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I am currently an intern at a software development company, and I have been offered a position as a return intern for the summer. I'm currently a student in a five year undergraduate/graduate plan, and I graduate with my undergraduate degree this May. As such, it is expected to get a salary increase as I become a graduate intern. I was offered a small increase in my hourly wage, from $23 to $25, but others I've known in the past who've gone from undergraduate to graduate have had as much as an increase from $20 to $26. This was three years ago, and the average hourly salary for my position among multiple companies is currently $35.

This leads me to think that maybe I have not been classified as a graduate student intern, but the raise is simply because it's my second year as an intern with the company. How do I ask for clarification on that without seeming like I'm just wanting more money?

  • Does this offer start before you obtain your degree? How much before if yes? – DarkCygnus Feb 11 at 18:04
  • No, I would not start until after graduation. Currently I'm at the lower salary working part time. – user99522 Feb 11 at 18:14
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    How do I ask for clarification on that without seeming like I'm just wanting more money? - Simple. Ask them for clarification. Why is this difficult? – joeqwerty Feb 11 at 18:31
  • What industry is this, and what country ? – Fattie Feb 11 at 18:31
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    "it is expected to get a salary increase as I become a graduate intern" - is "graduate intern" an official title at the company? That's different from whatever you're titled as now? – dwizum Feb 11 at 18:41
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But it seems you do want more money. And there's nothing wrong with that. Have an open and candid conversation with you boss. Evaluate if you have better options outside or if it's worth the price to stay.

Some sample phrasing for you to consider:

I really appreciate the offer, but I was expecting something else because... (showcase your reasons, whatever they are)

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    OP asked for a way to ask this, could you provide some sample phrasing that could help OP discuss this? – DarkCygnus Feb 11 at 18:07
  • I haven't discussed with my boss yet, but HR is responsible for salary offers for interns. I will probably accept the offer regardless, I just think they may not realize I am a grad student because my five year program is rare. – user99522 Feb 11 at 18:16
  • Exactly - the correct answer. – Fattie Feb 11 at 18:32
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    @DarkCygnus Sure! "I really appreciate the offer, but i was expecting something else because...." (then he showcase his reasons, whatever they are) – wes85melis Feb 11 at 19:21
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There's nothing wrong with asking directly for more money. After all, an offer is just a step in a negotiation. Now, I understand that you don't want to make them think that it's your top priority, so I would suggest that you contact HR department via email. This way, you can get them to read your explanation and prevent suspicion on their part before they can reply (an advantage that you would not have if, for example, you were to have this conversation on the phone).

I would go with something like: "I appreciate the opportunity to return to this company. I learned a lot in my previous internship and I look forward to work with you again. I will major this may and want to consider all my options for professional growth. I have an interest to build my career in your company, and reviewing the details of the offer, I'm concerned that maybe I wasn't considered a graduate intern yet. Can you clarify this for me?"

This expresses your eagerness to re-enter the company and makes it the primary topic while stating your question clearly.

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