given the opportunity to continue working part-time (~20 hours a week) during the school year, which I did for 4 months. During this time I was able to get a better understanding and grasp of what it is to work full-time in an office setting and what is expected of employees. Perhaps more importantly, I was able to expand my network and get work advice from my colleagues. Overall I would say the experience made me more confident in myself and my ability to enter the workforce full time, plus the extra money was great bonus for any college student.
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Cristina’s Answer

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Hi Olivia!

This is an excellent question. Experience is a great thing to have! You having this question makes me think that you would be interested in an internship or work if the right opportunity came along. I suggest that as you transition into college, you concentrate on just your classes, and being involved on campus. The transition into college can be challenging, but once you have adjusted to your new college schedule, you could start looking for internships and or jobs you are interested in. Good luck!

Cristina recommends the following next steps:

  • Creating a LinkedIn account to follow accounts you are interested in, network, and explore jobs/internships.
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Megan’s Answer

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The advice I would give today (that I unfortunately did NOT follow, myself) would be to focus on your studies and transitioning to an independent college student your freshman year and to really think about what is piquing your interest in your new learning environment. Then, pursue a paid internship for the summer and take one class simultaneously - if you're able to handle both the internship and course work, continue your internship if you love it or look for a more interesting one for the following semester. Just be mindful to not burn yourself out and to always think about how to use what you're learning!
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Jacob’s Answer

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Hi - if you are given the opportunity to intern in the field you want to study, you should jump in it. This is the opportunity to really understand what is done in that field/job. I worked all through high school and college and it was tough. Some employers see that as being motivated and having drive.
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Devin’s Answer

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I would intern instead of work during college, because as an intern you can gain the knowledge you need to be successful in your career path. Also, the internship could turn into a full time position for you.
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Devin’s Answer

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I would intern instead of work during college, because as an intern you can gain the knowledge you need to be successful in your career path. Also, the internship could turn into a full time position for you.
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Brenda’s Answer

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To start out I would only work during the summer so you can stay focused on your school work and activities until you get used to college life. If you can handle everything well then you can try working or interning during the school year. Then I would work full time during the summer to save money up for the coming school year.
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David’s Answer

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I would highly recommend working/interning during the academic year, but be mindful of prioritizing studies. Possibly intern/work more during the early years of college and then dial back in later years as studies intensify. Best of luck and you will do great!
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Giovanni’s Answer

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Hello Olivia,

If you want to challenge yourself than I would say yes. We know that having many responsibilities can be quite challenging but very rewarding.

Attending school and working can help you develop better time management skills. I understand that sometimes we all say that we don't have time for certain things but it's because we don't make the time for it. With working and attending school you'll be able to create your schedule and while creating that schedule you'll be able to see how you can balance both you educational and work related activities. In addition to the time management, you'll be able to develop some project management skills as you schedule which activity has more priority in order to reach deadlines, etc. A benefit of working while in school is that you'll be able to implement the academic material in work, depending of what your work consists of, and this will give you the opportunity to have some sort of professional development. All this can give you a step ahead of those at work and school; and even when you apply for your first professional job (example; corporate America).

Thank you,

Giovanni A. Palermo
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Cory’s Answer

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You should always be open to the right opportunity. It's easy to make a plan, but life will always throw curveballs. In the case of an internship, even if it comes along at the wrong time according to your plan, it could end up being a tremendous opportunity to gain knowledge and build your resume'. Be open to at least considering any opportunity that comes your way. There is no harm in doing your due diligence. You can always decline if the time or opportunity is not right for you.
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Justin’s Answer

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Hi Olivia,

I would recommend trying to do an internship during the school year. My undergraduate college had a co-op program where I went to school for six months and then worked full time at an internship for another six months. With this, I had a full year and a half of experience of full time work before I graduated. It was an extremely beneficial experience that helped me greatly as I came out of college.

