Navigating the complicated world of internships can feel like a daunting task at first. Whether you are a student or a parent supporting your child’s ambitions, understanding internships for high schoolers and how to find the perfect one can be a daunting task. However, we have you covered in this article.
Through this guide, you will explore everything you have been seeking. This is not merely a collection of tips and tricks; it is the ultimate guide that helps clarify the minor details in the overwhelming sea of career planning. Hence, read on to explore everything from finding the perfect internship to making the most out of each experience.
What are Internships for High School Students?
So, what are internships for high school students? They are structured work experiences, allowing students to transform their knowledge into a more professional setting. It is often related to one’s interests and career aspirations and provides an opportunity to learn and gain hands-on skills.
Moreover, they often expose you to more realistic work environments and allow you to mingle with professionals in the workforce. Internships are offered in various fields of study, including medicine, business, law, art, and non-profit sectors.
Unlike regular jobs, internships for high schoolers include a significant learning component. You will be assigned a mentor or supervisor who can guide you through your responsibilities, provide feedback, and help you integrate what you have learned in school into the work environment.
But why would you even consider an internship? Well, it is an excellent opportunity to delve into a specific field and determine whether it is the best fit for you. Exploring such an opportunity at the high school level opens your eyes and allows you to understand better what field or major you want to pursue.
Interns often get paid the minimum wage, while some interns are not paid anything. It varies according to the position you are occupying and the company you are working for. However, internships are sometimes a gateway to a full-time job, making it so enticing for many individuals.
Benefits of Internships for High Schoolers
Internships offer a multitude of benefits. These range from skill development to enhancing college applications. That said, these early professional opportunities will undoubtedly provide you with invaluable experience, especially when it comes to exploring different careers and developing critical workplace skills.
What are the top benefits of finding an internship and sitting through one? Well, here are the benefits of apprenticeships for high schoolers:
Skill development and professional experience
While you might be excited about learning about a specific field, things extend beyond the obvious. When you experience an internship, you understand a variety of job-specific skills and soft skills. Those include communication, teamwork, and problem-solving. This is invaluable for early career development and even personal experience.
Diving into an internship is a gateway to better understanding what you want to pursue in life. Through an internship, you learn, watch, and experience what being in a specific sector is like. Hence, it helps you make informed decisions about your future career and academic pursuits.
Building professional networks
When undertaking an internship, you start building professional networks. These can be critical for future job searches or mentorship opportunities. Even if you don’t use them immediately, they might come in handy after you graduate college.
Aside from all the benefits and the potential of earning money on your own, such an experience is a chance to develop a sense of responsibility and maturity. You learn to navigate different dynamics, manage time, and interact with other people.
There is yet another significant benefit of an internship, and that is the advantages it has on your college applications and resumes. Having work experience can significantly boost your college application, making you show initiative and willingness to learn outside traditional classroom settings.
Having an internship on your resume is impressive to many college admission officers, especially if you portray what you have learned and your contributions. You can explore the topic further through our extensive guide on the role of high school internships in college admissions.
9 Things to Consider When Looking for a High School Internship Program
If you want to learn how to find internships for high school students, you should know that finding one is easy. However, finding the best-suited one for your needs presents a challenge. Various considerations can significantly impact the value and effectiveness of your experience. Below is a list of factors you should consider when searching for a high school internship.
Passion meets profession: aligning interests with internship fields
While you might be seeking an internship opportunity to explore some fields further, choosing one that aligns with your interests or passions is essential. That way, you not only learn while on the job, but you will also find it personally fulfilling. Hence, mixing the field with your career aspirations helps you determine long-term goals and whether this career option is suitable.
The time commitment puzzle: balancing internships with schoolwork
Understand what the company is asking you for. How much commitment should you be putting in? Does it fit with your academic responsibilities? Some opportunities might require significant time, which could conflict with your schoolwork or other extracurriculars. On the other hand, you can consider sitting for an internship during your summer break.
Location, location, location: the geographical consideration
While you might be so hyped to work at your dream company, sometimes it simply is not feasible due to geographical constraints. Hence, consider the location. Can you commute, or is it a virtual experience? The convenience of the location can play a significant role in your knowledge and ability to balance the responsibility with your other commitments.
Learning curve ahead: the educational value
Before you say yes to the internship opportunity, determine its educational value. For instance, always aim for a balance of mentorship, hands-on experience, and opportunities to apply your pre-existing knowledge to real-world settings. Remember, having an understanding and proficient mentor is essential to having a well-rounded, educational, and balanced internship.
