Apr 18, 2012

AU tops the List of Universities Graduating Students with Internship Experience

According to a survey conducted by US News & World Report (USNWR), American University tops the list of national universities with the highest percentage of 2010 graduates who worked as interns at some point in their undergraduate careers.

With 84.7 percent of its 1,515 graduating seniors working as interns, American takes advantage of its intern-friendly location in the nation’s capital to place students in government-related positions in D.C. and beyond.

Similarly, George Washington University placed fifth on the USNWR list, with 66 percent of its 2,405 graduating seniors with internship experience most of which in the D.C. area.

Based on data provided by 416 colleges and universities, USNWR found that on average 37.6 percent of 2010 graduates took part in an internship while in school. Of the “national universities” providing data to USNWR, an average of 30.4 percent graduated with internship credentials.

In today’s competitive job market, grads are finding that 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 seek out “experiential” learning opportunities. In fact, many are beginning to require internships, clinical experiences, or practicum experiences for graduation.

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.

To capture some of their experiences, American asks interns to contribute to a blog which recently included entries from Capitol Hill, the State Department, the Committee to Protect Journalists, the Fox business studio, and the Caps locker room.

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 a series of Federal Guidelines on Internships.

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

  1. American University (85%)
  2. Colorado School of Mines (81%)
  3. Dartmouth College (72%)
  4. University of Pittsburgh (69%)
  5. George Washington University (66%)
  6. Florida Institute of Technology (60%)
  7. South Carolina State University (60%)
  8. University of Massachusetts—Amherst (57%)
  9. Pace University (57%)
  10. University of South Dakota (53%)

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