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The Best Internship Opportunities for High School Students

You may think that internships are only available to college students, but there are many summer internships and professional opportunities available to high school students that can be valuable additions to their academic and extracurricular profile. 

As many students know nowadays, embarking on the journey toward a successful college application career starts early, and setting yourself apart from the rest of the applicant pool can be difficult amidst so much competition. One way to do just that is by taking advantage of internship opportunities available to high school students, which many assume are only available for college students and older. 

High school internships can be the gateway to valuable experiences that can help students narrow down their career options and build professional skills, while building a strong college applicant profile. Students can find summer internship programs and school internship programs that suit whatever subjects, career paths, and professional fields that interest them.

In this blog post, we break down the criteria high school students should look for when finding and choosing a valuable internship program. We also offer some suggestions about the best options currently available for high school student internships.

Criteria for Selecting an Internship for High School Students

Gaining practical experience early on in a student’s high school experience via an internship program can be extremely valuable. Internships help prepare students for careers well beyond graduation while also giving them a much-needed boost in the college admissions process. 

But not all internships are created equal — and it’s important to know what you want out of the internship before you even apply. So what are the factors that make an internship valuable? Here are the questions that you should consider when looking for a high school internship.

  • What is this internship’s relevance to my career goals? A valuable internship aligns with the student’s career interests and aspirations as they currently stand and opens their eyes to new opportunities. It provides an opportunity for students to explore their chosen professional field and helps them make informed decisions about their future academic and career paths, which will likely influence where they eventually apply to college.
  • Does this internship offer me hands-on experience? The internship should offer practical, hands-on experience related to the industry or field of study. This hands-on exposure allows students to apply theoretical knowledge from the classroom to real-world situations.
  • Are there mentorship or guidance opportunities available to interns? A mentorship component enhances the value of an internship. Having a mentor provides students with guidance, support, and a deeper understanding of the industry. Mentorship from experienced industry professionals fosters personal and professional growth, which aids students in navigating challenges and making informed decisions.
  • How does this internship help me develop my skills? Internships should focus on skill development. Regardless of the career field, students should have the opportunity to acquire and enhance both technical/practical and soft skills, such as communication, teamwork, problem-solving, and critical thinking. These valuable skills are transferable and applicable in various contexts even outside of the internship’s context.
  • Does this internship offer me networking opportunities? A great high school internship provides networking opportunities with industry professionals. This can open doors to future career opportunities and provide a broader understanding of the industry landscape.
  • Does this internship allow me to receive regular feedback and evaluation from a supervisor? Regular feedback and evaluations provide students with insights into their strengths and areas for improvement. Constructive feedback from mentors who are industry professionals helps students understand how they can enhance their performance and abilities.
  • Does this internship make a significant contribution to my resume? A valuable internship adds significant value to a student’s resume. It demonstrates initiative, practical experience, and a proactive attitude, making the student stand out to college admissions officers and future employers.
  • Does this internship offer me compensation and/or credit? It’s important to note that unpaid internships are very common, but that does not mean that they aren’t valuable or worth pursuing if it’s financially practical. However, if you pursue an unpaid internship, make sure you know if there are other forms of compensation available, such as academic credit.

Overview of Top Internship Opportunities for High School Students

Finding the right internship opportunity as a high school student can be challenging, but there are several top programs and organizations that offer valuable experiences. These internships provide students with the chance to gain real-world skills, explore different career paths, and enhance their college applications.

Here is an overview of some of the best internship opportunities for high school students:

The Microsoft Discovery Program is a premier internship opportunity designed for high school students aspiring to explore the dynamic world of technology and business. This four-week immersive experience, hosted by one of the tech industry’s biggest players, Microsoft, offers participants a firsthand look into the company’s operations, culture, and innovation. 

Microsoft’s High School Discovery Program is open to rising first-year students of a bachelor’s degree program (graduating high school seniors) who live within 50 miles of Redmond, Washington and who have an interest in technology. It is a paid opportunity. 

NASA Office of STEM Engagement’s (OSTEM) paid internships allow high school students to contribute to agency projects under the guidance of NASA mentors. NASA’s Internship Programs provide high school students with a glimpse into the world of space exploration and scientific discovery. Interns work on projects related to space technology and aeronautics, collaborating with top NASA scientists and engineers. 

Applicants for this internship must be U.S. Citizens and meet a minimum 3.0 GPA requirement. These paid internships are offered across NASA facilities in fall, spring, and summer sessions.

The Library of Congress High School Summer Internship offers students a rare opportunity to delve into the world of library science and cultural heritage. Interns work on mentor-led projects, gain exposure to various Library of Congress departments, and attend educational events. This program not only provides valuable professional experience but also nurtures a love for literature, history, and archival work, which could be perfect for students interested in the humanities.

This is an intensive 4-week unpaid summer internship opportunity, during which students will learn about the Library of Congress and help the Center for Learning, Literacy, and Engagement develop and create content to support family and youth engagement in a new exhibition space in the LOC.

The Bank of America’s Student Leaders program is a prestigious internship designed for high school students passionate about community service and leadership. Participants engage in a paid eight-week summer internship, working with local nonprofits, attending a leadership summit in Washington, D.C., and gaining invaluable skills. 

Each Student Leader will attend the Student Leaders Summit held in Washington, D.C. where you will learn how government, business, and the nonprofit sector work together to address critical community needs.

The Met High School Internship at The Metropolitan Museum of Art offers students a chance to explore careers in art, culture, and museum management. This program allows them to connect with arts, museum, and creative professionals as they develop professional skills and experience during the summer.

