How is High School Like an Internship?


You may be aware of how valuable an internship can be to a college application. It can serve as a differentiator in a sea of highly competitive college candidates. Further, you may be aware that the number one factor in college admission is high school GPA based on taking challenging courses. But did you ever stop to think how similar high school is to an internship? In fact, they share many factors that hold strong interest for colleges. Here are five ways that high school is like an internship.

#1: High school is similar to an internship in that it leads to recommendations. A poor recommendation can nullify months or years of hard work. Therefore, you should apply the same values to your high school classes as you do to an internship. Just as you want to receive a positive recommendation from your supervisor, you also want to do the types of things that can lead to positive recommendations in high school. Make sure your teachers value your contribution to their classes. Make sure that they see you as an invaluable member of the class. Make sure they clearly recognize the passion and leadership you bring to their classes every day. 

#2: High school is similar to an internship in that it represents an opportunity to learn valuable skills. By taking full advantage of all the lessons that are available to you in high school, you will be much better prepared for the challenges you will certainly face in college. Try to take courses that interest you and that lead to deep learning. If possible, find one area in which you have a particular interest and explore it to the fullest extent that your high school allows. Find out, for example, if your high school gives credit for independent study in math or science.

#3: High school is similar to an internship in that it represents an opportunity for you to prove your passion to colleges. In high school, the way you prove your passion is by the courses you choose, the number of challenging courses you take, the attitude you take into each class, and the extracurricular activities you engage in in order to support that passion. This is similar to the attitude that you should take into an internship. Prove your passion, so that this becomes a meaningful entry on your college application and your résumé.

#4: High school is similar to an internship in that it can lead to honors, awards, and significant achievements. All three of these accomplishments have a place on your college application. Therefore, you should approach high school the same way you approach an internship, working toward extraordinary accomplishments such as AP Scholar, honor roll, Dean’s list, valedictorian, and other class or departmental honors such as a science award, a math award, a writing award, or a history award.

#5: High school is similar to an internship in that it can lead to lessons and significant accomplishments beyond academics. In fact, several aspects of college applications ask for your participation in activities related to school spirit, sports, music, debate and public speaking, and community service. While you are in high school, you should take advantage of all of these opportunities because they will come back to help you when you are applying to college.

In conclusion, it makes perfect sense for you to think of your high school years as preparation for college. In other words, getting into college is a step-by-step process, and the more confidently you move through these steps, the more impressive you will be to colleges when it becomes time for you to apply. While you are in high school, you should constantly be thinking of how your activities will contribute to your college resume, aka the college application, just as you would try to build up a bank of impressive accomplishments prior to applying to your dream job. 

About the Author: 

Neil Chyten is the founder and president of NC Global Education, Inc. He is also the creator and author of the RANDD Reading and Study Skills System, the College Counseling Collection, Mastering the SAT, Mastering the ACT, Insider Secrets of the SAT, as well as several other books on test preparation, and writing. His strategies for college admission and test preparation have been used nationwide by tens of thousands of students, thousands of whom have been accepted into top colleges across America and around the world. 

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