Myth: Internships Are Only for College Students

We most often hear about how a college student we know is aiming for this internship during their summer or that one immediately after graduation, but did you know that interning isn’t only for people in college? Here’s why you should still consider going after that internship even if you’re still in high school:

Great Opportunity for High School Students

Believe it or not, interning is the perfect opportunity for students still in high school. They provide real life and work experience before you even head out the door to college. In addition, experience with on the job training that you receive during an internship looks amazing on a college application and, potentially, your future career. The school will be able to see you as a self starter and ready to approach your major or interests with gusto.

Helps You Decide On a Major

Usually when you are applying to college, you have a major in mind. However, what happens if you don’t like that particular subject after you start? Or you find out the career options aren’t what you expected? Interning gives you the opportunity to test those waters even before you attend a college lecture.

Internships can also give you a wider view of the world or your career path and you may discover you like one subject over another. You can take what you learn and apply it towards your major choice, classes, and even possibly future career.

How to Get Started

While there are probably fewer internships available to high school students than there are to college students, that doesn’t mean they don’t exist! Before anything else, think about your interests and look at nearby businesses or organizations that speak to those. It could be a zoo, a bank, a radio station, or something else. Once you’ve defined what you’re interested in, it’s time to start the search.

First begin with your personal connections. Do you have any family members, friends of the family, acquaintances, or anyone else with ties to your particular industry? Approach them about potential internships in their field or workplace. Or ask them how you could approach the business yourself to get the information you need.

Online searches will always be an excellent resource as well. Check your interests’ websites. Some will have information about hiring practices, possible volunteer work, and potential internships. You can also search job hunting websites as many internships are posted on there.

If nothing is standing out as an opportunity, it’s time to start approaching businesses. Even if they don’t have an internship at the moment, your interest might spark the creation of one. Speaking from personal experience, I inquired about an internship at a zoo. They had quite a few options, but not exactly what I was looking for. I asked if there was anything close to what I was passionate about and they ended up building the job just for me. It still exists today. It never hurts to ask!

Ultimately, when you do an internship is up to you, but it can provide some great feedback on your career goals, interests, and college application. If you’re ready to get started in high school, it’s time to start the search!

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Hilary Cairns

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