Student Survey: COVID-19 and Fall Internships

Recently, Indiana INTERNnet shared the results of an employer survey about fall internships. Now we have results to share from a student survey as well. Because COVID-19 changed many schools’ academic schedules, Indiana INTERNnet wanted to understand how students may have likewise changed their internship plans. The student survey also collected information about completed summer internships. The survey was sent to all of the active students on (8,301 students) and received 382 responses (4.6% response rate).

Of those surveyed, 17% (66 students) had completed a summer internship. The 83% (316 students) who hadn’t completed a summer internship selected the reason(s) they hadn’t: 1) working a part- or full-time job instead (120 students); 2) not being able to find an internship (84 students); 3) taking summer classes instead (67 students). Sixty-three students said they hadn’t planned to complete a summer internship in the first place, and 60 students said they hadn’t looked for an internship because they didn’t think they would be able to find one. Only 40 students said their summer internship was cancelled because of the pandemic.Of the 66 students who did complete summer internships, 47% (31 students) completed their internships in person; 36% (24 students) completed virtual internships; and 17% (11 students) completed hybrid internships, meaning they worked both in-person and virtually. The survey also asked students to rate their internship experience on a scale of five stars. In-person internships received the most five-star ratings (22), significantly more than virtual (eight five-star ratings) and hybrid (six five-star ratings) internships.When asked what challenges they experienced, virtual interns selected “becoming easily distracted” the most (15 students) just ahead of “feeling disconnected from company culture (14 students).” Hybrid interns, on the other hand, selected “feeling disconnected from company culture” (5 responses) and “technology problems/not having proper technology” (5 responses) as the challenges they experienced the most. Only two hybrid interns reported becoming easily distracted. These responses make it clear that interns feel less connected to company culture when they spend less time working in person.

To gauge student interest in fall internships, the survey asked respondents if they plan to complete an internship this fall. 47% said “yes” (181 students) and 53% (201 students) said “no.” Of those who said “yes,” only 10% (19 students) had secured a fall internship at the time of the survey. Students showed equal interest in hybrid, virtual and in-person internships. Of the students interested in completing a fall internship, 56% (91 students) said they are interested in working 12-20 hours a week during the fall semester.Of the students not interested in completing a fall internship, 38% (76 students) said their primary reason was having too full of a course load this fall. 26% (53 students) said uncertainty about the academic schedule had most influenced their decision to not complete an internship.Finally, the survey gauged student interest in short-term, project-based internships during the winter break between semesters. Because many schools have lengthened this break due to the pandemic, Indiana INTERNnet sees new opportunity for work-based learning during the break – and so do students, according to the survey results. 60% (231 students) said they are interested, 31% (118 students) said they are unsure, and only 9% (33 students) said they are not interested in a winter break internship. Of those who said they are interested, 34% (78 students) said they are interested in working 12-20 hours a week. 31% (72 students) said they are interested in working 20-30 hours a week, which is significantly more than the 19% who said they are interested in working 20-30 hours a week during the fall semester. This signifies that students are interested in working more hours during winter break.The survey received responses from a variety of students in Indiana. 85% (327 students) of respondents were college students, while high school students and college graduates also participated. There was a variety of college majors represented amongst college participants, with STEM, health science, and business being the most prevalent.Indiana INTERNnet is here to support both internship- and intern-seekers, and we’re happy to help you with your search! If you’d like to be contacted by someone on the Indiana INTERNnet team, please let us know.

2 Responses to Student Survey: COVID-19 and Fall Internships

  1. Pamela Mallory says:

    I am in my last semester of mybachelors at purdue cani still apply for an internship?

    • Allison Kuehr says:

      Yes! There are a few fall semester internships still opens on However, if you would like to intern in the spring after you graduate, there are spring 2021 internships that are active. Having an internship in either your final semester or the semester after graduation is a great way to build up your skills before applying to career opportunities.

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