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Internships get your foot in the door

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Internships get your foot in the door
A woman placing sticky notes on a wall Photo credit: Jason Goodman

On average, a student at BYU-Idaho will spend about $50,000 for a four-year degree, according to BYU-I’s Financial Aid Office. One way to reduce potential job dissatisfaction is by doing an internship.

“An internship gives you hands-on real-world experience and it teaches you if you are on the right path,” said Sheila Wener, a BYU-I Career Preparation Manager.

Internships can be divided into two subcategories, compensated and non-compensated. Each one has its advantage, such as providing students compensation for their time and efforts plus possibly giving the student unique experiences in places like Washington D.C. or a state’s capital which are places that they would have the chance to go to once they have completed their degree.

Yu-Chun Tung is a BYU-I alumnus who participated in five internships with four different companies and explained that having so many internships set him apart from other applicants. It provided him with talking points with future employers and helped him expand his current network.

He advised students to not be afraid of applying and to start now. He explained how even if students applied and didn’t get the job, that’s okay. It provides them with an experience they can take with them to the next interview.

“Once a student takes action opportunities start showing themselves, but if you are not doing anything or doing very much, it can be difficult,” Wener said.

Wener explained that doing on an internship provides the student with a chance to determine if their current career path is something they want to continue to pursue. According to Wener, it is easier to change now instead of when they are already walking across the stage to receive their diploma.

BYU-I, like many universities, has tools to prepare students to find an internship:

Faculty Mentors

Each student is assigned a faculty mentor in their major to help provide guidance and advice to the student when they are in need. These mentors are also individuals who are connected with employers and alumni in a student’s prospective career field.

BYU-I Alumni

Alumni are individuals who already completed their degree. They can be helpful in understanding what the career is like and how to circumnavigate some of the obstacles that lay ahead of the prospective employee. Alumni also may know who to network with and provide potential opportunities with the companies they interned with or currently are working for.

Internship Service Missionaries

They are missionaries who are set apart to help BYU-I students and alumni connect with employers and internship providers.

Handshake

A website BYU-I uses for potential employers to post jobs and other internship opportunities.

Career fairs and markets

These events take place once a week at the career center, where potential employers come and share what their company is about.

LinkedIn

A social media organization used by business professionals to link with one another and provide opportunities to connect with like-minded people.

Kirk Gifford, the Dean of the College of Business and Communication, shared that his college actively provides opportunities for students to go out and see what is available. He described that his department was going to take students to places like Dallas, Texas and New York State to expose students to different employers to prepare them for internships and jobs.

Once a student starts looking for an internship, they can also consider applying for different grants and scholarships to receive financial help with their internship, like the Internship Grant. The Internship Grant is a scholarship for students who need financial assistance with going on an internship by providing a means for students to go if they otherwise couldn’t.

Those who have questions about going on an internship at BYU-I can talk with the BYU-Idaho Career Center.