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Are high school students more entrepreneurial than college attendees?

Posting in Education

Due to the fragile state of the economy, students have to plan their professions earlier than ever -- but what kind of support do they get in reaching a decision?

A new survey of 4,769 students -- 172 high school students and 4,597 college students -- as well as 326 employers conducted by Gen Y research and consulting firm Millennial Branding and Internships.com says that high school students are willing to take on internships early and advance their careers while still studying, and in addition, more students than ever want to run their own businesses in the future.

The "High School Careers Study" says that half of employers are either currently accepting applications from high school students for internships or plan to this year, and nearly half of high school students are considering internships for the sake of future professional development. In addition, 60 percent of companies say that this practice is necessary for students to compete for internships and jobs in the future, due to high competition and a struggling job market.

The majority of firms -- 90 percent -- say that high school students will have a competitive advantage if they undertake internships early.

The researchers say that 72 percent of school students and 64 percent of college students want to start a business, and both 61 percent of high school students and 43 percent of college students would rather be an entrepreneur instead of an employee when they graduate college. (Although it is worth noting that the difference in numbers surveyed of each may make this result unrepresentative of the separate age groups.)

Additional highlights from the report include:

- Pushy parents: While 55 percent of high school students and 57 percent of college students say that their parents are putting pressure on them to gain professional experience, 54 percent of high school parents and 52 percent of college parents haven't helped their children get work experience.

- Internships, volunteering, paid or unpaid, who cares? 77 percent of high school students are either "extremely" or "very" interested in volunteering to gain work experience compared to 63 percent of college students.

- Seeking future staff: The main reasons why companies are offering high school internships are to support local high schools according to 46 percent of respondents, 23 percent say it is to gain new ideas, and 18 percent say they offer internships to find future college interns.

- Leave the young ones to Twitter? High school internship programs center around social media. 73 percent of high school internships focus around social media marketing projects, followed by data entry at 41 percent and admin work which came in at 36 percent.

Dan Schawbel, founder of Millennial Branding commented:

"In today's economy, students have to start building their careers in high school in order to better compete in the college admissions process, for college internships and eventually full-time jobs. Employers who offer high school internships will build brand awareness early, fill up their talent pipelines and be able to remain competitive in their marketplace."

Via: Millennial Branding

Image credit: Flickr

— By on February 3, 2014, 8:10 AM PST

Charlie Osborne

Contributing Editor

Charlie Osborne is a freelance journalist and photographer based in London. In addition to SmartPlanet, she also writes for business technology website ZDNet and consumer technology site CNET. She holds a degree in medical anthropology from the University of Kent. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure