Thinking about taking on a summer internship? Maybe you’ve already Googled, “high school internships near me,” or had your interest in an internship piqued by a guidance counselor. Internships aren’t just for college students; more and more high schoolers are seeking internships as a way to explore their academic interests, meet friends, and keep busy during their summer breaks.
Savvy college-bound students also recognize that summer internships for high school students can fit well into your yearly academic schedule already. If that doesn’t work for you, internships at any time can enhance your college journey when you get there. By getting exposure to real-world work experiences, networking opportunities, and self-discovery—before even applying to college—students with internship positions stand out during the application process and excel once accepted. In other words, it’s the ultimate college prep.
As you decide what to do next, keep in mind that these are just some of the ways a high school internship will help you as you prepare for college:
You’ll learn more about your academic interests and goals
It’s not just the classroom that can teach you about your academic interests and goals. Getting out into real-world situations, like workplaces, local organizations, and activist groups will also help you discover what you enjoy and what you’d like to go on to study in college.
When you start to research internships for high school students, look for opportunities that will give you a deeper look into something that interests you. For example, if you’re thinking about pursuing a law degree, see if there’s a law firm offering summer internships for high school students. Spending time around those who also studied law might confirm your interest—or send you in a different direction entirely.
Either way, gaining a better understanding of your academic goals will help you refine your college search and present a clear picture of intent to the admissions committee.
You’ll build out your college application package
Speaking of the admissions committee, they’re searching for well-rounded applicants who will make a positive contribution to the campus community. Taking on an internship is one way to build out your list of extracurriculars and demonstrate key qualities they’re looking for, including dedication, determination, and interpersonal skills.
Looking ahead to once you get to college, remember that the experience takes you out of your comfort zone. It can be an exciting and rewarding but also challenging experience. Summer internships for high school students also take you out of your comfort zone and give you a broader perspective on the world.
Knowing how that educational experience feels, and how to navigate it, will help you start your college journey better prepared. And a strong start can lead to lasting success.
You’ll obtain critical job skills and knowledge
College-bound students are also workplace-bound students. You’ll likely work while in college, whether in an on-campus job or during a college internship. A high school internship can prepare you to ace these critical experiences by giving you a head start on developing critical job skills and knowledge before your peers.
Summer internships teach you how to manage your time, take ownership of tasks, seek help when needed, and produce quality results. Workplace experience is also a key way to build the interpersonal skills required to navigate a successful career and build a network of supportive professional colleagues and mentors.
These skills will also help you excel in on-campus life, where you’ll need to balance your course load alongside extracurriculars and your personal life with potentially fewer guardrails than you had in high school.
You’ll create lifelong friendships and connections
Summer internships can also be just plain fun! Here’s an opportunity to meet new people of all ages, including peers from other high schools in your area.
There might also be recent college grads on the job site. These colleagues are excellent resources for advice about navigating the college journey, how to find college internships, and how to manage life after you get your degree.
Another strong connection you can make during a high school internship is with your supervisors or mentors. This is someone you can reach out to when it comes time to include letters of recommendation in your application package.
Examples of internships for high school students
Now that we know how high school internships can help you on the road to college and beyond, let’s look at the types of internships available to you.
A range of employers offer internships, from large companies to international organizations, to local workplaces. Additionally, many organizations curate internships for high school students.
Here are some examples of internships for high school students that you might find when you search for “high school internships near me”:
- Internships with non-profit organizations
- Internships with companies or organizations overseas
- Fortune 500 company internships
- Internships with local or state government agencies
- Microsoft Discovery Program
- Internships with start-up companies
- Internships at a local newspaper
- Washington, DC-based internships
- Theater or museum internships
- Internships with activist/political organizations
- Summer Springboard
How to research internships for high school students
There are a few different ways you can begin to research internships for high school students. One way to start is by reaching out to your school’s guidance or college counselor. They often curate a list of local, national, and international internship opportunities and can help you manage the application process.
The internet is another way to find opportunities. Simply search “high school internships near me” to see what pops up. You can also search for internships in other parts of the country or a specific industry. Some special programs, like Empowerly’s Startup Internship Program, can also give you a boost in the search process.
Lastly, if you’re interested in an internship with a specific company or organization, be sure to check out their website. They will often have a “careers” or “jobs” page that will include information about internship opportunities (see the link to Microsoft’s internship page above as an example).
More resources for high school students on their college journey
Check out these 3 tips to keep in mind when you begin your college journey.
Before you head to college, you’ll want to get the most out of your time in high school. Read these 5 regrets students had from their time in high school, so you can avoid them.
Wondering how to pay for college without your parents’ help? Here are some tips from our college admissions experts.