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As a college student, one of the most talked about things is how to spend your summers. The summer is a great time to prepare for your future and get some experience under your belt.  One of the best ways to get some work experience is to have an internship and learn beneficial job-related skills.  You may have a few opportunities and offers available, but it is important to pick the internship that is right for you.

What do you get from the internship?

Students look for many characteristics of an internship, but one of their main deciding factors is the pay.  No matter what the job requires, a college student will always be motivated by money to put towards tuition, books, or just a little extra cash!  However, some internships are done for class credits or to fulfill class requirements, and may not be paid.  Depending on the organization, you may get lucky and receive both!

Time

Not every student is looking for a summer internship; some internships are available all year round and require different time commitments.  When looking for an internship, you need to decide what fits your schedule.  Do you want something that lasts all year, all semester, or just for the summer?  When it comes down to it, you need to decide how much time you have to offer.  The work schedule that may be required can affect your decision as well.  Many organizations are super flexible when it comes to internships because they understand how busy a college schedule can be—try not to over commit yourself if you are balancing classes or another job.

Team atmosphere

As an intern, you often have one or two employees that you work very closely with for the majority of your time with the organization.  You want to make sure you pick a mentor or team that you can work well with and get along with.  As a completely new employee, interns often have many questions.  A team with clear and open communication can insure that the intern, as well as the organization, will benefit from the work that is completed.

The tasks to be completed

It is very important to know what you will actually be doing for the organization.  Because internships are a great way to get job experience, you need to consider the tasks that you will be completing and if they will be beneficial to you.  It is helpful to know what you will be expected to complete throughout the course of the internship.  It is very rewarding to work on a project from start to finish and to see something that you have worked on come to fruition.

Long-term outcomes

In the end, you should always think of your internship as an extended, summer-long interview.  Is the organization somewhere you could see yourself working in the future? Some internships could be an opportunity for a full-time position and can give you a real advantage when looking for a job after graduation.  At the very least, you can develop some great relationships that can lead to a reference in the future.

No matter what, make sure that you pick the internship that is right for you! The tasks you perform can help you decide if that kind of work is appealing to you. Find an internship that interests you and the experience will be worth more than any class credit or paycheck!

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