Student Internship Transportation Problems and Ideas (Infographic)

The vast majority (85%) of students and recent graduates surveyed believe that people pursuing their type of career need at least some internship experience. Yet four in 10 respondents, and three in 10 in the Class of 2022, say they have had no internships or experiential learning opportunities outside of a classroom.

That’s it according to an August survey by Student Voice of 2,116 students and conducted by Inside Higher Education and College Pulse with support from Kaplan. The survey also found that travel difficulties can prevent students from pursuing and accepting in-person opportunities.

Karen McCormack, who has taught internship support courses at Wheaton College, Massachusetts, finds it striking how students generally rate their colleges well on supporting these experiences, but so many of them “struggle with the fundamental need to find a way to access a physical internship. Often students will have to work out the logistics because they haven’t. »

For example, Wheaton is located between Providence, RI and Boston and offers a commuter rail shuttle. “There’s a time commitment on public transportation rather than jumping in a car,” says McCormack, a sociology professor and vice provost for academic administration and faculty affairs at the college, which has a program that links academic interests to career success. In classes with internships, she adds, “we’ll strategize how to get to a bus, where they need to get to.”

While a growing number of higher education institutions are offering assistance with the cost aspect of internship travel, some may see it as less necessary due to the explosion of virtual internship opportunities. But McCormack worries about creating a two-tier system, where students who can afford transportation get “A-level internship experience and students who can’t get away with it.” [offerings].”

Respondents to the Student Voice survey who had virtual internships tended to earn less than those who did in-person internships. For example, one in four agreed that it was difficult to tell if they wanted to pursue this type of work due to the limitations of this virtual experience.

The survey also points to equity issues, with greater transportation challenges for certain demographics, including black students and international students studying at US colleges.

Creating more experiential content in courses is one way for institutions to ensure that students gain real-world experiences. “Doing this through coursework is a way to build it into the structure of the day,” McCormack says, noting that traditional internship experiences run the risk of being “a separate add-on to the academia experience.” .

Sixty-five percent of students surveyed consider their experiential learning opportunities to have been very helpful in preparing them for future employment, and a further 33 percent consider them somewhat helpful.

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To maximize learning, all types of experiences should be available, experts agree. Opening in-person internship opportunities to all students involves realizing where the need lies and developing options for support. The infographic below answers three questions about internship transportation and support needs, and explains how some colleges are helping students overcome travel barriers.

More coverage from the Student Voice survey: What students want and get from internships.

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