How High School Mentoring and Internship Programs Prepare Students for Success after High School

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This qualitative research project inquired into the effects of high school internship programs on an individual's ability to make a successful transition to postsecondary education. This study took an in-depth look at three internship programs currently being offered in public high schools: Science Research, Senior Alternative and Community Service Programs.^ The participants in this study had experienced one of the aforementioned programs during high school and are currently enrolled in college or recent graduates from a postsecondary institution. The 9 respondents were asked to reflect back on their high school internship experience and highlight certain aspects of the program and the contributions it may have made to their successful transition to college. The data for this qualitative study were collected during 2 interviews and additional data were provided via communication utilizing electronic mail.^ Several themes emerged during the data collection process as the respondents reflected back on their overall high school experience: enhancement of their sense of independence, personal achievement and a passion for their unique experiential learning experience. The participants valued their participation in the internship program and felt that it made positive contributions to their secondary experience.^ In addition, the participants felt that their internship experience in high school made positive contributions to their work ethic, enhanced their ability to work with adults, contributed to their college success and provided them with direction regarding career choices and options.^ Several recommendations for future research included conducting surveys of the various constituent groups involved in high school internship programs. It was also recommended that a longitudinal, quantitative study be conducted incorporating a larger sample to provide statistical data regarding the impact of high school internship programs.^ Several recommendations for practice were made for educational leaders which included strategic planning of internship initiatives, the use of professional consultants, assessment strategies, school scheduling implications and monitoring the academic rigor and relevance of these experiential learning experiences. ^ Educational institutions are constantly looking for innovative programs to enhance the educational offering they provide for their students. This study "places a stake" in the ground for internship programs to be given serious consideration as a curricular offering in secondary schools.


Thesis (Ph.D.)--Fordham University, 2007.