If you’re wondering how to find internships for high school students, look no further! Internships are a great way for high school students to improve their chances of getting accepted into their school of choice. Not only are internships important for undergraduate acceptance, but they can also provide a strong skill background that can influence further advancement in your education. In this article, we go over how to find internships for high school students and list some of the best options that go well with extracurriculars for college.
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Why Are Internships Important?
Internships set you apart from other undergraduate applicants. While high school students are required to complete a certain number of volunteer hours, taking on an internship in high school can help you build influential relationships. When admissions committees are evaluating applicants for certain competitive programs, they often look to a student’s extracurriculars, work experience, essays such as a college diversity essay, or internship experience to make a decision.
Another function of internships is that they can lead to strong letters of recommendation. Not all undergraduate or college programs will require these supplementary documents, but for the ones that do, your supervisors are ideal referees for your application; they can offer a unique perspective on your developing professional attributes as witnesses of your behavior and attitude in a semi-professional work setting.
Finally, high school internships are relatively rare; most high school applicants won’t have any internships because they aren’t required, and they tend not to be offered in classes. As such, internships are often the exception, rather than the rule, in college applications, and candidates who have engaged in them are more likely to stand out. Still, it will take some persistence and initiative to find internships specifically for high school students that can help you go from high school to medical school.
What Is the Major Payoff of Internships for High School Students?
High school internships are important because they give students an opportunity to develop essential skills. The internships offered to students in high school tend to be less specialized, meaning not directly related to the field in which they’re planning to study. What schools admire about a high school student with internships on their high school resume is that they’re thinking about their future; qualities such as determination and planned action strongly suggest that the student will succeed in the program to which they’re applying. Of course, academic readiness is mainly assessed based on your GPA (or the grading system in your country/province/state), but schools are always seeking to evaluate your application holistically. In terms of an admissions strategy, it’s hard to overlook the value of an internship not just for getting accepted, but for setting yourself up for success in your career.
How to Find Internships for High School
There are several methods of finding an internship suitable for a high school student. In most cases, you will need to look beyond your school to find one that suits your interests. The process of finding an internship will require varying amounts of networking and investigation on your part. Internships are also offered in different formats; if you’re willing to apply to remote internships in addition to in-person ones, you will give yourself a better chance of finding the right one.
It's important to note that internships sometimes don’t exist or are a new concept for some organizations. If there is a particular business, service, or non-profit that strongly interests you, nothing is stopping you from making first contact and asking if you can speak with a manager about a possible internship. You will get some direct “no” answers, but you may also get lucky. Especially if you have the right skillset, employers may be more than happy to consider you: in addition to contributing to their labor force, taking on an intern allows existing staff to learn new skills, such as supervision, training, and mentoring. It can also signal corporate social responsibility (CSR) to their client base. This can be a win-win situation for both the intern and the organization.
Review the following tips to help you find an internship:
Talk to Friends and Family
Your friends and family are your two most accessible social groups, who you presumably interact with regularly. Some of your friends and family members will work at companies that offer internships to juniors. Ask your family members or friends about any internship opportunities at their company; if they aren’t sure, ask them to inquire. Having a friend or family member inquire on your behalf will also make it easier for you to introduce yourself to a prospective manager due to the shared connection. If you use this approach, make sure your name isn’t mentioned directly; it will be important to take the initiative to introduce yourself and send in your resume and cover letter without having someone do it for you. Otherwise, this might leave the impression that you aren’t enthusiastic or responsible enough for the position.
Go to Your Local Businesses and Services
Your local businesses and services will often have internship opportunities for high school students. Not all businesses will post internship opportunities on internet job boards, so you will have to go in person. When you visit some of the businesses where you’d like to inquire about internship opportunities, make sure you bring your resume. Having your resume available for employers to review will make it easier for them to contact you if they have an opening. On occasion, employers will be willing to interview you in a casual or formal format when you inquire about internships. Casual interviews will typically entail a few questions about your motivation for applying. Formal interviews will last longer and have more questions: examples include “why do you want to work in this industry?”, “what are your strengths and weaknesses?”, or “tell us about yourself.” You should practice answers to these questions and others beforehand. You can also use job boards to find businesses and services in your area; type in “internships” to find a list of available internships that you’re eligible for and apply. Note that you will need to create a profile for most of these job boards and have a resume and cover letter ready to submit.
Ask Your Guidance Counselor for Support
When you’re looking for internships, it’s a good idea to have a discussion with your guidance counselor about what you’re looking for. A guidance counselor can recommend places to look in the community, such as your local library or non-profit organizations. Some high schools will also offer classes with internship or placement opportunities. Guidance counselors can discuss applicable class offerings and help you organize your schedule to make sure you receive the right number of credits to graduate while completing the internships. They can also give you advice regarding your college applications and explain how internships can situate you in the applicant pool based on your grades and other standing.
Search for Non-Profit Organizations
Non-profit organizations in your area are a great place to start looking for an internship. If you simply search “non-profit organizations in X area,” the results will yield a variety of organizations you can explore in more detail. Non-profits can include charity organizations, community service groups, or recreational clubs. The main objective of non-profit organizations is to provide resources and organize events for a specific target group. The best way to find non-profit internships is to use a search engine, but you can also visit your local library or school database, both of which frequently advertise career opportunities; this will often include a combination of internships or available volunteer opportunities.
What Are the Best Internship Opportunities for High School Students?
