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Is It Fair For Parents to Pay For a Foot in the Door?

Getting a leg up on the competition isn't as cheap as it used to be. More college students are realizing the importance of interning before graduation, and while many internships are unpaid, landing those spots isn't always free.

Internship companies like University of Dreams operate by charging students a fee to guide them through the steps of scoring a position. The fees range from $5,000 to $9,500, and after polishing students résumés, the company arranges interviews with various employers. If the student isn't chosen for any intern post, the fee is refunded.

What do you think of the tactic of paying for internships — is it fair to pay for a foot in the door?


Join The Conversation
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
well - i think that it's somewhat unfair, but you can't say that you didn't expect to hear about something like this. for myself - i'm going to assume that i won't have that kind of $$ around to put forth for my kids to get an internship so i think that it's an unfair advantage, but it just goes to show that the saying 'it's not what you know' really does mean something in business.
JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 8 years
This is crazy. Not only are you working for free but you're having to pay to work for free.
Modus-Vivendi Modus-Vivendi 8 years
It's not fair, but neither is it fair that some kids have private tutors or expensive sat-prep classes. It's not wrong, but it's not fair.
WeTheLiving WeTheLiving 8 years
Well, life isn't fair, so who really cares. It's not fair that athletes get full rides to great academic schools even with low gpa's and it's not fair that lots of people can't afford even public universities, but who ever said life was fair? This is just another example of the rich getting richer cuz clearly they are the only ones who have that kind of money to spend on something like that. Even if I had the money, I wouldn't spend it for this! You're university career center will do the same thing for free!
Vaadsfweytes Vaadsfweytes 8 years
they don't *
Vaadsfweytes Vaadsfweytes 8 years
When I was looking for internships during my college years, my parents didn't help me at all. I really wished there was something like this, but eventually I got internships at a couple of companies and learned job searching skills. I honestly don't think it's bad to find a job through connections. I know it's unfair, but that's the truth of life. However, I believe internship during college years is more about learning and preparing for the real jobs later on. Although internships can lead to a real job, most of the times they aren't. People should take it easy and focus more on learning through different process.
shydcgirl28 shydcgirl28 8 years
How do I start one of these businesses??
lilkimbo lilkimbo 8 years
I think some of the commenters took the article the wrong way. It's not like the company with the internship is selling it; it's more training in how to interview well, etc. Using one's college career center is no difference. It might be "free," but it's not open to the general public and the cost to use it is built into your tuition.
notoriuskitty notoriuskitty 8 years
I definitely don't think that's fair! Students already pay a huge amount for their education and then to pay another $5,000 for guidance!? Isn't that the whole point of life... to gain experience respectfully?
bellesouer bellesouer 8 years
god this is so weird Savvy, I saw this article in the Wall Street Journal yesterday and copied it for my parents to read! I was astounded, and so were they. It essentially gives the affluent part of our country just ANOTHER leg up into the business world. It's terrible that students should feel they have to pay thousands of dollars to find an UNPAID internship. What happened to good hard work in finding internships? There are SEVERAL, and I mean SEVERAL outlets of finding an internship without having to pay any fees. Actually reading this article opened me up to the idea that people even charged fees! It's almost really laughable. If people just took the time and effort to look they would find that the reward is much better than writing a check. Okay rant done, but I just found it funny that this is the one and only article I have ever copied and it was referred to here!
rocketgirl rocketgirl 8 years
I got my internship through my university's Career Services, which had a $25 sign-up at the time (now it's free). It's not fair to pay that much for an internship! What about those of us who couldn't afford something like that?
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
It's not fair, but if people are willing to pay for it, then doesn't that just place it in sort of the same category as those expensive SAT/ACT prep courses? :shrug:
codewhiz codewhiz 8 years
I wish this thing were around when I was in college, I totally would have tried to find a way to come up with the money!
lickety-split lickety-split 8 years
my schools did this for free. but it was friends of my parents that got me the internships.
Spectra Spectra 8 years
It's crappy that companies are charging for internships, but it's also unfair for parents to pay for them for their kids. By doing it that way, only kids with rich parents are going to get jobs and it's the kids with not-so-rich parents that actually NEED the jobs. My husband was lucky to get a good internship his last semester of college (and the company paid HIM) and they hired him on after he graduated. I know most people aren't so lucky, though.
kpdunne4 kpdunne4 8 years
I'm actually familiar with the group, University of Dreams, and it is almost like a headhunter or career center for college students. The program does more than just get them an intership - it teaches them teambuilding skills, how to manage professional relationships and demonstrates how to develop a career path.
geebers geebers 8 years
This type of stuff happens all the time- that is how it is. I don't think it is anything to get worked up about. If people really think that parents who can afford it don't pay for helping their children succeed- you are living in a bubble. My parents were poor so I had to figure stuff out on my own -and the advantage is that you learn a lot of little things that someone else may not not to mention developing independence early on. And if my parents were rich -they WOULD pay top dollar for my education - and that would be my advantage over other students. There are advantages and disadvantages to both.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 8 years
It may not be "fair," but that doesn't mean it's wrong. I would have to do more investigating, but this seems like the company is helping them find the internships; it's not as if the internships are being sold to the highest bidder. A lot of colleges offer career services such as resume polishing; these services aren't available to the general public, but those who use them are probably still hard workers. To me, it's the same principle. I am also offended at the notion that those who use these types of services are not "hard workers."
a1stbornunicorn a1stbornunicorn 8 years
heck no it isn't fair but this type of thing has been happening forever. companies like this are just legitimizing the practice. besides, future employers will know that you bought your experience rather than earned it when you put the company on your resume.
starangel82 starangel82 8 years
My parents would have had a good laugh if I had asked them to pay for something like this. And interships aren't all that. A friend of mine did the intership, got hired, and is now so incredibly miserable. She says her intership was great, but nothing like what the job really was.
aimeeb aimeeb 8 years
No, esp for people who actually WORK for things...
zcoral zcoral 8 years
No it's not fair, but life isn't fair. The sooner you get used to it, the better.
refinedharmony refinedharmony 8 years
No way, part of the experience of internships is learning about how to seek out the job yourself: polish your OWN resume and convincing companies to give you an interview is only a small part of it. In order to get an internship (and a good one, at that) you have to have great grades, leadership positions on campus, and recommendations on hand. It's like everything else in life, you have to WORK for it. By paying for it, about half the experience really means nothing. Just like trying to get into a good college. It's as if you said: you can either take the SAT on your own and "risk it", or you can pay us and we'll give you a 1250. Then again, apparently there are companies that are working with University of Dreams so I may be completely wrong. Maybe these kids are "quality". They are probably getting a cut of that money.
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