Earlier this week, we suggested five ways for students to begin to get involved during their high school careers. Today we pick up where we left off, with the last five tips on our list!
6. Part-time jobs
- Whether a student is looking for a little extra pocket money or experience in the working world, a part-time job is a great way to demonstrate independence and initiative. Even 15 hours a week at the local ice cream shop can reinforce a strong work ethic (and a bank account balance).
- Many high schools these days are requiring students to do community service or complete volunteer hours as part of their graduation requirements, but regardless of the requirement, giving time to a cause your child cares about can be wonderful for a number of reasons. Interest in animal science? Volunteer at the local shelter. Curious about medicine? See if there are opportunities to help at the city hospital. Is your child itching for political experience? Tell her to sign up to canvass for a local campaign. Volunteering isn’t just about stacking up hours, it’s also about exposure to new experiences and organizations.
- Not all fields are accessible to young people, but you might find an opportunity for your child to intern at local colleges, labs, and companies, or with family friends who serve as employers. Giving your child the opportunity to see how his academic interests may come together with a future career can be one of the most exciting and influential experiences a student can have. Even some high school programs are giving students the chance to contribute to the work being done day to day in the school offices. Encourage your child not to be afraid to ask for an opportunity she cares about—interest and ambition is often rewarded!
9. Junior ROTC
- ROTC offers an opportunity to develop a sense of citizenship, patriotism, responsibility and an appreciation for physical fitness, all while learning about leadership and authority within the context of the armed forces. This option is not necessarily for everyone and is not even offered at all high schools, but for some students this is the perfect opportunity to really develop and explore skills and interests they may not find anywhere else.
- Seeking out a mentor or shadowing someone who does a job your child is interested in can be a wonderful way to enrich and connect education to future goals. Friends and family can be a great starting point, but you can look beyond the familiar to see if there are local organizations or leaders that stand out that your child may want to approach with interest in their work. The best way to understand what a major or given career can offer is by seeing it through the eyes and life of someone who does the job every day.
It is also important to help your student understand his priorities for these activities in high school. What is his primary focus and goals? Often making a four year plan that lists your child’s activities for each semester, marking period, and summer can assist in visualizing the road ahead. You will be able to see gaps in the plan and potential problems with time management or overscheduling.
Students benefit in many ways from getting involved in high school. New friends, expanded interests, and career exposure are all insights that can be gained from extracurricular experiences. And students gain even more than you might think from involvement outside of their studies, including self-confidence, awareness, and time-management skills.