Disclaimer – there aren’t really any “bad” internships in high school because you will still be learning valuable lessons and developing pertinent skills. Remember, the goal is to gain experience in a field to practice professional behavior and attitudes in a work setting. The presence of an internship on your college applications is going to set you apart from other applicants, regardless of the specific job duties. Numerous organizations offer summer programs for high school students. Let’s continue to explore some more specific types of internships that are suitable for high school students:
An assistant grader is someone who can help a teacher or tutor grade the work of elementary students in a variety of subjects; primarily math and English. Applicants should be willing to commit to working between three to six hours per week, though hours can vary depending on the organization. Assistant graders will typically work in the late afternoon after classes are finished. You should be able to provide evidence of strong math and English skills. An assistant grader is someone who should have great attention to detail; grading also requires good communication skills, as you will often be grading written assignments that require encouraging and constructive feedback. You will be working with students of a variety of levels and abilities, so patience and persistence will also be key attributes.
If you want to apply for such a position, you can often find them at your local tutoring companies. Send them an email asking if they have any available positions involving grading assistance or visit their website to explore their careers page. You may also find opportunities involving these duties by asking your teachers who might be affiliated with an organization offering a similar position. Being an assistant grader is also a great way to ask faculty for college essay tips during your breaks.
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Hospital Research Programs
For those who are planning on applying to a college program in health care or a similar field, hospital research internships are a great way to learn more about lab research and the health care system. Most of these programs are offered over the summer, typically lasting about six to eight weeks. These programs are usually only offered to individuals in their grade 11 or 12 year, who have completed the grade 10 science requirements. Program formats are either full-time or part-time; students will have the opportunity to observe active research in a laboratory setting and participate in their own research projects with the guidance of a supervisor or mentor. Some of these programs allow students to present the findings of their research in a presentation with the other participating students and mentors.
The great thing about hospital research programs is that having direct experience in the field will help you anticipate the skills and knowledge you will learn throughout your undergraduate studies. Research programs are an example of a specialized internship because they are only offered to students with an interest in a research or health care career path. As part of your training, you will also get to learn about other potential science, technology, and research opportunities, which can help you navigate your undergraduate studies and potential advancements in academia.
To find this type of internship, you can 1) call universities in the vicinity to inquire about internships of this nature, 2) visit hospitals or clinics in person, or 3) email hospital customer service to ask about opportunities that are available for high school students. Be sure to specify what grade you’re in so they can rule out any programs you aren’t eligible for.
Youth Conservation Internships
Youth conservation internships are a great way to get involved in the community. This type of internship will teach students important teamwork and leadership skills that can help them advance into higher learning and beyond. Conservation internships are generally open to anyone, provided the individual is a currently enrolled high school student. Internships like these can involve a variety of projects depending on the organization, setting, and duration of the internship. Some of these activities include planting trees or other plant life, cleaning up rivers or parks, removing invasive plants from streams or bodies of water, or building vehicle barriers around habitats or outdoor spaces. This opportunity is perfect for individuals who want to pursue a career in their municipal or provincial/state environmental sector. It’s also an ideal program for anyone who wants to develop ethical thinking and practices, management skills, leadership, and collaboration.
The best way to find conservation internships is by researching the ones in your area. You can find active projects on job boards by filtering for internships and high school students. Your province/state or municipality will have an associated non-profit organization for conservation initiatives; they will typically have a landing page where you can find your local conservation authority. From there, find the applicable webpage and navigate to the section dedicated to active projects, careers, and programs or internships.
What Do You Need to Apply for an Internship?
Before you apply for an internship, you need to have the right materials in order. Each opportunity is unique, and some won’t require the same materials. Still, you should at least have a resume and a cover letter prepared for each position.
Here’s a more detailed account of what you should be prepared to send:
Finding internships for high school students can be difficult, especially since most high schools don’t advertise internships frequently. Internships aren’t required for college applications, which is why students often don’t look for them. However, internships can set you apart from other candidates, especially because most applicants will only have the mandatory volunteer experience on their application. To find internships, start by talking to your friends and family. A strong network should be your priority when you’re searching for positions. Be prepared for any opportunity by having a polished resume ready to go.
1. Why are internships valuable for high school students?
Internships, generally rare compared to other non-academic experiences, set you apart from other college and university applicants.
2. What skills can you gain from doing an internship?
You can expect to gain strong collaboration, teamwork, and leadership skills. Some field-specific internships can help you develop research skills or conservation techniques.
3. What do I need to apply for an internship?
For most applications, you will need a resume and cover letter; some positions might require you to submit a transcript or a report card.
4. What are some of the best types of internships for high school students?
Some of the best available internships include assistant grader, youth conservation, and hospital research.
5. What are some career benefits of doing an internship?
Gaining exposure to a relevant work environment, making connections and networking, and preparing for post-secondary studies are among the main benefits of completing an internship.
6. How can I prepare for an internship interview?
Your first step should be to research the company or organization and get familiar with what they do and how they do it. You can practice common interview questions, such as “what are some of your strengths and weaknesses?”, “how did you hear about this position?”, and “what can you contribute to the team?”.
7. What should I be looking for in an internship?
You should be looking for an opportunity to develop certain skills that pertain to the school and program to which you’re applying.
8. How long do internships last?
Internship length can vary depending on several factors; hospital research programs, for instance, are generally six to eight weeks and take place over the summer.
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