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Not All Internships Are Created Equal

More students are interning than ever before, and more employers are recognizing that internships help develop their talent pipelines. The logic seems simple: if employers want to hire and students want to be hired, then aren’t students who complete internships more likely to land a job than those who don’t?

It’s actually quite a bit more complicated – with devastating results for some young people.

The reason: Not all internships are created equal. In addition to needing strong structure and supervision to achieve maximum learning and productivity, paid internships lead to better post-graduation results than unpaid internships. Why should getting paid matter? Isn’t it about the real-world experience?

Data from the National Association of Colleges and Employers student survey shows otherwise. While overall, students who intern are more likely to have a job after graduation than students who don’t, this difference is fully related to whether the internship is paid. …

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