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Aruba, October 10, 2013 - When you think about interns, there’s probably a certain stereotype that pops into your mind: A spry college student or recent grad holding the boss’ mocha Frappuccino in one hand and crippling uncertainty about the future in the other. But there’s a different internship applicant who’s almost always left out of the equation—high school students
The idea of high school interns may seem a little strange, even counterintuitive: Why would anyone want to hire a person who has less experience, education, direction, and years of maturity than usual intern applicants? What would someone who can barely drive add that an older student wouldn’t? To most, the debate over hiring a high schooler as opposed to a college student may seem like a foregone conclusion.


They Have a Different Type of Company Loyalty

If you think about what motivates high schoolers vs. college students to intern, it becomes pretty evident how they may approach their work differently. Usually college students are thinking of their internship as a stepping stone to their first job, and therefore may only be drawn to tasks that they can use to bolster their resumes. For many high school students, though, an internship is their first real experience in a professional setting, and they will do anything to make sure your company thrives and that they put their best foot forward. They come at employment from much more of a “What can I offer this organization?” approach instead of a “What does this organization offer me and my career?” perspective.


They Ask Obvious Questions That You’ve Never Thought Of

This concept reminds me of those puzzles that three year-olds can solve in two minutes but adults take hours to understand. Because high schoolers typically haven’t been exposed to business before, they look at it from a very simple standpoint. Not a stupid one or an ignorant one, just simple. And that simplicity makes it easy for them to point out ideas you might never have even thought about but are so obvious.


They Can Help You Tap Into New Audiences    

Need any help understanding Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Vine, Instagram, or any of those weird pop culture trends? (Seriously, what’s the deal with Grumpy Cat?) While college kids definitely have some of the beat, from what I’ve seen, high schoolers have even more of the lowdown. After all, it’s typically a bunch of 16 year-olds sitting on Tumblr who come up with these pop culture phenomena. They’re the ones tweeting about Miley’s twerking and discussing why John Green is the next J.K. Rowling long before anyone else catches on.

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