Evidence of value of applying academic experience outside the classroom
A piece by EAB reports on a new Gallup survey showing that students who have internships that apply what they learn in the classroom are more than twice as likely to feel that college has prepared them well for life after graduation. It’s a US study but should be equally applicable in the UK
Sponsored by Purdue University and the Lumina Foundation, the survey was administered online to nearly 30,000 bachelor’s degree holders. Overall, the analysis found that 29% of graduates strongly agreed with the statement “while attending college I had an internship or job that allowed me to apply what I was learning in the classroom.”
Most interestingly, internships are on the rise and do seem to equate to greater student satisfaction:
Recent graduates were significantly more likely to say they had meaningful work experience. Students who graduated after 2010 agreed 35% of the time—compared to 28% among those who graduated in the 1980s.
Relevant internships proved highly correlated with student satisfaction. A full 48% percent of students who reported meaningful work experiences said they felt college had prepared them well for life after graduation. But only 19% of students who did not have a meaningful job or internship agreed.
There is real value here it is suggested:
Jamie Merisotis, President and CEO of the Lumina Foundation, says the survey underscores the importance of developing students’ critical thinking and collaboration skills outside the classroom. He adds, “These are skills that can often be developed through work opportunities like applied internships, community and national service, and experiential learning as complements to a rigorous academic program.”
And there is a general consensus that employers increasingly value a candidate’s internships and work experience. So, internships (at least paid ones) are an unqualified good it seems.