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10 Best Paid Summer Internships for High School Students

If you are a high school student looking to have a productive summer, you should consider picking up a summer internship! Whether you are passionate about science, technology, arts, or business, these internships will help you build a strong foundation for your future academic and professional careers

Internships can also significantly enhance your college applications! Admissions committees like applicants who have demonstrated initiative and a proactive approach to their education

Internships do exactly that.

These experiences can set you apart from other candidates by highlighting your commitment to personal growth and your readiness to tackle real-world challenges. The insights and connections you gain during your internship can also provide experiences to reference in your college essays and valuable references from professionals in your field of interest. The compensation you receive is an additional bonus! In this blog, we will go over some of the best paid summer internships for high school students.

Cost: Free for all accepted participants, covering all costs including lab materials and transportation within New York City; stipend provided.

Location: Columbia University, New York City

Application Deadline: While the deadline for 2025 is not stated, applications open in October 2024.

Program Dates: 5 weeks during the summer.

Eligibility: Open to students in grades 10-12 residing in New York City; preference is given to students in Upper Manhattan and the South Bronx.

The Zuckerman Institute's Brain Research Apprenticeships in New York at Columbia (BRAINYAC) is a great opportunity for you if you are interested in a pre-med track diving straight into neuroscience. This program matches you with a Columbia neuroscientist who serves as a mentor, guiding you through a specific research project. Over a five-week period, which includes weekend training sessions in the winter and spring followed by a full-time summer internship, you will gain firsthand experience in laboratory research. Typically, students master one to three techniques during their time in the lab. A BRAINYAC student can work with postmortem tissue from any animal model, work with live invertebrates, and analyze data from humans and other subjects.

The application process commences each fall, distributed through these partner institutions: S-PREP, Lang Youth Medical, Double Discovery Center, Columbia Secondary School, and BioBus. You’ll be provided a stipend during your internship and have opportunities to engage further through a paid Merit Fellowship for continued work in Columbia’s mentor’s lab, positions as paid interns in future BRAINYAC cohorts, and access to an alumni network which includes trips and special events. Joining a program like BRAINYAC will also help you build foundational knowledge within the neuroscience field, which is especially helpful if you wish to pursue medicine in the future. 

Cost: $1490 (Financial Aid Available)

Location:  Remote! You can work from anywhere in the world.

Application deadline: Deadlines vary depending on the cohort 

Program dates: Multiple cohorts throughout the year

Eligibility: Students who can work for 10-20 hours/week, for 8-12 weeks. Open to high school students, undergraduates, and gap year students!

Ladder Internships is a selective start-up internship program for ambitious high school students! In the program, you work with a high-growth start-up on an internship. Start-ups that offer internships range across a variety of industries from medicine, health tech, consulting, and more. You can explore all the options here on their application form. Ladder’s start-ups are high-growth companies on average raising over a million dollars. Past founders have included YCombinator alums, founders raising over 30 million dollars, or founders who previously worked at Microsoft, Google, and Facebook. In the program, interns work closely with their managers and a Ladder Coach on real-world projects and present their work to the company. Here is the application form

Interns are offered one-on-one training in communication, time management, and other such valuable skills and will also have the opportunity to attend group training sessions with other interns in their cohort. The virtual internship is usually 8 weeks long.

Cost: Free (Paid stipend of $1,200); housing and transportation are not covered.

Location: New York, NY

Application deadline: February 9, 2024

Program dates: June 27 - August 22, 2024

Eligibility: For the 2024 cohort, Students must meet the following criteria:

  • Completion of at least the 9th grade by June 2024 

  • Must be 14 or older by June 27, 2024 

  • A genuine interest in science and laboratory research 

  • 3.5 GPA in science subjects

At the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center's Human Oncology and Pathogenesis Program (HOPP), you will explore biomedical and computational research through an intensive 8-week summer internship. This program not only focuses on laboratory or computational-based research projects but also includes postdoctoral-led journal clubs, student-led journal clubs, PI luncheons, laboratory tours, teambuilding, and social networking sessions. 

