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11 Political Science Internships for High School Students

Political Internships provide first-hand experience in the political arena, develop critical skills like communication and research, foster networking opportunities, and empower you to actively engage in democracy. It's a gateway to understanding governance and shaping the future. If you think you’d be interested in trying one – we’ve compiled a list of ten political internships for high school students.

However, before we dive into the opportunities, here’s why you might benefit from doing a political internship while still in high school.

Why do a Political Internship in High School?

Political Internships are vastly diverse – they can constitute working with elected government officials, working with NGOs or advocacy groups, working with the press, and even constitute political research and analysis. This diverse nature can be beneficial in offering insight into different workspaces!

The most generalizable way you can identify a political internship is its impact on civil discourse, its involvement in civic proceedings, and its benefit to community and community service. Political internships can not only add an edge to your profile, especially while applying to college, by demonstrating motivation and dedication but also help you build on your passion.

With that, here’s a list of some of the best political internships for high school students to start you off.

While the Page Program may not strictly be a traditional internship, it follows a work-learn-mentorship model that provides you with real-world experience and is also quite prestigious. The Senate Page program is one of the longest-running opportunities for high school students interested in political internships. Pages are sponsored by their senators and will reside in Washington D.C. (living expenses, rent, and laundry will be covered). Pages are responsible for delivering correspondence and legislative material within the Capitol and Senate office buildings, preparing the chamber for Senate sessions, and more. Pages will also have some amount of coursework they are expected to complete. Note that there are only 30 positions available, so not all senators will be sponsoring/selecting a page. Reach out to your local senator if you are interested in applying to this / check if they are sponsoring a page.

Location: Washington D.C.

Application Deadline: Rolling

Program Dates:

  • Fall and Spring Sessions are approximately 5 months (Dates TBA)

  • Summer Session is around 3 to 4 weeks (Dates TBA)

Eligibility: Rising Junior or Senior in high school, U.S. Citizen

Internships at Treasury give students the opportunity to collect, analyze and present policy data, as well as conduct research and summarize academic literature and news important for priority missions. This is a great program to build a solid foundation for a future career in international policy. Through these internships, you get the chance to gain research and analytical skills, and management and organizational skills through interactions with Treasury colleagues and other U.S. government agencies. You can choose to work in any one of the several offices that make up the Treasury Departmental Offices (headquarters).

Cost: Fully-funded, no stipend provided

Location: Washington, D.C.

Application deadline: Varies for all three Internship periods -

  • Spring Internship Period - Apply in October.

  • Summer Internship Period - Apply in December.

  • Fall Internship Period - Apply in June.

Program dates: Treasury typically offers internship opportunities in the spring, summer, and fall:

  • Spring Internship Period (January-May): Apply in October

  • Summer Internship Period (May-August): Apply in December

  • Fall Internship Period (September-December): Apply in June

Eligibility: Students must be U.S. citizens and must be enrolled or accepted at an accredited institution

If you prefer learning through work, this is a good choice for you because it is a competitive internship program for ambitious high school students interested in pursuing a career in international relations. This program is designed to develop industry-specific foreign policy and relations skills and sharpen critical thinking, communication, and collaboration skills. You get the chance to connect with members of the foreign relations community and attend weekly foreign policy seminars with guest speakers. You can apply to be a research intern, a special events intern, or an operations intern, and you also have the opportunity to work on a research paper for publication on FPRI’s Intern Corner.

Cost: Fully-funded, no stipend provided

Location: Remote and in-person (Philadelphia) options available

Application deadline:

Early Action: March 15, 2023

Final Deadline: April 15, 2023

Program dates: June – August 2023

Eligibility: High school students authorized for employment in the US can apply.

Pasquines is a non-profit news organization dedicated to bringing the U.S. territories of Puerto Rico, Guam, the US Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands into the national conversations of politics, policy decisions, and the consequences of both on these American territories – as well as the reverse, where they bring matters of national consideration to the local level. They look for virtual interns throughout the year, and the hours are flexible. Interns get to hone their writing and reporting skills, they get to learn a lot about the impact of large-scale policy at the local level and work with other minds that are passionate about politics.

Cost: No cost, unpaid

Location: Remote

Application Deadline: Rolling

Program Dates: N/A, for however long you want to work with them

Eligibility: High School Student

As a high school student, you can intern in Senator Chris Van Hollen’s Office for a minimum of 20 hours/week. Interns have responsibilities like assisting with phone calls, supporting constituent casework, drafting correspondence to constituents and federal agencies, attending community events, meetings, and briefings, and drafting memos for staff and the Senator. If you’re looking to gain hands-on learning and an opportunity to network, this internship could be useful!

Cost: No cost, stipend provided

Location: Baltimore, Rockville

Application Deadline:

  • Fall 2023 internship – June 23rd, 2023

  • Spring 2024 internship – November 3rd, 2023

Program Dates:

  • Fall 2023 – August 28th, 2023 to January 12th, 2024

  • Spring 2024 – January 22nd, 2024 to May 10th, 2024

Eligibility: High School Junior or Senior

Unlike the Senate Page Program, the House of Representatives House Page Internship is conducted in and with the House of Representatives. Some states conduct a house page program for the House of Representatives, and this includes Washington State. This internship program is a unique work-learn opportunity! Pages participate for one work week, assisting the House of Representatives with duties including serving on the chamber floor, making deliveries throughout campus, supporting member offices, and attending Page School. Page School supplements the hands-on learning experience with a classroom component geared toward understanding the legislative process. As a bonus the internship credits 20 hours of community service!

