The Virtual Internship

from Serendipity35

Internships for college students (and sometimes high school students) have long been a good experience. They help young people develop a professional aptitude, learn real-world skills, and often create an opportunity for a follow-up job. They took a hit during the pandemic with offices closed and a reluctance on both sides to be out in the world.

Virtual internships became a thing. I assume some existed before but not in great numbers. I read about some undergrads at Brown University who began Intern From Home in March 2020. They wanted to salvage internships during the pandemic for classmates with a free, simple-to-use platform. They were connecting students at more than 200 colleges with virtual internships and it looks like they have doubled that.

They were not the first to do this. Sites like virtualinternships.com offer college and high school students internship opportunities.

More here.

Posted in Careers, Education and tagged , , , , .

5 Comments

  1. Internships are the most important thing a college student can get in my opinion. They allow you to get experience in the field you want to make career of. This article talks about the Virtual Internships being made with the coronavirus pandemic. I believe these are still a great alternative as you still get the information and hands on experience. Most companies do most of their work online already. These internships, no matter if they are online, can open doors you’d never expect. Many people will tell you internships are the most important thing one can do at college. My Business Writing professor tells us all the time that if an opportunity comes up for an internship, take it. Don’t worry if you have to miss a class, that the internship could be a once in a lifetime opportunity that could open so many doors. So no matter if the Internship is in person or online, do it.

  2. I believe getting an internship during college is just as important as maintaining your GPA. The main reason I went to college was to gain experience in the accounting field and internships are the best way to do so. Last year the coronavirus pandemic played a big part in recruitment for internships because the annual career fairs held at Rider were held virtually. Most of the internships that were offered were virtual internships because of the coronavirus restrictions. That spring, I received a tax internship offer from a local accounting firm, but it was not a virtual internship. I was offered the opportunity to work virtually but I wanted the full experience of an in-person internship to gain valuable work experience. I am grateful for the opportunity they presented me as it gave me a different perspective on the tax side of accounting, which allows me to explore other areas of my field.

    During the peak of the pandemic, in-person internships were not possible because of the social distancing restrictions and virtual internships provided a safer way to do business. These virtual internships give the employer and the employee different options regarding how they work, but the percentage of interns who were satisfied with their virtual internship is less than those who had an in-person internship (Ronkowitz). In the future I wish to continue working in-person, as it is easier to network with professionals in my field as well as gain confidence in my abilities as an accountant.

    The author of the article. Kenneth Ronkowitz, reminisced to the time he was a college student. He talked about a few fellow undergraduates who took internships in the fields they each wanted to pursue after college. He mentioned that after they had their internships the students realized that they didn’t want to pursue that career anymore. Internships are not only ways to gain experience in the field you want to pursue, but they also allow you to taste what that job is like. It is important to get an internship early in your college career to make sure you are on the right path. The worst thing that could happen is studying four years in a field that you are not interested in. All in all, internships whether virtual or in-person, allow for students to gain real world experience in the field they are studying. It really is a great opportunity that gives students a look into the future of what’s to come. Virtual internships gave everyone the chance to still experience internships, despite the global pandemic.

  3. As a part of the Stillman school of business it is a requirement that we participate in two internships by the time that we graduate. This article caught my eye because I am getting to the point where I have the find an internship opportunity for this upcoming summer. Although that is very far away, it is very possible that covid-19 will still be affecting us and that virtual internships will be more common than years before covid-19. The whole point of an internship is to gain work experience, explore career paths, help find a possible job, and gain confidence for your future career that you wish to pursue. The virtual internship experience doesn’t give you these much-needed experiences, and in fact based on studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, they found that there were higher levels of dissatisfaction with virtual internships compared to in-person internships. After reading this article I understand the importance of making sure that you don’t fall in to “the trap” that is the virtual internships. As someone who has only worked retail my few years of high school and the summertime I yet to experience the “real world” of working in business. I ma making it a goal to find an internship that allows me t go in and get a hands-on experience with the career that I want to pursue. I especially want to do this to make sure that I am finding the career path that is best suited for who I am. My parents have made it very clear that they want me to do something that I will enjoy for the rest of my life. Which is one of the reasons that I switched my majors during my sophomore year. Without the in-experience I will not get the experience needed to determine how I feel about my future career path. I would also like to get paid for my hard work, and according to the research done by UW-Madison 42% of online internships were unpaid compared to 35% of in-person internships that were unpaid in 2020.

    • COMMENT EDITED / FINAL DRAFT:
      As a part of the Stillman school of business it is a requirement that we participate in two internships by graduation. This article caught my eye because I am getting to the point where I have the find an internship opportunity for this upcoming summer. Although that is far away, it is very possible that Covid-19 will still be affecting us and virtual internships will be more common than years before. The whole point of an internship is to gain work experience, explore career paths, help find a possible job, and gain confidence for your future career that you wish to pursue. The virtual internship experience doesn’t give you these much-needed experiences. Based on studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, there were higher levels of dissatisfaction with virtual internships compared to in-person internships. After reading this article I understand the importance of making sure that you don’t fall in to the “trap” that is the virtual internships. As someone who has only worked retail I am yet to experience the “real world” of working in business. I am making it a goal to find an internship that allows me to go in and get hands-on experience with the career that I want to pursue. I want to do this to make sure that I am finding the career path that is best suited for who I am. My parents made it clear that they want me to do something that I will enjoy for the rest of my life. This is one of the reasons why I switched my major during my sophomore year. I will not get the experience needed to determine how I feel about my future career path in a virtual internship. I would also like to get paid for my work, and according to the research done by UW-Madison 42% of online internships were unpaid compared to 35% of in-person internships that were unpaid in 2020.

  4. After reading this article on virtual internships, I found that I was able to gather both the pros and the cons of this new concept. I think it’s great that virtual internships allow for college and high school students to still have an opportunity to have an internship during this pandemic, however, I would not go as far to say that this form is better than the in-person experience. Not only did this article point out that students reported higher dissatisfaction with virtual internships, but I also have first-hand experience with the internship process and the opinions that came with both versions. When I was in high school, I was a part of this business academy that required me to complete an internship over the summer in order to graduate. This process took place during the peak of the pandemic, which obviously made virtual internships not only more favorable, but more realistic given the circumstances. Regardless, my motivation for not wanting to be in a virtual environment allowed me to find an accounting internship with this local chemical transport company. I found this in-person internship to be greatly beneficial to my skill-set in this field as I was able to learn from my physical mistakes and actually complete tasks in person. On the other hand, I had a lot of friends who said their virtual internships were not only boring, but also uninformative. That they did not actually get to do anything except listen to a person lecture to them like they do in class. I understand that this type of internship serves as substitute that is better than nothing during these times of uncertainty, however, I do not think it will ever be a replacement or even comparable to in-person internships.

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