As a participant in the program, you’ll be matched with a mentor, usually a postdoctoral fellow, graduate student, or research technician, who provides you with supervision and guidance throughout the program. This program concludes with a presentation of your research project at a poster session for MSKCC scientists, your families, and your peers. Beyond the scientific training, the program allows you to participate in tours of MSKCC's state-of-the-art facilities, training sessions, and luncheons with principal investigators. This program is highly regarded and will help you stand out amongst other applicants, while simultaneously providing you with foundational knowledge in oncology. You can check out our deep dive on it here.

Cost: Free (Paid stipend of $3,000); transportation is not included.

Location: All over the U.S., Canada, and Mexico; the program places you in a fishery or aquatic center within a 45-minute commute from your home 

Program dates: 8 weeks over the summer.

Application deadline: Mid-January

Eligibility: Rising high school juniors, seniors, and college freshmen.

The Hutton Junior Fisheries Biology Program is an eight-week summer internship open to rising high school juniors, seniors, and college freshmen from all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Canada, Mexico, and the Pacific Islands. The program covers a variety of activities such as fish population surveys, aquatic habitat establishment, electrofishing, snorkeling, and more

Each intern is matched with a mentor. You will have the opportunity to work in diverse environments, from laboratories and offices to boats and field sites. The program also includes a Scholar's Summit, which counts as one week of the internship and offers a platform for networking and presenting your work. Interns work 32-40 hours a week, with schedules tailored to meet the demands of the fieldwork and the availability of their mentors. If you’re looking for even more reasons to join this program, you can check out this blog post.

Cost: Free (Paid stipend of $3,200)

Location: Washington DC

Application Deadline: March 15, 2024

Program dates: July - August

Eligibility: Rising high school seniors.

This internship program pays tribute to Benjamin Lawless and his lasting impact as a globally recognized exhibition planner, designer, Emmy award-winning filmmaker, and writer. The Benjamin Lawless Internship offers an enriching opportunity for a high school rising senior to delve into the realms of audience engagement, exhibition design, and the compelling narratives intertwined with diverse objects and their creators and users.

Spanning a continuous five-week period during the summer, a Benjamin Lawless intern will foster creativity and innovation by discovering fresh ways to convey narratives inspired by the Smithsonian's vast collections and research. Interns actively participate in this structured educational experience, dedicating 40 hours per week from Monday to Friday. After the internship, the intern is encouraged to express their acquired insights and knowledge in a format of their choosing.

Cost: Free (Paid stipend of $5,000)

Location: Warner Bros. Discovery Studios in Burbank, California

Program dates: Typically, 8 weeks during summer (dates vary)

Application Deadline: February

Eligibility: Be a graduating high school senior in Burbank or Los Angeles County; minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 upon graduation; plan to attend an accredited college or university.

The Warner Bros. Reach Honorship Program is a great opportunity for you if you’re interested in exploring the entertainment industry and gaining hands-on experience in various aspects of film and television production. This program, hosted by Warner Bros., offers an immersive and comprehensive experience that allows students to dive into the creative and business sides of the entertainment world. 

Throughout the Reach Honorship Program, you will typically engage in a variety of activities that provide a well-rounded view of the entertainment industry. You will work closely with industry professionals in departments such as production, marketing, or post-production, gaining practical insights into the day-to-day operations of a major film and television studio. Depending on the specific interests and the focus of the program, you will assist in creative development, participate in marketing campaigns, or contribute to the production of multimedia content. The program often includes mentorship components, giving students the opportunity to learn from experienced professionals in the field. By the end of the program, you will gain valuable industry experience and cultivate a network of connections and insights that can guide you toward potential future careers in the entertainment industry! Check out more on our blog about it here.

Cost: Free (Paid stipend of $1,200)

Location: Rockaway, NY

Program dates: July 5 - August 15

Application deadline: Typically, in April or May.

Eligibility: 9th to 11th-grade students who live or attend school in or near the Rockaway peninsula can apply

The Rockaway Initiative for Sustainability and Equity (RISE) Environmentor Internship pairs you with scientists from local universities and research institutions. During the internship, you will work on individual research projects focused on the Rockaway shoreline and Jamaica Bay. You can expect to dive into topics such as salt marsh restoration, sea turtle stranding, air quality monitoring, pinniped stranding, bottlenose dolphin biodiversity, and dolphin morphology.

In addition to the hands-on research, the internship provides a comprehensive educational experience that includes mentorship, community service, and practical skills training. You will participate in water safety and CPR training and recreational activities like kayaking, biking, and surfing.

