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What are Internships?

Many people go throughout high school hoping to get accepted into college, hopefully the college of their choice. Some of you may attend for one or two semesters and realize that college isn't for you. Alternatively, you might attend a trade school, sit out for a while, or work full-time while trying to decide what you want to do. Whatever path you decide, gaining relevant work experience is very important in building a career.

Transferable skills such as communication, leadership, critical thinking, time management, organizational/planning, etc., are some of the skills many employers want to see in potential employees. These skills can be placed on your resume in addition to your education. This can happen while attending school and working in a career-related position, such as an internship or co-op. These terms are used sometimes interchangeably by employers.

One of the differences is co-ops are longer and usually paid while internships are for a shorter period of time and typically unpaid. Regardless, both provide the work experience you need to make an employer seriously consider interviewing you. Keep in mind employers typically look at a resume for about 30 to 60 seconds. This doesn't allow much time to capture that employers' attention. So, that internship/co-op is a plus.

Begin keeping a working document of all of your relevant class projects, volunteer experience, and extracurricular activities so, when applying for a co-op/internship, you'll have something to place on your resume.

So, just to highlight some of the additional benefits of gaining relevant work experience, we've prepared this list for you:


Well, we can give you at least 8 reasons to think about:

  • Gain experience in your field before graduation
  • Help pay a portion of your education
  • Increase your chances of employability
  • You can think of creative ways to connect your major and skills with many careers. For example, English majors can find opportunities such as Public Relations specialists, since they possess excellent writing skills.
  • Orient yourself to the world of work
  • Allow you to meet/network with professionals within your field
  • Build your confidence and skills
  • Give you a hiring advantage over others with NO EXPERIENCE


  • Internships & Cooperative Education (Co-ops)
  • Gaining Academic Credit for Your Internship/Co-op Experience
  • Creating a Plan to Find an Internship/Co-op
  • Informal Ways of Gaining Experience
  • FAQ’s About Internships/Co-op

We recommend you consider participating in an internship/co-op experience at any point during your college career. You don't have to wait until your senior year to begin gaining real-world experience. Consider working in an area you are interested in to find out more about it as early as your sophomore year. For example, perhaps you are interested in becoming an event planner. Seek out those opportunities that would allow you to do this such as working as a special events coordinator or alongside a wedding planner. This can be an advantage because it can help to confirm a good "fit" with your major and the career you hope to work in. Participating in an internship or co-op is also beneficial during your junior and senior years. While you learn a great deal in the classroom that learning can also be applied outside in the real world of work.. Come talk with us in the Career Center about it. We always enjoy having a good conversation.

You might ask yourself what to expect when you get here? We can assist you in gaining the tools necessary in searching for an internship/co-op opportunity. So, walk in, check us out (Advising and Career Development Center), DSU A-230, New Student Annex). If you spend much of your time up the "hill" please don't let that stop you from contacting us. You can call us at (270) 745-3095 or e-mail: career.services@wku.edu.

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 Last Modified 3/2/20