This semester I am doing 1 course. Next semester I will be doing 2 courses, after which I will have graduated. The 2 courses I will be doing next semester are general education courses that I have to do to graduate.

Currently, I get paid $35,000 per year as an intern. I have been interning full time for 4 months, and assuming I get accepted into the place I apply for I will begin work with 6 months of intern experience.

The place offers $50,000 per year to interns and $70,000 to graduates. I was thinking of raising these two points;

  1. I am nearly graduated, with 2 irrelevant courses to my degree left before I graduate, so comparing me to a graduate I have the same amount of relevent university experience. So I should be getting paid close to what a graduate gets paid.

  2. They pay $50,000 to interns with no experience, however, I will have had 6 months of intern experience before joining the company.

Are my points fair and acceptable? What can I ask for without being too ambitious? I was thinking something around $65,000. And after graduating, should I negotiate to get paid more than the $70,000 as they also pay $70,000 to graduates with no prior experience and I will have had over 1 years worth of experience?

Edit: The place I applied for offers $50,000 to interns, current place offers $35,000.

  • 1
    Nearly-a-graduate is the same as not-a-graduate. Commented Mar 27, 2017 at 14:38

3 Answers 3


Are my points fair and acceptable?

Nope. You have not addressed value you add to the company (positive leverage) or a counteroffer or similar (negative leverage). All you have done is complain about how you have to take more classes that won't add any value to you or them, therefore they somehow owe you a 40% raise.

  • Thanks for your input. Does experience not count as value I add to the company? I can explain what skills I have developed that an intern who has no experience will most likely not have. Commented Mar 25, 2017 at 5:08

I wouldn't push it as an intern. Get the degree and then negotiate, looks like you will get a boost anyway. An intern who is wanting a pay raise looks greedy. You don't want to come off as self entitled as the internship program is as much about getting a feel for you as it is in you getting a feel for the field and company.

Show yourself as a great asset to the company and the team at the Intern salary and then when you get hired full time negotiate with the proof to your assessment. It might be good to get reviews from those who supervise you as well to see if there are ways to improve or become a better team player for the company.

  • Thanks for your input. I have a while before I graduate so I would like to get a bit more pay in the mean time. Is it possible to hint, or just ask if they care about my work experience without coming off as greedy or self-entitled? Commented Mar 25, 2017 at 5:10
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    Most likely not, if you compare what you are providing to the company with other full time employees and discover you are doing more than they are then it's a negotiable point.
    – mutt
    Commented Mar 25, 2017 at 15:53

You have essentially zero leverage as an intern. Salary negotiations are not typically part of the internship offer process; they've decided what it's worth to higher someone without a degree or any experience. (6 months is not "none", but it is FAR from a big negotiating factor.) It is almost guaranteed that they will stick to their typical intern contract/offers, which do already typically take into account how close you are to graduating.

The whole point of an internship program, from the company's perspective, is to pay less for someone who might not otherwise be qualified and train them up. The fact that you will come out of the internships with that experience and possibly become a valuable full-time employee to them is the goal. That value is what they base their offers on. Unless you bring something ELSE significant to the table, you still do not have any negotiating power. It's almost certain that they give higher precedence to people coming through their internship program when considering full-time candidates, but you are not at that point.

As a point of reference, I did 7 internships and the last one was after I graduated (I wanted something short term since I planned on doing another degree). The pay was decent, but far less than their typical full-time pay — as well it should be. They were hiring me short term with zero guarantee of anything further, and their standards were lower since they were hiring for an internship and not a full-time position.

Unless you have gone through their hiring process for a full-time employee with a degree, you will not and should not get paid like one.

If the compensation they offer is not fair market value for an intern with your skills and experience, or potentially too low for you to meet your living costs and other obligations, then your best bet is to look at other employers.

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