Fun Ways to Maximize Your Summer - Part II

Work-based learning (WBL) programs offer high school students a unique opportunity to bridge this gap by integrating academic learning with practical, hands-on experience in a professional setting. In this blog post, we will explore the various types of work-based learning opportunities available to high school students, the benefits they offer, and how students can make the most of these invaluable experiences.

6/25/20243 min read

three person pointing the silver laptop computer
three person pointing the silver laptop computer

In today's rapidly evolving job market, traditional classroom education alone often falls short in preparing students for the real-world challenges they will face in their careers. Summer opportunities such as internships, job shadowing, and research programs offer high school students invaluable experiences that enhance their understanding of various professions and academic fields. These activities not only provide practical skills but also give young people a better insight into their interests and potential career paths. Engaging in these programs helps students stand out in college applications, develop professional networks, and gain confidence in their abilities. Whether you're a student, educator, or parent, this guide will provide you with insights into how WBL can pave the way for future success.

Summer internships

Summer internships offer invaluable experience by bridging the gap between theoretical learning in the classrooms with real world application. Internships help students gain confidence in professional settings, develop workplace skills, and build networking connections that can be pivotal in their future careers. Furthermore, internships allow students to explore potential career paths, helping them make informed decisions about their education and professional goals.

Tips to find an internship:

- Start Early: Begin your search months in advance. Many organizations set their deadlines early, and spots can fill up quickly.

- Most high school students are still minors through high school, and most employers have stringent rules about hiring minors as interns. That said, NASA, Lockheed Martin, SEAP, and the local city are among top companies that do offer high school internships. Many startups hire interns too.

- Utilize Online Resources: Websites like Chegg Internships, Indeed, and SimplyHired can be great places to find internship opportunities suited to high school students. Additionally, virtual internship platforms might offer remote opportunities that can be attended from anywhere.

- Network: Speak with teachers, family friends, and community members about potential openings. Networking can often lead to opportunities that aren’t advertised publicly.

- Prepare a Strong Application: Tailor your resume and cover letter to each internship application. Highlight any relevant coursework, extracurricular activities, or projects that demonstrate your skills and interest in the field.

- Practice Interview Skills: Some internships might require an interview. Practicing your interview skills with teachers or family members can help you present yourself more confidently.

Job Shadow

Job shadowing is an experiential learning opportunity where students spend time with a professional, typically a day or a few days, to understand their job duties, the industry, and the company culture. This type of experience is particularly beneficial for high school students as it provides a realistic insight into daily work life in a specific career. There are several benefits to job shadowing such as confirmation of interest in a specific career, development of communication and interpersonal skills, learning workplace etiquette, gaining an understanding of workplace environments, and motivation in academic goals.

Tips to find a job shadow opportunity:

- Identify Target Industries or Professions: Start by determining which career fields interest you. Whether it’s healthcare, technology, or business, knowing your interests will guide your search.

- Contact Local Businesses and Professionals: Directly reaching out to local businesses or professionals can sometimes yield opportunities. Crafting a polite, concise email expressing your interest and reasons for wanting to shadow can be effective.

- Use Your School’s Resources: Often, high school counselors and career services departments have partnerships with local businesses that facilitate job shadowing.

- Leverage Social Media and Professional Networks: Platforms like LinkedIn can be useful. A professional online presence and connecting with industry professionals can lead to job shadowing offers.

- Volunteer: Sometimes volunteering in your desired field can lead to more in-depth opportunities like job shadowing, especially in non-profit organizations.

By pursuing summer internships and job shadowing programs, high school students not only gain significant exposure to professional worlds but also lay a substantial foundation for their career planning and college applications. These experiences enrich their understanding, sharpen their interests, and enhance their resumes, potentially making a critical difference in their future endeavors.