How to Get Hands-On Experience in High School

The best way to determine if a career path is right for you is to experience it yourself. For example, you may have your heart set on becoming an attorney, but until you sit in the courtroom, you won’t know what it’s like to have this career. Expectations often differ from reality. When you test different work environments, you can decide what you enjoy and what’s not for you. 

Not sure where to begin looking for hands-on experience? Here are some suggestions to get you started.

Apply for an internship.

Many companies offer internships to high school students. Internships give you hands-on experience in specific careers and help you narrow down career choices before you graduate.

Sign up for volunteer opportunities.

You don’t have to be fully committed to just one community service project to gain hands-on experience. You can volunteer at organizations throughout your community (and abroad) to help you decide the type of work you enjoy. Look for one-time projects so you can get a wide variety of experiences.

Be selective about part-time/summer jobs.

Choose part-time and summer jobs that will help you develop life skills that you can add to your resume. Think about working as a camp counselor, day care center employee, nonprofit administrative assistant, or server in a nursing home. 

Take hands-on extracurricular classes.

Science classes typically have labs, while yearbook classes may have opportunities to mentor younger students. A business elective may involve collaboration with local companies. By taking these classes, you’ll learn more about specific careers and if you might like to pursue them in the future. 

Internships, jobs, volunteering, and extracurricular classes are all ways to learn about different career paths. They also make you a great candidate for future employers and colleges. No matter your passions, hands-on experiences will ignite your future dreams.