Despite bleak job market, Bulldogs applications down

In a year in which the economic recession has made finding summer jobs more difficult than usual, Yale’s Bulldogs Across America internship program is nonetheless struggling to fill positions.

The number of applications to Bulldogs Across America positions so far is lower than the total at a comparable point last year, Undergraduate Career Services Director Phil Jones said Friday, although he declined to give exact figures. Nearly half the jobs available through the program remain unfilled, he said, even though the selection process is usually “winding down” by early April.

Jones said he could not explain the decrease in interest this year, suggesting only that students might believe the program is too selective. But the thirteen students interviewed by the News offered different explanations, with many noting that the positions and locations available did not align with their interests.

Companies partnering with the Bulldogs program have been making hiring decisions later than usual, Jones said, partly because employers have not seen as much depth in their applicant pools as they would like.

Summer internship offers have become increasingly scarce this year; internship hiring will fall by more than 20 percent, according to a survey released this month by the National Association of Colleges and Employers. But the number of internships offered through the Bulldogs program has seen no significant decline, Jones said, noting that there are roughly 130 jobs available through the program, which is close to last year’s total.

The 13 undergraduates interviewed proposed a number of reasons why students might not apply to the program, including jobs not fitting their specific interests, an interest in spending the summer abroad rather than in the United States and simple procrastination.

“I didn’t find appealing, paid internships in a location where I would have wanted to spend the summer,” Ben Bernard ’11 said.

Kevin Webb ’10 likewise took issue with the available locations, saying he wished the program were offered in larger cities such as New York or Chicago. But in an interview earlier this year, Jones said it would be difficult to offer the program in large cities, given that they already attract hundreds of Yale students for summer internships each year.

Bulldogs Across America may have lost applicants to its sister program, International Bulldogs, which offers jobs in 18 countries. The International Bulldogs’ flagship program in London, however, was closed to students who are not citizens of the European Union, Canada, Japan, Australia or New Zeland.

Peter Lu ’11 considered applying for a Bulldogs Across America position this year, but he said he decided that he wanted to spend the summer abroad, choosing instead to take a job doing sustainable farming in Ecuador.

But Katie Cobb ’09, who worked at the Center for Nonprofit Excellence through the Bulldogs program in Louisville last summer, said she enjoyed participating in the program last year and has applied to three Bulldogs positions for this summer.

“It’s hard to find jobs, even when you don’t have a degree,” she said. “I’m surprised there are still positions left.”

Bulldogs Across America programs, to which students may submit an unlimited number of applications, are offered in nine cities across the country: Cleveland, Denver, Houston, Louisville, Minneapolis, New Orleans, St. Louis, Santa Fe and San Francisco.

Snigdha Sur contributed reporting.


  • Hiero II

    Maybe that's bc the positions available aren't all that great. Quality was better in past years.

  • Recent Alum

    “I didn’t find appealing, paid internships in a location where I would have wanted to spend the summer.”

    Hmm, many of the most appealing internships outside of Wall Street are unpaid (e.g., White House, D.C. think tanks, some journalism internships). I can see why someone would absolutely want to be in New York or D.C. for the summer, but it doesn't seem wise at all to only consider paid positions.

  • to #2

    No, it makes pretty good sense -- we don't all have families wealthy enough to foot the bill for a summer of fun in NYC, and many of us need to make money this summer so we can pay tuition.

  • Anonymous

    Most of the Bulldog programs that were relevant/in cool cities were still competitive. It's the ones in fields Yalies don't really enter that are struggling to attract students to, say, Cleveland for ten weeks.

  • Anonymous

    The Bulldogs Across America programs ARE paid. Housing is free, plus $3000 stipend.

  • Anonymous

    I wonder if the fall in applications is because the economic crisis has deterred people from their idealist hopes of working for a non-profit after graduation. If this is the case, people might be looking for jobs and internships that will lead them towards better paying careers or better grad school opportunities, and since lot of Bulldogs internships are with non-profit organizations, people aren't as interested in the experience they have to offer.

    As someone who has done a Bulldogs program, I would strongly encourage people not to choose summer work based solely on location. I was slightly apprehensive about being in Louisville, KY (which I didn't picture as the most stimulating place) for the summer, but since all the Bulldogs interns live together and do activities together, it ended up being a lot of fun and I met some really great people. I learned a lot from my job, but I also learned a lot in general about the kinds of problems faced in parts of the country that are more removed from the big economic and cultural centers on the coasts. From that, I came to see that in many ways it's selfish to want to spend the summer in the place where you think you'll have the most fun rather than in the places where your work will do the most good.

  • Anonymous

    A big part of why this program exists in the cities it does is because these cities want to show talented people that the world, in fact, does not revolve around New York.

    It's really a shame that more Yale students aren't willing to try out a city a little bit out of their comfort zone.