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?

16

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.
Disney Plus

Millions of musical-lovers around the world rejoiced when "Hamilton," the hip-hop-mixtape-turned-musical harder to get in to than Studio 54, came to Disney Plus.

For those who had the luxury of being able to watch it in person and rewatch it with us mere mortals on our screens, the experience was almost as gripping as sitting feet from Lin-Manuel Miranda himself. From the stunning sets, graceful choreography, witty dialogue, and hauntingly beautiful singing, the experience was one even my musical-averse family felt moved by.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

We Asked You How You Felt About Resuming 'Normal' Activities, And Some Of Your Answers Shocked Us

The New York Times asked 511 epidemiologists when they'd feel comfortable doing "normal" activities again, considering COVID-19. We asked our peers the same thing, for science.

Last month, the New York Times surveyed about 500 epidemiologists asking about their comfort level with certain activities once deemed normal — socializing with friends, going to the doctor, bringing in the mail. That's all well and good for the experts, but they are a very niche group, not the majority of the population. What do "normal" people feel safe doing? In certain states, we've seen how comfortable everyone is with everything (looking at you, Florida), but we wanted to know where Odyssey's readers fell on the comfort scale. Are they sticking with the epidemiologists who won't be attending a wedding for another year, or are they storming the sunny beaches as soon as possible?

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

Keto Is All Fun And Games Until You're Undernourished And Almost Pass Out

Keto is just another extension of diet culture that boasts rapid weight loss, but at a steep price.

Photo by LOGAN WEAVER on Unsplash

There has been a Keto diet craze going around in the past couple of years, with many of its followers claiming significant weight loss. With any new, trendy diet claiming miraculous weight-loss, one starts to wonder what exactly is happening behind the curtain. The keto, or ketogenic, diet is a very low-carb, high-fat diet that claims to help the body shift its fuel source from carbs to fat. In the medical community it has been prescribed to patients with uncontrolled epilepsy to reduce the frequency of seizures, but other than that there is little conclusive evidence to other potential benefits.

Keep Reading... Show less

Jennifer Kustanovich is not only the president of the Odyssey at Stony Brook University but is also an illuminating yoga instructor. She's an inspiring proactive leader in the wellness industry. Her expertise in movement expands onto Zumba and high-intensity interval training (HIIT).

On the last day of her in-person class, she gave everyone a way of contacting her and made sure to check up on all her clients. She wanted to ensure that they were doing okay and to remind them that she is always there.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

These 5 Black Female-Owned Swimwear Brands Are Must-Haves For Your HOTTEST Summer Yet

To all the woman who put their money where their mouth is, lets do two things for the price of one.

The start of summer is always exciting,(especially after an unprecedented pandemic) and people are itching to make this particular summer count. Correction: with the amount gratefulness I have for life at this moment in time I am itching to make this summer count.

But at the same time, in the midst of social justice issues, activism is something that is at the forefront of many people's minds, including mine. With money comes power and buying Black is a way to directly help the marginalized and oppressed while getting something in return.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

These Are The Black-Owned Restaurants In Chicago You Should Absolutely Be Supporting

Support the movement and your appetite at the same time with these amazing spots.


The Black Lives Matter movement is taking the country by storm to crash down systematic racism and liberate people of color. However, during these changing it can be hard to determine what you can do to make an impact besides reposting Instagram stories and texting petition numbers. Instead, support Black-owned businesses or, more specifically, Black-owned restaurants. Here are some outstanding and underrated Black-owned restaurants in Chicago that can help you support the movement.
Keep Reading... Show less
Swoon

10 Things To Know About LDRs, From A Couple Separated By The Atlantic Ocean AND A Pandemic

There will be challenges, but more often than not, it's worth it.

Most individuals in relationships have not been able to go on romantic dates in quite a while due to business closures in the wake of the pandemic. Other couples have encountered challenges while seeing each other face to face in the past three months due to coronavirus regulations. Long-distance relationships have unfortunately become a reality for many in this era of global health crises. Western New York native and travel journalist, Chelsea Baron, knows this all too well.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

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
Facebook Comments