Student and Graduate Publishing

Higher education from the other side

Tuesday, 14 October 2014 13:43

By Jennifer Giles

 - Why a summer internship in higher education can be the best decision you’ll ever make!

I know what you’re thinking, you spend enough time at Uni in term time, you don’t want to be there over summer too! Well I thought exactly the same before I started a summer internship at my University. Before starting, I had visions of getting an internship in London, getting the tube every day, and earning loads of money doing not an awful lot. However, the stark reality is completely different. Many internships aren’t paid, have long working hours, and with so many people vying for that one placement, it’s almost impossible to secure that sought after position. 

So why bother? Around 61% of graduates end up working for the company where they did an internship. With so many people having a degree now, you really do need something to make you stand out from the crowd. An internship can be a great way to learn valuable skills and identify where your passions and skills lie. 

What’s the solution? Put aside your preconceived perceptions of working in higher education and keep a look out for opportunities around campus. Here are the main reasons why getting a summer internship at your university or institution can be one of the best decisions you’ll ever make! 

Familiar Surroundings
An internship within your university can be an ideal place to learn the ropes for that all important graduate job. You won’t get lost trying to find the building on your first day and you’ll probably know a lot more people than you think! 

Less competition
An outside internship will have applicants from universities all over the country. However, a university internship, more often than not, will only be open to applicants from your university. Result!

Exciting Projects
An internship can be great but it can also be filled with a lot of boring menial jobs such as tea and coffee making duties. At your university they are going to want to expand and develop your employability skills as much as possible. Don’t forget that if you get that super, amazing, well paid job because of your internship, they are going to be getting brownie points too! 

A Different Outlook 
Being a student at University is very different from being a member of staff. Yes, they will be more annoyed if you miss your 9am start than a lecturer would be. But it’s also interesting to see how much time and effort goes into making those events that you see posted all around campus throughout the year.

Specialist Knowledge
Being an intern at a university is amazing - your ideas and thoughts actually get taken into consideration! It’s vital that the university gets student views and makes their students happy, so your actions can really make a difference.

Long lasting Relationship 
A really good internship can even turn into a term time job - very helpful for paying the rent! If you are fundamental in a project, or have useful ideas that can be used all year round, they might call upon you for other projects. It’s great working and studying in the same place as you don’t have to travel far to get those library books back on time.

Final words…
My advice for getting that summer internship is to utilize the careers services on offer throughout the year. Attend the optional workshops and make sure you sign up to as many careers/job opportunity events as you can. Apply early and don’t forget to have fun! 

 For more about Postgraduate study, see here