If you want to be a doctor, should you have been practicing drawing blood from your friends in your free time?
Because people have personal computers, for some bizarre reason, they think that they have to do stuff that no other professions are expected to do.
Prospective employers know that recent graduates have been busy getting their degrees, and students are expected to need time off for leisure activities. But they want to see something substantial, like sports or playing a musical instrument, or doing volunteer work -- not just watching TV.
They want to see that you've had a summer job -- but they know students aren't always able to get something in the field. A job at a fast-food restaurant is fine.
When companies hire entry-level people, they *DO* expect to do some "hand holding". They know that mentoring new people is part of their responsibility. But they WILL be looking at your ability to pick up the procedures.
If a student has done a project, it is usually of very little value because it's unlikely to be exactly the kind of thing that the employer needs. They expect to teach you the way that THEIR company does things.