Tips for Senior Experience



Senior Experience coordinator Mrs. Sandy Munnell visits 2016 Graduates Lydia Cawley and Morgan Romero at their job at the Boulevard Grille last year. Service jobs like Romero and Cawley’s are the most popular route for seniors during the four weeks leading up to graduation.

Starting on May 20, hundreds of seniors will leave the confines of the classroom and venture off into the real world to work, intern or volunteer during Senior Experience. Senior Experience is an annual program that allows 12th graders the opportunity to make money and gain skills in lieu of going to school. It is held in the four weeks leading up to graduation and requires participants to work 100 hours before writing a reflection on what they got out of their jobs.

Starting in March, seniors indicated their plan for Senior Experience and will officially confirm their idea by May 15th. Senior Experience is a great opportunity to save up money for college, and most students choose to work at service jobs for minimum wage. These kinds of jobs include hostesses, waiters and cashiers. While you might not make much money per hour, there are few jobs that pay well for high schoolers. However, jobs where tips comprise much of the salary are often more worth the work, depending on the company. Some job openings for students wishing to focus on raising funds include hosts and waiters at Orange Anchor in Georgetown, delivery drivers at Lost Dog Cafe and cashiers at a multitude of stores in Clarendon, such as Nicecream and Pete’s Pizza.

Another goal of students during Senior Experience is to gain connections and resume boosters by interning. Most internships, especially for high schoolers, are unpaid, so be prepared to work without monetary benefits. Look for internships related to your planned career path in order to get your foot in the door. If you find one that pays, great, but if not, make sure that your efforts will be worth it and pick an opportunity that can lead to more jobs down the road.

A handful of students each year choose to volunteer their time during Senior Experience. Arlington Food Assistance Center is a popular choice, as well as many other local charities, however the most common form of volunteering as teacher’s assistants. A handful of students choose to spend their time helping teachers at their old middle and elementary schools to prepare for careers in education, social work and other fields. While this route does not have any financial benefits, volunteering is similar to internships in that they provide a great way to gain experience that can lead to jobs in the future. Additionally, volunteering enriches the community and helps others, an admirable way to spend your time for Senior Experience.

For seniors looking for opportunities to pursue for the next four weeks, pick something that benefits you, whether through pay or experience, as well as something that interests you. Use this program as a way to get ahead in your field or just to have extra spending money for after high school. No matter what you do, your time during Senior Experience will help develop job and life skills especially essential for the next chapter after high school.