Internships are one of the most critical factors that help students get jobs after graduation, Kelsey Gee writes for the Wall Street Journal.
A recent report by Mount Holyoke College and the National Association of Colleges and Employers explored which factors have the greatest effect on the career outcomes of college students. To conduct the study, researchers in the Career Development Center at Mount Holyoke examined student records, internship reports, and post-graduation surveys of about 1,800 students who graduated from the college between 2013 and 2015.
Researchers found that the two most important factors for employment outcomes are GPA and a high number of internship experiences. For example, the more internships a student had, the more likely he or she was to be employed six months after graduation. Students who had two summer internships were twice as likely to have jobs as students who had no internships.
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The study also identified other factors that contributed to career success, including whether students' internships were paid, how often students visited the career center, and students' choice of major. However, none of these factors were as strongly correlated with career outcomes as GPA and number of internships. Liz Lierman, Mount Holyoke's director of career services and a co-author of the study, says internships help students get practical experience and figure out what kind of career they want.
Some colleges and universities have even made internships a requirement for graduation, Gee writes. For example, students at Endicott College must to complete at least three internships—and more than 90% of graduates get jobs in their field of stiudy, according to Laura Rossi-Le, undergraduate dean at Endicott College (Gee, Wall Street Journal, 10/4).
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