Students may have trouble finding summer jobs

The Associated Press
Friday May 03, 2002

Last summer, Tracey Lomrantz was a paid intern for a New York law firm. This year, with a stack of rejections from journalism internships on her desk, she figures she’ll wait tables. 

“It’s really frustrating,” says Lomrantz, a junior at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa. 

Other young people know the feeling. College students who once had their pick of summer work that offered both professional experience and a paycheck are finding this year’s market the toughest they’ve ever faced. 

Some are turning to more traditional summer jobs, which is making it harder for high school students to get seasonal work at all. 

Many companies have cut summer internships. And those who’ve kept them say they’re getting an unprecedented number of applications — even for unpaid positions. In a climate where some college graduates are still looking for jobs or accepting positions that once went to students, experts say an undergrad might need to apply with 20 companies to get one offer — and forgo a wage. 

“This is not the summer to get rich. This is the summer to get experience,” says Steven Rothberg, president and founder of CollegeRecruiter.com, a Minneapolis-based jobs Web site for college students. 

The flooded market is sending an overflow of college-age applicants to some traditional summer employers that, in recent years, have been crying for workers. 

Sue Merrill, director of the Kampus Kampers camp in Boca Raton, Fla., says she’s never been able to fill her counselor positions as quickly as she has this year. 


A March survey commissioned by YouthStream Media Networks, a youth marketing and media company, found that nearly 60 percent of college students questioned plan to work or do an internship this summer. Another 19 percent plan to take classes. Of those surveyed, 16 percent also said the recession had affected their summer plans. Some said they had to work full-time or more hours.  

Astrid Fernandez, a junior at NYU’s Stern School of Business, is one of the fortunate ones. She got an internship at NYPR, a New York marketing and public relations firm. 

But she knows many who’ve found nothing — and one of her friends who graduated last May is still looking for a job. 

“I’m very lucky to be graduating next year,” she says. “2002 is a really bad year to be graduating.”