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    Top 10 Research Opportunities for High School Students

    By Kira Ranieri

    Kira is a content writer at Scholarships360. Kira earned a Bachelor of Media and Journalism with a concentration in Advertising and Public Relations from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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    Edited by Maria Geiger

    Maria Geiger is Director of Content at Scholarships360. She is a former online educational technology instructor and adjunct writing instructor. In addition to education reform, Maria’s interests include viewpoint diversity, blended/flipped learning, digital communication, and integrating media/web tools into the curriculum to better facilitate student engagement. Maria earned both a B.A. and an M.A. in English Literature from Monmouth University, an M. Ed. in Education from Monmouth University, and a Virtual Online Teaching Certificate (VOLT) from the University of Pennsylvania.

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    Posted: July 1st, 2024
    Top 10 Research Opportunities for High School Students

    When it comes to students conducting research, most people probably think of college students. While there may be a higher volume of research opportunities available to undergraduate and graduate students, there are also some great opportunities for high school students as well! We’ve gathered ten great research opportunities for high school students in STEM, but before we get into our list, let’s go over what student research opportunities entail and why they might be a good fit for your summer. 

    Why should student’s seek out research opportunities?

    The number one reason many students consider doing research is that it shows a lot of ambition and therefore looks very impressive to college admissions officers. When applying to colleges, a unique and practical experience like performing research at such a young age is sure to set you apart in such a competitive atmosphere. 

    Another aspect to consider is that many summer research programs are done through universities. This means that these programs tend to give students access to resources they would not otherwise be able to use, such as higher grade technology and one-on-one mentoring. The best part about the programs on our list is that they have zero cost to attend and some even provide a stipend! So, in no particular order, let’s get into our top 10 research programs for high school students. 

    Research opportunity program list

    Spark Summer Internship Program (Spark SIP)

    This is a great summer research opportunity that connects high school students in grade 9-12 with mentors in fields such as computer software engineering, business, psychology, and even technical or creative writing. They have a wide range of really interesting projects to choose from. One of the most interesting is the Extreme Weather Conditions project, which researches the effects of extreme weather events on power grids. Some projects even include a stipend of up to $500. The duration of the internship ranges from 8 to 12 weeks depending on the specific program.

    • Cost: There is no cost for this program, and may even include a stipend up to $500!
    • Location: Seattle, Washington
    • Deadline to apply: The application cycle for summer 2024 has closed. Information regarding next year’s projects have not yet been released, but there is a mailing list for prospective students to receive updates about 2025’s application cycle

    Research Science Institute (RSI)

    This research program hosted by Massachussetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is a highly selective and prestigious program for high school juniors interested in STEM. The program only selects 100 students and at the end of the program 5 papers and 5 presentations are chosen for special commendation by local academic and corporate scientists. The total duration of the internship program is five weeks. 

    • Cost: This program is free of cost!
    • Location: Boston, Massachusetts
    • Deadline: The deadline for summer 2024 has closed. Applications typically open in November, and deadlines are typically in January

    Applied Research Innovations in Science and Engineering (ARISE)

    ARISE is a research program for students living in New York City who are interested in STEM. Bio-and molecular engineering, chemical engineering, robotics, computer science, AI, and machine learning are some of the areas of research available for students. This 10 week program is hosted by New York University (NYU), and gives students in 10th or 11th grade access to their high quality research labs. 

    • Cost: None. Plus, each student receives a $750 stipend!
    • Location: New York City, New York
    • Deadline: The deadline for summer 2024 has passed. Applications typically open back up in December

    Simons Summer Research Program

    Offered by Stony Brook University, this program pairs students with a mentor, who will help them execute a project that will be presented at a closing symposium. There are a wide variety of STEM mentors, who are experts in fields like biochemistry, geosciences, or physics and astronomy. This 6 week program is eligible to students who are in the 11th grade when applying.

