First-Generation Students Underrepresented in Internships

August 1, 2020 | By NACE Staff

three people sitting around a table

TAGS: diversity and inclusion, Internships, nace insights, student attitudes, students, surveys,

Spotlight for Career Services Professionals
Spotlight for Recruiting Professionals

Disproportionalities exist for the first-generation college students among internship groups as these students are overrepresented among “never interns” and underrepresented among paid interns, NACE research reveals.

This finding adds to the growing body of research on disproportionalities in intern representation—including those by race and by gender—that NACE has identified.

If first-generation students were evenly distributed across the internship groups shown in Figure 1, the bars would all be even with the bar representing all graduating seniors. Therefore, since 22 percent of the sample population were first-generation students, one should expect to see first-generation students as 22 percent of each group of paid interns, unpaid interns, and never interns (those who did not take part in any internship) as well.

However, first-generation students account for one-quarter of never interns and just 19 percent of paid interns. These differences are statistically significant and provide evidence of disproportionality.

The data, derived from NACE’s 2019 Student Survey Report, were collected from February 13, 2019, through May 1, 2019. A total of 22,371 students responded from 470 NACE-member colleges and universities. By class, 4,118 freshmen; 3,642 sophomores; 5,049 juniors; 6,475 seniors; 2,384 master’s students; and 516 doctoral students responded to the survey. The focus of the report, however, is on the experiences of the 3,952 graduating seniors who participated. In addition, this report includes in-depth analysis of the impact of students’ internships on these aspects of their transition from college to work. The 2019 Student Survey Report is available free to colleges that participated in the survey through MyNACE. An executive summary of the report is available through the NACE Store.

Figure 1: Disproportionality of first-generation students in internships, 2018-19

Figure 1: Disproportionality of first-generation students in internships, 2018-19

Source: 2019 Student Survey, National Association of Colleges and Employers. To help interpret disproportionality by first-generation status across the internship groups, the arrows underneath the bars where this disproportionality occurs in Figure 1 indicate whether first-generation students are overrepresented or underrepresented in the internship group.