Be hip, do HIP

Highlander Internship Program offers career insights

Last year’s seniors present their internship displays in early June before graduation. This event allows students to learn about the internship programs they can participate in and what majors or careers they may be interested in pursuing in the future. (Photo courtesy of Laura Venos)

Last year’s seniors present their internship displays in early June before graduation. This event allows students to learn about the internship programs they can participate in and what majors or careers they may be interested in pursuing in the future. (Photo courtesy of Laura Venos)

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Heading into the third quarter, seniors begin their last semester of high school and prepare for the Highlander Internship Program (HIP) on May 20-24.

HIP was created in 2017 after it was requested by the previous class. Last year, it was an eight-day program with roughly 60-70 hours spent interning. Those who qualify for HIP after the application process are exempt from final exams.

This year, however, a number of changes have been made to the program—the biggest of which was having its length shortened down to five days totaling 40 hours of work experience. The administration was forced to make it shorter, as time will be limited due to this year’s earlier graduation date.

“Personally, it’s been harder for me to find more involved internships when I would only be there for a week,” senior class president Tori Lam said.
Although HIP won’t last as long, senior participants will still benefit from what the program offers.

“You can get a good sense of something you like or don’t like through a five-day internship, so it’s better than not having it for sure,” career center specialist Laura Venos said.

The program allows seniors to explore future career interests before they head to college. Students choose internships related to their interests to gain insight on their potential major or future career.

“A lot of people do it to spend a week in a career area they may be interested in, so it’s a good first impression and there are a lot of success stories regarding the program,” Lam said. 

Seniors with a 3.0 cumulative GPA (or a C average) in all classes and no more than six absences during the second semester before HIP are eligible to participate in the program. Qualifying seniors also require a teacher’s signature to verify their responsibility and complete the official HIP application packet, which is due to the main office between March 27 and April 1.

Students can select their preferred range of internship opportunities, although the organization they apply to must approve their request.
At the end of their internship, students are required to participate in a fair and showcase their experiences in HIP.
Last year, around 200 seniors completed the program, nearly half of the graduating class. Venos believes the advantages of participating in the program at McLean are incomparable.
“Most students at that point in the year would benefit … from going to an internship,” Venos said. “We want as many students as possible to take advantage of it.”

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