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Acquiring internships should not be required

By Michelle CannizzoColumnist

It was my first day of class, and I was lucky enough to get a professor who was rumored to have a sense of humor. The course was required for journalism majors, and we were all eager to learn of just what other courses we would be required to take before we could hightail it out of college and into the newsrooms of prestigious publications like The New York Times, Daily News and Vogue.

After lecturing us on what is needed to graduate from Hofstra with a communication degree, my “funny” professor decided to sneak in a little heart-stopping statement: “…And if you don’t get an internship during your four years, well, I guess you’ll have to make it five.” Um, I’m sorry; I must have heard you wrong. What?

Unfortunately, I didn’t hear my professor wrong. According to the Hofstra University website, and our academic advisement counselors, if you are a Hofstra student enrolled as a communication major of any subdivision, you must intern for a minimum of 180 hours in order to graduate.

So, in other words, if we are unable to acquire an internship before our fourth year is finished, we will be forced to stay in college for another semester or intersession in order to fulfill the mandatory internship hours.

In my opinion, the internship requirement for communication majors is unrealistic. We already fear not getting a job; we don't need to be in fear of not graduating as well.

No matter how long your resume is or how close your GPA is to 4.0, obtaining an internship as an inexperienced student is nearly impossible. Some companies, such as the Wall Street Journal, only acknowledge candidates with previous internship experience, and most internship hiring managers prefer candidates to be either college juniors or seniors. The New York Times, for example, even warns against sophomores applying.

Making it even more improbable that we will successfully acquire an internship is that as Hofstra students, we are competing against students from some of the top universities in the country, be it Columbia University, New York University, Fordham University, etc. So it is no surprise that our students are finding it increasingly more difficult to get their hands on an internship.

Sure, Hofstra may be an amazing school, but more times than not, a company will chose the student from the more elite university —the one with the most positive media, highest funding rates and even a few celebrated alumni. Meanwhile, Hofstra’s credibility went downhill last year after the exposure of a theft ring that included four of our own basketball players.

What makes it worse is that Hofstra isn’t giving its struggling students very much assistance. They send countless e-mails, but help stops there. As a communication major, my e-mail account is filled with internships available for current students, but I find little use in any of the e-mails.

For example, I, along with my fellow communication majors, received a notification for an internship opportunity with Scripps Howard News Service. Though the internship looked wonderful, there was one thing that kept me from applying, and that was the fact that it was located in Washington, D.C.

For most students, it is unrealistic to just get up and move to another state for the summer when so many students either have summer jobs or classes.

The bottom line is that if Hofstra wants to require me to complete an internship for graduation, then Hofstra should be the one to obtain an internship for me. Let Hofstra write over thirty different cover letters per semester, complete endless applications and do more research than I would do if I were moving to a foreign country.

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