Essay on Unpaid Internships: Pricy or Priceless?

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Every college student is concerned about his or her academic future, especially nowadays in times of the economic crisis. College students are desperate for experience that might distinguish them later from other job applicants and improve their chances of getting their desired jobs. Internships provide valuable experience necessary for jobs and are an important part of the academic career. However, when it comes to internships, the issue of unpaid internships may be raised with opinions differing on the question of the benefits of such unpaid internships. Many people believe that since a salary does not cover the emerging costs, like living expenses and transportation, unpaid internships turn into a pricy experience that lay an even…show more content…
Additionally, in order to protect themselves from being accused of illegal exploitation of labor, firms follow the governmental guidelines for unpaid internships. One of the six criteria of a legal unpaid internship is that “the internship experience is for the benefit of the intern”. Since benefit is a very subjective term, firms try to assure the benefit by requesting interns to get college credits for their internship. This is certainly a benefit, but to receive the credit students have to pay tuition. Chris Maher, a student at the University of Minnesota, expresses it in an article in the University Wire as “literally, […] paying for an unpaid internship." The example of the NYU graduate Michael Feldman is described in an article in the Christian Science Monitor: Feldman had to pay $1,600 for the credit so he could intern at "The Daily Show." Because of all those costs, it depends on the financial of the students, and not everyone has the equal opportunity to obtain an internship. Therefore, unpaid internships are considered to be more of a burden than a benefit and for many students the only reasonable reaction is like Heather Houlton's, a FCLC student, who says in an article by Diana Denza: "As of right now, I would rather have a part-time job rather than an unpaid internship." Of course, it is preferable to get paid for work, but as a matter of fact to offer unpaid internship is often the only possibility for firms to offer internships at all.

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