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10 Reasons Why You Should Apply to APA’s Internship for High School Students

Participation in internship programs such as the American Psychological Association (APA) is pivotal in bolstering your college application. Admissions officers are constantly on the lookout for applicants who go the extra mile to engage in a subject of their choosing, and gain hands-on experience in the field through research projects, internships such as this one, or pre-college programs!

This blog is a deep dive into APA’s internship program for high school students. 

What is the APA Internship all about?

You will have the opportunity to work alongside seasoned professionals, gaining firsthand experience in conducting research, administering assessments, and providing therapeutic interventions. APA internships often involve collaboration with interdisciplinary teams, fostering a comprehensive understanding of how psychology intersects with other fields such as healthcare, education, and social services. 

Tailored for students deeply passionate about psychology and its societal impact, the APA Internal Internship Program program offers unparalleled hands-on experience and professional development. It offers internship opportunities within a non-profit membership association boasting over 157,000 members with various positions spanning policy, research, communications, operations, publishing, and education to cater to individual interests. Participants engage in activities applying theoretical knowledge to practice, fostering a deeper understanding of professional psychology’s workplace dynamics.

How is the APA Internship structured?

At present, all APA internships are structured as remote opportunities. Upon approval of their application, applicants will be directly contacted by hiring managers through APA. There is a diverse range of positions available, including policy, research, communications, operations, publishing, and education, catering to individual interests within APA. Learning outcomes vary across departments and offices, with interns engaging in a variety of activities that apply theoretical knowledge to practice and enhance their understanding of professional psychology within a workplace environment.

Interns report directly to their supervisors for daily tasks and receive support for overall learning objectives. They may also attend workshops, and discussions, participate in group projects, or undertake various tasks throughout the internship period. Additionally, interns have the opportunity to attend educational presentations by APA senior staff, offering insights into APA, trends and issues in psychology, and non-traditional careers in the field.

It’s worth noting that while not all internships are paid, APA does offer academic credit internships. The number of internship credits is determined by the student’s academic institution, professor, and individual preference.

Who is eligible for the internship?

High school students residing in the U.S. are eligible to intern at APA. Although all current APA internships are remote, interns must work from a state where the APA has already registered as an employer and must be considered for remote work eligibility as defined in APA’s Flexible Work policy. The two states where APA is not registered as an employer yet are Arkansas and Mississippi. 

The APA will not approve employees to work from the following states and territories: Alaska, California, Colorado, Guam, Hawaii, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana, Nebraska, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, U.S. Virgin Islands, Washington, and Wyoming. 

Additionally, interns must be eligible to work in the U.S. (as verified by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s eVerify service) and must reside in one of the states where APA is already registered as an employer. Although no specific criteria regarding academic credit have been specified, given the prestigious nature of an APA internship, maintaining good academic standing is advisable for applicants. 

What is the acceptance rate? Is it prestigious?

While APA does not disclose an acceptance rate, their internship opportunity is regarded as prestigious for high school students interested in psychology and related fields. APA specifies that they will not be able to acknowledge each applicant; only those applicants selected for an interview will be contacted by the hiring manager. This indicates that a large pool of applicants are sifted through and those with the strongest credentials are selected.

Being selected for an APA internship offers unparalleled access to a reputable organization with a vast network of professionals and resources. It provides a unique chance to gain hands-on experience, apply theoretical knowledge to real-world scenarios, and establish invaluable connections that can be invaluable for future academic and career pursuits. Hence, it can be a highly sought-after opportunity for students interested in psychology and STEM. 

How does the application process work?

To be considered, you must apply through the APA Online Internship Application Portal. APA offers year-round internships (spring, summer, fall, winter) for students enrolled at least part-time in an academic institution. For students under 18, submission of an official District of Columbia Work Permit is required. Two internship types are available:

  1. Paid: Applicants must provide a cover letter, resume, and (where applicable) a writing sample.

  2. Academic credit (unpaid): Applicants must provide a cover letter, resume, and (where applicable) a writing sample. If selected, submission of a letter from the institution on academic letterhead is mandatory.

Students may apply for up to three internships. A separate application is required for each. All application materials (resume, cover letter, writing sample) should be combined and uploaded as one document. Information on the D.C. Work Permit can be found online.

