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national study on college internships

The National Survey of College Internships (NSCI)


Request to join the National Survey for College Internships


The National Survey of College Internships flyer PDF

Introducing a new national study on college internships

CCWT is excited to announce a new national study of internships -  the National Survey of College Internships (NSCI) – that will officially launch in the Fall of 2021. The NSCI addresses the growing international interest in internships and related forms of work-based learning (WBL), which are widely seen as “high-impact practices” (HIPs) that contribute to students’ academic, social and career success. However, no rigorous national studies on internships exist that focus on issues of access, program structure and student outcomes. In addition, few colleges or universities have the data infrastructure to closely track and understand their students’ experiences with internships, which is essential for supporting faculty, career services professionals, and campus leaderships’ data-based decisions about how to improve internships. 

What data are you collecting in the NSCI?

The NSCI survey includes information on: (1) student demographics, (2) structure of their internship (e.g., length, compensation, credit-bearing status, in-person or online), (3) internship supervision and mentoring, (4) internship tasks, (5) students’ satisfaction with their internship, and (6) impact of internship on skills, career development and academic development.

The data collected in the 58-item NSCI survey are based on a new framework for studying and evaluating college internships on the basis of their format, quality and commitment to equitable access.  This framework is outlined in our Internship Scorecard report and will inform how we interpret your campuses’ data and report study findings.

For more information about our survey methodology please see our Research Instruments page.

Why should my campus participate in the NSCI?

The NSCI will provide your campus with high-quality, detailed data on your students’ experiences with internships that can be used to assess overall participation in this HIP, establish a baseline for the long-term tracking of student participation and program quality, and to support data driven decision-making for program improvement. Study results are analyzed with an eye towards diversity, equity and inclusion, with a focus on how colleges and universities can provide internships for working students, low-income students, students from minoritized populations, and first-generation students. For students who have not taken an internship but had wanted to, there are also questions about the obstacles they experienced while seeking a position, as documenting these problems with access to internships is a critical issue facing the field. In addition, questions regarding the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing efforts for racial justice and equity are included in the survey.

Each participating institution will receive customized and prompt service by CCWT staff, and two deliverables: (1) a customized summary report that includes summaries of students’ survey responses, an analysis of the internship labor market in your region, and recommendations for program improvement, and (2) a password-protected interactive data dashboard so that you can explore the data on your own. 

With these fine-grained data on internships in hand, your college or university can be among the first in the nation to begin building a dataset on internships that can guide your planning and assessment decisions on these critical work-based learning experiences. 

Timing, pricing and administration

The NSCI will officially launch in October of 2021, with registration open now until May 31, 2021.

Pricing for the NSCI is currently being updated in light of recent information regarding institutional policies and costs.  We aim to have a final pricing structure (based on student enrollment) finalized ASAP and will be posting that here as soon as it is finalized.

We also anticipate capping participation in the first administration of the NSCI at approximately 120 institutions, with additional capacity available in coming years, so let us know if you’re interested now! The NSCI will be administered each year thereafter every fall, with data reports and dashboards provided to participating institutions in early 2022, which will help inform campus decision-making just before the spring “internship season” as well as the next academic year. More information on how the NSCI will be administered including sampling, IRB details, administration, and data privacy procedures will be posted soon.

How can I sign up for the inaugural Fall 2021 administration of the survey?

If you are interested in participating in the inaugural NSCI you can indicate your interest by filling out the form below.  Registration will be open very soon and will continue until we reach the cap of 120 institutions for the Fall 2021 administration of the NSCI.  If you have any additional questions please contact the NSCI Director Dr. Zi Chen at: zchen745@wisc.edu.