A great learning tool for high school students are internship opportunities. These can be paid or unpaid and give the student a chance to try a “real world” work environment. High school life is a bit of safe bubble in regards to learning how to take care of your own living space and earn enough money to pay expenses.
Here are some of the main benefits of taking an internship:
Hands on Learning
The student will work in a professional setting and learn by doing the job duties. Hewlett Packard Enterprises in Plano, Texas offers summer internships to high school juniors and seniors. This would be a chance to see the roles in a technology company first hand.
Adds to a College Application or Resume
For college bound students, an internship with a company shows initiative and ambition. It is a great way to see if medicine, technology or some other college major or career path is a fit. For students who are not headed to college, it builds skills for a resume.
Real World Experience
Your son or daughter may think that they will be a doctor someday. Help him or her find an internship with a medical office or hospital to see some age appropriate, day to day activities. It may turn out that your child hates it. Rather than be sad your child may not be an MD, be glad it has been ruled out. Internships are valuable either to confirm a future career path or rule one out.
Whether paid or unpaid, an internship in high school allows students to get a feel for what life after graduation or college might be like. Jobs for high school students can be more educational than a simple fast food service job when you look at internships. That said, some high school friends of mine became managers at a McDonald’s and moved up in the restaurant world later on. Not all high schoolers will go to college so an internship can open the door for a full time job and career after graduation.
There are many types of paid internships and some are only offered in the summertime. There are even internships abroad especially for older students or recent high school graduates who are interested in teaching or service work in other countries.
Summer is the best time for look for an internship involved higher level careers like marketing, engineering, technology or accounting. A company called Genesys Works helps high school seniors find internship opportunities in the Houston area. Many high school counselors know more about local internship opportunities that welcome their school’s students.
It is possible to reach out to a company you admire and ask if they have a program. Paid internships will be more competitive than unpaid so if you do can afford to intern for free, it may general more options.
A website named internships.com lets you run a custom search for type of industry (accounting, fashion, technology, etc.), whether you are looking for full or part time and whether you are looking for paid, unpaid or both. The results can be limited to your location.
One of the best ways to try out a career before picking a college major or making a full time employment commitment is to find an internship in the industry of interest. Companies love to hire interns because it is short term commitment for them as well. A company can see if you are a person that they want to hire. If the company is impressed with your work, the supervisor will be happy to help you with a letter of recommendation or maybe even a job offer.
Internships are a great avenue for both students and employers alike. Both get to see a real look at each other without the long term commitment of a permanent job. Encourage your high schooler to look at an internship for the summer or part time during the school year.
Tell us if you ever worked as an intern and how that experience shaped your future in the comments below.
-By Cynthia Marple