Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Education (Ed.D.)


Administrative and Instructional Leadership

First Advisor

Catherine DiMartino

Second Advisor

Elizabeth Ciabocchi

Third Advisor

Ceceilia Parnther


Internships as a form of experiential learning have been consistently considered a “high impact educational experience” because of the value that it provides students during their college careers (O’Neill, 2010, p. 7). Administrators and faculty professionals in colleges and universities are in positions to encourage student engagement by creating experiential learning opportunities for students that will aid them in navigating their academic major and intended career trajectory. This study focused on how a stronger emphasis on internships could influence confidence among college students, as well as play a part in their decision-making process when considering post-graduation plans. The researcher explored the various engagement means and opportunities that college students utilized in off-campus settings. The researcher conducted a qualitative study using a narrative methodology and narrowed the focus to a population of students who have participated in internship opportunities. The study was conducted at a private institution, and the researcher interviewed eight participants. The interviews were semi-structured, and three rounds of interviews took place for each participant. The participants consisted of five female and three male undergraduate students with varying academic majors Purposive and convenience sampling was used to select all participants. Findings revealed that student engagement through internships will continue to be important to the higher education landscape because it shapes students’ experience and influences their confidence, while also allowing students to experience a professional environment and make sense of their post-graduation outcomes. Future research could build upon this study by exploring how remote internships are influencing how students make sense of the workplace and whether these internships influence their confidence or post-graduation outcomes.