The cost of a four-year degree at both public and private universities is high. It’s a major concern for many parents and students when considering the best path after high school.
It’s no wonder then that parents hope their children graduate within four years. They know that any additional time in college will cost money and can add to student debt.
The Benefits of High School Internships
Too often students are not sure what they want to study when they start college, and some end up changing majors — often more than once. This can lead to more coursework, and as a result, additional semesters in school. One way to avoid this problem is to gain insight into your career goals during high school by completing an internship. The experience you gain will help you define your interests and more easily choose the right major during college.
High School Internships Provide Focus
Explore a Career Area
You may not know what you want to do or study: An internship can provide valuable information and experience to help you define your interests, or just as importantly, to make clear what you don’t want to do.
Example: Mike was confused: What should he do after high school? He loved sports but never thought he could have a career in this field. He landed an internship with a local sports team, where he worked with people who were involved in sports — from operations to marketing to public relations. As a result of this experience, Mike knew that sports management was the field for him and subsequently found a university that offered it as a major.
Check out these straightforward tips to help you identify the right internship.
Choose the Right Major
If you switch majors or decide on a different career path, you will often need to take additional courses to prepare for your new field, adding to your overall college costs.
Example: Jess always thought that she wanted to be a nurse and started a nursing program at her university. After her first year, she realized this path wasn’t a good fit for her and began studying elementary education. Many of Jess’ nursing credits didn’t transfer to her new program, though, and she had to take additional prerequisites to declare an education major. Jess’ four-year college program soon grew to five years. If she had interned in the nursing field while still in high school, Jess may have realized that nursing wasn’t the right career for her.
Get a jump start on the process by reading our freshman guide for picking a college major.
Stand Out as a College Candidate
Colleges are looking for students who know how to take responsibility, meet deadlines, and achieve goals. As an applicant, you also want to show that you have good communication skills and can work independently or in teams. A good internship, whether in the private or public sector, will help you build these skills and demonstrate to college admissions officers that you have thought seriously about your future and the path to get there.
“Looking back at my career,” writes Daniel Schwabel, “I’m always thankful that my parents pushed me to get an internship in high school … That single internship experience ended up helping me get into the college of my choice and enabled me to get future internships because I already had a track record.” Completing a well-structured and robust internship in high school will help you identify your goals and set you on a path toward achieving them — all while potentially saving you tuition dollars.