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Camp counseling vs. interning

Metro consulted career experts, Judith Gerberg and Amy Armstrong, to weigh the pros and cons of camp counseling and interning.

Signpost with the words Help, Support, Advice, Guidance and Assistance on direction arrows. Creative Commons, Desicion Innovation Inc. With so much pressure, it can be hard to know which direction to take. Credit: Creative Commons, Desicion Innovation Inc.

In today’s society, high school students are constantly being pressured to do what looks best on their resume, and most would argue that internships offer the most experience and exposure, but is that always the case? We consulted career experts Judith Gerberg and Amy Armstrong to weigh the pros and cons of each. Both women are practicing career and academic counselors in New York City.

Camp Counseling

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Pros:

"Camp counselors learn conflict skills and how to manage people. They also learn how to work as an individual and on a team." – Gerberg

"You get to work with kids, and often get to work with them in beautiful places. It's an active job so you can work on your tan and muscle tone at the same time. If you are considering education or the helping professions as a possible career choice, it's definitely valuable experience." –Armstrong

"If it’s a specific camp in a field the student wants so pursue, like a music camp and the student gets to lead an orchestra, then that’s great experience." – Gerberg

Cons:

"As students mature, they should really be much more focused on getting their foot in the door in the industry they want to work for." – Gerberg

Interning

Pros:

"Internships allow you to develop relationships with professionals in the filed you want to be in." – Gerberg

Cons:

"College juniors tend to have more internship opportunities to choose from than younger students because that is still considered the 'normal' time to seek out an internship. Part of the reason for this is employers, at least theoretically, want interns who have enough background in their subject area to contribute ideas to the team." – Armstrong

"Every employer with an internship program tells guidance counselors or college career offices that they want to provide training and a learning opportunity. Maybe those are their true intentions. What often happens though is the intern gets treated more like free labor and becomes the dumping ground for assignments that nobody else in the office wants to complete." – Armstrong

The takeaway

"Once you know what field you want to explore, start with the people you know and find out whom they know. Networking is key." – Gerberg

"The most important thing is to show you take initiative. Find something that interests you then think about what you can do to help the industry grow or the company advance." – Gerberg

"You have to be pro-active about getting what you came for." – Armstrong

 
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