Focusing on the future: high school internships prepare students for college, future jobs

Meade High School senior Brandon Lea, 17, talks with Jill McKay, Meade High internship facilitator, about his internship at the National Security Agency. (Photo by Maddie Ecker)

Test results and extracurricular sports activities are just a few ways students can stand out in a sea of college applications.

In Anne Arundel County, public school students have the opportunity to add one more elective to their application.

Soundoff! spoke with Tammy Diedrich, internship and business programs manager for AACPS, to talk about the internship program.

“The AACPS internship program is an opportunity for students to apply academic and technical skills to real-world projects while learning new skills and exploring potential careers,” Diedrich said.

“This is a great way to explore careers that will help to guide students as they prepare for life beyond high school. The ability to see the day-to-day activities while learning employability skills is a huge benefit to the program.

“Students have the ability to see what training and education is needed for a career and the outlook for future jobs.”

High school students who participate in an internship expand the possibilities of long-term benefits, Diedrich said.

“Students have an advantage as they apply to college and future jobs,” she said. “The experience and skills they gain are invaluable.”

Q: Who is eligible?

A: All juniors are eligible to apply. They must submit the application along with a resume and teacher recommendations. The internship facilitators have been conducting workshops at each high school to help students prepare for the process.

Students in the magnet programs and certain career and technical programs are required to complete an internship. But all students are encouraged to participate.

Q: How do you apply for an internship?

A: Students should see their internship facilitator or school counselor for an application. They will then be guided through the process.

Q: What if there are no listed internships you’re interested in?

A: We work closely with students to help them find an internship that interests them. Sometimes students need to widen their horizons. I have seen a perfect match for a student when they have stretched and tried an experience that they had never considered.

Q: When is the best time to submit your application?

A: Spring semester of the junior year is the best time to apply.

Q: Does everyone get an internship?

A: We work hard to ensure that every student that is interested gets an internship.

Q: Are internships paid?

A: The majority of internships are unpaid, but the benefits that a student receives from this experience far outweigh monetary pay.

Q: Is there anything that will help an applicant stand out for a popular internship position?

A: A polished resume and cover letter is the best way to secure an interview for a competitive position. Highlighting skills and experiences makes a student stand out. The internship facilitators work with students to craft a resume that is polished.

Q: What are some things that can hurt a student’s chances of getting an internship?

A: Poor attendance in school, a resume or cover letter that has errors, not following through with an application process, or not returning a potential mentor’s emails or calls.

Q: What skills can students work on to market themselves for internships?

A: Having great communication, problem solving and computer skills go a long way. Mentors are looking for students who are committed, passionate and willing to learn.

They also know that they can learn from our students. A student who takes initiative and can work collaboratively will be an excellent intern.

Q: Where can students find more information about the internship program?

A: A great place to find out more information is on our internship website,

You can also tweet at us @AACPInternships.

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