Summer internships aren’t just for college students anymore. High schoolers are now getting in on the action! Whether your student envisions a traditional college career or plans to attend a trade or technical school, a high school internship can prove invaluable.
Industrious teenagers—generally juniors and seniors—are using paid and unpaid internships to stand out on college applications and develop practical skills they can market to future employers. They can shadow professionals in the fields they find interesting and learn vital lessons about the world of work—everything from office etiquette and professional attire to networking and real-world collaboration.
And by all accounts, these internships pay off. According to research conducted by the Society of Human Resource Management, many employers are actively filling internship slots with high schoolers. In one study:
- 90% of employers surveyed said internships at the high school level helps students gain admission to better colleges.
- 70% of employers surveyed said high school students who complete their programs are likely to land a college internship at their company.
- 45% of employers surveyed said a high school internship is likely to result in a full-time job with their company down the road.
As a parent, you might feel like this trend only adds another layer of stress to the high school years. But don’t worry—you’re up for the challenge!
Like much of the college-prep process, the path to landing an internship is most easily navigated when students and parents get started early and enlist help.
Here are a few key tips to remember:
- Identify Interests and Aptitudes. It’s never too early to pinpoint the academic subjects your student enjoys, finds challenging and wants to explore. During the first two years of high school, keep a working list of professional fields and jobs your student is curious about and keep in mind that less traditional areas such as culinary science, graphic arts and video production also could be a good fit.
- Craft a Winning Resume. Help your student can use free online templates to build a resume that reflects their accomplishments, skills and goals.
- Consult a High School Guidance Counselor. Take advantage of the guidance services provided by your child’s high school. Some school districts offer internship programs—such as this one in Brevard Public Schools—aimed at specific sectors of the job market. Other districts like Miami-Dade County Public Schools and Hillsborough County Schools partner with local governments to offer internships.
- Spread the Word. Why not crowdsource it? Share your student’s interests and plans with your own colleagues, friends and family or post an inquiry on social media, letting folks know what you’re looking for. Networking, both old school and digital, is a proven tool when searching for a job. The same applies to internships.
- Search Online. Help your student open an account at mainstream platforms like Indeed, LinkedIn where you can narrow a search specifically to internships. In addition, make a list of local and regional companies with websites that list openings and accept online applications. It also never hurts to aim for the top, so keep in mind there are many national internship programs at organizations like the Smithsonian, NASA and Bank of America for high achievers.
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