Networking goldmine: potential for connections
When you’re making your final decision about which internship to take, don’t forget to factor in the networking opportunities. Look for one that offers excellent networking chances, as it allows you to build connections in your field of interest, which can be an invaluable aspect of future work opportunities and mentorship.
The financial equation: paid vs unpaid
According to a study conducted in 2021, 60% of internships are paid. Sometimes, the financial gain is less significant than what you learn on the job and the mentorship advantages you gain. Hence, consider whether an unpaid position is still offering valuable experience. While paid internships can help offset expenses and provide financial incentives, they might not be as necessary, depending on your goals.
Future forward: internship outcomes
Many internships are a gateway to full-time or part-time jobs. Hence, consider the potential outcomes of the internship. Does it offer a path to future employment chances or even more internships? Understanding the long-term benefits can help you better decide whether this is the proper position for you.
Culture and environment: assessing the atmosphere
Culture is an essential factor when it comes to how much you can extract from the internship. Hence, research the company culture and work environment and assess whether it fits you. A program in a supportive and positive environment can significantly enhance the learning and growth experience.
Feedback loop: opportunities for growth
Constructive feedback is crucial for personal and professional development. An internship that includes performance reviews or mentorship sessions can provide insights into your strengths and areas for improvement, aiding in continuous growth and skill development.
These factors will help you select a program that is not only beneficial in terms of professional development but also aligns with your personal goals and circumstances. You should also explore a more detailed analysis of the factors through things to look for in a high school internship program.
Different Types of High School Internships
Internships for high school students are wide and varied. Each offers a unique chance to explore a specific field. Hence, understanding the different types can help you choose the one that best aligns with your goals. Let us further discuss the different types below.
Summer internships: the seasonal experience
These are the most common types of internships for high school students, as they provide flexibility and do not clash with the academic responsibilities that come with attending high school. They occur during the summer break, allowing students to commit full-time for a short period, typically for a few weeks.
An example is NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center internship. During the summer, you can engage in space science, engineering, or computer science. Another option is working at museums or exhibits to expose yourself to arts administration and event planning.
Part-time internships: balancing work and school
Part-time internships are supposed to be manageable alongside school responsibilities. They often require a few hours each week and can happen throughout the school year, offering consistent work without overwhelming you.
You can work at a local library, assist in the children’s section during after-school hours, help organize events, and learn the library systems.
Virtual internships: remote and flexible
The share of remote internships is now seven times more than in March 2019. These internships can be done anywhere and often have flexible hours, making them an excellent choice for those with transportation constraints or scheduling conflicts.
A remote graphic design internship with an online magazine is one option. Another is working with an IT firm that offers flexible and remote work opportunities.
Research internships: the academic pursuit
These opportunities are often found in scientific, academic, and medical settings. They involve working on research projects, which can be an excellent way to further dive into your field of interest and gain experience in research methodologies.
Non-profit internships: serving the community
Working with an NGO can be a fulfilling experience. Through this internship, you will often be given the chance to work on social causes and gain insights into how non-profit organizations operate.
Startup internships: the entrepreneurial spirit
Many startups seek interns as they do not have the budget or workforce to hire more professionals. They can be pretty dynamic, often involving tasks and close-up looks at entrepreneurship. These are perfect for those interested in business, innovation, and fast-paced work environments.
You can work with a local tech startup operating on a mobile app development project to assist in coding, testing, and market research.
Government internships: public sector exposure
These internships provide insight into the workings of government agencies. They are excellent for students considering a career in public service or looking to understand more about policy and governance.
One great example is the internship offered by Bank of America. You can also work in the city hall in the mayor’s office, assisting with engagement initiatives, attending council meetings, and learning about local government operations.
Where to Apply for the Best Internships for High School Students?
Do you want to learn where high school students can find internships? Well, we’ve got you covered. This section will discuss various platforms, organizations, and programs that offer tailored internships that cater to your interests and career aspirations.
Local businesses and corporations
Start by looking at local businesses in your community. Many companies are keen on nurturing local talent and offer internship programs for high schoolers. A local tech company like Cisco Systems offers engaging programs in IT, marketing, and human resources.
Federal, state, and local government agencies often have programs designed for high schoolers ranging from regional city offices to larger entities. Two examples include NASA internship programs and Smithsonian Institution internships.
Universities and research institutions
Many institutions offer summer research programs, particularly in STEM fields. These offer laboratory or research environments to nurture your skills. For instance, Stanford provides a range of programs for high schoolers.
These internships can be particularly rewarding for students interested in social sciences, public policy, or community work. The American Red Cross offers various opportunities for people interested in public health, disaster response, and community service.
