Pros and cons of getting an internship during the summer vs. semester

Carly Reiser

With previous experience being a qualification for most jobs, many students at Iowa State are seeking to get an internship at some point in their college careers. 

There are two options for students: they can get an internship during the summer or the semester. These are both great options, but one might be better for some students than the alternative.

“I think if my grades were high enough and my class load wasn’t too heavy, I would do one during the semester if I could get it,” said Katie Pesch, graduate assistant with Career Exploration Services.

Pesch had an internship with Park Nicollet Hospitals in the Twin Cities where she worked ten hours a week for credit. She worked with the eating disorders research program and was the education outreach and research intern.

Even though Pesch preferred a semester internship over a summer internship, she thinks any internship is beneficial.

“It was really helpful to get a real world perspective on the field of psychology, which is what I was looking for, because what we experience in an undergraduate environment is not anything like what it is like in the real world,” said Pesch.

Summer internships are beneficial for students who want to occupy their time and don’t want to risk getting behind in school.

“I personally prefer the summer because that way I’m not taking a semester off of school and I can keep on track with my 4 year plan,” said Allie Ferguson, a junior majoring in agronomy.

Ferguson had an internship this past summer with Monsanto where she was a crop scout. She took soil samples, stand counts, and helped farmers determine their deficiencies and management decisions. 

Because she was on salary, she was expected to work 40 hours a week, but working more than 40 hours a week was necessary to make sure the job was done right.

It was a 12-week internship that started when school got out and ended when school started back up, which she found to be an efficient way to use her time.

There are pros and cons to both summer and semester internships, but ultimately they both look good on a resume.

“The internships are an essential component to your success in college,” said Mike Gaul, director of career placement for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, “If you can maximize your summers here, you are well on your way to a prosperous career.”