What are internships?
They are a means to gain practical and professional experience outside of the academic setting. Typically internships relate to your intended specialty or college major. Students have a taste for employment in an area associated with their past and/or future studies. Exposure to the working environment may provide the impetus to seek another career path or cement your intended aspirations.
There are usually guidelines for each internship; for example, you should commit to at least 10 hours a week on a full-time or part-time basis. The latter can be done during the school semesters, whereas the former could be performed during a summer break. Most companies compensate interns with tech and finance paying the better salaries, and journalism, fashion, and non-profits are at the lower end of the pay scale. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), the average hourly rate for undergraduates was $18.50 in 2018.
Participation in an internship is beneficial when applying to a graduate program. Admissions want to know about you – your extracurricular activities, why you’ve chosen information science, academic achievements or awards, personal accomplishments, and work experience. Therefore, internships qualify as work experience, which is crucial to your application.
The NACE’s Center for Career Development and Talent Acquisition published a report in 2017 titled – The Impact of Undergraduate Internships on Post-graduate Outcomes for the Liberal Arts. Their findings do not address information science specifically; however, the conclusions illustrate the significance of internships. What stood out from the research data is that GPA and the number of internships completed by undergraduates had a bearing on employment. The higher the GPA and the more internships translated to more job offers within six months of graduation.
Types of Internships
One problem with internships is logistics. You have to be where they are, which may require travel to another city during the summer—or locating an internship near your residence if you’re taking online classes or near the campus for in-person courses. Finding something appropriate can be problematic as internships might not be in abundance where you are situated.
Online employment sites, such as Indeed, are a source. You may have better success searching under the job title of library science instead of information science. Engineering Systems, Inc. in Aurora, Illinois, posted a Librarian Intern for summer 2021 to work on an information access project involving over 59,000 documents. The position requires editing and reviewing information for accuracy and bibliographies. Applicants should have at least two years of college library or information science coursework.
Another internship posting on Indeed is a summer stint with the Chicago Transit Authority in Chicago. Both part-time for local students (15 hours a week) and full-time over the summer (40 hours a week) are available. The educational requirements include library science, business, information science, social sciences, and public administration majors. The pay is $12 to $17 an hour.
SimplyHired, an online employment site, is another source of opportunities. RTI International, for example, an independent non-profit research institute, has a unique paid internship to last from June 2021 to December 2021. Candidates enrolled in an information or library science degree with proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite may apply. During the internship, there are possibilities to explore other library and information science specialties, such as online literature searches, document delivery, website maintenance, and reporting. In addition, the successful intern will gain exposure to database management, data analytics, and bibliometrics. RTI states a salary range of $23,000 to $29,000 for the seven-month commitment.
Next Best Thing
Internships can be challenging to find and be inaccessible because of travel distance. An alternative to enhance your application to a graduate program in information science is a practicum. A practicum is similar to an internship, but it is part of the course structure. Like an internship, a practicum is work experience to gain knowledge from a profession related to your major. The Bachelor of Information Sciences at The University of Tennessee includes a Bachelor of Science practicum for interested students. There are also opportunities to participate in an independent project or research. Both highly valuable on your resume for graduate schools.
The College of Information – Department of Information Science at the University of North Texas in Denton has a B.S. Moreover, students may apply for a General Practicum in various concentrations, including Information Systems, Archival Studies, and Information Organization.
The captioned question refers to what internship will help you prepare for a master’s degree. More correctly, the preparation is inconsequential if you cannot be accepted. And graduate programs base the merits of your qualifications on transcripts, GPA, letters of recommendation, a personal statement or statement of purpose, and possibly a résumé. The latter includes special abilities, skills, and work experience (meaning internships, research projects, or a practicum.