The idea of pursuing an internship probably does not cross most high school students’ minds, which is an excellent reason to pursue one. Work experience at a respected company or organization, especially if it is related to a field you might pursue in college, will only strengthen your college applications. It is a great way to stand out from the crowd.
Secondly, an internship will allow you to explore potential careers and courses of study for college. You might confirm that newspaper journalism is the career of your dreams, or find out that software programming is not exactly how you had imagined it. You may also discover other fields and positions you had not considered before.
Finally, an internship can help you understand how a professional organization operates. Within that organization, you will gain access to valuable contacts who may lead you to other opportunities as you progress through school.
Some organizations like Microsoft, the Museum of Modern Art and the Smithsonian have formal internship programs designed for high school students. Typically, these programs are limited to students in the region. Research companies in the industry that interests you and check their web sites for opportunities.
Internships are not just available with large corporations in urban areas either. Often local newspapers, museums and other businesses will offer internship opportunities. Start asking around at local business associations to see what is available in your community.
Do not give up if these companies do not formally list an internship program for high school students. Try to identify a human resources representative or department manager you can send an email or letter to. Ask your parents, your friends’ parents, your relatives and anyone else who might be willing to help you if they are aware of any opportunities. Contact professional organizations in your area of interest.
Companies with formal internship programs generally have specific procedures outlined on their web sites. If you are trying to create your own opportunity, create a one-page resume that outlines your skills, education and interests along with a cover letter that explains your interest in their organization.