Need An Internship, But Out Of College? Some Good And Bad News

Do you need an internship in PR or journalism, but you graduated college–and all the listings you see are for unpaid, college credit positions?

UMass has you covered.

A program once offered to just recent UMass grads that allows them to purchase continuing education credits to satisfy an internship employer is now available to everyone, MediaJobsDaily has learned.

“All of a sudden we were getting calls from students graduating from other colleges,” UMass Amherst career center director Jeff Silver says. “Employers in New York like SiriusXM and Rachael Ray were saying, ‘why can’t [those students] do that program?'”

Essentially, a would-be intern just needs to contact UMass and purchase continuing education credits for $312. Those credits are “worthless to the student but employers love them,” says Silver. A current student at another school that doesn’t offer an internship program or requires prerequisites students don’t have can also partake in a similar program for a bit more money ($200 per credit, and usually 3 credits are required).

Think this is a terrible idea? Silver says it’s no worse than anything he’s seen in the journalism industry over 30 years in UMass’s career center. As ever, “the kids have to get their foot in the door,” he says. “If they just do campus radio and television, and then they try to get jobs…” He says if anything, the quality of internship has gotten better as competition (and the crazy things that people will do to get one, like paying a random school for “college credit” even if you graduated 5 years ago) has stayed the same. “They’re doing the entry level jobs of 10 years ago in a lot of industries. Not just doing the coffee. Staffs have been cut so lean. If they have a capable person they’re not going to say, ‘go get coffee.'”

The interns appear to love the program. Silver recalled a Hofstra student who had landed an internship, then went to discuss the details with his school’s internship director. The school said the student was missing prerequisites and couldn’t do an internship—despite the student having already gotten it.

He came to Silver and purchased three credits from UMass. Did he care whether those credits would transfer back to his home school? No. “I saw him a few weeks ago and asked, ‘have you transferred the credits?’ He said, ‘I don’t even care. I want a job.'” The student then went back for a second semester at the same employer…which of course, still hasn’t had to pay a thing for this student’s work.

Publish date: April 28, 2011 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT