How High School Internships Enhance Your College Journey

Tuesday, April 30, 2024
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When you think about internships, what comes to mind? For many, internships are exclusive to busy college upperclassmen trying to juggle classes and social life while getting coffee and lunch orders for the employees they’re attempting to learn from at a hip, prestigious firm.

Internships used to be limited to college students trying to gain real-world experience and find their way into a competitive job market. However, more people also realize the value of internships for high school students.

You may wonder why internships for high school students are becoming more popular, especially since a full-time job is still many years away for college-bound students. However, it’s important to think of internships as more than just unpaid job experience. 

Internships help students develop valuable skills that can help them in college and beyond. If you’re a student who wants to pursue higher education, learn why you should be looking to intern before you graduate.


Enhance Your College Application

Your college journey begins long before you step foot onto a campus. If you’re still making your list of target schools to apply to, it’s a good idea to consider adding an internship to your resume. 

Studies show that just 2% of high school students have completed internships. If you want to stand out in the college admissions process, getting an internship can help you do it. Since it’s such a rare occurrence, having an internship on your application shows that you are willing to go above and beyond in life and learning.

Balancing a job with a rigorous academic schedule shows you can handle college's responsibility. It signals to admissions counselors that you have considered your future and are pursuing your education and your life thoughtfully. This trait may make you a more attractive candidate.


Try On Your Career Choice

You don’t have to wait until you’re in college to think about your future career. If you already have something in mind that you want to pursue, getting an internship will let you get a glimpse of what it’s like to work in that field before you commit to getting a degree in it.

You’ll have the opportunity to discover what you like and don’t like and decide whether you want to explore this path further when you get to college. If you narrow down your career choices now, you’ll be more focused during your college journey and can make a much more informed choice when selecting your major. 

Furthermore, when it is time to get a job in your field, you’ll have more experience to list on your resume, making you a more qualified candidate.


Build Life Skills and Maturity

High school doesn’t have to be all about video games and friend group hangs. Having an internship allows you to get out of your “bubble” and build skills you can use for the rest of your life.

In an internship, you’ll be able to tackle real-world challenges and receive feedback about your approach and performance. This will help you build confidence that will carry you through and beyond your college career. You’ll also build communication and self-advocacy skills by asking questions and engaging in professional conversations.

There’s no better way to build maturity in high school than searching for “high school internships near me” and following up on what you find. When you do get to college, you’ll have a head start regarding your work ethic, putting you light years ahead of your peers.


Connect With the Curriculum

Every teacher knows that nothing enhances the learning experience like students being able to make real-world connections. When you participate in internships for high school students, you can pair those experiences with what you learn in your college courses. 

This deepens your own understanding of the course material and the world around you. Your peers will also benefit from your work as you bring those well-developed insights to class discussions and study sessions.


Build Your Network Early

two female high school students high-fiving NSHSS

Networking is key to getting a good job. You'll be behind the curve if you wait until your last years of college to start building that network. Participating in summer internships for high school students allows you to start making critical connections with people in your field now. 

High school internships make students more competitive for college internships, according to 89% of employers. Building that network likely has something to do with it. Even if you don’t return to your hometown to find work, participating in high school internships will ensure you have someone credible to recommend you for the position you do land.


It’s Never Too Early To Start Your Personal or Professional Development

Some might believe that high school is too early for internships, but that’s not true. Summer internships for high school students make you more competitive for college admissions and enrich your experience during college. 

You’ll build essential skills for life and academics, meet new people, and discover what it’s like to work in your career field. Internships are undoubtedly a winning proposition for students everywhere.