Underclassmen slighted at job fair

Anant Naik

Many College of Science and Engineering students had the opportunity to attend the school’s Career Fair on Tuesday. It was the largest spring Career Fair to-date, with 2,000 students and 137 companies attending.

As a freshman biomedical engineering student, I tried my luck searching for summer internships with some biomedical companies.

Usually, their reactions consisted of a cringe when they saw on my resume that I’m a freshman. One company even told me that I should change my graduation date just so I could have a shot at getting the internship they were offering, saying that they just weren’t looking for underclassman at the moment.

I understand the reason why many corporations may choose not to select underclassman. Many of us haven’t yet decided our majors, and we could be unwilling to commit entirely to a company. Additionally, many of us lack the specific skills that companies require. For example, if a biomedical company requires knowledge of thermodynamic systems, most students wouldn’t understand that subject until they take the corresponding class during their sophomore or junior year.

That said, I think the University of Minnesota should mandate that companies participating in the career fair be more transparent and clear with the reasons why they reject underclassmen. Perhaps, it’s even worthwhile to require companies to declare whether they have hiring preferences based on grade level.

While I’m not saying that freshmen don’t get internships (because many of them do), I think underclassmen should know which companies are open to considering them as viable candidates. Those organizing the Career Fair should take this into consideration when planning for its upcoming fair in the fall.