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Semesters could boost students’ opportunities with internships

Courtesy of MCT

On the quarter system, Ohio State students have arrived late to summer internships compared to their counterparts who attend semester schools, and some say OSU’s impending switch will level the playing field.

“Switching to semesters puts Ohio State on the same academic calendar as the rest of the world — literally,” said April Calkovsky, internship adviser for Arts and Sciences Career Services. “Up until now, Ohio State students were frequently unable to participate in many summer internships with the federal government, research entities, some corporations and several international opportunities due to the late date of Spring Quarter completion. With the advent of the semester calendar, Ohio State students will finally be able to compete equally for all of those opportunities.”

In addition to being able to obtain internships typically unavailable in a quarter system, students will also get to experience longer internships with the semester system.

“It’ll allow us to compete with other schools who are on semesters because they get out earlier,” said Nia Kyer, a second-year in biology. “It’ll level out the playing field.”

Christina Rideout, Office of Student Life’s Career Connection director, said although this summer will be shorter than usual, the change will give students more time for on-the-job projects.

“We have already heard from companies that the additional time will allow them to assign more significant projects, and the new schedule will mean more interaction with other interns who will be there during the same time frame,” Rideout said. “This will make their experience more complete and rewarding.”

While internships on a semester system will be mostly beneficial, it might be challenging for some students.

“Students working part time while attending school to help support themselves financially rather than taking time off school and working a full-time internship or co-op may be carrying a heavier course load. As a result, this will likely limit our availability to attract or hire these students as they may be limited in available working hours,” according to MySwitch.com, an OSU website giving details on the semester switch.

OSU has been updating students on the quarter-to-semester transition throughout the process. At a Feb. 6 meeting with The Lantern editorial staff, President E. Gordon Gee said OSU was ready to make the switch. But OSU officials have said because semesters are longer than quarters, it will be crucial for students to adjust to the new schedule and plan accordingly.

“I know on quarters, students were able to try to fit in two days a week at an internship since they could often schedule classes to allow this, but on semesters this will be different. Students will most likely have class every day of the week, so students may need to figure more days at the internship, but less time each day,” said Lisa Sipes, School of Communication academic adviser.

John Schultz, a third-year in material science and engineering, transferred from West Virginia University, a school already on semesters.

“Semesters are a bit grueling,” he said. “Fifteen weeks is a long time. But I think there are benefits because it’s just about how every other university runs itself. You get more grant money and internships play better with semesters than with quarters.”

As the shorter Summer Semester will be different than the normal semester starting August 22, it is important for students planning to intern this summer to be aware of certain factors.

Internship recruiting for the summer has begun and some are already full. MySwitch advises students to pay attention to career fair dates, construct a resume, create summer availability and immediately start to seek opportunities through career services and the FutureLink website.

“Summer has always been the most popular time for our students to intern and that may continue to be the case once we move to semesters,” Sipes said.

Students planning to take internships during semesters should not get bogged down by the longer amount of time necessary for completion, but instead focus on the opportunity to obtain more real-life experience while on site, Rideout said.

“Internships are an integral part of the student experience at Ohio State, and a key component in helping them prepare for career success,” Rideout said. “The change to semesters will improve the internship experience for students.”

Shay Trotter contributed to this story.

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