Monday, August 25, 2008

Internships important but shouldn't be so costly

I just said goodbye to a couple of great college kids who interned with me this summer in the Akron newsroom. Both were hard workers, and I think they learned a great deal about the news business by tagging along for the summer.

That's what internships are supposed to be: hard work to gain real experience in the workplace. So in this case, I think my duo of Kent State and U of Akron proteges did real well.

My gripe isn't with the interns .. it's with the colleges that send them to us and other local businesses.

Why are these students paying their respective universities a full price for three credit hours -- as much as $1,000 each -- when the Internship doesn't really involve campus at all?

The students put in their time (and gas $$) to take part in what should be a valuable work experience, while the company (in this case WKYC) puts in the time to give the interns training and experience.

Yet, it's the campuses collecting the $$ for what -- in many cases -- ends up being a paper turned in at the end of the semester.

Is the cost of that really worth a $1K?

With today's college students already struggling to pay the bills, couldn't colleges decrease the cost a student pays for internship hours considering the college itself has very little overhead?

Again .. most students aren't going to complain .. because they know how much they need the experience. Also, the universities themselves love to market the internship opportunities their students receive.

So why not make it easier to do both?

Watching from the outside .. it just seems like the best way to encourage students to succeed in internships is to make the course more affordable.

4 comments:

Lori said...

Eric,
I totally agree. Student teaching works the same in education. I've known college kids who were student teaching (a full-time job in itself), taking a class or two to finish up their degrees, and still trying to work a job evenings and weekends to make ends meet. It's crazy, but they don't have much choice. I'm not sure what the solution is -- I don't see the universities agreeing to less money coming in, even though they probably should.

Ben said...

When I went to OU, I had the option of just doing a "practicum" instead of an internship. What I chose was just one credit, so I had to only pay for that, which I guess was okay. It still didnt make a whole lot of sense that I was paying for a class when I was in South Carolina and recieving no instruction, but just paying for the one credit was better than the alternative.

Anonymous said...

Eric-

25 years ago I paid John Carroll for my internship and introduction into tv. That was when college credits were affordable. The current system is ridiculous - no one should "work" for free.

Anonymous said...

Eric-

25 years ago I paid John Carroll for my internship and introduction into tv. That was when college credits were affordable. The current system is ridiculous - no one should "work" for free.

Dear Anon...
Interning is not working so much as it is a learning opportunity. It is interesting that more and more, "students" seem to feel that dues paying is not necessary.

However, that said, I do agree 100% with Eric's point. Why should they pay the colleges full tuition when the college is not putting in the teachers nor the teaching space.

signed, someone who put in the time with 8 non paid internships and looking back, it was worth every penny and minute..... :)