High School Internships Increase in Tough Economy

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High School Internships Increase in Tough Economy

When I graduated college in 2006, having an internship in high school was uncommon. Times are changing, and this year I received hundreds of resumes from high school students wanting to compete for high caliber internship programs. Student’s are becoming more motivated and focused due to the economic climate and the constant economy conversation. Why should high school students start to think about internships ? I’ve put together some observations that I’ve noted about high school students and why internships have a place in their academic lives.



·         THE STUDENT’S CAN GET SCHOOL RECOGNITION. If a high school student can speak with their guidance counselor about creating some sort of credit system, where the internship can be recognized in some way on the student’s transcript, high school student’s should be allowed to intern. Many high schools across the country have started to create internship programs and classes for their students to optionally participate in. High school students are always getting college credit for certain classes and different types of college recognition on their high school transcript. Internships would provide similar credit/recognition.  I do encourage companies to consider high school applicants, however, do make sure that the student is receiving some sort of school-related credit. I suggest that employers take the time to contact the student’s guidance counselor and parent (assuming they are under 18) to make sure the situation is kosher.


·         HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS HAVE THE TIME. Many high school students are out from school as early as 12:30 or 1PM each day. This allows them to have time to get to the office and work for a few hours in the afternoons. I recommend high school student’s only intern 2-3 days per week and only for 2-3 hours per day. Keep the workload light. This is a first experience and a huge learning experience. It’s important to get good grades in high school so that needs to be a priority right along side your internship. If a student is juggling an internship and a job or after-school activity, try interning a few hours in the afternoon 2-3 days per week and then working in the evenings or interning on the days you have off from practice.



·         HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS HAVE THE SUMMER ! Most high school l students do nothing but work and play during the summer. An internship is a very interesting element to add to the bunch. Students could intern a few days per week and then work in the late afternoon/early evenings and make time for their friends on the weekends or on their nights off. Summer is a great stretch of time to really take advantage of. Most students have about 12 weeks off for the summertime, I suggest trying to get an internship for 6-8 of those weeks. As for the other weeks, give yourself time to relax !


·         THEY HEAR ABOUT THE ECONOMY ALL DAY. Let’s face it, you can’t turn on the TV, sit down at the dinner table, walk into a store without hearing something about the state of today’s economy. High school student’s hear it all of the time and it’s forcing them to really start thinking about their personal futures. Internships are a way for them to stop talking and start participating. Starting to intern in high school is a great way for student’s to play an active part in their future.


·         A GENERATION OF DO-ERS. Studies have shown that student’s are loosing interest in the “Bad Girl” trends that covered the media in the past years. Student’s no longer want to follow the rebellious ways of celebrities like Lindsay Lohan, they want to see “pure role-models”. They want  to take actions into their own hands and really be involved and change the world. Thanks to public figures like Barack Obama, student’s have taken a large interest in Politics and the ways of our world. Internships allow students to take hold of their lives and start setting goals for themselves at a young age.


·         THEY WILL BE FRONT RUNNERS. I always talk about the importance of having internships on your resume before you graduate college. 70 percent of college students have internship experience on their resume before they graduate (NACE), can you imagine how much that number will increase over the next few years ? With student’s starting as young as high school, not only will the amount of student’s with internships increase, but the number of internships these student’s have is going to increase as well. All of these high school students are going to be prepared and one step ahead of the game. When it comes to interviewing for college internships, these student’s are going to grab them ! This will also look FANTASTIC on their college applications !


·         THEY CAN ESTABLISH GREAT CONTACTS AND LETTERS OF REC. High schoolinterns can get great letters of recommendation to use for their college applications at these internships. You never know where your internship coordinator or the head of the company went to school. Many company heads have great alumni resources and connections as far as getting into a great school and meeting great people. Making these contacts early on will help your college apps and head you in the direction of some great jobs and internships in the future.


·         HIGH SCHOOL ARE LIVING AT HOME. I think the “home” advantage is actually a big one. Most college students have to fully take care of themselves, feed themselves, transport themselves to and from their internships, etc. High school students can oftentimes rely on parents to transport them to and from their internships. They usually have dinner prepared for them by their parents so they don’t need to worry about this expense. Having parents help out with internships can have a very positive affect.


