The Importance of Internships in College

Oakley Montgomery / Colleges of Distinction »

Reviewed and edited by Tyson Schritter : 28 March, 2024

During college, immersive internships in your field of study are essential to successful outcomes after graduation. Classroom environments may involve you with discussion, debate, peer interaction, and shared learning experiences.
but it’s important to seek opportunities for you to apply and develop the academic concepts you’re learning in a professional setting as well.

Learning, growing, and most importantly, preparing for life and a career, is what college is all about. Here are a few reasons why college internships are so vital to aid in your career readiness, such as an internship at The Box Tiger Music!

Career Development

Generally, an internship is a task-specific exchange of service for experience between a student and a business. Within internships, classroom concepts suddenly become real tools of the trade as you interact and learn in a professional setting. Internship experiences are formal, formative, and foundational to your career.

Developing your knowledge of workplace collaboration, business etiquette, and strong communication tactics are among the vital “soft skills” that can only be learned on the job. In this way, internships in your area of study will build your résumé and teach you instrumental, career-developing qualities.

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Character Growth

Not only do internships help develop your professionalism, but they also encourage character growth. Many employers even value personal qualities over professional knowledge when it comes to employment.

Characteristics like integrity, commitment, and self-motivation are several traits that are learned through an internship. In an article by Chris Myers, a contributing writer for Forbes, he recounts his own experience as an intern as well as the ways it shaped his character.

Over the course of his experience, he found a mentor who helped him learn to be humble and indispensable to his employers. These lessons remained with him even as he grew and became a business owner with his own interns. When you leave school, employers will want college graduates with more than just knowledge; they’ll want those who possess the individual qualities needed to get the job done well.

Sharpening one’s competence is a major benefit of an internship, but building character in the workplace is an equally great advantage. Internships are the perfect place to learn, test your skills, and grow personally, so you can step out and apply what you know to the real world.

A Door to Opportunity

Internships are foundational in preparing students for the workforce and providing opportunities after graduation. Most employers seek career-ready college graduates who have been equipped with prior experiences and skills in a given field.

According to a recent survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, the starting annual salary for college graduates who completed a paid internship and were employed in a private, for-profit company was $53,521, while those who did not complete an internship started with an average of $38,572.

The analysis also found that 72.2% percent of college graduates with internship experience received a job offer in contrast to only 36.5% for those who did not complete one.

Real-Life Application

At Grace College in Winona Lake, IN, students complete 12 “field” credits as part of their “Applied Learning” requirement. These credits are earned through internships, job-shadowing, research fellowships, student teaching programs, and many more career-developing positions—all of which benefit students as they expand their professional portfolios.

Here are what several Grace students have said about the internship experiences they’ve been a part of and how those work opportunities validated what they’ve learned in the classroom.

I’ve always heard that internships are incredible learning opportunities, but didn’t realize how true that is until mine. The number-one thing I learned is that soft skills and integrity are the most important factors in business.

— Joel Wesco (B.S. Accounting 2017), Audit and Tax Intern at Crowe Horwath LLP, in Indiana

I benefited greatly completing my bachelor’s and master’s while interning and learned so much about the medical device industry as well as hip and knee replacements. I’m excited to continue in my new role (with the company I interned for) and am thankful for my internship. It helped me get my foot in the door and land my full-time position after graduation, I believe.

— Cody Sprague (B.S. Biology 2017, M.S. Orthopaedic Regulatory and Clinical Affairs 2017),

Paid Intern in Clinical Affairs at Zimmer Biomet in Warsaw, IN

I grew not only in my business skills, but also as a young professional, and I am so thankful for the opportunity to learn from such a talented team in the marketing and networking field.

— Gabrielle Lawrence (B.S. Marketing 2017), Marketing Intern at Hello Events in Nashville, TN

Deliberative preparation for a rewarding career is a must. Internships are beneficial because they help develop your professional aptitude, strengthen personal character, and provide a greater door to opportunity. By investing in internships, you’ll give yourself the broadest spectrum of opportunity when seeking and applying for a job after college.

Grace College

Grace College is an evangelical Christian institution in Winona Lake, Indiana. Grace prepares students by providing them a strong foundation in the liberal arts as well as the biblical values that promote service, compassion, and integrity.

Today, Grace offers more than 70 undergraduate degrees in both traditional four-year and accelerated three-year degree formats. Grace also offers on-campus and online graduate degrees, associate degrees, and a bachelor’s degree completion program.


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