The daunting task of finding an internship often leaves students in a stand still between going the extra mile to find a paid internship, and settling on an unpaid one. While both internships provide you with hands on experience that looks great to employers- the difference between a paid an unpaid internship is significant.
So which is better? The difference between earning no money, to a slight hunk of cash creates a huge divide between the talent and motivation level of students.
Unpaid internships give students the experience they need to enter the real world, yet these seem to be the students who truly undervalue their worth. Those who work hard should deserve payment. The students that take unpaid internships do not produce the same level of work because they do not see a reward at the end of the tunnel. While according to the Brigham Young Business School, “ the real world experience that internships give students is undeniable.” However, don’t people earn money in the real world? How is requiring student to work like a regular employee and get paid nothing feasible? It’s unjust.
Colleges have begun to provide students with 1 credit towards their internships in lieu of being paid. However, it seems that companies are monopolizing upon this 1 credit internship. Companies have begun to only offer 1 credit internships. Why not hire free labor, in return for offering the student a credit through their college?
Companies need to reevaluate their internship programs. Students that go above and beyond at their internship are the students who usually spend the extra time to gain paid internships. Paid internship programs focus on giving students the hands-on experience they need to succeed in the real world, often times with a job offer at the end.
Although paid internships may come with money and more benefits, unpaid internships should never go overlooked. They not only give you something to put on a resume, they give you hands on experience you can apply to your career.
Editor’s Note: Although this is one writer’s opinion, PRSA holds a similar stance on unpaid internships.
PRSA believes it to be ethically wrong to employ anyone who adds real value to an agency or employer without compensating them for their work.
You can read the rest of their stance in the Professional Standards Advisory PS-17.