When some students think of internships, they might imagine desk jobs where they will be shuffling papers around all day without pay for the hours they put in.
Employers think about internships quite differently according to a survey conducted by The Chronicle of Higher Education.
A Chronicle of Higher Education survey of employer evaluation standards for new graduates, found internship and employment experience carried more weight than a graduate’s major, grade-point average and even the relevance of the graduate’s coursework to a given job position.
Yet, before students jump headfirst into an internship, it is important to understand that not all internships are created equal.
In 2014, The Gallup-Purdue Index surveyed recent graduates and discovered that 71 percent of graduates, who believe they applied what they learned in school to their internship, were currently employed full-time.
Compared to the 56 percent of graduates employed full-time, who believed they had not applied what they had learned in their internship.
Luckily for Cal State Fullerton students, the campus provides myriad tools to help place students into internships that are both rewarding and engaging.
The bulk of the CSUF’s internship placement apparatus is headed by the Center for Internships and Community Engagement, located in LH-206, which screens employers for specific criterion so as to provide CSUF students with ideal internship partners.
According to Dawn Macy Ph.D., director of the Center for Internships and Community Engagement, there is an intense process for screening employers.
“We screen on the basis of what duties they’ll (students) be performing, what sort of training and mentorship they’re going get and what they’re going to walk away with,” said Macy said.
Although some businesses may be wary of the vetting process, the Center for Internships and Community Engagement has secured over 3,000 partners, which translates to thousands of jobs for students.
For students who are required to take an internship to graduate, they will be able to work closely with the center in order to find the internship that is right for them.
For students who have majors that require no internship, they can visit the Career Center located in LH-208, which focuses on placing students into paid internships.
This offers many advantages, as students can find ways to support themselves through paid internships where they may not have previously had time for an unpaid internship.
Of those 63 percent with paid internships in the for-profit marketplace were offered jobs after
graduation, compared to 37 percent of unpaid internships, and 35 percent of graduates who had not taken an internship at all, according to the 2014 Internship and Co-op Survey, conducted by the National Association of College and Employers.
The Career Center at CSUF shares a joint community partner account with the Center for Internships and Community Engagement, adding an even greater number of employers for students to choose from, giving students a greater chance to select the internship that will fit perfectly with the skills they have gained from academia.
For those who are looking for a more meaningful internship that can be currently offered by the for-profit landscape, students may turn to the Gianneschi Center for NonProfit Research.
Susan Cadwallader, the director of the Gianneschi Center for Nonprofit Research, organizes the program to include a focus on academia as well as training.
“The Gianneschi Center for Nonprofit Research was founded with the intention of providing services and training for the non-profit medium and small non-profit community in Orange County,” Cadwallader said.
During the spring and fall semesters, the Gianneschi Center provides students with classes and in- formation to prepare them for work in nonprofits, but the Gianneschi Center’s crown jewel is their summer school program.
“We want students to come to our Gianneschi Center Summer School for Nonprofits,” Cadwallader said. “There, they have the opportunity to interact with nonprofit leaders, to learn about nonprofit management, and that service, this year, will be offered at no charge to the student.”
For students who may be unsure of themselves when networking, or merely wish for more guidance during the summer school program, faculty may accompany attending students for a minimal fee.
“Our job is to get these folks (students) in front of business professionals, and get them networking with each other,” Cadwallader said.
Every student may face the challenge of entering the job market, but with the help of the many internship programs provided by CSUF, students can have the confidence to stand out and succeed.