The benefits of taking a senior internship

Seniors left the halls of Westhill to get hands-on experience in the working world // Photo courtesy of U.S. Air Force.

Seniors in Stamford have the opportunity to leave school and take part in an internship two weeks after AP exams. These senior internships range from working in hospitals to small businesses and covers almost every field. However, not all of the seniors take advantage of this opportunity.

The clear advantage of going on the senior internship is that one will obtain work experience that he or she could not gain in school. Whether the internship is in the student’s major choice or not, one will still be able to learn from a work environment and learn certain tasks and requirements workers do at their jobs.

After AP exams, a lot of the seniors are checked out of school and not doing as much work because they already have plans for next year. What can add to this problem is some teachers give out very few assignments, which creates a less productive school environment. Specifically, for the students in AP classes, the vast majority of them are either doing a final project, watching films, or treating the class as a free period.

This makes taking part in the senior internship much more sensible for seniors. “[Students] are getting valuable job skills and experience that you are not getting at school,” said Bailey Paulk (’18). One of the downsides of the senior internship is that it is unpaid. This is a problem for some students because there is a lack of motivation without this incentive. Because of this, fewer students are intrigued and do not take advantage of this opportunity.

Even though making the internship paid is not the best solution, the program should find another way to get more students to realize the vast amounts of benefits the internship has over a typical end of year school lifestyle.

Another downside of the senior internship opportunity is that there is no way to put in grades for the students who go on the internships. Because of this, administration has to freeze the grades of these students when they leave the school. This can be a perk of going on an internship, but there is no real way to judge students and their progress during an internship.

Students on the internship should get an accumulative grade based off of certain criteria of their internship. For example, students can be graded on productivity, work-ethic, timeliness, and responsibility. “Internships are a great way for students to get experience that they can use for college and the rest of their lives,” said Math Department Head, Mr. Capriotti.

Overall, the benefits of the senior internship are too big to ignore. Students sitting in school going through the motions is not worthwhile when seniors can go out into the workforce and get real work experience.