Online platforms and job boards
Websites like LinkedIn, Indeed, Glassdoor, and specialized platforms for internships can be excellent resources. They list opportunities across various industries and locations, including remote internships. You can even look through Chegg Internships.
Specialized high school internship programs
Some organizations offer programs specifically designed for high school internships. Examples include the Bank of America Student Leaders Program or the Google Computer Science Summer Institute.
How to Get an Internship in High School: 7 Tips and Preparation
Knowing how to find summer internships for high school students requires meticulous research and preparation. Since securing one might be on your to-do list, there are some tips and strategies to follow to help you navigate the process, which include:
Start by understanding your interests, strengths, and career goals. This will help you narrow down your search and find something that aligns with your aspirations.
Research and explore
Look for opportunities in local businesses, government agencies, non-profits, and online. You can also use school career counselors, job fairs, and professional connections.
Prepare a robust application
List your academic achievements, extracurriculars, volunteer work, and relevant skills. You should also personalize a different cover letter for each application, explaining why this fits you.
Ask the people around you, such as community leaders or teachers, for letters of recommendation. These add credibility to your application and provide insight into your character.
Develop essential skills
Start working on your soft skills, like communication and time management, before you apply. Employers highly value these in professional settings.
Practice interview skills
Prepare by practicing your responses to common questions. Be ready to discuss what motivates you, what you hope to learn, and how the internship aligns with your future goals.
Apply early and follow up
Apply as early as you can, as many programs have limited spots. After you submit your application, make sure you follow up with a polite email or call.
The Internship Do’s and Don’ts for High School Students
Navigating an internship successfully requires understanding the etiquette and expectations of a professional environment. Here is the list of things to do and avoid in the work environment.
The things to do include:
- Do show professionalism by dressing appropriately, being punctual, and maintaining a professional demeanor.
- Do take the initiative by being proactive in seeking tasks and responsibilities. Show eagerness to learn and contribute.
- Do network by building relationships with colleagues, supervisors, and other interns.
- Do ask questions, and do not shy away when you don’t understand something.
- Do always seek feedback, allowing you to enhance your performance further and focus on your weaknesses.
There are some things you should avoid during an internship, which include:
- Don’t be afraid to fail, as internships are learning experiences. Making the occasional mistake is fine as long as you learn from it.
- Don’t neglect communication, and keep asking your supervisor for information and keep them informed.
- Don’t overlook small tasks since completing them diligently shows commitment and reliability.
- Don’t burn bridges. This means you should focus on leaving a good impression when your internship ends.
- Don’t ignore work-life balance, as maintaining it is essential for your well-being and ensures you function optimally.
This is a short list encompassing a few items to do and don’t. However, to learn more, explore our comprehensive page on the do’s and don’ts of high school internship.
How to Make the Most of Your High School Internship?
Making sure you extract the most out of your internship requires more than merely showing up and doing your tasks. It is about being an active participant and learning as much as possible. Here are some strategies to help you maximize the benefits of said internship:
- Set clear goals: Define specific learning and achievement objectives for your internship before starting.
- Be proactive: Take the initiative in seeking additional responsibilities and projects.
- Build relationships: Network with colleagues and supervisors to build valuable professional connections.
- Ask questions and seek feedback: Regularly inquire and seek advice to enhance your learning and performance.
- Document your experience: Keep a journal or a portfolio of your tasks, projects, learnings, and feedback.
- Embrace challenges: Tackle complex tasks to gain more confidence and improve your problem-solving skills.
- Maintain professionalism: Adhere to workplace etiquette, including punctuality and appropriate dress. You can do so by asking your peers or observing the workplace environment.
- Reflect on your experience: Regularly assess what you have learned and how it aligns with your career goals.
- Stay in touch after: Keep the connections with your internship network for future work opportunities and other relationships.
- Apply your learning: Use the skills you have learned and knowledge gained in your daily life and future endeavors. You can even apply it to future projects, college, and the workplace.
By focusing on these critical areas, you can significantly enhance your internship experience, gaining valuable skills and insights for your future career path. You can further explore tips for making the most of your high school internship here.
Wrapping Things Up: Key Takeaways from Internship Guide for High School Students
High school internships are invaluable experiences that allow you to dip your toes into the professional world. Hence, it will enable you to apply your academic knowledge to real-world situations, explore potential careers, and develop soft skills. Whether it is a prestigious summer program at NASA or virtual internships with an IT company, the chances are diverse and all beneficial.
These will enrich your college applications and give you a competitive edge in future job markets. To make the most of these opportunities, students should set clear goals, network, seek feedback, and embrace learning experiences. The journey may be challenging, but the rewards are significant and enduring.