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Communications of the ACM

ACM TechNews

Virtual Internships in Rising Demand

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Lauren Berger

Intern Queen's Lauren Berger


Virtual internships, in which students work for an employer over the Web, increasingly are being offered at college campuses, with advantages for both students and employers.

Career services officers and operators of national intern job search boards report an increase in such internships in the last several years, particularly from small ventures and startups seeking additional assistance to grow their business.

With remote opportunities, resource-limited students can apply for internships in places where the cost of living would be unaffordable, notes the University of Michigan's GeniHarclerode. "I think there is an appeal with some of these virtual internships because they can still contribute to an organization while living at home for the summer and saving money," Harclerode says.’s Lauren Berger notes that university career services centers are beginning to become more amenable to virtual internships, as long as they are sufficiently structured and have a point person who can provide students with daily guidance and feedback on assignments.

Columbia University’s program, for example, matches 10 to 15 students each year with virtual internships the school reviews and selects. Columbia’s career office makes sure the students are trained in time management skills and virtual communication before work starts.

From MentorNet 
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