During the summer, college students have an option beyond getting a summer job. You can also apply for an internship. There are both advantages and disadvantages to this option, but if your college offers internship programs, you should at least look into the requirements. Taking a college internship can help improve your chances at a better job in the future.
The main difference between an internship and a summer job is that you get college credit for the internship. Because of that, the internship may be unpaid, although this varies from job to job. Since you're getting credit for the internship, though, you'll have to pay class credit fees to your college; so, even if you are making money, it will all go back to the school anyway. However, keep in mind that taking a summer internship can help you graduate early or drop to part-time status for a semester, which could be cheaper in the long run.
A college internship is usually closely related to your field of study and is meant to give you real-world experience. You can (and should) use an internship to explore a certain job, which will help you decide if you want that job in the future.
For example, if you are an art major in college, you might take an internship at a local art museum. Use your internship to ask a lot of questions about the field.
In any college internship, you will be on the bottom rung of the ladder so to speak. That means that your duties will be the ones that other people do not want to do. It's usually the intern's job to get coffee, file paperwork, and so forth. Don't become too frustrated by it. At your internship, they should also be allowing you to do some neat things that entry-level employees don't get to do. For example, you might be allowed to sit in on a board meeting. If you aren't given chances to learn about the field, talk to your advisor. Companies should take advantage of interns as free labor. This is about being a learning experience.
The best thing a college internship does for you is to boost your resume. If you have related experience in a field, you'll be much more likely to get a job in the future. At your internship, you may also be able to start piecing together a portfolio if needed. Of course, if an entry-level position becomes available, you may even get moved from inter status to full-fledged employee. Internships are a great way to get your foot in the door.