One popular gap year option is interning. While an internship in a field related to students’ chosen subject or profession will impart the specific hard skills and experiences required, all internships teach students transferable - and valuable - soft skills, and demonstrate a strong work ethic and a desire to learn and grow. These are impressive qualities for admissions officers and employers!
What’s more, internships can be a great opportunity to learn more about an industry, giving students the chance to explore whether it’s the right fit for them. Plus, they’re a chance to network and form valuable connections.
Still, there are a few things students should be aware of. Firstly, not all internships are made equal: some employers use them as a chance to get menial tasks done. Students should look for internships which focus on the intern’s development and education.
Secondly, the geographic concentration of some internships can be an obstacle. For example, most publishing internships in the UK are in London. That could mean students have to pay to travel to and from the city, and consider the expense of renting accommodation.
It’s worth noting that any students hoping to carry out an internship in their 2021 gap year will have more virtual opportunities than ever. In fact, there are whole organisations dedicated to providing these, like Virtual Internships.
Virtual internships share the benefits of in-person ones, while avoiding the obstacles of cost and geography, so they can be a good option for many students.
However, as we’ve learnt this past year, it can also be quite difficult to work remotely! Especially for students who have never worked in a professional environment, they might find it challenging to complete their training, volunteer their opinions, or make meaningful connections with peers and supervisors.