Should College Students Be Allowed to Pay for Internships?

It appears that nowadays in order to get an internship, you don’t have to be more qualified than your competition, you just have to be wealthier. In her WSJ column today, Sue Shellenbarger explores the phenomenon of parents paying big bucks to secure internships for their children.

Don’t feel like fetching coffee or filing paperwork? No problem. Just ask your folks to buy you an internship where you’ll be guaranteed a few weeks of “quality assignments” at your dream job. The asking price: anywhere from $3000 to $12,000.

Fundraisers for charities are even benefitting from this practice. According to the two fundraising Web sites mentioned in the article, internships are being auctioned off as a way to raise money for all sorts of non-profit organizations. A one-week internship at a music-production company went for $12,000 just last month.

Some of the organizations that take part in selling internships include:┬áRolling Stone, Elle magazine and Atlantic Records. You’ll want to contact University of Dreams if you’re interested in those types of internships and more. But you can also pay your way to an internship on Capitol Hill, by signing up with the Washington Internship Program.

I personally find this practice appalling, but I understand wanting to get ahead in your career. Also, I don’t blame parents for wanting to make sure their kids get the best start in life, but I do blame companies for expecting college kids to not only work for free, but to make them pay thousands of dollars? Before I finally landed a job as a television news producer over ten years ago, I completed three unpaid internships that I didn’t even receive college credit for. But, there is no way I would have been able to pay thousands of dollars for those internships.

I imagine we will be seeing more and more of this. So what do you think?

If you’re currently a college student searching for an internship, would you be willing to pay thousands of dollars to gain experience that you might not otherwise be able to get in this economy? Or, do you find this trend caters to the rich and creates an unfair advantage in the workplace?

If you work for a company that offers these types of internships, what is your opinion?

Read the full WSJ article.


2 Responses to “Should College Students Be Allowed to Pay for Internships?”

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