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Fall semester is a busy time for high school seniors prepping for college: SATs, ACTs, college applications, college tours, and AP courses. Once you receive that acceptance letter from your school of choice, your first instinct might be to sit back and lighten the load until graduation. It is important to take a deep breath and enjoy your last few months of high school; however, just because your college admission is set in stone doesn’t mean your resume should be left untouched until you apply for a job. While the fall is overwhelming, it’s a great opportunity to talk to your academic counselor about fitting an internship into your spring or summer schedule. Even just a few months of experience before beginning your freshman year will provide you with skills that can have an impact on your future professors, coaches, employers, and most importantly – you.
Here are a few benefits of landing an internship between opening that acceptance letter and packing up for move-in day.
High schools often give credit for internships.
Oftentimes, high schools will allow upperclassmen to replace an academic course with a part-time internship. This gives students the opportunity to benefit from an internship without worrying about fitting it into their academic and extracurricular schedules. High school schedules are packed tight. Receiving credit for an internship can ensure that students maintain a healthy balance between education and work experience. Every school’s policy is different, but it’s worth a conversation with your academic counselor to learn more.
Experience in a work environment will build important skills needed for college courses.
College courses are different from high school courses in that good grades aren’t the only measure of success. Soft skills are required in the classroom and are often a portion of the professor’s grading system. Communicating with professors and other students, working collaboratively, resolving conflicts, taking leadership roles, and thinking creatively and adaptively are just some of the important skills that college students need to succeed. Internships are a great place to build soft skills and minimize the intimidation of new classroom experiences.
It will prepare you for future jobs and internships.
Think of an internship as an advanced round of practice for future work experiences. Not only does an internship prepare students for their future positions in the workforce, it acts as practice for the application and interview process. Soft skills, writing skills, organization skills, and appropriate communication skills are all needed when writing an appealing resume, applying for jobs, and succeeding in an interview.
Students with experience make a lasting impression and gain job security
Early internships pave the way for future internships that lead to a first job. When seeking full-time employment, college graduates with internship experience stand out, and getting experience early in the game not only builds a resume but is impressive to employers. Employers want to hire candidates who show determination, have proven they can take initiative, and have built the skills necessary to succeed in a chosen career field. Graduates who have interned with an organization are often the first considered for full-time employment. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers’ 2021 report, between 70-80% of interns are offered a full-time position at their employer, and the five-year retention rate for those interns is about 44%.
So while you may be tempted to take time off before college starts, consider dedicating a few months of your time to learn skills that will make college a little easier and give you a jump start on valuable career-readiness skills.