(Rock Hill, S.C.) — Internships are a big part of many programs at Winthrop University and while every major doesn’t require one, they are definitely encouraged.
A 2017 Gallup survey, entitled Why Colleges Should Make internships a Requirement, found students who graduated from 2002 to 2016 said they were more than twice as likely to find a good job after graduation, because they had a relevant job or internship while in school.
Tom Injaychock, associate director at the Center for Career and Civic Engagement at Winthrop, said some departments on campus have a curriculum that requires an internship and others only “strongly suggest it.”
For students majoring in mass Communication or integrated marketing communication, internships are mandatory.
“We feel that this is very necessary to be competitive in the workforce,” said Bonnye Stuart, internship advisor for the Department of Mass Communication.
It’s a way of us making sure that our students represent not just themselves well, but the department,” she said.
“It is very important to get real world experience and apply the knowledge and skills gained in coursework to a workplace setting so our students can be fully prepared for their careers when they graduate,” said Jennie Rakestraw, professor and dean of the College of Education.
However, many departments at Winthrop still stress the value of an internship, even if it isn’t required.
“We like to keep our major as flexible as possible so that students have lots of choices. While we feel that internships are very valuable, we realize that they may not work for all students,” said Jeannie Haubert, professor and chair of the Department of Sociology, Criminology and Anthropology.
Internships are not mandatory across the College of Business Administration but they are promoted, according to Dean and Professor P.N. Saksena.
“We are working on forming partnerships with additional organizations to get more opportunities for our students,” said Saksena.
Injaychock said it would be hard to make internships mandatory, because Winthrop has so many students and some internships could become less “meaningful” then they are now.
Regardless, many many students recommend working at least one internship.
“I think the only way to learn certain things and skills for the future is through actual experience,” said Gaby Gardner, a sophomore integrated marketing communication major.
“Try to do an internship as soon as possible, because that internship can tell you whether you would enjoy the job or not,” said Kate Watford, a sophomore sociology major. “It helped with opening eyes to other job opportunities.”
Winthrop offers students resources when searching for an internship, including EAGLElink, and many departments maintain bulletin boards with internship postings.
The Center for Career and Civic Engagement also provides students with professional development assistance. Injaychock said students can go to the center to be guided through the internship process and can receive help creating a resume or preparing for an interview.