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Unsure if you can afford to do an unpaid internship? Learn to budget for the internship and create a monthly budget to help with your decision. (You can create a free account on Cash Course using your WFU email address.)
While some internships are paid, not all employers are willing or able to offer paid internships, choosing instead to emphasize the value of the experience over financial compensation. If you accept an unpaid internship you will still benefit from the experience by developing knowledge, skills, and abilities, but you may be challenged to support yourself financially. Here are a few options to consider if you choose to accept an unpaid internship:
Part-time internship/Part-time work – In many cases employers offering unpaid internships will be flexible in their scheduling because they recognize the costs you will incur. Consider interning part time to build professional experience while working part–time to earn the money you need for your expenses. Check out sites like Craigslist or Snagajob to identify options. If your schedule allows, work in a temporary job before or after your internship to earn more money.
Alternative compensation – Some employers are willing to offer perks (like covering your commuting costs) that will help offset the cost of accepting an unpaid internship. Ask your employer for more information.
Limit your costs – If you have the opportunity to stay with friends or family in the city where your internship will be located, do it! If you need to identify your own housing, take a look at our housing site for suggestions in cities that Wake Forest students often consider.
Limit the cost of earning credit – You can also limit the cost of earning credit through Wake Forest. If your employer requires you to earn credit during the summer, the least expensive option available is Business 181, a 1-credit class that any student, regardless of major, can take. You can contact Lynn Zimmerman (email@example.com) in the School of Business for more information. If your employer does not require you to earn credit during the summer, you might be able to arrange an independent study project, based on your internship experience, to be completed in the fall after your summer internship.
Entrepreneurial Fellows Summer Internship Program
The Entrepreneurial Fellows Summer Internship Program provides a limited number of stipends (up to $3,00o each) for current undergraduate and graduate students seeking to gain experience in entrepreneurial management by participating in an unpaid internship.
These internship stipends provide funding so that students can work on their own ventures or work with an entrepreneur or organization in the start-up to early growth stage. Internships should be 30-40 hours per week for 8 weeks and can be in a for-profit or non-profit environment. Student stipend amounts may vary by the type of host organization and student qualifications. Preference is given to students returning in the fall. The Program is highly competitive and open to students in all academic fields of study.
Internships can also be taken for credit by enrolling in ESE 350 for the summer session. If taking for credit, students must meet with their ESE advisor prior to leaving school at the end of the spring semester to discuss course requirements.
Visit the Center for Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship website for more details.