Fall Internships on the Rise: Only 40% of Students Start Their Internships in Summer

Summer was once the peak season for students to boost their skills and work experience. However, our recent report reveals that only 40% of students opt for summer internships, as the remaining 60% embrace the concept of fall internships and year-round experiential learning. Here, we’ll driving factors behind this shift, the influence of skills-based learning, and why the year-round concept is becoming a new norm in experiential learning.


Factors Driving the Rise of Fall Internships

The Demand for Skills-Based Learning

Traditionally, internships operated outside the academic sphere, constraining students to the summer season for practical experience. However, according to the 2023 State of Student Success and Engagement in Higher Education, students are prioritizing skills-based learning over conventional classroom experiences. They seek not just degrees but courses that equip them for the future workforce. Tom Andriola, Vice Chancellor, Information, Technology and Data & Chief Digital Officer of the University of California Irvine, captures this shift: "It's not just about the curriculum, grades, and transcripts. It's about experiential learning opportunities."

As the demand for skills-based learning rises, the confinement of internship experiences to the summer period has become a thing of the past. Educational institutions worldwide are actively seeking ways to integrate experiential learning into their academic offerings. This integrated learning approach allows students to immerse themselves in the professional world while pursuing their degrees, bridging the gap between theory and practice and preparing them for real-world scenarios.

The Evolution of Remote Work

The surge in fall internship opportunities is closely tied to the growing trend of remote work settings and digital nomadism. The COVID-19 pandemic played a role in accelerating the adoption of virtual work environments. This shift has made it possible for students to intern from anywhere, irrespective of the season.

This flexibility has been instrumental in the transition to year-round experiential learning. Students are no longer bound by physical office locations for their placements. Instead, they can complete tasks and contribute to teams online, all while gaining the essential skills and professional networks that will propel their future careers forward.

Widening Perspectives on Business Operations

The embrace of fall and year-round experiential learning broadens students' horizons by allowing them to experience the full spectrum of business operations throughout the seasons. During peak seasons, students can gain hands-on experience in handling high-pressure situations, while at the close or start of the fiscal year, they can immerse themselves in strategic planning.

Furthermore, the operational cycles of businesses can vary significantly based on the industry students choose to pursue. For instance, interns in the hospitality sector may experience peak seasons during the summer and winter, aligning with holiday and vacation periods. In contrast, tech companies thrive on year-round innovation, providing students with a constant stream of opportunities to engage with cutting-edge technology and projects.


Challenges Of Fall and Year-Round Experiential Learning

Balancing academic responsibilities with work commitments can be demanding, especially during the academic year. This places a strain on both students and educational institutions, requiring the allocation of resources to ensure students are effectively supported.

Furthermore, as these young professionals enter real-world settings, they often encounter uncertainties and questions. To help them navigate this transitional period requires the implementation of feedback mechanisms, coaching, and consistent support. These resources are essential in assisting students in making the most of these work-based learning experiences.


Empower Your Students With Virtual Internships

Virtual Internships stand at the forefront of this educational transformation. Our comprehensive platform offers guaranteed year-round experiential learning opportunities that can seamlessly integrate into the academic curriculum.

Under the mentorship of supervisors and our global team, students benefit from expert support and coaching closely tied to career-readiness competencies. We've implemented feedback mechanisms to ensure that all learners remain on track to achieve their goals and expectations. Through our strategic collaborations with over 13,000 global companies, we transcend traditional boundaries, granting students invaluable access to global real-world experience and equipping them for the future of work.


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