U. sees BIAP and AIP applicant increase

By
Monday, March 30, 2009

The Career Development Center saw a 30 percent increase in the number of applicants for the Brown Internship Award Program and the Aided Internship Award Program this year.

William Bordac, communications and public relations officer for the CDC, said the center received 235 total applications this year. While the CDC had anticipated an increase as a result of the troubled economic climate, the total count was surprising, Bordac said.

According to Bordac, the CDC expects to award 50 students through BIAP this year in order to meet the increased demand. Last year only 41 BIAP awards, which are sponsored by third-party donors, were given out.

The number of AIP awards, however, will remain steady at 25 because Brown funds them directly. Due to the budget crisis, the University was unable to provide for an increase this year.

Bordac said one of the reasons for the jump in applications this year was the increase in unpaid – as opposed to paid – internships, resulting in more students looking for funding assistance.

Finding and securing internships this year while working with the BIAP timeline presented a challenge for some applicants. Anna Newby ’10 chose not to apply for BIAP primarily because of the mid-March deadline, which she thought was too early for many competitive and prestigious internship response deadlines. Because the BIAP and AIP awards are non-transferable, applicants must commit to one internship without the flexibility of having funding for others.

“I feel like this is an annual struggle for students,” Newby said.

Newby applied for a variety of Middle Eastern policy internships – including positions with think tanks, non-profits and policy study institutes – most of which are unpaid. She said it is unlikely she will be able to accept an unpaid job without supplemental financial support from the organization or a reduced-hours schedule that would allow her to take a part-time job as well.

She said her goal is to attain a paid internship, though she added that this might be an unrealistic expectation.

Ann Crawford-Roberts ’12 secured her internship over winter break and found the application process straightforward, though she said she knew others who could not solidify their plans in time and were deterred from applying.

“I knew people who weren’t secure enough and would find out too late,” Crawford-Roberts said.

Some students also think the CDC needs to advertise earlier in order to alert potential applicants and give them time to pull their plans together. Paula Kaufman ’10, who got an internship with a West Virginia health clinic, said she was frustrated with the late publicity.

“Putting out notice one or two months in advance is insufficient,” Kaufman said. “I would presume there were a lot of people who would’ve applied had they known earlier.”

Bordac said he hoped the rush to secure internships by the application deadline did not prevent people from applying, since applicants are allowed to submit a letter from their potential employers stating that they are being considered for a position, but do not yet have the internship secured. About one-third of applicants usually do not have their internships yet, he said, and this does not factor into the decision process.

“We give leeway,” Bordac said. “We’re very flexible and like to work with people.”

He said the CDC was looking into a variety of ways to help students in the future, including offering a workshop for the application process to aid future applicants. The CDC may also encourage students who complete internships to return to the office and share their experiences, Borac said.

While the BIAP and AIP deadlines have lapsed, the CDC is still working to find students internships and alternate funding sources. Bordac said the CDC is in the process of gathering information on internship opportunities from the Swearer Center and the Watson Institute for International Studies. Further, he said the CDC hopes the University will be able to increase funding for future AIP awards, thereby increasing the programs’ accessibility.

“The University is trying to raise the profile of internships and raise the profile of their importance, not just in career pursuits but academic as well,” Bordac said.