What is an internship?
An internship is an experience where students, while enrolled in college, can gain realistic learning experiences through work. The internship must have educational value for the students employed. The work experience may be paid or unpaid.
There are no class meetings for students enrolled in an internship class. Students are asked to complete online class assignments, and class time is spent at the internship site. Students are required to work a minimum number of hours to receive college unit credit. See Program Information & Hours for further details.
Why should I be an intern?
Why bother? Why not think of school now and your career later? You've got enough to worry about as it is! Wouldn't it be cheaper to finish school, then become a fulltime professional?
What does an internship do for you anyway?
Get a head start into your field…
Underemployment is a concern for many graduates, that is, being employed but in a job that does not make use of the students' potential. For this reason, many career-oriented, ambitious students choose to do an internship. The internship gives students a competitive edge! Students gain the experience needed to break into a field. Many employers will hire only experienced people. Participating in an internship is one way around this obstacle.
Explore a career
Are you trying to figure out what you want to do with your life? How can you know for sure? You can take a class and see if you like a type of career. You can read about careers or hear somebody talking about what they do. These are all great things to do. But the experience of actually doing a job and seeing what it is like from the inside is incomparable.
Pay attention to how the job feels. Is the work environment interesting, or exciting? Do you like the type of people working in this setting? Do you like the work tasks you will be doing once you are a professional? Your internship should provide you with some clues as to whether this might be a satisfying and fulfilling field for you.
Improve how well you do as a college student
That's right! You are likely to improve your college grades and level of achievement. This is how it works: A career goal is like "chocolate sundae". People tend to work harder when they know there will be a reward. In the same way, a career goal is like a chocolate sundae in that it motivates some people to perform better and to stay in school to achieve a desired goal.
Another way that the internship may improve your class performance is that classroom curriculum may become more meaningful. Material that you are learning in class may relate to your internship assignments. This may help you see the value of your class lessons.
What else can an internship do for you?
Provide references. When you are an intern at a company, people get to know you and your work. They may take a personal interest in you and your career. When it comes time to look for a job, these individuals can act as references for you. They know the quality of your work, your work habits, and your interpersonal style.
Make contacts for your future. The people you meet at your internship are potential networking contacts. These people can introduce you to others in your field who may have opportunities that are just right for you.
Lead to a higher salary. When you take the time to complete an internship, you gain valuable experience. This experience can justify asking a future employer for a higher rate of pay than if you were applying for the job with no experience. You can explain to your future employer that you have gained specific skills on the internship and probably will not require as much training as somebody who has not completed an internship.
May turn into a job. Some employers use the internship as a way to evaluate potential new employees. You can never assume that an internship will turn into a job, even if you are a wonderful intern, but it makes it more likely.
Important Info on Internship Program
The Internship Program is available to continuing SMC students. A continuing student is one who has enrolled and completed a minimum of 6 units during the previous fall/spring semester.