Summer jobs are always paid and don't necessarily have anything to do with your major field of study or your career interests. Internships may be paid or unpaid and are linked to your major field of study or career interest.
Not everyone can work for free, but internships—particularly in certain fields—are often unpaid. The Career Center does have funds available to help support students who might otherwise be unable to to complete an unpaid internship. These funds are provided through the generosity of Oberlin alumni, as well as through grants awarded to the College; more information regarding eligibility and the application process will be available in February 2015. Stipends may be up to $5,000, allowing students to recover lost earnings while gaining meaningful experience and exposure to help further clarify career directions. Stipend funds are limited, so start thinking about how to make your summer plans feasible as soon as possible.
If you aren't eligible for a stipend, gaining internship experience may be more challenging, but is still feasible. You may be able to find a part-time job, or one with flexible hours, so that you can still work a few hours each week at an internship. Looking for low-cost housing options through the Oberlin Alumni network may also help reduce expenses.
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. The Career Center 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. The Career Center 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)