·         HIGH SCHOOL  STUDENTS CAN LEARN ABOUT THE REAL WORLD. What better way to teach students about the real world then to place them in the workplace for a few hours each week and let them help and observe what goes on. This environment provides a bit of a reality shock to the students. This opportunity allows them to really visualize their future and envision what they are constantly told they need to work so hard for. This also provides them the opportunity to identify their likes and dislikes regarding certain careers, departments in a company, office atmospheres, etc. Students are always told the importance of traits like punctuality and cooperativeness – this provides a clear understanding of why these character traits are so important.



I Asked my Friends on Twitter What They  Thought About High school Internships…


larryperry@InternQueen HS Students don’t have the resume to be successful at an internship otherwise you wouldn’t need a degree for the actual job.

dancenhance@InternQueenI think it’s a great opportunity for highschoolers to intern if they are mature enough to appreciate the opportunity.

findingurstyle@InternQueen i went to business high school, interned w a financial regulatory firm my last year or so - great idea, teaches responsibility.

staceyzur@InternQueen I think its the best thing in the world teaches them real world skills.

fashionintern@InternQueeni’ve been getting SO many requests for internships for high schoolers! is it even legal? I only know 1 person who actually did.

nateerickson@InternQueenI feel like the HS schedule & extracurrics aren’t very accommodating to most internships, but if they can find the time, great!

tiffyloob @InternQueen I interned during high school and loved it! I got more fulfillment participating in my internship than sports/ student govt.

kyenne@InternQueenI personally don’t think high schoolers should be interning.. I can understand job shadowing but they don’t have the skills yet.

StaciStringer@InternQueen it’s bound to happen, but not yet, especially in this economy, leave the jobs for those who really need them!

skimtheocean@InternQueeni’m trying to teach the appreciation of internships to my brother. it’ll raise the bar in college and ultimately the workplace!

pamasaur@InternQueenOpinion on HS interns: Emphasis should be put on community service..shifting to internships would reduce HS comm svc.

simplyann@InternQueen we’ve had 3 HS students intern for us. they’re amazing!

simplyann@InternQueen absolutely! If it were up to me, HS juniors and seniors would have mandatory internship hours.

marrazcaeta@InternQueenI know a friend of mine interned in high school through a school program and Digitas Chicago last summer had a h.s intern.

Rachel_366@internqueen I think it depends on how you define internship. I had an “internship” in high school where I shadowed someone…

MikeWilson51@InternQueendepends on whether or not that person can add value to your organization. However higher ed. is a good screener in some cases.

LaurenZahn@internqueeni think internships should be reserved for college students since they’re hard enough to find already, we dont want to compete!

JILawson@InternQueenas a small buisness owner I think it’s great that students get as much real world experience as they can.

myfirstpaycheck@InternQueen High School students should absolutely work as interns sometimes :) In the end it depends on the job and responsibilities.

rileykaminer@InternQueen I’m a High School student that interns, so totally!

lizrose91@InternQueen I was an intern, and I think it is a wonderful opportunity, as long as the student is responsible.

LL_Thatch@InternQueenI believe HS-ers should participate in internships because many students have a false sense of what a specific job requires.

katieabbo@InternQueenMy hs interns are great. I work w/about 6 during the school yr and 10+ in summer (for 2 wks or so). But that’s at a teen mag.

jocelleuntalan @InternQueen I think it’s a great opportunity to intern during H.S., but I think it would be much harder to balance esp. w/child labor laws.

afmarble@internqueen It was an “intern” class in HS that led me to pursue a different degree in college. I think it is a great idea.

smaloy@InternQueen I did two internships when I was in high school and I think it was very useful, both in giving me a head start and giving me…

lauraschroeder@InternQueen there’s a high school student at my internship right now, she mainly helps the interns out.

Other Helpful Links on High school Internships:

Career Explorations has a great high school internship program run by a friend of mine: http://www.ceinternships.com/home