Paid Vs Unpaid Internships – How Can You Decide Which One Is Best For You?


Last Updated: December 1, 2022
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Students all inevitably face the very same dilemma: They must choose between paid internships and unpaid internships.

Why even is it a dilemma, you could ask? The decision seems clear-cut. Because they are paid, paid internships must be better, right?

But it’s not quite that easy. Money is crucial, but it should only be one of several considerations for students when selecting an internship. Simply because an internship is compensated doesn’t mean it’s appropriate for you. In fact, if you only choose anything because it pays, it could hurt your career in the long run.

In this blog, we examine the less obvious benefits of both paid and unpaid internships and help you decide how to choose between the two. We hope the following information will help you in making an informed choice if you’re at the paid vs. unpaid internship fork in the road:

Figure Out What You Want Out Of An Internship

If you really want a summer employment that pays, your priority should be on a paid internship opportunity. However, if you can sustain yourself, an unpaid position may provide benefits that a compensated one does not. For instance, many small businesses lack the funds to hire interns, yet occasionally they can provide much more practical experience than larger businesses.


The secret is to learn what opportunities the business can offer and to take full use of them. Companies like motivated and passionate interns, and they’re typically eager to collaborate with you to provide you the kind of experience you’re looking for.

Consider Which Type of Internship Will Help You in Your Career.

If you’re approaching the end of your undergraduate experience, there’s a good chance you’ve already completed an internship and are prepared to move on to your post-college career. Therefore, you may want to think about taking paid internships that may benefit you in the future.

However, if you’re a freshman or sophomore looking to obtain experience in a particular industry, you might think about unpaid internships that will allow you to hone your talents and improve your resume. The good news is that having completed an unpaid internship increases your chances of getting a paid internship.

Consider the Potential For a Future With That Company.

One of the best aspects of both paid and unpaid internships is that they can result in full-time employment with an organisation. In fact, one of the primary motives for students to choose unpaid internships in the first place is the possibility of finding a full-time position. Asking directly is the best method to learn whether the business you’re thinking about interning with has a history of hiring interns. Additionally, during your interview, you will typically be informed if a company regularly hires interns.

What Are The Benefits of An Internship?

There are several benefits of an internship, let’s talk about those in detail to help you make an informed choice about which internship is fit for you!

Unpaid Internship

Academic Credit

This incentive can be offered in paid and unpaid internships. The employer shall develop clear learning standards that are acceptable to the Company and the employer. Your needs may be better served by an internship for academic credit than by traditional classroom instruction.


Some organisations will give students who take part in unpaid internships scholarships. So, this might be your go-to if you’re looking for scholarships.

Full-time Employment

An internship can occasionally result in a full-time job. Benefits from your experience as an unpaid intern may continue once you start working full-time.


The fact that you get paid is the obvious benefit of a paid internship. And no one can deny how empowering it is. Money creates opportunities where none previously existed.


Both paid and unpaid internships present well on a CV, but paid internships stand out more. In the future, if you seek a job someplace, the employer will consider you seriously. The fact that you received a paycheck is probably going to help you out. Employers will be impressed that you were able to acquire a paid internship because they are aware of how competitive it is to do so.

Confidence Boost

Many college students and recent graduates struggle with self-worth issues. They are anxious to show themselves yet uncertain of their abilities because they haven’t really found their place in the adult, working world. It’s possible that you’ve felt this way previously. So a paid internship can give you a confidence boost and help you perform well in your job!

Where can you do these internships?

Here are some platforms where you can apply to get internships:

  1. Internshala
  2. LinkedIn
  3. LetsIntern
  4. AngelList
  5. GlassDoor
  6. Stumagz
  7. Oysterconnect
  8. IndianInternship
  9. Chegg

So, What’s the Verdict?

The debate between paid and unpaid internships is undecided. Both paid and unpaid internships have advantages and disadvantages. Every internship opportunity is also distinct, just like every student. There is no universal solution, but the importance of internships should be understood by all students. 

Simply because an opportunity isn’t paid doesn’t mean you should reject it out of hand. Furthermore, don’t just pursue a paid internship because it pays! Instead, pick the internship option that enhances your happiness, development, and career.

Mentoria – Your Perfect Career Guidance Platform!

Confused about which internship is the best fit for you and finding it difficult to find a good internship? We’re here to provide you with all the help! Kick-start your career discovery journey with Mentoria and discover the right career fit for you. Feel free to call us to speak to our career mentors and choose the right career guidance plan that suits your needs.

Mentoria’s career guidance programme enables you to choose your perfect fit from 3 streams, 850+ courses, and 12,000+ careers, and discover what will bring out the best in you.


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