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Problematizing College Internships: Exploring Issues With Access, Program Design, and Developmental Outcomes in Three U.S. Colleges

Tue, April 21, 12:25 to 1:55pm, Virtual Room


Internships for college students are widely promoted as a “high-impact” practice, yet the literature is limited by terminological imprecision and insufficient attention to access-related issues and the impacts of program format on student outcomes. In this mixed-methods study we analyze survey (n=1,129) and focus group (n=57) data from three diverse U.S. colleges. Results indicate that 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 and insufficient pay. Results indicated that supervisor mentoring, and relationship between internships and academic programs were significant predictors of student satisfaction and positive impacts on career development.