High school students today are racking up real-life work experience more aggressively than most college goers did at their age.
According to a joint report from Millennial Branding and Internships.com, high schoolers are more willing to volunteer, more likely to pursue entrepreneurial ventures, and more interested in developing new skills than current college students were at their age. Today's high school students are also far more aware of economic pressures than students who graduated a few years earlier were.
Dan Schawbel, founder of Millennial Branding and author of “Promote Yourself: The New Rules For Career Success,” says early career building is incredibly important in today's economy. “Students have to start building their careers in high school in order to better compete in the college admissions process, for college internships, and eventually full-time jobs,” he said in a release.
In the study, which surveyed 4,597 college students and 172 high school students (a notably smaller sample size), 62.3% of high schoolers said they are volunteering to advance themselves professionally. Nearly 50% said they are doing internships (the survey didn't differentiate between paid and unpaid positions), and 35.2% said they have a part-time job. Less than 10% said they are doing nothing professional whatsoever.
Current college students, by comparison, were far less likely to report similar career efforts when they were in high school. Only 20.1% said they had internships in high school, and 57.4% said they volunteered. They were more likely to have part-time jobs, however, with 51.9% reporting they had one.
There's little debate that accruing work experience in high school helps later on. When Internships.com and Millennial Branding spoke to 326 employers, nearly 90% said they believed that high school students with internships or job experience have a competitive edge when looking for internships and full-time jobs in college.
A full 90% of employers also said they believe that high school internships can help students get into better colleges and universities. Nearly half said that high school students who interned or worked at their company were “very likely” to land a college internship with the organization.
“High school internships are a win-win for both employers and students,” Robin Richards, CEO of Internships.com, said in a release. “For students, work experience is the key to ensure they make a good career decision and build their professional network. By employing students, companies get exposure to talent early in their career journey and help support the well being of the local community.”
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