February 12, 2015 : AOIT Junior Parent Notes
I wanted to follow up on the information you received at last November’s Pre-internship meeting. Hopefully you have been able to talk with your AOIT student about his or her interests in completing the required internship. This letter will serve as a next step/how to guide to assist you and your student in the process of securing and successfully completing the internship.
As a reminder, in order to graduate with AOIT honors, your student must complete a “technology-based” internship by May of his or her senior year. The internship must consist of a minimum of 135 hours and be approved by me. All juniors received a packet of information at the Internship Presentation. If you do not have the packet it can be downloaded from the AOIT website.
There are 90 juniors looking for internships. The AOIT program, with the assistance of the Advisory Board, is usually able to provide about 50% of those internship opportunities. Through networking on the part of other parents and Advisory Board members, a number of opportunities at local companies have been identified. The AOIT program, and Advisory Board members, contact past participants to solicit internship positions from those companies. However, your help as parents is requested to identify and secure additional opportunities and, as a byproduct, teach an important life lesson to your student. In the workforce, the best way to secure a job is through networking. The sooner students learn this principle, the better off they will be as they look to find future opportunities both from an educational and professional standpoint. Here are a few basic steps to start the process:
- If your student currently has a job, talk to him or her about whether or not the job could be turned into an “internship” opportunity. If so, please contact me so that I can work with your student to classify it properly. If your student is contemplating a part-time job, your student should consider choosing a job that could serve as both an internship experience and a part-time job.
- If your student currently does not have a job, or a job that would qualify as an internship, talk to your student to figure out what interests him or her. One of the purposes of the internship is to give the students a taste of what a job would be like in a particular discipline. Your student may decide that what he or she originally anticipated to be exciting, is not what they anticipated. Discussing interests with your student will allow them to start the process of narrowing interests. This exercise may turn out to be an excellent opportunity for your student with his or her decision on a college major. Another important life lesson sometimes learned through the internship experience is that we need to complete jobs that we do not necessarily enjoy. Please discuss this possibility with your student.
- Have your student do a LinkedIn search on companies in The Triangle area that fit into his or her category of interests. This tool will be very helpful for your student as he or she looks to further network.
- Talk with your neighbors and friends about where they work and do a LinkedIn search yourself for contacts you may have at some of the companies your student has identified. You could send an email out to your LinkedIn connections soliciting help in identifying leads. Many neighborhoods have email groups where you could post a message in order to solicit help from neighbors. Chances are that you are not the only one in your neighborhood with an AOIT student.
- Together with your student, reach out to your connections to understand the process of obtaining an internship at the desired company. If you do not feel comfortable contacting the company directly, please contact me and either one of the Advisory Board members, or I, can make contact on your behalf. Of course, this process may need to be repeated a few times before an internship position can be secured.
Whether an internship opportunity is identified through the AOIT program, the Advisory Board, or by you or your student, your student will still need to interview for the internship position. Just because an internship opportunity has been identified, this may not guarantee it will be secured by your student. For example, many of the internship opportunities provided by SAS, as well as other companies, are very competitive. The AOIT program has been preparing, and continues to prepare, your student for the interview process so that he or she will be at his or her best during the interview process.
After the internship position has been secured, your child will work with me to complete necessary forms and coordinate the internship dates.
If you would like additional information please reference the internship information on our website:
- Hiring how to guide for corporations
- Hiring how to guide for small businesses
- Internship Guide
- Internship webpage
If you have additional questions or would like to speak with one of the Advisory Board members, please contact me and I will be happy to assist and support you through the process. I look forward to attending your student’s AOIT senior presentation about his or her internship experience. I have complete confidence this experience will assist in preparing your student for college and the job market.