What is the biggest difference between College and High School Academic Internships?

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Read our last blog in this series about all the types of “organizations available for internships”.

The Academic Internship Directors we interviewed differentiated between the two kinds of academic internships. All believe that while a college internship is more specific and relates to relevant coursework and a student’s future career, a high school internship may provide a broader look into a work-related setting. Students involved in a private school internship at Areteem Institute, for example, will be offered a glimpse into the working world where they have the chance to help out their communities and their peers, such as tutoring students in their classes.

Brian Frenette of Yale University notes that college internships are “more likely focused on career-oriented tasks” while high school internships “might have more of an administrative flair”. High school internships provide students a rare opportunity to work with others in different fields and be able to sample individual aspects of the work place they are interning at. Regardless of the differences in expectations, both internships have value, Mr. Frenette says as they “help reinforce the ever-valuable ‘transferable skills’ while also helping [to] introduce the student to the skill sets that will need to be on display as they apply to internships as a freshman or sophomore in college.”

A high school internship could help pave the way to a successful college experience, giving students an upper edge over their peers when they apply for more in-depth college internships related to their majors. College internships can be challenging, especially, as Tricia Oliveira of UC San Diego pointed out,

“…[the internships] may require a higher level of preparation; there’s usually an expectation that students have had some intermediate or advanced level coursework relevant to the internship, and interns should engage in more advanced level projects or tasks.”

She further mentioned that UCSD students involved in an internship program have to make a connection between their internship and their studies by completing a project or writing a final research paper.

For both internship opportunities, students will improve their communication skills, leadership qualities, group cooperation and time management, among others that are needed in order to apply to the best colleges, discover prospective career options and simply live in the world today.

Academic Internship for High School

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