Justin
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Eric’s Answer

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I worked part time all through college and found it helpful to have the real world working experience when applying for jobs once I had my degree.
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Samantha’s Answer

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If there is an opportunity during the school year and you feel you can make both your internship and school then I would say, go for it! In some cases you might be able to find an internship opportunity during winter break so you can get the best of both worlds without waiting for the summer. Internships are a great resume builder and typically lead to full-time employment if you do a good job.
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Riley’s Answer

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It depends on your current workload and what the internship would be asking of you. If you are in one of your last semesters and only needed to take 2 classes and the internship you have in mind only requires part-time hours, then I would say totally go for it! However, most internships will be offering full-time positions, so if you are in classes a few days out of the week then it just will not be plausible. That's why everyone I knew in college decided to do internships over the summer, and most people did the summer between junior and senior year. We all felt that this was a good time because we had learned a lot about our careers through 3 years of classes and it was our last summer.
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Vicki’s Answer

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I would advise you to get work experience during the school year if possible particularly if it is related to your career goals. When I interview people coming from college campuses, I ask a set of questions regarding your experience. It is best if you have some work experience in order to answer those questions most effectively. How are your grades? If they are good and you can maintain them, then take on some internship/work. If they are not so good, then an internship/work experience may provide you a way to find a job, and help you find enthusiasm to do better in your course work. Good luck.
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Allison’s Answer

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I found it valuable to intern (paid/unpaid) and work throughout my college years! I recommend researching summer internships and year-round internships that both relate to the career path you want to take as well as positioning yourself to be a well-rounded candidate in the work place. For example, during my junior and senior year of college, majoring in communications/journalism - I worked as a mentor/tutor for students with learning disabilities and worked at a local print shop. I found that both experiences prepared me in different ways - mentoring challenged me to manage my time meticulously as I had to work around both my school schedule and theirs. I also found that teaching students with various backgrounds and learning styles helped prepare me for the many different types of people I would encounter in the working world. As a writer at the print shop - I was able to apply what I was learning in school in a real life setting - writing for a magazine that the whole town would read! As many other comments have mentioned - it's important to seek out opportunities that align well with your school/study schedule. Look for openings on campus so you can work in between classes, study hours, etc. without having to get yourself to another location. Best of luck to you!
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Anoosheh (Anna)’s Answer

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It depends on your school load but the more internship you can do, the better for your resume.
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Yusef’s Answer

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I would recommend trying to find a paid internship so that you will gain the experience in your particular field and also make money while doing it. If money is not an issue for you then an unpaid internship may be much easier to find. Being part of an internship will greatly increase your chances of landing a job before you graduate. Internships are a vital part to kick starting your career after college. I hope this was helpful.

Yusef recommends the following next steps:

  • Search for Virtual Summer Internships
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Stacy’s Answer

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Great Question and Something to Consider! I think it depends on a lot of factors and each person is different. If you have the opportunity to participate in an internship, paid or not, it is always a great opportunity to give you exposure to that line of business and the day to day activities as well as great experience to add to your resume and helpful in interviews. However, It can be tough to juggle work and school but depending on the circumstances for each person!

I had a part time job during high school and college which gave me great experience but never had an internship! I would have enjoyed one though!
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Shuantaia’s Answer

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I’d recommend you reach out to you advisor at school and ask he or she when you should apply for a internship? I’ve seen many corporations offer paid summer internships that have lead to permanent roles. No matter what you decide be sure that you have a internship. That is one of my biggest regrets not having a internship. It has been extremely hard for me to find a job in my field because of that.
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Giovanni’s Answer

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Hello Olivia,

If you want to challenge yourself than I would say yes. We know that having many responsibilities can be quite challenging but very rewarding.

Attending school and working can help you develop better time management skills. I understand that sometimes we all say that we don't have time for certain things but it's because we don't make the time for it. With working and attending school you'll be able to create your schedule and while creating that schedule you'll be able to see how you can balance both you educational and work related activities. In addition to the time management, you'll be able to develop some project management skills as you schedule which activity has more priority in order to reach deadlines, etc. A benefit of working while in school is that you'll be able to implement the academic material in work, depending of what your work consists of, and this will give you the opportunity to have some sort of professional development. All this can give you a step ahead of those at work and school; and even when you apply for your first professional job (example; corporate America).

Thank you,

Giovanni A. Palermo
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Jenna’s Answer

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You should apply early and often. Different internships open and close at different times. Apply for as many as you can since there are more applicants than there are internship positions.
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