Cost: Free (Paid stipend of $500)

Location: Virtual

Application Deadline: March 1 every year.

Internship Dates: 8 weeks, June 2024 - August 2024 (in-person); 5 weeks, July 2024 - August 2024 (virtual).

Eligibility: Current high school juniors and seniors from underrepresented populations anywhere in the United States are eligible to participate in the 5-week virtual summer research experience.

The Johns Hopkins Internship in Brain Sciences (JHIBS) offers a comprehensive virtual research experience that encompasses a wide range of scientific activities. You will be immersed in educational presentations delivered by experts in the field, providing foundational knowledge and current insights into brain sciences. The program also includes professional development training. A significant component of the JHIBS experience is learning basic laboratory techniques and experiments, albeit in a virtual setting. 

Through the program, you will be guided by experienced professionals and researchers, offering an opportunity for personalized learning and growth in the field of brain sciences. The program spans 5 weeks, and upon successful completion, you will receive a $500 scholarship to support your education. If you need a few more reasons to join, you can take a look at our deep dive into the program here.

Cost: Free (Stipend amount varies but is intended to cover living expenses during the internship.)

Location: Bethesda, MD

Application Date: February 16, 2024

Program Dates: Mid-May to August

Eligibility: High school juniors and seniors who are 17 years of age or older on June 15, 2024

The National Institutes of Health High School Summer Internship Program (HS-SIP) is a great opportunity to engage in full-time pharmaceutical research at various NIH Institutes and Centers, primarily located at the main campus in Bethesda, MD. Tailored for 11th and 12th graders, the program allows you to work under the supervision of a Principal Investigator in research groups focusing on a wide range of scientific areas such as biomedical, behavioral, and social sciences. You will gain hands-on experience and focused mentorship in real-world medical research settings, allowing you to better understand the applications of fields like biology, chemistry, and pharmaceutical sciences.

In addition to practical research experience, the HS-SIP supports your professional growth through development programs that enhance core competencies necessary for science careers. You’ll also receive educational, and career advising, participate in a well-being and resilience program, and have the opportunity to present your research findings at the Summer Poster Day. 

Location: Varies per lab

Cost: Free (Stipend amount varies each year)

Application Date: Typically, April

Program Dates: Typically, June - August

Eligibility: A current high school sophomore, junior, or senior (recent graduates are also welcome) who must have completed one course of high school chemistry and whose family annual income must not exceed 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.

The American Chemical Society’s Project SEED is a great experience for high school students interested in pharmacy. As part of the Project SEED In-Person Research, you will engage in substantive scientific research over an 8 to 10-week period, working approximately 8 hours per weekday. You will either work independently or collaborate with peers on a project, culminating in the writing of a research report or the preparation of a poster. Additionally, the program may include supplementary activities depending on the location, such as field trips, campus tours, career panels, and opportunities to participate in poster or science fair competitions.

The Project SEED program is structured into two sequential summer experiences: Summer I and Summer II. In Summer I, first-time participants receive a $4,000 fellowship to undertake a scientific research project in chemistry or a related field under direct supervision from a scientist-mentor. Following a successful first summer, you can return for the Summer II program to either continue your previous research or start a new project, with the same fellowship award. Summer II participants may also be eligible for a travel grant to present their research at the American Chemical Society National Meeting or other scientific conferences. Upon completion of the program, students planning to pursue degrees in chemistry, chemical engineering, biochemistry, or materials science can compete for Project SEED scholarships, which offer up to $5,000 annually for one to four years of college.

One other option - Lumiere Research Scholar Program

If you’re interested in pursuing independent research, you could also consider applying to one of the Lumiere Research Scholar Programs, selective online high school programs for students 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.

Also check out the Lumiere Research Inclusion Foundation, a non-profit research program for talented, low-income students. Last year, we had 150 students on full need-based financial aid!

Jessica attends Harvard University where she studies Neuroscience and Computer Science as a Coca-Cola, Elks, and Albert Shankar Scholar. She is passionate about educational equity and hopes to one day combine this with her academic interests via social entrepreneurship. Outside of academics, she enjoys taking walks, listening to music, and running her jewelry business! 

Image Source: MSKCC logo



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