Peer Review

New Research on Internships and Experiential Learning Programs

We know anecdotally that internships and other experiential learning activities foster student success in the classroom and in students’ future work endeavors, but what does research say about student’s experiential lering activities? Below are findings from studies by three groups—the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), and the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U)—that document students’ experiences and employers’ views.

National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE)

  • More than half (52 percent) of all senior respondents have participated in a practicum, internship, field experience, co-op experience, or clinical assignment.
  • More than a third of all senior respondents (42 percent) in the NSSE 2009 survey have talked about career plans with a faculty member or adviser.
  • Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of all senior respondents perceive that they acquire job or work-related knowledge or skills in college.
  • Nearly half of all senior respondents (48 percent) report that their college experiences contributed to their knowledge, skills, and ability to contribute to the welfare of their community.

NSSE 2009: Senior Respondents Who Perceive That They Acquired Job Or Work-related Knowledge/skills In College

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Nsse 2009: Senior Respondents Who Have Participated In A Practicum, Internship, Field Experience, Co-op Experience, Or Clinical Assignment

PRFA10_NSSE_Fig2.png

 

National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE)

  • Employers taking part in the NACE 2010 Internship Survey reported that 44.6 percent of their Class of 2009 hires came from their own internship programs.
  • The study also found that 42.3 percent of the seniors who had internship experience and applied for a job received at least one job offer.

Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U)

  • Nearly three-quarters of employers (73 percent) surveyed would like colleges and universities to emphasize more the ability to apply knowledge and skills to real-world settings through internships or other hands-on experiences (How Should Colleges Prepare Students to Succeed in Today’s Global Economy? AAC&U/Peter D. Hart Research Associates, 2007.)
  • More than four in five employers believe that completion of a supervised and evaluated internship or community-based project would be very or fairly effective in ensuring that recent college graduates possess the skills and knowledge needed for success at their company. (How Should Colleges Assess and Improve Student Learning? Employers’ Views on the Accountability Challenge, AAC&U/Peter D. Hart Research Associates, 2008).
  • More than two-thirds of employers (67 percent) believe that a faculty supervisor’s assessment of a student’s internship or community-based project would be very or fairly useful to them in evaluating college graduates’ potential for success. (How Should Colleges Assess and Improve Student Learning? Employers’ Views on the Accountability Challenge, AAC&U/Peter D. Hart Research Associates, 2008).
  • Four in five employers (79 percent) want colleges to place more emphasis on internships or community-based field projects that teach students to apply knowledge and skills in real-world settings. (Raising the Bar: Employers’ Views On College Learning in the Wake of the Economic Downturn, AAC&U/ Hart Research Associates, 2010). 

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