Apr 9, 2011

Area Universities among Those Producing the Most Interns

According to a survey conducted by US News & World Report (USNWR), three area universities are among those with the highest percentage of 2009 graduates who worked as interns at some point during their undergraduate careers.

Based on a survey of 1,700 colleges and universities, USNWR found that on average 36.8 percent of 2009 graduates took part in an internship while in school. Of the 692 “national universities” providing data to USNWR, American University (81%), George Washington University (68%), and Johns Hopkins (66%) ranked in the top 10 as having the highest percentages of grads with internship credentials.

In today’s competitive job market, it’s not always enough to have top grades to get the job. Employers are increasingly looking for hands-on experience to support academics.

And colleges are responding by encouraging students in all majors to spend time interning. In fact, many are beginning to make it a requirement for graduation.

“These internships give these students an edge that they would not have otherwise,” said Patricia Comer, president of Longwood University, in an interview with USNWR. “It always amazes me that higher education didn’t think of this before. For me it’s a no-brainier. If you’re going to position your students well, you’ve got to give them this exposure before they graduate.”

At American University, most students intern locally at institutions such as the World Bank, National Institutes of Health, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, or the Smithsonian Institution. But there also exists a “global network of opportunities” where students may also find exciting internships at places like the Associated Press in Thailand or the Global Conscience Initiative in Cameroon.

Across town, GW’s National Security Internship Program is a great example of how academics and practical experience can be tied together to produce amazing opportunities through the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Homeland Security. Created through a partnership with the Classics and Semantics program in GW’s Columbian Department of Homeland Security, the internship is designed to provide students the skills necessary to serve the country focusing on matters related to the Middle East.

Internship programs are not without controversy, and colleges have recently been called to task for displacing paid workers with unpaid students. The Department of Labor was concerned enough to publish new Federal Guidelines on Internships.

Nevertheless, the top 10 “national universities” producing the most interns are:

  • University of Pennsylvania (90%)

  • Colorado School of Mines (84%)

  • American University (81%)

  • Seton Hall University (76%)

  • Duke University (75%)

  • Fordham University (75%)

  • University of Pittsburgh (72%)

  • George Washington University (68%)

  • Johns Hopkins University (66%)

  • Florida Institute of Technology (65%)

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