    • Cost: No cost for the program itself, but if students elect to live on campus, the estimated cost of summer 2024 is $2781.50. Students are awarded a stipend upon finishing the program 
    • Location: Stony Brook, New York
    • Deadline: The application cycle for summer 2024 has closed. Typically, the deadline for this program is in February

    Anson L. Clark Scholars Program

    This is a seven week program for high school juniors and seniors that includes weekly seminars, discussions, and field trips. Hosted by Texas Tech University, this is a highly selective program that selects only 12 students every summer. While many of the research topics for this program are STEM centered, the Anson L. Clark Program features history focused topics as well. There are also no fees for this program, which includes room and board for students. 

    • Cost: None and includes $750 stipend
    • Location: Lubbock, Texas
    • Deadline: The application cycle for summer 2024 has closed, but we estimate the deadline for next year to be in February

    Eugene and Ruth Roberts Summer Student Academy

    This program is for high school students who are at least 16 years old before the internship begins who are interested in doing research in the biomedical field. Each student has the opportunity to pick exactly what they want to research while being mentored by City of Hope staff members and post graduate students. At the end of the 10 week program, students will have completed an academic research project and receive a $4,000 stipend for their work. 

    • Cost: None and includes $4,000 stipend
    • Location: Duarte, California
    • Deadline: The application deadline for summer 2024 has passed, but typically the deadline for the program falls in March

    Coriell Summer Experience for Students

    The Coriell Institute offers this program for students who are at least 17 years old and interested in molecular biology. The program has two options for students depending on what they are more interested in: production and laboratories or research and development. At the end of this four week program, each student presents their findings for a $1,000 stipend. 

    • Cost: None and includes $1,000 stipend
    • Location: Camden, New Jersey
    • Deadline: The application deadline for summer 2024 has passed, but the previous application cycle’s deadline was May 15th

    Summer Academy for Math and Science

    This program, offered by Carnegie Mellon University, provides students with the opportunity to work with university staff on their research projects. Students apply for this six week program when they are juniors in high school. While this program specifically is more research focused, Carnegie Mellon also offers other pre-college programs for the arts, such as drama and music. 

    • Cost: None
    • Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
    • Deadline: The application deadline for summer 2024 has passed, but typically the deadline falls sometime in early March

    Fred Hutch Summer High School Internship Program

    The Fred Hutch Cancer Center designed this program specifically for students who come from backgrounds that are underrepresented in biomedical science. This is an eight week internship that allows students to get hands-on training in a lab. Students must be between their 11th and 12th grade of high school during the internship. 

    • Cost: None and includes stipend upon completion
    • Location: Seattle, Washington
    • Deadline: The summer 2024 application cycle has closed, but typically the deadline falls in late March or Early April

    The Jackson Laboratory Summer Student Program

    This highly selective program is for students interested in researching genetics and genomics. Students will be assigned a specific mentor as they develop an independent project of their choosing. There are two different campuses for this 10 week program and students must be at least 18 years old and have completed 12th grade. 

    • Cost: None and includes $6,500 stipend
    • Location: Bar Harbor, Maine or Farmington, Connecticut
    • Deadline: The summer 2024 application cycle has closed, but applications for 2025 open in late October and deadlines are typically in late January

    Next Steps

    Next Steps

    • Start doing some research on what kind of research would interest you! Many of these programs delve into very specific scientific areas, so think about what’s most exciting to you. 
    • It’s also important to consider the financial aspect, as most of the programs on this list do not include lodging or travel and therefore may only be available to local residents.
    • Nearly all of the programs on this list require some references for the application, so start thinking about who might write you a great reference letter. And while you’re at it, try to keep your resume polished and up to date.
    • Finally, get those important dates written down! While many of the application cycles for summer programs for 2025 have not opened yet, you can sign up for the program’s mailing list to stay in the loop!  

    Frequently asked questions about high school research programs

    Are research programs hard to get into in high school?

    Most research programs for high school students are highly selective, with many having acceptance rates in the single digits. However, this should not discourage you from applying as the entire process is very similar to college applications in their rigor. So, at the very least it’s a good opportunity to prepare and practice your application skills!

    Do I have to be in-person to do research?

    In most cases, yes. It’s pretty difficult to replicate the experience of working in a laboratory in a remote setting and being in person will be necessary in order to work on the tactical skills of research. If you think a remote opportunity would better suit you, check out our Top 15 Online Summer Camps for High School Students.

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