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10 Design Internships for High School Students

Internships can be compelling opportunities to explore your area of interest in a real-world setting, and beyond the standard school curriculum. If you’re considering pursuing design or art in college and further, you should consider a design internship! As a vast, dynamic and ever-evolving field, design has a lot to offer to high school students and professionals alike. Design is more than just aesthetics – its practical applications can help solve problems, build structures, or be the key to marketing a business.


Established institutions, such as museums and non-profit foundations, offer a number of volunteering and internship opportunities in the field – whether you’re thinking about graphic design, animation, interior design or visual communication, 


Design is an increasingly competitive field, and doing an internship while in high school can give you an edge. Internships will not just help you build your skill and knowledge base in a particular field of design, but also expose you to possible career options, showing you what the professional setting in your field of choice looks like. Moreover, it can help you decide if that’s the right path for you! Not to mention, college admissions committees seek students who demonstrate drive and passion – and an internship is a great way to show that.  


We’ve curated a list of 10 best design internships that you can consider as a high school student. Let’s dive in!


Location: Virtual.

Application deadline: Multiple deadlines throughout the year. Summer Cohort (Regular Admission 1) - April 14, 2024 | Summer Cohort (Regular Admission 2) - May 12, 2024.

Dates: 8-week programs with multiple cohorts throughout the year, including spring, summer, fall, and winter. Summer Cohort begins June 3, 2024. 

Eligibility: High school students who can dedicate 10-20 hours/week, for 8-12 weeks. These internships are also open to undergraduates and gap-year students.

Cost: Starting at $1,990. Financial aid is offered!


Ladder Internships, a selective program founded and run by Harvard alumni, pairs high school students with startups and nonprofits across the world for virtual internships. As a Ladder intern, you can select the field you wish to work in, from a wide range of industries including AI, technology, engineering, sustainability, media, design, journalism, healthcare and more. 


You will work on relevant projects that support your organization’s larger goal and present your work at the end of the program. For the program, you will be paired with a manager at your startup or nonprofit and a Ladder coach, who serves as a second mentor. This program includes one-on-one communication and time management training, among other skills, and group sessions with fellow interns. 

 


Application deadline: Exact dates may vary based on location, but applications typically close in March.

Dates: This is a 7 to 8-week program held June-end to mid-August, exact dates depend on the location of the program. If you live in Philadelphia, you also have the option of applying for a year-long internship program called Bloomberg Arts Internship - School Year (BAISY).

Eligibility: Rising high school seniors residing in participating cities who will be at least 16 years old before the program starts can apply.

Cost/Stipend: There is no cost. This is a paid opportunity, but information on the exact amount is not available. You can expect around 19$ /hour.


The Bloomberg Arts Internship (BAI) program connects high school students to local artistic and cultural organizations for paid summer internship opportunities in 5 cities. The program has been running since 2012 with the support of Bloomberg Philanthropies. The program aims to develop students’ work readiness while also offering college prep training. Through BAI, students get the chance to learn about and explore different projects in the arts, while developing professional skills and building connections. Students can expect to participate in hands-on projects and receive mentorship, get insight into various aspects of arts administration, exhibition planning, marketing, and event coordination. The program also includes other activities, such as helping teens explore careers in the creative sector. The program terms can vary slightly depending on the location, however, students should be ready to devote 30-37 hours per week to the internship. The application process has different timelines at different locations. 


Note: This program is fairly flexible and in Philadelphia, there is also the Bloomberg Arts Internship - School Year (BAISY) program. The first step is to apply for the summer internship, as the school year program is reserved for current seniors who wish to continue their projects from the previous summer.


Location: New York City, NY

Application deadline: April 7, 2024

Dates: July 9, 2024 - August 16, 2024

Eligibility: Students in grades 10-11 in NYC public and charter schools can apply.

