Scoring An Internship: High School Edition

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    Getting an internship can be a great way for high-schoolers to explore their interests, gain connections, and add to their resume. They can be an opportunity to break into a field that usually requires a degree, such as medicine, law, or engineering. If you’re a driven and ambitious student, this article will help you decide whether an internship is worth pursuing.

    What is an Internship?

    • Internships are short-term periods of work experience offered by organizations.
    • They can be paid or unpaid; over the summer or during the year; part-time or full-time.
    • Many internships are designed for college students, but there are many opportunities for high-schoolers.
    • Interns usually do entry-level work.
    • Usually, they have a supervisor who assigns work. Ask your supervisor about your day-to-day activities and responsibilities. These can differ from what’s on paper and are important to note.

    How to Get an Internship

    • Your counselor can direct you to in-school resources.
      • Many schools have existing structures designed for student interns and will help connect students to opportunities.
    • If you have a field of employ in mind, try directly contacting local companies in that field through email, phone, or in-person.
      • Ask if they have internship opportunities for high-schoolers, and how to apply.
    • Try Googling “high school internships [location]”.
      • This takes some discernment and time. Note that often, companies don’t outright advertise high-school internship opportunities online.
      • This link may help generate ideas.

    Making the Most of Your Internship

    • Make connections. Go out of your way to meet people. Part of the value of internships is their opportunities for exposure.
      • The people you meet are repositories of advice.
    • Learn new skills. Even if you don’t think you’ll need it in the future, internships offer hands-on practice for skills that most high-schoolers don’t get. To fully realize your getting-ahead, make a point to learn.

    Is an Internship Right For You?

    • Most internships are unpaid. However, good ones provide compensation in the form of skills and experience. Thus, be cautious about unpaid internships that have you doing busywork.
      • The good news: if you find an internship through your school, this is unlikely. Schools vet their lists of contacts to ensure that this doesn’t happen.
      • Internships help you figure out whether you would enjoy a career—or not. However, it’s important to narrow down a field. Especially because internships can be unpaid, it’s prudent to be certain your time is well-spent.
      • In short, only apply to an internship if you’re passionate about that field.
    • Settle with your employer the number of hours per week you’re expected to complete. You’re a student first, and an intern second. Ensure that you won’t be overwhelmed by your schedule.
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    Mythri Challa

    Writer

    Computer Science at The University of Texas at Dallas, aiming to specialize in cyber security and web development.

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