The many factors weighing in on internship decisions

By Taylor Lucero

As a junior, I have been trying to plan for summer internships. I know paid internships can be hard to come by, so I have been saving up since last summer. Getting that on-the-job experience is important, but so is planning when and where to intern.

Since I started college, I have had to think about how to budget my school expenses. Paying for school supplies can be a financial pain. Interning can be too, especially if you have to go out of town to find the right one. This is why I am contemplating a different option.

Instead of interning during the summer, I could apply to internships after graduating with my bachelor’s degree and take a year off between undergraduate and graduate school.

Finding a paid internship is a luxury that not everyone can get, and paying for an apartment and other necessities can get expensive. In my case, and possibly many others’, the big factor is saving money.

After being accepted to the internship, some people may have the resources to go wherever and do whatever that internship requires. For those who cannot, planning ahead is key.

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The perks of taking the year off would be that after college, most students look for or go straight into a career. Getting a job leads to settling down in one place, which could lead to staying in one place for a long time.

While in college, University students have a golden opportunity to experience the world freely, and interning can give us those experiences in shorter periods of time.

By taking a year off between school, you could get multiple chances to intern for different companies during one year. If you choose this option, you could have more than one unique workplace experience to put on your resumé.

I read about students who take gap years between school; most of which discussed high school graduates who decide to take a year off before entering college. However, it can still pertain to those considering taking a year off after graduation.

The hard part about taking a gap year, and the point my parents are concerned about, is committing to return to school afterwards, which are stressed in a 2014 Time Magazine piece about the same subject.

If I intern during the year off, find a place I love working at and get offered a job, it could be a wonderful opportunity, but it could deter me from applying to graduate school. Even if someone commits to go back to college, life changes and lucky opportunities should be taken if they are the best option.

However, those planning on taking time off for internships may have to deal with some technical snags with the job requirements. Some internships may only be available to those who are full-time students, or other criteria based on school level and graduation status.

If you want a specific internship, you should make sure it is available to bachelor’s degree graduates ahead of time.

Also, gather all of the information you can. Talk to academic counselors or even people who have taken gap years to know what you will be getting into and what you will have to do to apply to grad school after a year’s absence.

Leaving school for a year can be an efficient options for those dedicated to returning. Taking a gap year can be a great alternative if you cannot do conventional summer internships.

Since there is no exact plan for every student, all decisions should be considered to get the best experience at the right time.

Taylor is a junior in Media. She can be reached at [email protected].