Opinion: Summer internships should be more easily accessible

By Farah Bassyouni Apr 8, 2022
Hart Career Center Credit: Liam Killian
Hart Career Center
Credit: Liam Killian

It’s about the time of year when students across all majors are searching for a summer internship. Almost every student desires the perfect opportunity that they can flaunt on their resume and provide them with optimal professional experience. But the competitive nature of this search and the necessity of prior experience that many companies require for entry-level positions, make the pressure to find a summer internship far more difficult for some than it appears. 

It’s not uncommon for a student to find themselves applying to nearly 20-30 internships before receiving an invitation for an initial interview, and even then, those positions are not guaranteed. Added stress also comes from the amount of time that it takes for employers to get back to applicants. According to Indeed.com, 44 percent of people hear back from employers within a couple of weeks of applying. The built-up suspense adds to already heightened anxiety levels prominent at this time of year when finals are quickly approaching. 

The time-consuming and strenuous nature of applying to a variety of internships takes a toll on one’s mental health and subtracts from the necessary time allotted for schoolwork. While one can utilize a single resume to apply to a wide range of positions, many require submission of a cover letter that is specific to each applied position. With each cover letter comes the added proofreading and research necessary in combination with the additional application in the format of a questionnaire. Taking into consideration the already busy schedules filled with exams and extracurricular activities, one questions how it’s even possible to satisfy the obligations of their beginning career. 

There are countless resources to help students find a summer internship in any field such as LinkedIn, alumni connections and the IWU Hart Career Center. But the struggle to find one that checks all the boxes makes the process more stress-inducing than some upper-level classes at Illinois Wesleyan. Some may argue that there are opportunities out there, but it’s necessary to take a closer look at what many opportunities entail. 

Multiple companies only offer summer internships that are unpaid, fully remote or under 20 hours per week. Depending on each student’s needs, such internships may be contenders. But for others, they are deal breakers. It has become increasingly rare to find internships that are paid, within the time frame of summer break and are in the prime location for students to make an easy commute. Many students’ desires to obtain an internship with great hours and respectable pay go unfulfilled. While a college student may not be experienced as a full-time employee, they still deserve similar resources and benefits.

Although the internship search process is anticipated to bring rejections, students should be reminded that their chances of employment after graduation is not necessarily dependent on whether they were able to partake in an internship in college. Many students accept internships post-grad as an alternative to diving into a full-time job. Some of the pressure to find a summer internship can be alleviated by keeping this in mind. While students are subjected to the prominent question, “what are you going to do with your life,” it’s necessary to remember that we have time to navigate our careers. 

While employers have the right to make their internship programs competitive, they must keep in mind that our generation is the future of these companies. It is necessary to ensure that students are awarded the imperative experience of engaging in the workforce in order to gaurantee that such companies will maintain their established integrity for years to come.

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