Should internships be mandatory?

Courtney Montalvo, Staff Writer

College students spend four-plus years of their lives pursuing a degree to get a good-paying job after graduation. During their years in college, most students work part-time jobs that don’t utilize their skills or give any credible experience that job employers look for. Oftentimes, graduates find themselves faced with continuous rejection for one main reason: lack of experience. This is a shock when they look back on their long-term devotion to making good grades and earning their degree, yet it isn’t enough to make them a qualified candidate for most career options. To become more qualified, people are expected to gain additional licenses, experience in the same or similar fields or have personal hobbies that contribute to skills needed for the job. This is a problem because of the lack of time, pay and resources available to students.

Full-time college students take approximately four to six courses in a semester, equalling twelve plus credited hours. In these classes, they are assigned multiple individual and group assignments, quizzes and exams. They are also expected to participate in school organizations and socialize with friends and family. This alone is enough to take up all of their time. Then, you have students who also work on top of these responsibilities. When you add an internship to this mix, it makes it harder for students to do well in school while attempting to juggle everything else. There aren’t enough resources available for every student to get an internship either, breaking the spirits of many students who have the intention to gain experience but are beaten by their peers. Some internships are even more competitive by asking for prior experience, defeating the purpose of what an internship means.

It becomes more impossible for the students who haven’t had the opportunity to gain any experience the chance to get an internship or entry-level job after school. With a majority of students graduating thousands of dollars in debt, it is unacceptable to be considered unqualified after graduating.

In an increasingly competitive job market, students need experience to be given a chance to find a job. How can universities better prepare their students to succeed after their educational journey comes to an end? By making real-world experience mandatory for graduating. This is not a simple solution by any means, but a necessary action that will benefit many in its implementation.

Universities can partner with multiple third-party organizations that provide positions for students to work at during one or two semesters. The hours required can be similar to the hours of a college course, and projects could be given to collaborate on together. It would benefit the organizations through the increase of workers and potential employees that have experience working for them after the students graduate. By incorporating the internship into universities’ required courses and not making it more time-consuming than a regular college course, students still have the time to do well in school, socialize, work part-time jobs and gain experience. While the actual process of implementing this program would require more details, it is an issue that definitely deserves thought.