Trying to get an internship can be stressful for most students. Some students across the country, however, are finding internship opportunities in a new way, with their parents’ financial support.
According to an article in The Wall Street Journal, “some parents are paying for-profit companies to place their college students in internships that are mostly unpaid.” Others hire marketing consultants to create direct-mail campaigns to promote their children’s workplace potential. Parents have also been known to buy internships outright through online charity auctions.
The Wall Street Journal also said internship-placement programs have seen the demand rise by 15 percent to 25 percent over the last year.
LaToya Farris, assistant director with internships at Career and Employment Services, said parents who pay for student internships aren’t something she has known much about. She said she has heard of the University of Dreams program, where parents or students pay the program to provide an internship.
According to the University of Dreams Web site, “the placement guarantee is that we will help secure you an internship that you approve in your industry of choice, or you will receive your money back. We stand by our guarantee, as we have successfully placed over 99 percent of our enrolled participants since 2000.”
While programs such as these offer benefits, students can see both positives and negatives.
Rachel Janssen, freshman in elementary education, said she could see both sides of the program.
“I think it would be good because [students] could get more experience, but they didn’t earn their way there because their parents paid for it,” Janssen said.
Farris said she does not know of any students having problems getting internships because of the economy. She said there is more of a problem trying to find full-time jobs.
According to The Wall Street Journal article, some critics of the paid-for internship programs said they make the process too easy for students to find jobs.
Even though there might be criticism, the use of these kind of programs still seems to be on the rise.
Alex Breitenbach, junior in construction science, said he might consider a program similar to University of Dreams if he knew more about it.
Janssen said she wouldn’t consider a paid-for internship program.
“If I got an internship, I would want to have earned it,” Janssen said.