Student-centric advice and objective recommendations
Top 15 Internships for High School Students
Looking for an internship for high school students? When it comes to internships, it’s never too early to start applying. While a lot of students wait until college to seek out internships, having one during high school is an excellent way to start exploring your career options. Not to mention, listing an internship on your resume will help you stand out from the pack during the college admissions process. They might even help bolster your scholarship resume. That’s why we’ve put together this list of some of the best internships for high school students.
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center offers hundreds of internship opportunities across all levels of education from high school to graduate. Through the NASA Pathways Intern Employment Program (IEP), students get the chance to work and explore career paths within STEM while still in school. To be eligible, high schoolers must be at least 16 years old and be either a sophomore, junior, or senior. Find a complete list of current NASA internships here.
Related: How to become an astronaut
The Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET) offers paid internships to rising juniors and seniors from New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. The internships, which take place both during the school year and the summer, provide students the chance to network with professionals in the creative field. Interns are placed in the department that best suits their interests.
This summer internship is designed for underrepresented high school students looking to pursue a career in biomedical or behavioral sciences. Interns get the chance to interact with the university’s cancer center research programs and gain exposure to a range of clinical research programs. Also included in the internship are weekly workshops offering advice on applying to graduate and professional programs.
For students interested in exploring fields of study within STEM, this internship is a great launching pad. Students get the chance to connect with Microsoft employees, explore potential career paths, and develop their computer science and programming skills. The program is currently on pause, but you can complete this survey to stay up to date on future opportunities.
This 4–week summer program provides an introduction to computer science for rising college freshmen who are passionate about technology. Not only do participants develop their technical skills and learn what their future career might hold, but they also get an inside look at Google’s unique work culture. As a result of COVID-19, the program has shifted online.
The KP Launch program offers paid internships to underrepresented and low-income high school students interested in pursuing a career in healthcare. Interns will work in Oakland and a variety of medical offices across Northern California. Program participants network with healthcare professionals and get the chance to explore the many non-medical careers that are available within the healthcare industry.
If you’re interested in studying the Earth and its natural resources, this internship is a great place to start. This 6-week paid internship is designed for high school seniors looking to pursue a career within the wide world of the geosciences. Interns receive an introduction to ocean sciences, atmospheric sciences, and geographic information systems (GIS)/Remote Sensing techniques. The program includes lectures, field trips, hands-on activities, and two for-credit college courses.
What better way to spend a gap year between high school and college than interning in a foreign country? Through the Intern Group’s global internship program, students aged 18 and over (in some cases 17–year-olds are eligible) can intern in one of 14 different cities around the world. Not only is this program a gateway to travel and exploration, but it’s also an excellent way to gain professional experience and make your college application stand out. Internships are available across a variety of fields.
From business and public administration to art, science, and history, the Smithsonian Institution offers internship programs in nearly every field imaginable. For instance, the Youth Engagement through Science (YES!) internship is a hands-on science program for high school students in the Washington D.C. region. Students interested in art, culture, and history will also find many opportunities. Find a complete list of Smithsonian internships here.
For anyone interested in pursuing biomedical and/or public health research, this internship is an incredible opportunity. During the 10-week program, participants develop practical skills in research and scientific experimentation. Faculty and research mentors help them along each step of the way. The program is widely inclusive. It is designed to serve low-income students, students with disabilities, and students from racial/ethnic groups underrepresented in science and medicine.
This paid summer internship and mentorship program is designed to stimulate interest in fisheries science among students underrepresented in the profession today. Hutton has expressed commitment to diversifying the next generation of fishery professionals by recruiting minorities and women. Whether you’re eager to learn more about fishery science or you’re looking to launch a career in the field, this internship is a great opportunity.
Whatever your field of interest is, chances are you can find your dream internship at the Library of Congress. From archaeological research to conservation and preservation, there’s a multitude of internship opportunities available. In fact, over 80 programs are offered throughout the Library of Congress, which is recognized as the national library of the United States and the world’s largest collection of human creativity and knowledge.
This 8-week paid internship provides high schoolers the chance to serve their communities by working with nonprofits like the Boys and Girls Club and Habitat for Humanity. Participants also attend the Student Leaders Summit in Washington, D.C., which offers a glimpse into how governments and businesses collaborate to meet local needs. If you’re committed to pursuing a career in government or the nonprofit sector, this internship is an excellent way to get your foot in the door.
The Adler Planetarium provides opportunities for Chicago high school students to engage with STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) and prepare for a variety of careers. From the Youth Leadership Council to the Astro-Science Workshop, there’s a range of programs catering to students with varying interests and goals. Due to COVID-19, all internships are virtual until further notice.
Students who participate in this internship learn about the nature of the U.S. Secret Service, the purpose of which is to protect the nation’s highest elected leaders. Although the internship is unpaid, academic credit is offered. Not to mention, it’s a great stepping stone for students interested in a career in intelligence.
Prepare your application
As a high school student, you will probably be new to the application process. So, it’s a good idea to start with the basics. Learn how to write about yourself, how to prepare a resume, and how to write a cover letter for an internship. It’s a good idea to run all of your application materials past family and friends. And remember, you’ll want to tailor your resume and cover letter to suit each position you apply to. Even if the positions seem similar, making some adjustments can help maximize your chances.
While the positions on this list are all stellar opportunities, they are not the only ones available. If you’re looking for an internship for high school students, a great place to start would be resources through your high school. Some college counselors might have a list of local high school internship opportunities. You can also try contacting any family or family friends to see if they have anything you could help with.
As a high school student, especially if you don’t expect to be paid, one of the best ways to get an internship is to make a role for yourself. Find a local business or organization and volunteer to do whatever they might be doing. After helping them out for a while, you can ask if you could turn your responsibilities into a formal role, and approach them with a role outline and description of duties. They will typically appreciate your go-getter attitude and be more likely to accept you as an intern.
Apply far and wide!
Since you’re probably new to the job application process, it’s important to keep in mind that rejection is common and to be expected. Remember, all it takes is one acceptance to end your search. You’ll probably have many unsuccessful applications before you land an opportunity. Think of it as part of the learning process; everything you’re doing will help with your career search in the future. Good luck!
Also see: How to get an internship guide