Access to Internships For Online Students On The Rise

internships for online students

Last year, the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Center for Research on College- Workforce Transitions released a grim report on the state of internships for college students in the United States. The report cited a steep decline in those college students who participated in internships (paid or otherwise) and suggested that a lack of access to quality internships was a primary barrier.

The report did not fall on deaf ears, though. Since its release, there have been some promising developments regarding internships for college students, including micro-internships and virtual opportunities. Colleges, nonprofits, and private corporations are stepping up to make sure students are primed for the workforce, whether or not they have the ability or desire to commute.

The Washington Center, for instance, recently offered an online micro-internship in cybersecurity. The opportunity came with a $500 stipend and included an online professional development course. This is the kind of opportunity that many low-income students with full-time jobs could feasibly juggle while preparing for graduation.

Founded in 2018, the UK-based platform Virtual Internships is also working to expand access to internships for students worldwide. They match students with online opportunities that meet their skillsets and career goals. So far, 7,000+ students have completed a virtual internship through the platform. It’s a meager start, but a start nonetheless.

Internships that can be completed remotely don’t just benefit students. This model can help employers diversify their workplaces with talent that they may not have access to otherwise. It’s a win-win, especially when you consider the 80% of companies that prioritize internships as the superior recruiting strategy.  And with a workforce that is increasingly remote, virtual internships are a no-brainer.

Colleges and universities have a role to play here, too. Prospective students are beginning to look for schools that can offer them not only an online degree, but also post-graduation internship opportunities that align with their busy schedules.

Related: Affordable Online Colleges with Guaranteed Internships