Cost/Stipend: No cost; students will be paid $16 an hour and get an unlimited MetroCard for the duration of the internship 


The Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) offers the Artslife Internship – a five-week summer program where students can work on related topics in art and design, leadership, and community engagement. In this program, you’ll be introduced to careers in all the museum sectors: Curatorial, Education, Development, Communications and Marketing, Visitor Services, Security, and Registrar. The first week is dedicated to team bonding and introducing the interns to the Museum. During the remaining weeks, you will work on collaborative projects with Museum staff, local designers, and arts professionals who act as mentors. Artslife interns get firsthand experience and broad exposure to ongoing museum activities, both public-facing and behind the scenes.


Location: New York City, NY

Application deadline: March 8, 2024 for summer opportunities. Dates for the year-round opportunities are yet to be announced

Dates: June 22, 2024 - August 9, 2024

Eligibility: Rising high school juniors and seniors can apply.

Cost/Stipend: No cost; a stipend of $1,100 is provided.


The well-established Metropolitan Museum of Art offers paid internships for students to immerse themselves in the world of art, museums, and creative professions. These prestigious opportunities are open to both students with a direct passion for art and those who are just dipping their toes into the field for the first time. Whether you’re keen to explore editorial work, marketing, social media, education, scientific research, conservation, or any other area, the program will give you the chance to connect with museum professionals in these sectors. You will engage one-on-one or in small cohorts with these experts, gaining invaluable insights and work experience. The program also encourages students to network and collaborate with peers and professionals and participate in interactive workshops conducted by industry experts from various fields.  


The Met is deeply committed to promoting diversity in the arts, museums, and creative careers so it actively seeks students from diverse backgrounds and with varied interests. The Met also runs a school-year internship program that runs from January to June, which you can consider.


Location: New York City, NY

Application deadline: The dates are yet to be announced

Dates: The internship typically runs from November to May.

Eligibility: High school juniors and seniors in NYC are eligible to apply

Cost/Stipend: No cost; a stipend of $2,000 is provided.


Design Hive is a paid, youth-led initiative at Cooper Hewitt, where high school juniors and seniors can work on collaborative design projects and explore the design process. As an intern, you will be mentored by professional designers and will get access to the museum’s exhibitions, objects, and staff. You will form groups and collaborate with your peers to design projects for a more responsible, equitable, and cooperative world. At Design Hive, you will also work with industry experts to learn how an initial idea becomes the final design. 


Design Hive takes place every Tuesday from 4:30-6:30 p.m. from November to May. Every year, there is an annual theme that students must follow to create their final project. As a participant in this program, you will be receiving a stipend of $2000 in two $1000 installments.


Location: Brooklyn, NY

Application deadline: Check the official page in June 2024 for application-related details.

Dates: The internship typically runs from September to May.

Eligibility: High school sophomores, juniors, and seniors aged 15-19 in NYC can apply,

Cost/Stipend: No cost; students will be paid $15/hour. MetroCards will be provided for working weekends.


This internship is an opportunity for high school students to explore art, education, and museum careers while building their résumés by assisting teaching artists in art classes for students of all ages. As a part of Creative Practice, students meet and interact with like-minded teens and hone their communication, time management, collaboration, and organizational skills. The teaching assistance work will include preparing studios and materials, learning techniques of lesson planning, and practicing classroom management. As interns, students will participate in discussions on the intersection of art, fashion, design, and society, and interact with artists, educators, and museum staff, as well as create art based on your interpretation of them. 


The stipend provided is $15 per hour and the work goes up to around 120 hours during the program. Metro cards are also provided to students to support their work on weekends. Additionally, students get to assist in a Studio Art Program (formerly known as Gallery/Studio Program). This involves tasks such as preparing studios and materials, learning techniques for lesson planning, and practicing classroom management.


7. URBN

Location: Navy Yard, Philadelphia, PA

Application deadline: The applications for 2024 closed on November 3rd, 2023. Check the website later in the year for applications for 2025 and relevant high school opportunities.

Dates: June 3, 2024 - August 9, 2024 

Eligibility: High school juniors and seniors can apply.

Cost/Stipend: No cost; students will be paid a competitive hourly rate (exact amount is not specified).


If you have a knack for entrepreneurship or a passion for fashion design, this internship is for you. URBN, parent company to popular fashion brands like Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie and Free People, offers a 10-week paid internship to high school students. Interns have the opportunity to research the latest fashion trends, analyze consumer data, and work on real-world projects with a team of like-minded and creative individuals. 


As a participant, you will gain practical experience in your chosen fashion field of interest and receive a competitive hourly stipend. Throughout the internship, URBN interns cultivate leadership skills required in a dynamic retail industry. Most URBN internships are based at the company's headquarters in the historic Philadelphia Navy Yard, but there is also the potential for remote opportunities. 


Location: Columbia University, New York, NY

Application deadline: Rolling basis. The program will continue to accept applications if space is available.

Program dates: You can choose between two summer sessions: June 17–25, 2024 and June 29, 2024–July 7, 2024

Eligibility: Students between the ages of 14–18 who have completed at least one year of high school can apply.

Cost: $4,095


The National Student Leadership Conference offers school students pre-college experiences. While not a traditional internship, its Digital Arts & Design program offers valuable practical experience in the field of design and is worth considering. The program enables students to work closely with professionals in the field and explore career options. Students can choose from three tracks: Photography, Animation, or Graphic Design. The Graphic Design track can help you hone your Adobe Photoshop CC, Illustrator CC, and InDesign CC skills. You will get to learn how to manipulate digital images and create vector graphics for logos and brand packages. You will also learn about color and design theory to communicate your message via your digital designs. The program will also cover foundational elements of design, creative workshops, and career exploration.


Location: Virtual and in-person (Washington, DC) options are offered.

Application deadline: March 31, 2024

Program dates: 10 weeks between May and August, with a flexible schedule for virtual internships.

Eligibility: High school students who are at least 16 years old can apply.

Stipend: Students may receive a stipend.


The Smithsonian Science Education Center (SSEC) aims to improve K-12 education in collaboration with communities in different parts of the world. SSEC offers a number of internship opportunities in fields such as communications, marketing, and public relations to high school students, undergraduates and graduates. 


As an intern, your responsibilities could include working on developing communication materials for social media. You will work on content creation, graphics, videos, brainstorming social media campaigns, and identifying best practices across platforms. You may also assist in communications dissemination, strategy, and asset management. The exact duties, work timings, and requirements vary as per the position. You can check out all the opportunities here. If you want to apply for a design-specific position, you can request to share a sample of your artwork while applying.


Location: Virtual

Application deadline: Rolling basis

Program dates: Runs throughout the year

Eligibility: All high school students can apply. Graphic design applicants should ideally have experience using design programs (experience with Canva is preferred, but not mandatory) and producing graphics on platforms without templates.

Stipend: None


Medicine Encompassed is a student-run not-for-profit organization working to spread awareness and increase accessibility for those interested in careers in medicine. The organization offers high schoolers general internship opportunities, allowing them to work as writers, editors or resource creators across different departments and committees. You can even opt for positions in graphic design, sponsorships and partnerships, and marketing and social media teams to contribute toward promoting the mission of Medicine Encompassed. Each committee corresponds to a medical branch, like anatomy, surgery, neurology, and more. 


Students will work on the Medicine Encompassed medical curriculum, developing content on various branches of medicine. Each position has its unique requirements. The graphic design position involves producing graphics and designing media/artwork for the organization’s website, blog posts, articles, and social media posts. You will also work closely with the Executive Graphic Designer and Executive Social Media & Marketing Director to create the most appropriate content. You can check the complete position description here.


Bonus! Here’s a couple more internships you can consider:



One other option

If you would like to further enhance your applications by doing research in design, arts and related fields, you should also consider applying to the Lumiere Research Scholar Program, a selective online high school program 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. 


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: Bloomberg Arts Internship logo


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I think that such programs are very useful for students who study design. I studied for a different profession. That's why I turned to Antonovych Design for help when it came time to create the interior of my home. The designers could better see the shortcomings of the previous interior from the outside. They told us how best to arrange each room and easily brought creative ideas to life.

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