Problematizing College Internships: Exploring Issues with Access, Program Design, and Developmental Outcomes in three U.S. Colleges
Hora, Matthew T.
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Internships for college students are widely promoted as a “high-impact” practice, yet the academic literature is limited by terminological imprecision, lack of data on intern demographics, and insufficient attention to the impacts of program format on student academic and developmental outcomes. In this mixed-methods study we analyze survey (n=1,129) and focus group (n=57) data from students in three diverse U.S. colleges. Results indicate that internship participation varied significantly by race, institution, enrollment status, and academic program, and that 64% of students who did not take an internship had desired to do so but could not due to scheduling conflicts with work, insufficient pay, and lack of placements in their disciplines.