This internship program offers paid opportunities for students who will be rising juniors or rising seniors at the beginning of the internship and who either reside in or attend a high school or home school in New York, New Jersey, or Connecticut. 

The Princeton University Laboratory Learning Program immerses high school students in the world of scientific research, which is perfect for any students with an interest in STEM. Participants work alongside Princeton researchers, gaining hands-on experience in laboratories. This program fosters a passion for scientific inquiry, critical thinking, and collaboration, preparing students for future pursuits in STEM fields.

While the opportunity is not paid and does not provide housing, it is free to attend. The participation dates are customized according to the schedules of the research personnel and the specifics of the project. Internships typically span 5-6 weeks during regular ‘office hours’ over the summer (no evening or weekend activities). Students who are 16 years or older by June 15, 2024 are invited to apply.

The Kaiser Permanente Summer Youth Employment Program offers high school students a unique opportunity to explore careers in healthcare. Participants engage in hands-on experiences at Kaiser Permanente facilities, gaining insights into various roles in the healthcare profession. This program focuses on career development, mentorship, and skill-building, providing a foundation for future success in the healthcare industry. This is perfect for students who may be interested in medical administration. 

If selected, students will have the opportunity to work with us for a duration of up to 8 weeks during the summer and receive compensation. They have carefully designed workshops to provide you with personal and professional skills development. You will also have a unique opportunity to form relationships with experienced supervisors and mentors who will help you prepare for a successful career in the healthcare industry or other industries.

The UCLA Health BrainSPORT Internship offers high school students exposure to the field of neurosurgery and brain health. Interns work closely with healthcare professionals, gaining hands-on experience and knowledge about neurosurgical practices. This program fosters an understanding of brain-related medical research and patient care for students interested in possibly pursuing medcine in the future.

Interns should expect to be available from early June to late August for three to four half-days per week, totalling approximately 16 hours per week. Only rising juniors, with the intent that one may be a mentor for a rising junior next year, should apply.

This program is for 11th and 12th graders interested in exploring careers in research and healthcare. With the exception of the HiSTEP program, these are full-time research positions within one of the NIH Institutes and Centers (IC) in the NIH Intramural Research Program. Designed for high school students with a passion for biomedical research, this program offers a unique and immersive experience within the world-renowned NIH laboratories. Participants work alongside leading scientists and researchers, engaging in cutting-edge projects and gaining first hand exposure to various scientific disciplines. The HS-SIP experience goes beyond traditional classroom learning, providing students with valuable insights into the scientific research process and fostering a deep appreciation for biomedical science.

Through mentorship, hands-on laboratory work, and seminars, participants not only contribute to ongoing research but also develop crucial skills that set the foundation for future academic and professional success in the fields of health and medicine. 

How to Find and Apply for the Best Internships

In order to get a high school internship, it’s best to be strategic. The ideal strategy involves narrowing down a list of internships that are a good fit for you, writing a great resume and cover letter, and nailing interviews and interactions with recruiters.

Here are some tips to help you make the most of the internship application process:

  • Resume: As you probably expect, you should include academic achievements, extracurricular activities, and any relevant coursework, but make sure to tailor your resume for each internship by emphasizing skills and experiences that are relevant to the kind of internship you’re applying for. Use action verbs — for instance, “lead,” “spearheaded,” “researched,” etc. — to make your resume stand out. The more specific you can be about the deliverables of the activity, the better.
  • Cover Letter: You should address the hiring manager by name if possible, which means you should look them up if you don’t know their name already. Make sure you express genuine interest in the internship and specific knowledge of the reasons why this internship align the internship’s focus and requirements. Connect your values and goals with the organization’s mission statement, which you can often find on the website. When you do your research, this will shine through in your cover letter and make you stand out to the company or organization.
  • Interviews: If you are able to proceed to the interview stage, you want to make the most of this opportunity! As is the case with cover letters, you should research the organization thoroughly to show your genuine interest. Practice common interview questions (these might be similar to the kind of questions you’d encounter in a college interview, which you can read more about here) and prepare specific examples from your experiences that address these common questions. Dress professionally and maintain good eye contact during the interview while asking thoughtful questions about the internship.

If you are unable to secure an internship, you also have the option to create your own opportunities and demonstrate your leadership abilities in other ways. If you need help creating a project of your own, check out the H&C Incubator program

Maximizing the Internship Experience

High school internships are not just a box to check off on your academic journey ᅳ they can be transformative experiences if you make the most of them. In order to maximize the benefits of your internship, you should set clear goals at the beginning of the internship that you can revisit at the end of the experience. Think about what kind of skills you want to bring into the next school year and into your eventual college experience. How do you want this internship to help you define your career objectives? 

Building the foundation for lasting professional relationships is equally crucial. By connecting on professional platforms like LinkedIn and expressing appreciation to your mentors and higher-ups for guidance, you can build a network that extends beyond the internship period and could even help you out in the college application and eventual job search process. 

Especially if the internship is a challenging and/or high-stress environment, it behooves students to develop a continuous learning mindset by integrating feedback they receive and trying to grow in the areas that may prove harder than expected. This proactive approach positions high school students for a transformative internship experience, which can help lay the groundwork for future success in their chosen careers. 


Internships are a unique opportunity in high school to improve your professional skills at a young age. While they may seem difficult to find and secure, you can be successful if you follow the strategy outlined above. Who knows — you may just end up having a transformative, life-changing experience in your high school internship!

Are you looking for help with improving your GPA and your college admissions chances? Set up a free consultation today with one of our skilled tutors and/or Ivy League alumni admissions counselors!

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