Using data from a longitudinal survey of college students from over 400 institutions, this paper examines the impacts of occupational internship programs and voluntary academic leave on returning academic achievement, post-college ambitions, and general facets of the college experience.
Previous literature on college internships has focused on labor market effects and the literature on academic leave has emphasized its causes. Much less has been done to analyze effects of these occurrences on collegiate outcomes.
College internships are found to have a positive effect on grades, increase desires to work full-time or attend graduate school immediately following graduation, and slightly increase ambitions to have administrative responsibilities and be financially well off.
Voluntary academic leave is found to have only negative effects on collegiate outcomes, including study habits and academic achievement upon return. Implied policy implications are that colleges and universities should champion internship programs but discourage college tenure interruption for other reasons.