Internships can be the highlight of a college student’s educational experience.
After a flurry of legal problems this summer, however, the future of unpaid internships hangs in the balance.
As students, we believe internships — paid or unpaid — are an integral part of college. The disintegration of unpaid internships would lead to a decrease in opportunities and would create an even more competitive environment than already exists.
While we appreciate the opportunity of getting an internship in general, the way that they’re handled through the university leaves room for improvement.
In many departments, unpaid internships can mean credit for classes.
But factor into account that three credit hours can cost over $1,200 for in-state students, and over $3,000 for out-of-state students, and suddenly what was once a great opportunity turns into a costly endeavor. This is especially true because financial aid for summer credit is hard to obtain.
If students are required to obtain college credit to hold some unpaid internships, then we basically have to pay to work for free.
But depending on your major — it can get worse.
Some majors at Tech won’t allow you to get credit for paid internships.
It seems crazy that the exciting opportunity to get paid for your work will lead to being left high and dry in terms of the class credit.
Departments that do this on campus need to realize that getting paid for an internship is slowly becoming the new standard, and their policies need to reflect the changing attitudes toward paid internships.
Until then, there will continue to be a disconnect between higher education and the job market that results in frustrated students having to shell out more money than it is worth to gain “experience” in the workforce.