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Pentacle's High School Internship Program - Should You Apply?

For high schoolers, internships are an excellent opportunity to experience the real world of work in any field. If you want to simultaneously build your theoretical knowledge but in a practical and professional environment, then summer is the perfect time for you to gun for an internship in your field. Aside from offering a head start in understanding the dynamics of the workplace, it will also help you in making informed decisions about future career paths. And while there are plenty of options for STEM internships or law or finance for example, there are relatively fewer options for those passionate about the arts. If you are one such budding artist, then today’s blog is just for you. Today, we will be talking about the Pentacle High School Internship Program.


What is the Pentacle High School Internship Program?


Pentacle is a not-for-profit management support organization for the performing arts. They have been enabling artists since 1976, focusing on providing tools, programs, resources, and services to rising artists. Their High School Internship Program is a part of their Education & Outreach arm, with the intent to supplement the academic pursuits of students with real-world business skills. Established with a vision to provide hands-on work experience, career development, and mentorship, the program spans 40 hours over 8 weeks. Once you're selected, you'll be paired with a participating small business that aligns with your interests and goals. These businesses range from for-profit entities to nonprofits. The program's USP lies in its weekly 2.5 hours of professional development seminars, helmed by Pentacle staff and industry professionals. Whether you're college-bound or still contemplating your next steps, the curriculum is tailored to cater to diverse aspirations.


Who is eligible for Pentacle internships?


The eligibility criteria are fairly straightforward:

  • You must be a high school sophomore, junior, or senior.

  • You must be based in the NYC area for the duration of the internship.


How do you apply?


Pentacle accepts internship applications on a rolling basis, so you can choose to apply whenever you feel comfortable or when firms you’re interested in are hiring. To stay updated on who is hiring when and seminar dates, we recommend you sign up for Pentacle's newsletter, blog, and social media channels, as that’s where all the important information will be published.


Is it prestigious?


Pentacle’s internships are each an individual job posting, so the selectivity varies. Since there is no real restriction, whether in terms of grades or fees, whoever is interested may apply, and depending on the hiring firm, get the position. While this in itself does not make it highly prestigious, it does however make it possible to get some excellent exposure and work experience. Partnering with a myriad of companies and schools, the program boasts a rich tapestry of testimonials from past interns. Since Pentacle’s career development programs are supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts, the New York State Legislature, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs along with the support of numerous private foundations, chances are solid that obtaining an internship through Pentacle can put you in the right circles to ensure your future success.


How is the Pentacle High School Internship Program structured?


As an intern, you will be expected to dedicate 5 hours a week to the business you’re employed with and an additional 2.5 hours a week for virtual professional development training workshops. These workshops include topics like:

  • Intro to NPOs and Arts Admin

  • Fiscal and Budgets

  • Marketing and Communications

  • Fundraising and Development

  • Project Management

  • Resume Building, Cover Letter Writing, and Job Recruitment

  • Arts and Activism

  • Careers in Arts Administration

  • Innovation and Creativity within the Arts and Beyond

  • Dance on Camera

  • Company Management

  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion


Essentially, anything your internship will not already be teaching you, will likely be covered by the seminars. The cherry on top? A stipend of $600 for your efforts.


Pros and cons to consider before applying


Pros:


  1. You will gain real-world business experience: Working every week with a local business, you will learn how performing arts companies operate, what goes into running them, and what the expectations will be from a newcomer like you when you start your career a few years later.

  2. You will have access to professional development seminars: A lot of your growth and learning in this program will also come from these seminars, covering both industry concepts as well as general skill development that will stand you in good stead regardless of your future path in life.

  3. You will get exposure to industry leaders: Pentacle regularly invites speakers from organizations like the Brooklyn Arts Exchange, Pfizer, Gibney, the School of Visual Arts, and NYU. Attending these workshops will allow you to network in your field while benefiting from the knowledge shared.

  4. You will add a prestigious program to your profile: Given Pentacle’s notable sponsors and widespread network, having this internship in your profile will showcase to admissions officers and future recruiters that you’ve worked with industry stalwarts yourself and proven yourself in a competitive work environment.

  5. You will earn a stipend: For all your hard work and efforts, you will be awarded a $600 stipend.


Cons:


  1. You have to be based in NYC: Since these are all in-person internships, you’re out of luck if you’re not based in the NYC area.

  2. The internship is limited by time: 40 hours across 8 weeks isn’t quite enough to allow you to maximize the potential learning on offer.

  3. You need to stay updated and keep applying: Like all job applications, you’ll have to stay on your toes and keep applying for opportunities as they come up, as there’s no guarantee you’ll get accepted for your first or even fifth application.


Our review

The Pentacle High School Internship Program is a solid, grounded experience that can act as a stepping stone to your future career path. With its extensive network of sponsors, local partner businesses, access to notable industry professionals, and real-world exposure, it promises a transformative journey for any high schooler. If you're ambitious, curious, located in NYC, and ready to commit some of your summer to understanding how businesses operate, then you should strongly consider applying!

Lumiere Research Scholar Program

If you’re looking for the opportunity to do in-depth research on a variety of subjects and fields, you could also consider applying to one of the Lumiere Research Scholar Programs, selective online high school programs for students I founded with researchers at Harvard and Oxford. Last year, we had over 4000 students apply for 500 spots in the program! You can find the application form here.


Stephen is one of the founders of Lumiere and a Harvard College graduate. He founded Lumiere as a PhD student at Harvard Business School. Lumiere is a selective research program where students work 1-1 with a research mentor to develop an independent research paper.


Image Source: Pentacle High School Internship Program logo

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