The 15 best colleges for internships—and 3 strategies to improve your offerings

Internships are critical for students to secure jobs after graduation. Research has found that employers tend to hire roughly 50% of their interns as full-time employees, and 80% of employers consider internships to be a recruiting tool.

The Princeton Review recently asked students to rate the accessibility of internship placement services at their institution. The publication published the results in a ranking of best schools for internships, part of a package of rankings highlighting "colleges that pay you back."

According to the Princeton Review ranking, the best colleges for internships are:

  1. Northeastern University
  2. Wabash College
  3. University of Richmond
  4. Bentley University
  5. Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering
  6. Claremont McKenna College
  7. College of William and Mary
  8. Harvey Mudd College
  9. College of Wooster
  10. Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology
  11. Wake Forest University
  12. Bennington College
  13. Pennsylvania State University—University Park
  14. Barnard College
  15. Clemson University

How colleges get more students into internships

1: Co-curricular major maps. Many students will wait until their junior or senior years of college to consider applying for internships, but career development experts say earlier is better. Queen's University adds visual reminders about internships (and other co-curricular experiences) to their major maps. This strategy prompts students to begin thinking about options from the moment they begin exploring a major.

Read more: 5 steps to build a co-curricular major map

2: Offer replacement funding for unpaid internships. Most organizations in the nonprofit, arts, and social services fields can't afford to pay interns, but many low-income students can't afford to take unpaid internships. To resolve the situation, some institutions offer stipends or grants to students in unpaid internships. Amherst College and Colgate University have successfully turned to alumni for help funding internship stipend programs.

Read more: Students need internships, but can't always afford them. Here's how colleges can help.

3: Incorporate internships into liberal arts programs. After seeing declines in their traditional English program, Susquehanna University launched several professionally oriented minors based on alumni career outcomes. One of these, the Publishing and Editing minor, was so popular that they ultimately repackaged it into a full major by adding an internship requirement and other updates to the curriculum. The new major has been extremely successful, helping to increase English enrollments by 80% in just two years (Princeton Review ranking, accessed 2/28; Princeton Review methodology, accessed 2/28).

Read more: How Susquehanna nearly doubled English enrollment by adding more professional development

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Students think they're ready for the workforce. Employers disagree.

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