How to Find an Internship You’ll Value

Find the right college for you.

group of students studying

And Why It’s Worth the Effort

Many college students and recent graduates work as interns. That means they take a temporary job to get hands-on experience, usually in a field they’re interested in. College graduates sometimes use internships to start a career. But did you know that you can get a summer or after-school internship while you’re still in high school?

Why Intern?

Some internships involve pay, and others are unpaid. But internships offer many benefits besides money. For example, taking an internship can:

  • Show you what the working world is like
  • Teach you important skills, such as time management and computer skills
  • Help you choose a major
  • Inspire a career choice
  • Connect you with experienced people who can mentor you

How to Get Started

By putting some thought into your search and using the resources that are available to you, you can find an internship that will offer you great opportunities.

Think About Your Goals

To begin the process of finding the right internship for you, think about fields you want to explore or skills you want to learn. Do you love photography? Do you want to know what scientific research is like or what a lawyer does all day? Do you want to learn how to build a website? 

Having clear goals in mind makes it more likely that you’ll find an internship you can get excited about.

Use the Internet

Once you have goals in mind, you can begin looking for an internship online. Start by searching for local businesses and organizations in your areas of interest and see if they offer internship programs. You can also check out these resources:

Take Advantage of Other Resources

Using personal contacts and local resources are also great ways to find an internship. Try these methods for finding opportunities:

  • Ask your high school counselor and teachers for help.
  • Check with your coaches and club advisers.
  • Find out if family and friends know someone in a field that interests you.
  • If there's a specific company or organization you'd like to work for, don't be afraid to contact someone there.
  • Look for recent internship guidebooks at the library.

Real Student Stories

Sufiyan and Kristen each gained a lot from their internship experiences in high school.

Sufiyan Built New Skills

Sufiyan wanted to earn a little money during the summer after his sophomore year. His school counselor suggested trying out a paid internship doing office work at a local environmental organization.

What Sufiyan valued most about the experience was learning new skills that he feels will help in college classes and job interviews. He says, "My supervisors taught me how to behave in an office, how to be organized and how to speak in a professional manner."

Kristen Found Her Major

Kristen liked writing for the school newspaper when she was a high school student, so she took an internship at the local newspaper to learn more about journalism.

Her job was to help out in the office, but she also convinced the editor to let her do some reporting. Kristen ended up covering everything from rodeos to a local burglary, and the experience helped her decide to major in journalism in college.