Some internships are not worth the time and money

December 8, 2016 — by Patrick Li and Neil Rao

Internships may be good for college apps but not so much for your wallet.

“The deadline for your final application ends in two hours.”

These are the words that are displayed across the screens of millions of high-achieving students, hoping to get into world renowned summer programs.

With programs and internships such as the Research Science Institute (RSI) and the Stanford Institutes of Medicine Summer Research Program (SIMR) having admissions rates lower than those of Ivy League schools and costing thousands of dollars, the question of the worth of these programs arises.

Most internships are designed on the basis that students can try academic fields they may enter in their future. Today, however, many internships have become money-dependent organizations preying on high school students and are worth neither the money nor time students put into them.

Most internships market their programs as surefire ways to ensure college admittance. Soon enough, applicants learn most of these programs have application fees and state that if applicants do pay and attend, they will have a high chance of getting into an exclusive college.

Furthermore, the idea that students can get into any college based on acceptance into one competitive program can discourage students from actually gaining interest in their field, making them focus on boosting their resumes rather than actually learning.

While some programs like RSI truly help students learn about the medical field, numerous internships restrict the students in what they can actually do. For example, it is illegal for students to be involved in certain medical work, limiting the intern to menial desk work. This means that being a high school is receiving no real experience; in fact, watching YouTube videos on the topic would probably be a less expensive and more educational option.

Such restrictions may ultimately hurt the student. Many students go into internships thinking that they will be able to learn a great deal, but are only instructed to sort papers for the real workers and do the equivalent of running to get coffee.

Some students even have to work in cubicles during their internships, which not only demeans the student’s abilities but also discourages them to pursue the career, as they have false ideas about what the job is actually like.

Additionally, some students resort to doing internships under the guidance of relatives just to put the experience on their resumes. For instance, some join business or realty firms without having any interest in these fields. These students end up wasting their summers on a job they don’t get paid for, often doing nothing genuinely useful for their future.

Internships and other summer programs are no exception to the irrational mania surrounding college admissions. Maybe more students should focus on doing activities they actually like and that would help their future — like reading a textbook.

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