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.

    Mythri Challa


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


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