Coffee runs. Sorting mail. Endless afternoons by the copier…

While these have been the prevailing stereotype for quite some time, internships have evolved! Most companies have realized what a powerful tool an internship can be in terms of recruiting top talent into the organization. These companies understand that providing a meaningful and engaging experience can be beneficial for both parties. Through all of the homework, projects, papers, and exams that we deal with as college students, it can be challenging to add another element into the equation. Don’t go through college without taking advantage of all the amazing opportunities that come with it. Here are a few reasons why internships are definitely worth your time and effort:

Experience your career field first-hand

An internship in your desired field gives you an insight into what life is like in that profession. Stepping outside of the classroom and into the real world can tell you if a certain career is right for your interests.

Build your network

Take advantage to build connections with all of the professionals you will be interacting with. You might even find a mentor to help you as you progress. You may also be lucky enough to meet other interns from different schools; a great way to make new friends!

Develop your resume

It is no surprise that internships are one of the top things hiring companies look for in a candidate. Having one under your belt signifies that you are aware of what the professional world is like and you took on the extra responsibility to distinguish yourself.

Earn cash with a paid internship

Contrary to the notion that internships are just free labor, a large number of internships are actually paid. Make it a point to search for these opportunities. What better way to make some money during the summer than by gaining valuable professional experience at the same time?

Find employment opportunities

According to the National Association of College and Employers (NACE), employers make full-time job offers to 64.8% of interns. Not too shabby, huh?

Personal and professional development

A full-time internship can be much more valuable than just experience in a certain field. It can show you what life as a professional will be like. They can test your time management, initiative, and responsibility. All things crucial to succeeding in the “real world”.

Most importantly, look for internships that will challenge you (even if it might scare you.)

Authored by Carlos Garcia

Carlos studied as an American Honors student at Ivy Tech Community College before transferring to Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). He writes about career preparation, internships, and succeeding at college.