Summer jobs are always paid and don't necessarily have anything to do with your major field of study or your career interests. Internships can be paid or unpaid and are linked to your major field of study or career interest.
All experience is good experience. Many students need to make money during the summer. Because internships, particularly in certain fields, are often unpaid, students who need to make money assume they have no choice but to take a summer job. You can do both. Take a job that gives you some hours available during the workweek and carve out anywhere from 10 - 20 hours that you can devote to an unpaid internship. You've got the best of both worlds -- a paycheck plus some meaningful experience and exposure that will help you further clarify your career direction.
An internship is a fun and exciting way to put your liberal arts skills into action. Internships are a form of experiential learning; you learn about a career that interests you through direct experience in that field. Internships are similar to summer or part-time jobs in some ways; you work for an employer in a professional setting. However, internships are usually more substantial than part-time or summer jobs, and focus on the learning that takes place as a result of the work you're doing. Oberlin students can do internships throughout the year. Some internships are paid, but many are not. Internships can be full-time or part-time. The variety of internships available is enormous.
Internships are a valuable supplement to your liberal arts education, allowing you to enhance your skills and apply classroom knowledge to a professional environment. Career Services encourages all students to complete at least one internship during their time at Oberlin.
Oberlin students most commonly do internships during the summer. However, some students are able to arrange part-time internships during the semester. Winter Term is also a very popular time for internships. Career Services coordinates many unique and exciting Winter Term internships across the country. Students from all class years are strongly encouraged to apply for a Winter Term internship. (See more details on our Winter Term Internships page)