10 Reasons Why You Should Consider Applying to APA Internships

1. You’ll add a lot of prestige value to your college application

The opportunity to work within the American Psychological Association, collaborate with esteemed professionals in the field, and contribute to ongoing psychological research will undoubtedly elevate your academic profile. Colleges recognize the significance of hands-on experience in prestigious organizations like APA, highlighting your dedication to advancing your knowledge and skills in psychology. 

2. You’ll be able to forge a meaningful network

Interning at APA offers invaluable networking opportunities with senior psychologists and industry leaders. By engaging with seasoned professionals, you’ll gain insights, guidance, and mentorship that can shape your career trajectory and foster long-lasting professional relationships. These connections provide a platform for learning, collaboration, and growth, enhancing both your internship experience and your future prospects in the field.

3. You’ll get to enjoy a Free 1-Year APA Student Affiliate Membership

As an APA internship participant, you’ll gain access to a wealth of resources through a complimentary 1-year APA student affiliate membership. This includes membership in the American Psychological Association of Graduate Students, offering valuable insights, networking opportunities, and professional development support tailored to your academic journey.

4. You’ll sit in on educational presentations by APA senior staff

Interns at APA have the unique opportunity to attend educational presentations led by senior staff members. These presentations serve as a platform for exploring non-traditional career paths within the field, offering guidance and inspiration for interns as they navigate their professional journey.

5. You’ll be engaged in diverse tasks and projects

Interns at APA immerse themselves in a wide range of tasks and projects tailored to their interests and skills. From conducting research and contributing to writing projects to assisting with web-based initiatives, interns play a crucial role in advancing the organization’s objectives. Interns may also support staff members with administrative tasks and special projects. This hands-on involvement allows interns to develop valuable skills, expand their knowledge base, and make meaningful contributions to the field.

6. You’ll receive compensation or academic credit for your work

Interns at APA have the opportunity to receive compensation in the form of a stipend or academic credit for their contributions. While not all internships are paid, interns can opt to earn academic credit instead. The number of internship credits is determined by the student’s academic institution, professor, and individual preference.

7. You will contribute to public education in psychology

As an APA intern, you’ll work within a non-profit membership association boasting over 157,000 members. This internship program is tailored for students passionate about psychology and its societal impact. You’ll get to apply psychological knowledge to benefit society, develop valuable skills, explore non-traditional career paths, and build a professional network.

8. You will develop practical skills that can boost your academic future

Throughout your internship, you’ll develop practical skills such as research, writing, and communication while gaining proficiency in organizational tasks. You’ll explore non-traditional career options within psychology and learn about industry trends and challenges. Additionally, you’ll enhance your teamwork and collaboration abilities through interactions with colleagues and senior staff. This immersive experience will enrich your understanding of psychology and provide valuable preparation for future academic and professional pursuits.

9. You get the convenience of a remote internship

Applying for APA internships offers the convenience of a remote program, allowing flexibility in location and schedule. As a remote intern, you can participate from anywhere, eliminating the need for relocation and the associated costs. This flexibility enables you to tailor your internship around other commitments, such as coursework, summer programs, or part-time jobs, while gaining valuable experience.

10. You’ll get to access premium scientific databases

During your internship at APA, you’ll have free access to esteemed databases such as PsycINFO, PsycCAREERS, PsycNET, and PsycARTICLES. These resources provide unparalleled access to cutting-edge research, career opportunities, and scholarly articles, enriching your learning experience and deepening your understanding of the field.

Our final thoughts on the program

The APA internship program offers a prestigious opportunity for hard-working and passionate high school students to immerse themselves in the field of psychology. With its competitive selection process and esteemed reputation, securing a spot in this program is no easy feat. However, the rewards are well worth the effort. 

You’ll have the chance to work within the esteemed American Psychological Association, contributing to ongoing research and enhancing your academic profile, while forging meaningful connections with senior psychologists and industry leaders. To increase your chances of acceptance, we recommend taking the time to craft a strong personal statement and thoroughly prepare your application.

Bonus — the Lumiere Research Scholar Program

If you are interested in doing university-level research in psychology and related subjects, 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, over 4000 students applied 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.

Trisha Malhotra, an Ashoka University alumna, has 5 years of experience being a freelance writer and currently writes for Lumiere Education. She is passionate about music, reading, and Brazilian jiu-jitsu, as well as a devoted cat parent.

Image Source: APA logo


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