Students feel frustration with internship dry spell


GVL / Meghan Landgren

Alexander Verheek, Staff Writer

Summer break is right around the corner and many students have started to search for internships in their respective fields of study. However, some students are finding the internship hunt to be harder than before. 

Megan Riksen, an Assistant Director for the Grand Valley State University Career Center, said this may be due to lasting effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“I think we’re seeing elevated levels of stress, for sure,” Riksen said. “As we’re at whatever stage of the pandemic we’re in, our employers still don’t even really know where they’re at, so I think the internship market, like the internships we used to count on, it’s not that they don’t exist, it’s just that things haven’t (been settled).” 

Riksen said a possible solution to discovering new internship opportunities would be to utilize Handshake, a job listing site that many GVSU affiliated companies post on to attract student workers. 

However, students have found that Handshake isn’t a sure-fire solution to their problems. 

GVSU junior Andrew Zonca said he has applied to 27 internship postings on Handshake and has only received one response. However, when speaking with other students in his CIS program, Zonca found he wasn’t alone. 

While employers commonly take an extended period of time to respond, Zonca said it’s very frustrating when relying on a response from a specific job.

Zonca said the lack of communication with students is indicative of a larger issue within the internship market for students. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to stand out to potential employers.

“For every one employer, there’s probably 200 to 300 applicants for one job,” Zonca said. “So unless you really stand out, it’s kind of hard to (secure the job). Even then, I feel like I stand out pretty well. I have IT experience. I have certification. I have what people are looking for and they just don’t get back to me.”

Kalie Braun, a sophomore studying health information management, said she has experienced similar struggles through a lack of available internships and dry spells on Handshake or Indeed.

“I’ve looked under health information management, or like medical scribe, or just a bunch of other things that I’ve been told would be good for me to search for and they either want some kind of experience or there’s just not any type of internship,” Braun said.

Braun said none of the workplaces she’s contacted have been able to give her the opportunity to job shadow and only one was able to answer her questions related to the field, albeit over the phone. 

She said that similar to Rikset, she also feels that COVID-19 is to blame, but still feels that there should be more opportunities open. 

As the search for internships is well underway, the GVSU Career Center said they encourage all students to reach out for assistance and additional resources.