photo: @amandagraphics

As a student, the idea of doing internships while in high school may not seem attractive, especially if they offer little or no pay. However, did you know that high school internships offer more value than money? Let’s consider some of them.

It helps you choose a college major

Of all the valuable tools and lessons you can gain from internships, the ability to explore careers and interests is perhaps the biggest benefit it offers. Studies show that high school students initially attempt to make a career decision based on careers they know. The most common examples include becoming a lawyer, doctor, counselor and teacher. With about 1,000 occupations active in the U.S. economy today, internships can give you the knowledge as well as access to the careers of tomorrow. As you gain hands-on and real life experiences in the fields of your interest, it introduces you to what life would be like in those careers. These experiences can make it easier to pick a college major that matches your values, natural aptitude and interests.

It helps with course selection in high school and college

I recently met with a high school senior who was ‘over-the-top’ excited about one of the career choices I suggested. She was sold-out on the idea of pursing it as a career. However, she soon discovered that she hadn’t taken the high school classes required by colleges to enter that program. This was going to cost her both time and money. She was devastated to say the least. Early internships can introduce you to new combinations of interests and possibilities that you might never have considered. It also affords you the time to investigate college admission requirements so you can select your high school and college courses wisely.

It makes your college application look impressive

In the competitive world of the college application process, there is no substitute for real world experience. Internships can earn you an impressive list of skills and tasks that you’ve completed. It also shows them that you can balance school, family, a social life and an internship.

It connects you to people who can mentor you

As you navigate college and career choices, it’s important to have at least one mentor in your life. This could be one of your internship supervisors or co-workers. They can give you objective insights as they work with you on a particular task or review your performance. A mentor in your career of choice can field questions, give you practical advice and inspire you when studying if your career path becomes difficult.

It prepares you for college life

Work life at a young age can be intimidating. Internships can force you out of your comfort zone as well as help you overcome shyness and social fears. It teaches you how to network and build relationships, paving the way for an easier college life transition.

It makes you a better student

Life experiences make the best teachers. They create a long-term database of knowledge in your brain that sticks better than merely learning the same material in a classroom. Internships integrate practical application and skills developed in professional or community settings with classroom knowledge and theory. This makes learning and abstract concepts easier, thus improving grades and scores.

Though you might not see the value of internships immediately, in time it would be hard to argue against the many benefits it provides as you prepare to make one of the most important decisions of your life.

Want to field-test your top career paths? I can help – contact me today!