Why Fit in When You Can Stand Out (by Doing More Internships)?

Dana Guterman
Updated: October 30, 2019

Like a lot of things in life, internships are a numbers game. Apply to more, up your odds of an internship. Do more, up your odds of a job. In that vein, we recently addressed the age-old question, “How many internships do I need to get a job?” by sharing that half of interns do more than one internship—a stat that reflects trends across hundreds of colleges, all across the US.

But in college, work, and life, we tend to measure ourselves against our peers, rather than the whole wide world. And as it turns out, where you go to school has a big impact on whether you intern and how many internships you do. Below, we’ve sorted universities into three categories: private, public, and for-profit.

How to read each graph:

Within each category, you’ll see two graphs (one line graph and one bar graph), comparing five established schools. Read on to find out how many internships your classmates are actually doing.

Private Schools

First up, private schools. These colleges are funded through donations, endowments, and tuition (and tend to be the schools most likely to elicit sticker shock).

How many internships a private school graduate does

Chegg data model

Graph one, a line graph, compares the five schools and shows how many internships the average graduate does. The “all schools” category provides a baseline point of reference: 46% of all college students do an internship.

Percent of private school interns doing more than one internship

Chegg data model

Graph two, a bar graph, shows those same five schools, but compares how many internships the average intern does. In other words, we’re excluding graduates who didn’t do any internships in the bar graphs. Here, the “all schools” category shows that 49.9 percent of all interns complete more than one internship.

Based on the data above, if you attend a private university, chances are good that your high-achieving peers are playing the internship game to the best of their abilities. Across all schools, 46 percent of students do at least one internship. At George Washington University, however, that number jumps to 78 percent, with 13 percent of students doing five or more internships. For Duke and University of Southern California, it’s around 75 percent; at Rice, it’s 70 percent; and at Purdue University, 61 percent—all far above the average rate.

Moving on to graph number two, while just under half of interns across all schools complete more than one internship, nearly 75 percent of interns at George Washington University hold more than one internship throughout their college tenure; those GW students certainly keep busy! At University of Southern California, Duke, Rice, and Purdue, between half and three-quarters of interns hold more than one internship.

Public Schools

Public schools are primarily funded by the state government and tend to be larger than private schools. If you go to an in-state public school, you’ll pay lower tuition than out-of-state students.

How many internships a public school graduate does

Percentage of public school interns who do more than one internship

Compared to private school students, public school students are more moderate in their internship approach.

The number of students completing internships varies by school, with between 55 and 65 percent of UC Berkeley, Indiana University, and Ohio State University graduates having done an internship. That number drops to 38 percent for University of Central Florida students and just 31 percent for University of North Texas students.

Of those who intern, numbers also vary, with around half of Indiana, Ohio State, and University of Central Florida students doing more than one internship. At UC Berkeley, often ranked the world’s number one public university, over 60 percent of interns have held more than one internship; that number drops to 35 percent for University of North Texas interns.

For-Profit Schools

Operated by profit-seeking, private businesses, for-profit schools offer (usually) accredited degrees in programs that are often geared toward a specific career path. They often have higher acceptance rates compared to public and private nonprofit universities, and they can be somewhat controversial.

How many internships a for-profit school graduate does

Percentage of for-profit school interns who do more than one internship

For students at for-profit universities, doing an internship is pretty darn rare. Less than four percent of University of Phoenix graduates do one; at Devry University, it’s just seven percent; and at Full Sail University and Monroe College, it’s 16 and 25 percent respectively. At Academy of Art University, that number jumps to 35 percent of students.

Of these atypical for-profit college interns, Academy of Art also has the highest percentage of interns doing more than one internship at 40 percent. At Full Sail and Monroe, around one in four interns holds more than one internship, and at University of Phoenix and Devry, it’s less than one in five.

Wherever you’ve landed and whatever career you’re pursuing, recognizing how your peers compete allows you to gauge your own success and adjust your trajectory and goals accordingly. And if you’re attending University of Phoenix, why not try your hand at an internship or two? You’re sure to stand out from the crowd.