College Credit For Internships Basically Meaningless?

omg how did I find this imageSo we’ve all heard of the great labor loophole with college internships where it’s okay to have people do menial work for no pay because they are getting college credit. Perhaps we have hired these interns, or been one of them.

I’ve always wondered what kind of credit students get for it. Certainly not Economics! According to this revelatory (to me) opinion piece by Peter Sterne in the Columbia Spectator, when it comes to your degree, that college credit ain’t worth much:

If you’re a Columbia student and you do an internship, Columbia will give you “college credit” for it. This credit, known as “R-credit,” has little in common with the credits you’ll get for passing classes. It appears on your transcript, but it doesn’t actually count toward your degree. It’s basically meaningless.

To receive this credit, all you need to is fill out a simple form, get your internship supervisor to sign it, and submit it to the Center for Student Advising. It would be easy to get this credit fraudulently, but who would want to?


Who, indeed? Well, as Peter Sterne goes on to argue, the people who can afford to take the time off from paid work to do an internship, that’s who.

I did an unpaid internship in college that I got a grant for, then after college I interned for free while the kid I nannied was in school, but that internship led to a job and to me meeting Paul Simon this one time so I harbor no resentment. I never did do an internship for college credit, though.

Has anyone else? Did you get relevant credits that counted towards your degree? I wonder if it’s like this across the board.

Amazing image: charlesfettinger

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