Why should you be a student intern?


Internships are often thought of as something for college students to do, but they are available to high schoolers as well. Numerous companies in Raleigh have regularly let high school students work as interns for them. (Photo courtesy of Savannah Sinor).

On February 11, Mrs. Canada will have an interest meeting about internships. 


What is an internship, and how do I get one?


An internship is a chance for students to work in a field of interest for a few hours a week. While they intern, they learn the skills needed to succeed in that field and how to act like a professional. It also gives them a chance to build up their resume and practice their networking skills.

In this honors class, students choose from a variety of companies and people to work for during their time as an intern.

The instructor for the internship program, Mrs. Canada, has had students work for/at “a wedding planner, orthodontist… an animal shelter, a building company, a restaurant management business, the Museum of Natural Science… a lawyer.” 

Depending on what students sign up for, they may get a paid internship, which is a bonus.

This opportunity is not available to everyone, and there is an application that students must fill out.

Only rising juniors and seniors can apply.

Besides grade level, students need two teacher recommendations. Mrs. Canada uses the references to make sure that each student is responsible enough to handle an internship.

“I also make sure that you have good attendance and make sure that you haven’t had any trouble with administration,” said Mrs. Canada. 

For more specific information about the application process, students and their parents should attend Mrs. Canada’s information session on February 11th. Sign up here.


What do I do in the class?


The class is almost always in fourth period. During that time students head off to their internships and work. They do this most of the semester to finish the required hours. 

“They work one hundred and thirty-five hours during one semester. It’s really only about five to seven hours a week,” said Mrs. Canada. 

What they do during those hours depends on the internship. For example, some interns work on computer programming while others are creating blueprints. Though, they are not always working while they are at their office. Sometimes they are learning. Supervisors dedicate time to talk to the interns and teach them industry-specific skills.

When students are not at their internship, they have other assignments for the class. These tasks make up a large part of their grades for the course because it is how Mrs. Canada sees their progress as an intern.  

“They have to keep a journal every week… do a resume… create a LinkedIn Profile, and at the end of the internship, they’re required to do a PowerPoint project about what they learned,” said Mrs. Canada. 

There are also regular meetings that the class has to attend.

“In the work sessions, I discuss different things that they need to know, such as business skills,” said Mrs. Canada.

A lot of this work, such as the resume, helps students prepare for life after school. Obtaining a job is easier because of the internship, resume, LinkedIn profile, and other information taught in class. 

This work also allows the program to count as an honors course instead of an academic one. 

This course is demanding, but for many students, it is worth it. 


What are the pros and cons of interning?


Being an intern has enormous benefits. A couple of things people gain by doing this are contacts and work experience. 

Throughout the internship, students are meeting new people and making themselves known in the company. They are networking, which is beneficial later on. These contacts can help with many things, such as improving a students chances of getting a job after school. It gives students a leg up above everyone else when competing with other high schoolers for jobs.

The work experience is also helpful. It buffs up resumes and improves college applications. High school students with internships have proof that they are willing to work and know what to do. Not everyone has that proof, and so it is an advantage for those with it. This experience also helps students mature and become more responsible. This maturity is useful for interviews for college and jobs. 

These are just a couple of reasons students benefit from internships. 


This program is not perfect, there are some disadvantages to it. There is a fair amount of work involved, and it takes time away from being with friends. 

Students must find their own place to intern, and once there, they have work to do for that company. They also have to complete assignments for the class. That work may not seem like a lot, but it can add up, especially if the student has other rigorous classes.

An internship takes up a class period, which is time that students could spend in another course with their friends. This time is particularly important for seniors, who are about to graduate high school. After graduating, they will be unable to hang out as much. Doing an internship takes away from that time.

This program is not easy, and it does take time, but it is worth it. Managing time wisely will help with the workload. Internships don’t last all year, and there are other classes, so it is not taking up a lot of time with friends, just a few hours a day. These cons do and should affect students’ decision to apply, but they are manageable and do not make that large of a difference. 

Being an intern is a great opportunity that allows students to learn more about different careers and how to succeed in the workforce. In the words of Mrs. Canada, “It’s really a remarkable experience for the students.”


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