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Are internships important to have in high school?

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Stephen’s Answer

The short answer is probably.


It will depend on your plans for after high school. If you are interested in going into a trade-school, having "real life" experience will be very helpful in not only starting the learning process, but in helping you to understand if this is in fact the right profession for you. If your plans for after high school include college, than an internship can look very good on your admissions application. In general, schools want to see you keep your grades up while doing additional activities. (My daughter is a rising senior and is in the process of looking at colleges) If you know what your major will be, than an internship that supports that goal could be very helpful as it shows a dedication towards your objective.


An internship is possibly most beneficial when it helps you eliminate an option. If you thought you wanted to go to veterinary school, so you intern at the local animal shelter, and discover that you are totally freaked out by reptiles. It is much better (and cheaper) to discover that now rather than once you have enrolled in wrong college.


To think of it another way - if you have the time and can fit it into your schedule, there are not many downsides to doing an internship. It will give you exposure to a different set of people, and experiences, and that is almost always a good thing for you.

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Brian’s Answer

There is a great deal of research which shows us that when students participate in internship programs or volunteer opportunities in addition to high school coursework, they are much more likely to complete high school.

These opportunities help you to develop more adult-oriented skills like time management, task management, collaboration, consultation, and help-seeking behaviors. More than that, though, they help you to establish connections which help you to feel more integrated into your community.

Volunteering or internships after high school can also be helpful. You develop connections with people in occupations which interest you. Those people sometimes have the power to help you locate suitable employment or even put in a good word for you. Beyond that, it also shows potential employers that you have hands-on experience and are responsible enough to take your job seriously.
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Rachel’s Answer

Although it's not the end of the world if you don't do an internship during high school, I think internships are definitely helpful in allowing you to explore possible interests and see what careers are like. In the future, there will still be plenty of opportunities for internships, but I think as a high schooler, it could be helpful to have some idea of what you're interested in pursuing in the future so that if you do go to college you can make a more informed decision when choosing a major. But don't stress too much about internships in high school!
I completely agree with Rachel!! Viha Vishwanathan
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Julie Diane (JD)’s Answer

Hi Reva,

Kudos to you for thinking about preparing with more than just academics or formal study.

Yes! Any workplace experience will help you. This includes an internship (either paid or unpaid) or volunteer work.

Three major benefits of gaining internship or volunteer experience are:
1. It will help you stand out from those who only have a degree or other academic accomplishments when you apply for jobs.
2. It will provide you with networking contacts and references.
3. It will make your transition from school to your career much easier for you because you will have experience in a workplace and not just in a classroom.

Even working or volunteering in an unrelated field during your summer breaks or part-time during school can be helpful because it shows employers that you have experience in a workplace environment, not just a class environment.

Best of luck!
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nicole’s Answer

Starting internships in high school is a great beginning to know what you like and what you want to do in the future. In fact, starting an internship at a young age will give you more time to figure out what you want since you will be exposed to different fields, you will gain more experience, and it is a great way to boost your resume at a young age, and that can be an added value to you in the future, but it is not mendatory to start them at this young age. From personal experience, I started internships in high school and it has helped me a lot in narrowing my career options and it gave me great exposure.
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Connor’s Answer

Extracurricular activities can definitely be helpful to have in high school. I would say that anything you enjoy that you can get involved with at the school is the best way to go about this. I wouldn't necessarily worry about outside internships unless it is something that you are interested in. Having stuff on your resume is always helpful going into college, but from my experiences, no one expects a freshman in college to have a complete and strong resume. Overall, I would definitely try and get involved in something at your school and go from there.
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Anita’s Answer

Hi Reva,


That's a great question to be asking while in high school. An internship, at this point in your education, is really more about helping you to explore your interests and learn about different careers that are "out there" than it is for any kind skill development. If you are thinking about college, this kind of opportunity can help you narrow down possible college majors or even college choices. If you are thinking about vocational school, this kind of experience can help educate you on what the scope of the job is like.


However, if you do not have the opportunity to do an internship, it's okay. You need not worry. Life has a way of helping you figure it all out; but sometimes, it takes longer, involves more trial and error, and your intended path may be a less unclear as you explore. If your school can offer this opportunity to you, it is a wise decision to take advantage of that and explore an interest. The more you can do in high school to help yourself explore your interests and narrow down or even eliminate some, the easier time you will have deciding which college major(s) you would enjoy. The more self-assured you can be about making these choices, the more confident you will be with your career choice. Best of luck!

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