Each year, NACE surveys students to identify trends, attitudes, and behaviors, and to examine how those behaviors correlate to outcomes. Internships and their role in career preparation and outcomes has been and continues to be a key area of inquiry.
Here we examine some important findings from NACE’s 2023 Student Survey that relate specifically to internships and bachelor’s degree-level graduating seniors.
Class of 2023 graduating seniors were actively engaged in experiential learning, with 79% reporting they participated in some form of experience during their time at college. Internships accounted for a significant portion of those experiences: Overall, nearly half of Class of 2023 graduating seniors (62%) reported taking part in an internship at some point in their college career. Of graduating seniors who participated in internships, most were paid (59%).
INTERNSHIPS AND SYSTEMIC INEQUALITY
Unfortunately, the data also point to systemic inequality in who takes part in internships and who is most likely to get a paid internship—ongoing issues that NACE began tracking with the Class of 2019.
Similar to previous classes, among Class of 2023 graduates, male students, white students, students who are not first generation, and students who are not Pell Grant recipients were more likely to participate in internships than other groups of students.
There is no quick fix to addressing the current inequities around internships, but career services professionals and employers can work toward eliminating the disparities.