Nothing for Money and Your Work for Free: Internships and the Marketing of Higher Education
American universities have significantly increased their marketing expenditures over the last decade. The high cost of education, reductions in government funding, and precipitous declines in the traditional college-aged population (18-21 year olds) are some of the key factors forcing universities to be more aggressive with the promotional techniques they use to attract prospective students. In this competitive marketplace, schools promote the attributes they believe will be most compelling to high schoolers and their parents, including academics, sports, campus life, and careers. Tied into this last factor is the promotion of internship opportunities. While some of these hands-on experiences lead to jobs, there are no guarantees that attending college and engaging in an internship will translate into full-time employment. Using content analysis and auto-ethnography, I examine how universities use internships to market higher education, and argue that this is a particularly pernicious practice within the area of media studies.
tripleC is a peer-reviewed, open-access journal (ISSN: 1726-670X). All journal content, except where otherwise noted, is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Austria License.