New internship policies alleviate financial burdens for students

by Molly Crain
News Editor

Applying for an internship at Transylvania University can be a stressful process, especially when students are obligated to pay an overload fee to receive academic credit for an unpaid working experience.

The situation “…discourages internships because students have to choose between classes they may need, and experience,” said senior Ruth Kloha. “They may opt for a 20-hour job at Fazoli’s instead, where they are actually getting paid.”

However, this is a predicament Transy students no longer have to face with a change in policy just announced. Specifically, three new policies have been added will relieve the overload stress for first-time internships.

The first new policy states, “Students may undertake one academic internship for fall-term or winter-term credit as an overload without incurring an overload tuition charge.”

In the second policy, students who wish to take their first summer internship for academic credit may do so as well, at no monetary expense, but subsequent summer internships would be charged if the student is seeking credit.

With these changes a student can now take two academic internships (one during the school year, and one in the summer) free of charge, whereas before students always were charged for any overload courses, including internships.

The third policy allows even more flexibility. “Students may receive Academic Credit in the fall term for a summer internship experience, subject to a professors approval,” the policy states.

Working directly with professors is what the Career Development Center had in mind when they made the changes. Further, Susan Rayer, director of the center said that she hopes that these changes will encourage internships to be an “extension of the academic experience.”

“We don’t want to make it seem vocational,” said Rayer.

Junior Katie Oakes recently worked in Washington, D.C., this past summer for Dream Careers—a program that specializes in placing students in summer internships across the nation—as an event planner/organizer.

Oakes said she is excited to know that she now has the option of receiving academic credit for her past internship, and even the Susan G. Komen for the Cure internship in which she is currently participating.

“Since I’m not sure of my plans for grad school, at this point in my life I’m all about building a resume,” said Oakes.

“At least 40 percent of Transy students participate in academic internships,” Rayer said. “Twenty percent of students that we know of do so independently.” Rayer hopes that the Career Development Center’s most recent policy updates will encourage students to opt for more on-the-record participation.

To apply for an internship, a student must have a minimum GPA of 2.0 and completed at least eight credit units.

“Professors like to see some groundwork in their program before they (students) do an internship,” said Michael Cronk, assistant director of the Career Development Center.

Cronk also added that changes in these policies are coming at just the right time, as most “for-profit companies” won’t allow students to work for them unless their work experience is structured through a university.

Until now, this left students at Transy at a disadvantage.

“Seventy-eight percent of college graduates participate in internships nationally,” stated Rayer. “What we want students to understand and think (at Transy) is that, ‘I want to seek an experience and receive credit for it’,” instead of just filling a requirement.

The Career Development Center will be advertising these new policies to students Friday, Nov. 4 during lunch in the Rafskellar and Cafeteria and will be available to answer student’s questions.

Additional information will be provided during a workshop that following Monday on Nov. 7 in the Career Development Office at 3:30 p.m.


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