Location: Capitol Campus, Olympia

Application Deadline: TBA, Applications open November 1st

Program Dates: One week (40 hours) between January and April (intern can choose the week)

Eligibility: High School Student (between 14 and 16 years old)

Ladder Internship is a selective program for high school students to work with startups, and runs during the winter!

Ladder Startups work in fields including non profits, strategy, technology, machine learning and A.I., finance, environmental science and sustainability, business and marketing, media and journalism, and more. You can explore all the options here on their application form.

As part of their internship, each student will work on a real-world project and present their work at the end of their internship. In addition to working closely with their manager from the startup, each intern will also work with a Ladder Coach throughout their internship - the Ladder Coach serves as a second mentor and a sounding board, guiding students through the internship and helping them navigate the startup environment.

Note that as a Ladder Intern, you will engage in a coaching+work-based model - a component that sets it apart from most internships in this list. The virtual internship is usually 8 weeks long.

Cost: $1490 (Financial Aid Available)

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

Application Deadline: November 26, 2023

Program Dates: 8 weeks, the winter cohort commences on December 18, 2023

Selection Rate: Selective

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

The USC Center for the Political Future aims at providing USC students with real-world experience in politics, policy-making, nonprofits, and all things related to public service. This particular internship offers select high school students a summer internship program akin to a collegiate one. The internship experience entails a critical analysis that summarizes and analyzes one of USC Center for the Political Future’s annual signature events, the “Climate Forward Conference.” After watching videos of the conference, students will work on various assignments throughout the summer. Detailed information about the internship’s responsibilities and application can be found on their program details here. While this does not seem like a conventional political internship – it offers the chance to explore political research.

Cost: No cost, unpaid

Location: Santa Clara

Application Deadline: TBA, based on previous years – late May

Program Dates: June 1st to August 1st

Eligibility: High School Student

The Mikva Challenge is a non-profit that focuses on increasing youth engagement with civic politics. They routinely offer internships to youth in Chicago and Illinois to take part in helping them achieve this goal. Some of their principal internships include City-wide youth councils – which consist of young people from across the city who meet to participate in team building, leadership development, research, and the creation of policy proposals for key decision-makers in city government. But apart from CYCs, Mika also runs internships as Neighbourhood Leadership Initiatives, and as Mikva Summer Fellows. You can also reach out to Mikva outside of the constraints of available positions to intern with them. If you’re interested in the non-governmental side of political internships, such as advocacy groups and championing civic engagement, then this could be an insightful experience.

Cost: No cost, unpaid

Location: Chicago, Illinois

Application Deadline: Rolling

Program Dates: Flexible, TBA

Eligibility: High School Student

The NYC Office of the Mayor offers internships to high school students who are interested in the functioning of city government and policy. Interns apply to the department that interests them most and, if selected, will work within that department for the duration of their internship. In their positions, interns will have the chance to collaborate with staff and work on a range of projects including conducting research, attending meetings, managing incoming inquiries, analyzing data, drafting briefings, staffing events, and more. Through the bi-weekly Speaker Series, interns also get to learn more about the inner workings of the City government. Guest speakers include Deputy Mayors, Commissioners, Program Directors, and other senior staff. Interns will also come together to develop a service project. The goal is to design and execute a project that will impact the most deserving communities and uplift New Yorkers in need.

Cost: No cost, paid hourly ($15/hour)

Location: New York City

Application Deadline:

TBA for Summer term – likely to be mid-March based on previous years

TBA for Fall/Spring Terms

Program Dates:

  • Summer term – June through August (dates TBA for 2024)

  • Fall/Spring terms – September through April (dates TBA for 2024)

Eligibility: High School Students aged between 16 and 18 years old, residents of NYC

Democracy Maine is a non-partisan political organization that aims at increasing civic engagement and voter turnout in the state of Maine. They hire interns three times a year. These internships are highly prestigious, as they usually hire 3 to 4 high school interns per hiring season. The goal of the internship is to support high school students in exploring the ways they can make an impact in their communities as active citizens. Interns have some flexibility in what they focus on learning but generally the position covers how state laws are passed in a lot of detail, and the internship supports building facilitation and organizing skills. Interns are paid hourly, and work 5 hours per week. Some work that interns might engage in includes hosting events to raise awareness and create discussion on different issues, building a newsletter to communicate with past interns and Youth council members, and creating PSAs to be used in classrooms across the state.

Cost: No cost, paid hourly ($15/hour)

Location: Maine

Application Deadline:

  • Spring Semester – TBA, usually January

  • Summer – TBA, usually May

  • Fall semester – September 21st, 2023

Program Dates: Spring (Dates TBA), Summer (Dates TBA), Fall (Dates TBA)

Eligibility: High School Student (note if you are under 15 years old you are requested to fill out a work permit application)

Another way you can explore Politics and demonstrate motivation and dedication is by conducting independent research.

If you are interested in doing university-level research in political science, then you could also consider applying to the Lumiere Research Scholar Program, a selective online high school program for students that I founded with researchers at Harvard and Oxford. Last year, we had over 2100 students apply for 500 spots in the program! You can find the application form here.

Stephen is one of the founders of Lumiere and a Harvard College graduate. He founded Lumiere as a Ph.D. 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: U.S. Capitol via Wikipedia

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