Is an unpaid internship really the best for you?

You Should Do An Unpaid Internship Not A Summer Job

Almost 30% of college students work an unpaid position during their tenure, is it the right decision?


As a rising Freshman with a decent GPA and heavy on-campus involvement, I applied for paid-internships at big name companies such as Patagonia and HP naively assuming I was a shoo-in. Eight rejection emails later, my ego was in the dumpster and I was stuck deciding between working for Domino's Pizza as a deliveryman or an unpaid position at an upstart. After some soul searching, online research, and asking business professionals in my industry, I was able to compile a list of pros and cons which helped me in my decision and can hopefully help others in similar situations.

Unpaid Internships Are Great For Future Internships, Not Jobs

When I was first making my decision, my parents were very adamant that I take my unpaid internship over a steady source of income because it would give me "real-world experience in my future career field." While it is true that unpaid internships provide valuable career knowledge, unpaid internships do not necessarily correlate with higher employment rates. A recent post-graduate job placement rate study by the National Association of Colleges and Employers found that students who worked unpaid internships have an almost identical chance of being hired when compared to students who had never worked an internship at all. Additionally, the same study found that those with unpaid internships tended to take lower-paying jobs than those with no internship experience whatsoever ($35,721 and $37,087, respectively).

Students with paid internships far outpaced their peers with an average $51,930 salary. For a senior, this means you might as well work for a minimum wage job which will help relieve financial burdens, rather than an unpaid position that you assume will make you more employable. Conversely, a study created by the same organization found that unpaid internships do have some intangible positive outcomes such as networking, confirmation of careers, and understanding coursework; however, these benefit underclassmen the most and should not be taken into account for seniors.

Don't Necessarily Base Your Decision Off Money.

It is so commonly known that college students are cash-strapped that it has become a meme. Every college student in the nation has student loans, books to pay off, and chipotle debt. If the financial burden is so great that you must work any job that pays, then absolutely go find any job that provides a steady income; however, for anyone else, there are a wide variety of alternatives that you can utilize to subsidize the opportunity cost of an unpaid internship. Additionally, many internships provide a stipend, free food, or other benefits, while most accredited universities also will provide college credits to interns.

In closing, I decided to accept my unpaid internship position due to my financial state and academic year. This scenario differs greatly between every other college student. It is imperative to holistically calculate the cost, weigh the benefits, explore alternatives, and then make a logical decision on whether that unpaid internship is a sound financial investment, your future career very well may depend upon it.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Health and Wellness

This Survey Shows How Quarantine And Drinking Relate, And I Can't Say I'm Surprised

"5 o'clock somewhere" is more of a guideline now than ever.

As it stands, and my friends and I are finally 21. We're extremely excited to be able to go out to bars and "get lit" as the kids say, but due to the pandemic, all of our plans have been put on hold. We'd rather wait and go when it's safe than risk spreading the infection and hurting our loved ones. So, we've all been quarantining apart, getting on the occasional wine zoom call. This made me wonder if anyone else our age were doing the same thing.

Then, I discovered this survey: We Surveyed Millennials And Gen Z About Their Quarantine Drinking Habits — Cheers. Here are 3 things that I discovered through the survey results.

Keep Reading... Show less

5 Easy Summer Mocktail Recipes You Can Make With Items You Probably Already Have On-Hand

Keep these drinks in mind next time you're visiting your local farmer's market — you might want to grab some extra mint and limes.

With Summer 2020 in full swing comes the addition of many fresh fruits and vegetables to brighten up your dinner plate, but also your glass! Farmers markets are my personal favorite place to look for produce that is in season to make fun mocktails with.

Keep Reading... Show less

5 Ways To Celebrate The 4th of July — Without Fireworks Or Social Gatherings

We created a list of things to do since social distancing may create a dent in our typical, planned traditions.

With the Fourth of July on Saturday, the usual tradition of popping fireworks, grilling out, and being surrounded by family has been modified due to the pandemic. Whether you're a loner or surrounded by family, there will most likely be some changes to your celebrations.

For weeks on social media, people across the country have been complaining that they have been subjected to fireworks going off at all times of the night into the early morning. This has sparked concern and questions about why this is happening and how are people even obtaining the fireworks.

Keep Reading... Show less

Carb And Cheese Lovers, Unite — These Are The Best Mac And Cheese Recipes On The Internet

Whether you need to get through the current pandemic or want to spice up your Fourth of July celebrations, these mac and cheese recipes will do just that.

My favorite food is mac and cheese, and it always has been. All it requires is noodles and cheese — it's so simple to make. Although it's my favorite, it can also get kind of mundane because it's such a simple recipe. This, of course, has led to many people all over the world experimenting with the American staple.

With our lives currently being turned upside down due to the pandemic, a lot of people are seeking comfort. These are scary times, and in order to make it day-to-day, we need to have our favorite foods as a standby. These recipes can also be used during your celebration of the Fourth of July.

Keep Reading... Show less

Odyssey Webinar: Writing Reviews About Your Favorite Products

See you on Wednesday, July 8 at 4:00 p.m. EST.

On July 8, our Lifestyle editor is hosting a video webinar focused on writing reviews about your favorite brands and products –– and you're invited! You must have an Odyssey account to attend.

Keep Reading... Show less

Odyssey Templates: Review A Product You Love

Rave about that product here as much as you have been to your friends.

There are few things less satisfying than giving someone a product recommendation only to find out they actually took the recommendation and love it just as much as you told them they would. There exists a great sense of gratification in knowing someone valued your opinion enough to go out and make a purchase based on it.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

17 Things To Make You Feel GOOD This Week

Because some purchases are just necessary.

Y'all, we're struggling. You don't even have to tell me, I know. What a mess we're all in, right? This year is not going how we planned and the world has turned into one giant struggle bus. I guess you could be super philosophical about everything happening for a reason, but sometimes life is just hard.

There are plenty of ways to bring yourself out of whatever rut you're in. You could go for a run, have a snack, or read a book. Or, if you're really looking for an adrenaline rush, go shopping. This is obviously not going to solve the world's problems with one swift click of the "checkout" button, but hey, it may just give you the little boost you need today.

Keep Reading... Show less

- Blissfully unaware that butt-care beyond squats was even something I should be considering in my self-care routine, I tried one of Bawdy Beauty's butt masks for the first time a month ago.

- I've never really given my butt a second though till I took a look at improvements that could be made with the mask — if one of the hydrating, firming, detoxifying, or brightening masks in the kit I received could either smooth out cellulite or tone my skin a bit more, I wasn't going to complain.

- Each Bawdy Beauty sheet mask comes in an individually-packaged sheet, soaked with a serum I massaged into my skin after removing said sheet. The clay butt mask comes in a convenient stick format I simply draw on to my skin and leave to set for about 10 minutes before hopping into the shower.

- I set a goal of committing myself to butt-care every day for one month. Between the regular use of sheet masks, clay masks, and their CBD Butt Balm in between, I didn't have many expectations.

- I thought the whole concept may just be a gimmick, but my butt has never looked so toned in my life, and the cellulite I had is almost completely gone. I wear one every single day when I get the chance.

I'm incredibly skeptical when it comes to marketing ploys and gimmicks in the beauty world. I'll be the first cynic to try out the latest serum on the market every influencer is raving about just to negate every grandiose claim it makes.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments