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10 Reasons to Apply to Scripps' Research Internship for High School Students

Participating in pre-college programs like research internships not only spices up your college application but also gives you a serious leg-up in personal and academic development. These programs provide a sneak peek into college-level coursework and research, paving the way for a smoother transition from high school to higher education. Among these, the Scripps Research Internship stands out as a particularly unique and admirable opportunity for high schoolers aspiring to study science due to their reputation, focus on research, and mentorship opportunities.


What is the Scripps’ Student Research Internship?

The Scripps Research Institute, known for its cutting-edge scientific studies and significant contributions to biomedical research, offers a unique opportunity for high school students to dive into the world of research. 


Their Summer High School Internship Program is formatted as an intensive, several-week-long engagement. It is structured to immerse students deeply into both theoretical knowledge and practical research skills over the summer. Covering a wide range of topics from molecular biology to chemical biology, and neuroscience, students get to work alongside some of the leading scientists in these fields.


Is the Scripps’ Student Research Internship prestigious?

Yes, Scripps' Research Internship is highly prestigious. As part of the globally recognized Scripps Research Institute, this internship is esteemed for its significant contributions to the fields of biology and chemistry. Participants in the program are regarded highly because they work under the mentorship of some of the world's leading scientists and researchers. The program’s affiliation with an institution that frequently publishes groundbreaking research and shapes scientific thought adds to its prestige. Moreover, the competitive nature of the application process and the rigorous academic environment further enhance its reputation, making it a coveted opportunity for ambitious high school students aiming to make their mark in the scientific community.


While there are no statistics available on how many students get in each year, the program will most likely be very selective due to the high interest and limited spots available.


What is a day in the life at Scripps’ Student Research Internship like?

A typical day for an intern might begin with lectures or seminars delivered by researchers, followed by hands-on laboratory work where students apply what they've learned. The day might wrap up with group discussions or a presentation where students share their findings and progress with peers and mentors. This structured blend of learning and practice ensures that each participant gains maximum insight and exposure to the field of research.


How much does Scripps' Internship cost? Will I receive a stipend?

Other than providing your own transportation, there is no cost to attend the Scripps’ Research Internship – students will be awarded a $4,760 stipend for their research.


Eligibility and Application Insights

To be eligible, students usually need to demonstrate strong academic performance, particularly in science subjects, and might need to provide letters of recommendation along with their application. Specific details about application deadlines and submission requirements can be found on the Scripps Research Institute’s website.


According to their website, the Scripps’ Research Internship must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a San Diego County resident and have completed their most recent semester of high school at a public or private high school within San Diego County.

  • Only students from the five REACH partner schools below are eligible to apply for the 2024 Summer Internship Program. These schools include: Barrio Logan College Institute, San Diego; Hilltop High School, Chula Vista; Hoover High School, San Diego; Lincoln High School, San Diego; and Morse High School, San Diego.

  • Be at least 16 years of age on or before the start date of the program.

  • Have successfully completed at least one year each of high school-level chemistry and biology.

  • Have a minimum grade point average of 3.0.

  • Commit to 40 hours/week for the duration of the program.

  • Provide their own transportation.

  • Be able to obtain a work permit (if under age 18) from their school upon notification of hire. 

  • A special emphasis is placed on identifying and recruiting first-generation college-bound students as well as those from groups that are historically underrepresented in the sciences (e.g., African-American, Hispanic, Native Pacific Islander or Native American students).


To apply for the Scripps Research Internship, prospective candidates must begin by filling out an online application, where they need to provide the names and email addresses of at least two teacher references familiar with their scientific skills and academic prowess, preferably STEM teachers. Applicants are advised to confirm their references and obtain their contact information before starting the application process.


The application must be accompanied by several documents: a resume or CV detailing education, work, research, and other professional activities; unofficial academic transcripts; and short answers to questions about the applicant's intended college major or career, their interest in specific areas of scientific research, and what they hope to gain from the internship. All materials, including the application, must be submitted by the specified deadline to be considered (which is generally in mid- to late-April). 


10 Reasons to Apply to the Scripps’ Student Research Internship

Now that we have a better understanding of Scripps’ Research Internship for High School Students, let’s compile the 10 reasons why you should consider applying to this program.


1. You will experience high academic rigor.

Engaging in the Scripps Research Internship exposes you to complex scientific concepts and methodologies that significantly surpass high school curriculum, offering a challenging and enriching experience. This high level of academic rigor not only prepares you for college-level coursework but also develops your analytical and critical thinking skills extensively. Participating in such a rigorous academic environment early on sets a strong foundation for your future academic endeavors and research opportunities.

2. You will gain hands-on experience.

This internship provides you with direct, hands-on laboratory experience, allowing you to work with advanced scientific tools and technologies. The practical skills gained are invaluable, offering a real-world application of your theoretical knowledge, which is crucial for a successful career in science. You'll learn to navigate the complexities of laboratory work, from conducting experiments to analyzing data, which will be instrumental in your scientific education and career.


3. You will receive mentorship from leading scientists.

The program offers a unique opportunity to receive direct mentorship from some of the world's leading scientists in various fields. This mentorship provides not only guidance and professional insights but also personal support, all of which are rare at the high school level. The relationships you build can influence both your academic and career trajectories, providing you with guidance that is tailored to your interests and goals.


4. You will receive a stipend for your work.

This program allows you to be financially compensated during your summer, which is especially a significant boon for those from a financial need background. For the seven weeks, you’ll be awarded a $4,760 stipend


5. You will build your professional network.

Networking is a crucial aspect of any career, and the Scripps Internship offers numerous opportunities to connect with professionals and peers who are passionate about science. These connections can lead to future collaboration, mentorship, and even job opportunities. Building a strong network early can ease your transition into the professional world and open doors to many career opportunities.


6. You will enhance your college applications.

Having a prestigious internship like Scripps on your college application can significantly distinguish you from other applicants. It demonstrates your commitment to your education and your field, showing colleges that you are proactive and dedicated to your studies. Colleges recognize the value of such experiences and often look favorably upon applicants who have demonstrated such initiative and passion.


7. You will engage in interdisciplinary learning.

The internship allows you to see how various scientific disciplines interact and converge in real research settings. This interdisciplinary exposure not only broadens your understanding of science but also opens up new areas of interest and inquiry. You'll learn to approach problems from various scientific perspectives, enhancing your ability to innovate and think critically across different fields.


8. You will develop advanced problem-solving skills.

You will encounter real-world scientific problems that require sophisticated thinking and innovative solutions. Developing these problem-solving skills is essential for success in any scientific endeavor and will serve you well throughout your academic and professional career. The ability to think on your feet and approach problems from unique angles is a highly valuable skill in any field.


9. You will contribute to real research publications.

Some students in the internship may have the opportunity to contribute to research publications, an extraordinary achievement at the high school level. This can be a significant boost to your academic profile and a remarkable talking point in interviews and applications. Having your name associated with published research demonstrates your ability to contribute meaningfully to scientific discussions and discoveries.


10. You will find inspiration for your future studies.

The exposure to cutting-edge research and technology at Scripps can inspire your future academic projects and career choices. This inspiration is often the spark that drives many young scientists towards innovative and impactful careers in research. The experience can ignite a lifelong passion for discovery and a commitment to advancing scientific knowledge.


Our Thoughts

Joining the Scripps Research Internship is more than just an academic commitment; it’s an opportunity to grow personally and professionally in a nurturing yet challenging environment. The exposure to real-world research and the chance to contribute to meaningful scientific advancements can profoundly influence your career trajectory and academic goals. If you are eligible to apply, you definitely should consider applying, especially if the ten reasons we’ve listed appeals to you! 



One other option – Lumiere Research Scholar Program

If you are interested in doing university-level research in STEM or other subjects, which can become a topic to talk about in your college application, then you could 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.


Lydia is currently a junior at Harvard University, studying Molecular and Cellular Biology and Economics. In high school, she was the captain of her high school’s Academic Decathlon team and attended the Governor's School of Engineering and Technology. She aims to become a life sciences consultant after graduation. 


Image Source: Scripps logo


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