Georgetown likes to tell students they can have it all. The university tour, websites and brochures boast that Georgetown, unlike many other schools, can provide you with the opportunity to get a prestigious Washington, D.C. internship while still taking classes at a top-tier university.
Although many students are able to maintain part-time internships while enrolled in 10 or more credits, most students who receive offers for full-time internships — including some of the most sought-after positions at the White House, Justice Department and State Department — are barred from obtaining part-time status.
The Georgetown registrar grants part-time status only to seniors. Any juniors who wish to undertake a full-time internship must take a leave of absence for that semester, whether or not that student’s schedule would allow it. And while the delicate decisions regarding balance between a part-time class workload and a demanding internship are best left to individual students and their advisers, this policy excludes those Georgetown students from many of the resources that they would still need access to in D.C., namely access to student housing.
For a one-semester leave of absence, forfeiture of rights to yearlong student housing acts as a penalty to those who have secured impressive, full-time internships. If students already must choose between academic progress and a career-related opportunity, they should at least be able to know that accepting an internship won’t negatively impact the other aspects of their lives in D.C.
The university should consider allowing students with full-time internships who are currently enrolled to keep their university housing for the duration of the semester while they are interns. This would remove one barrier for students to pursue ambitious full-time internships and would encourage Georgetown students’ involvement in outside work.
The university should live up to its reputation as a school that allows students to pursue meaningful internships that directly add to their course of study. As long as the university touts its location in D.C., it should make sure it’s doing its best to transfer those benefits to students’ everyday lives.