OPINION: Internships are a gross, money-making scam

Jonathan Glover, Editor-in-Chief

I’m just going to come out and say this: Required internships as part of a college curriculum are a scam.

Phew. That felt good to get off my chest.

Some of you might have already suspected this, but you may have just brushed internships off as one of life’s many annoyances, like athlete’s foot, 30-minute parking or Republicans. Well, therein lies the problem – they’re not just annoying.

I’m not saying internships aren’t useful. They’re great! You get real-life experience, meet potential employers and network like hell. As someone who completed an internship last summer, I can safely say that I learned a lot.

But that’s where the praise stops. Internships are essentially forced labor, and if you want that $20,000 piece of paper at the end of your four years here, some of you are going to have to do them.

And that usually means that you’re going to have to take a quarter of classes during summer. Why? Because internships at many employers are almost exclusively offered during the summer.

As I mentioned before, my internship was during summer quarter because it had to be. I was one of a handful of students in the state to win some fancy scholarship (of which I’m grateful) that paid for about $1,500, but that still meant I had to do it during summer.

Okay, so why all the hate for summer classes? Because Central really, really, really, really, really wants you to take them. They fucking love that shit.

Don’t believe me? Just look around. Pretty soon, there are going to be signs, advertisements, radio announcements (insert other form of marketing here) everywhere telling you to take summer classes.

They’ll have stupid buzzwords that they think students will connect with, such as, “finish your degree faster,” or “enjoy even smaller class sizes.” Don’t believe me? You should. I just copied those verbatim from Central’s summer-quarter tab on their website.

What they won’t tell you is the asinine price of summer-quarter classes. Regular tuition at Central is around $2,896 for a full time 10-week quarter, according to collegedata.com. But summer quarter? About $3,177 for 12 credits, according to Central’s website.

The kicker? Summer tuition is $264.70 per credit, $30 more than normal. It sounds harmless, but it adds up – I had to pay $2,825 for 10 credits, which is considered “full time.” I still paid about $100 less than I normally do for full-time credits during the school year, at $2,946.

And federal student aid (grants, loans etc.) aren’t offered in the summer unless you apply for it. You know what that means? Private loans. Or, ask your mommy and daddy nicely for an extra $3,000.

When you’re on this internship, you’re assigned an adviser who lazily doesn’t check in with you (as was the case with me). At the end, you have to write about 15 pages on what you learned (I’m not making this up) and keep a daily summary of all the things you did.

At the end of it all, you get to turn it all into this professor – whom you haven’t spoken to in a month and a half – and wait for a “grade.” They give you either a pass or fail.

This adviser gets paid the entire time for not doing anything, and not only are you paying their salary, but they just read some pieces of paper at the end of the ordeal and tell you whether or not you get credit for the money you spent.

Also, most internships that work with colleges on internship credits (which is the kind you’ll be doing) don’t pay you. So, not only are you working for free, but you’re also paying $3,177 to do so.


I for one am sick of mandatory internships that cost an arm and a leg. I don’t know how to fix the problem, but I want you to be sick of them too.

So I’ve compiled a short list of things you could spend your $3,177 on instead. Some of them are more useful than others, but most are more useful than a bullshit required internship.

Prices are based off of Amazon sales deals (minus the tiger).

  • 265 bottles of Tide laundry detergent or,
  • 7 iPad Airs or,
  • A custom-made Gibson Les Paul guitar or,
  • 7,300 rolls of toilet paper or,
  • A sizable down payment on a new car or,
  • 2,541 individual bottles of glitter or,
  • 158,850 dog-poop-waste bags or,
  • Five years of club-level Seattle Sounders FC season tickets or,
  • 176,696 googly eyes or,
  • 17 pairs of Air Jordan’s or,
  • 154 gallons of Sweet Baby Ray’s barbecue sauce or,
  • A tiger (with some change left over)