Career Centers best tool to find internships
College students have abandoned camp counselor t-shirts and lifeguarding swim suits for business attire. As internships have become the preferred summer occupation, students have attempted to find the best placements. One place where many have neglected to seek aid, however, is their college’s career centers.
Career Centers are available on most college campuses. They generally have connections to alumni and employers and want to help students gain valuable work experience before and after graduation.
“We make recommendations. We encourage people to be intentional about what they are doing,” Anne Scammon, Director of Career Learning & Experience at George Washington University said.
She found that when students do not go through the school to get internships, they often fail to receive feedback from their employers. By researching and finding an internship through the school and by applying for academic credit, students ensure that they have the guidance of their dean and of their employers.
Scannon said that transferring from academic and student life to the corporate world can be difficult for interns. Learning the appropriate behavior in a work place is something that may not come naturally for students.
To help student make the transition, the University holds seminars and gives out pamphlets that denote the basics of the corporate world such as how to shakes hands and what to wear to work.
“What is acceptable to someone in their fifties may be different to someone in their twenties,” Scammon said. “It’s not a good experience if interns cannot fit in to the corporate world.”
American University was ranked first by US News and World report for internships with an 85% internship rate before graduation. To ensure that their interns have a valuable experience, American University asks potential employers to fill out a questionnaire which includes providing a thorough job description for interns. If employers are approved by career services, then students can intern there for credit.
“Sometimes when students are interviewed, they hear something different then their actual job description,” Marie Spaulding, Career Advisor for the College of Arts and Sciences at American University said.
Seeing these job descriptions from employers are crucial to students being prepared for their internships, she said.
Genesis Keller is a rising senior at American University and an intern at the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancies. She found her internship through American University’s “Career Web” which works with employers to post job and intern openings for American University students.
“I trust the website more than my other option, which is to look at company website. It’s a lot easier and more reliable to say I found you off the AU website,” Keller said. “It even works for them, because it is easier to get applications and employers know I am an American University student.”
After graduation Keller hopes to work in the film industry producing documentaries. Creating videos for her internship is helping her to gain work experience, she said.
Universities can only do so much for interns, however. Students must seek out career services and be thoughtful about the experience they intend to receive from their internship.
“The best interns are those who reflected on their academic and career interests and find a connection between the two,” Scammon said. “They are clear about what they want to learn about and what they want out of the internship.”
Although American University provides students with many tools to get an internship, Spaulding emphasized that American University never places interns- students earn their internships on their own.
“The rational is that no one is going to place students in a job in the future. They have to learn the skills now,” she said.