Students: Internships Positively Impact Competencies

October 24, 2018 | By NACE Staff

two people sitting at a table

TAGS: competencies, experiencial education, Internships, nace insights, student attitudes, students, surveys,

Spotlight for Career Services Professionals
Spotlight for Recruiting Professionals

Students feel that their experiential education assignments have a positive impact on their career readiness competencies, according to results of NACE’s 2018 Student Survey.

Nearly four-fifths of students responding to the survey who have had an internship and/or co-op said their professionalism and work ethic were “very” or “extremely” improved by the experience. (See Figure 1.)

Likewise, nearly three-quarters of students felt their internship and/or co-op had a significantly positive impact on their teamwork/collaboration and oral and written communication skills.

These results align with how students spent much of their time during their internships/co-ops—operating in a professional environment, working as part of a team, and communicating with others.

The 2018 Student Survey Report details the attitudes, behaviors, and outcomes for bachelor’s degree students at all class levels. (Note: Previous reports provided data only on graduating seniors.) The focus of this report is the 22,109 bachelor’s degree students from the 2017-18 academic school year (July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018). Breakdowns by class level are as follows: 4,336 freshmen, 4,174 sophomores, 5,709 juniors, and 7,890 graduating seniors. Data collection took place from February 14, 2018, to April 30, 2018. Participating schools will find a complimentary copy of the 2018 Student Survey Report in MyNACE > Research Reports; an executive summary is available on NACEWeb.

Figure 1: Percent of respondents who reported competencies were “very” to “extremely” improved by their internship/co-op experience

Competency Percentage
Professionalism/Work Ethic 79.2%
Teamwork/Collaboration 72.6%
Oral/Written Communications 71.5%
Critical Thinking/Problem Solving 66.6%
Leadership 59.1%
Digital Technology 48.7%
Career Management 48.7%
Global/Intercultural Fluency 33.3%
Source: 2018 Student Survey Report, National Association of Colleges and Employers