American University
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College student-intern socialization: Effects of social origin and situational variables on career outcomes

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posted on 2023-09-06, 02:52 authored by Raymond Peter Kirshak

The Intern Questionnaire (IQ) was designed to capture the attitudes and motivations of college students who participated in a one-semester, full-time, voluntary, credit-bearing internship program for undergraduates. The program is located in a major metropolitan area and serves over 350 member affiliates. Two-hundred twenty-three mail-out respondents, represent cohorts 1 to 5 years after the internship, and thirty-four respondents, interviewed just prior to completing their internship, show positive responses to the thirty IQ variable statements. The study had two major purposes. (1) To create a sociological model of career socialization for college student-interns. (2) To test 12 research hypotheses. For example, it was hypothesized that social origin variables will show a more positive effect than situational variables on career outcomes. Another hypothesis suggested that respondents from large home places will do better than those from small home places on career outcome variables. Regression analysis models invalidate the first hypothesis. The regression models show all social origin variables account for less than 10% of the variance in career outcomes and only 11% of the variance in situational variables. On the other hand, selected situational variables account for 47% of the variance in "practical experience" and 41% of the variance in "career choices.". Path analysis models show the flow of causation which college students experience through an internship. The most significant and policy-relevant path model is for the "size of home place" (social origin variable). Contrary to the hypothesis, a strong linear path shows respondents from small home places are more likely to feel that their internship "enriched their college life." Through an "enriched college life" respondents gained "practical experience" in the working world which helped them make "career choices.". Interviewee comments support the findings and indicate that students from small home places were drawn to the internship in order to experience social and cultural diversity. Through social and cultural diversity students report substantial positive growth and change in their lives.







Ph.D. American University 1987.


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