Summer is an important time for high school students, offering a wealth of opportunities for personal and academic growth if utilized effectively. As rising seniors, juniors, and recent graduates gear up for the upcoming academic year, it is an ideal period to engage in activities and programs that can significantly bolster their resumes and college applications.
Why do a summer internship in high school?
One of the reasons why a lot of prestigious and coveted internship programs take place in the summer is that students have more time to do rigorous work and take up a challenge.
Since a summer internship is a more intensive program spread over multiple weeks, you have the chance to fully engage with your work, take up travel, and interact with your fellow interns as much as possible.
A lot of experienced researchers and members of organizations such as NASA have some extra time to volunteer and mentor in these programs.
Internships will help you build skills that are typically valued in a work environment. This is a great supplement to academic knowledge.
When should I start looking for summer internships?
You start scouting for summer internships 6 months to a year before the target summer for the internships.
Most competitive summer opportunities have a rigorous application process, and early deadlines - usually from the near-end of the previous year.
In this blog, we’ll cover 12 summer internships for high school students, complete with eligibility requirements, dates and deadlines, as well as the stipend you will be given upon successful completion. Note that these internships are quite prestigious, and are open to only a few students each year.
Additionally, we’ve mentioned the acceptance rates of each of these internships - summer internships are usually very competitive and receive a high volume of applicants, so it’s a good idea to know your odds and pick and choose internships that you are comfortable applying to.
The acceptance rate has been calculated using the following two methods -
Information from the organization’s official website, newsletters, company reports, as well as statistics mentioned by alumni and new interns on their personal blog.
Estimated acceptance rate based on the number of interns in each cohort.
For example, if the cohort size is 10-12 students, and the average number of applications is about 600-800 from across the country, we can estimate the acceptance rate to be about 2- 4%.
However, if you wish to pick an internship that helps you build on a specific set of skills, don’t just consider the acceptance rate or the stipend provided, but also other factors (such as networking opportunities, skill building, and exposure) while applying to summer internships.
Acceptance Rate - 25%, with each company accepting about 2-3 students for each cohort. The upcoming summer cohort has about 100 students.
Ladder Internship is a selective program for high school students to work with start-ups.
Ladder Startups work in fields including technology, machine learning and AI, finance, environmental science and sustainability, business and marketing, healthcare and medicine, 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. 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: April 16 and May 14
Program Dates: 8 weeks, June to August
Eligibility: Students who can work for 15-20 hours/week, for 8-12 weeks. Open to high school students, undergraduates and gap year students!
Acceptance Rate - 3-4%, with 6-7 students making it to each cohort.
A highly prestigious, highly competitive competition for high school students, the SEES is hosted by UT Austin in collaboration with NASA. This is a national-level internship program, where you can work beside NASA subject matter experts.
The program is focused on Earth and space research and relies on interns to assist with analyzing and visualizing data - key aspects of moving a project faster and foundational knowledge for aerospace engineering. All project teams will present their research during the Virtual SEES Science Symposium.
There is a virtual, learning component to the program and then an onsite experience on campus at the University of Texas, Austin. You are also expected to present your research at the program's concluding symposium.
Note: Here are a few things the SEES team looks for in an intern - your academic records, a written application that includes answers to essay questions, an introduction video, a letter of recommendation form, a transcript, and a demonstration of interest in STEM.
Cost: No cost, housing, meals, and local transportation will be provided. A limited number of travel scholarships to Texas are also available.
Location: Hybrid (On-site experience at the University of Austin, Texas campus)
Application Deadline: February 20, 2023
Program Dates: May 1 - July 26, 2023
Eligibility: High school juniors who hold U.S. citizenship can apply
Acceptance Rate - 3-4%, with about 36 students being selected each year, according to this blog. However, cohort sizes may have been subject to change after 2021 based on departmental availability, as well as pandemic restrictions.
The Met invites applications for a cohort of high school students passionate about art, design, architecture, and creative expression for their fully-funded internships each year. The Met offers two kinds of internships - one that goes on alongside your school year, and the other that runs exclusively in the summer.
The internship program that runs all year-round invites a cohort of students to connect with art, museums, and creative professionals as they develop professional skills, network, and gain work experience.
As a MET intern, you regularly interact with museum professionals, as well as experts in marketing, scientific research, social media, law, and educational programming.
You also participate in Career Labs - sessions where you interact and learn from professionals about their work, and experiences, and receive advice!
This is a highly valuable opportunity for students passionate not just about art, but related fields as well.
Cost: No cost, stipend of $1,100 provided
Location: The Met Fifth Avenue, NY
School-year Internship: October 28, 2023
Summer Internship: March 31, 2023
School-year Internship: January 14 - June 9, 2024
Summer Internship: June 25 - August 12, 2024
Eligibility: High school juniors and seniors based in and around New York City
Acceptance Rate - 4-5%, with about 11 students being selected as JHIBS interns.
A program aimed at making the field of neurological sciences more inclusive and representative, the Johns Hopkins Internship in Brain Science Program is an 8-week, fully funded summer research program for bright high school students from underrepresented communities.
As part of the program, you are expected to participate in research under the guidance and mentorship of leading researchers in the field and will take part in hands-on projects, discussions, scientific seminars, weekly personal and professional development sessions, and interactions with leading neuroscientists at JHU.
The program is also offered virtually, for students who cannot attend the program on campus. The program is open to 5-6 students and provides them with an hourly stipend, and also covers transportation costs. At the end of the program, you will present your research via an oral or poster presentation. To get an idea of past projects, visit here.
Cost: Free of cost, in-person participants receive an hourly stipend (amount varies), while virtual interns receive a stipend of $500
Location: Virtual/JHU Campus
Application Deadline: March 1, 2023
Program Dates: June 2023 - August 2023 (in-person); July 2023 - August 2023 (Virtual program)
Juniors and seniors from around the country are eligible to apply to the 5-week, virtual program.
Juniors and seniors residing in Baltimore City and the metro area, who have a strong passion and interest in science and medicine, are from underrepresented groups, and have an academically strong background are eligible for the in-person program.
Acceptance Rate - 7-8%, with around 6 to 7 students making it to each cohort.
The Smithsonian offers highly selective internship opportunities, one of them being the APAC internship. If you're a high school student interested in contributing to museum work related to Asian-Pacific American history, art, and culture, you should definitely consider applying. The program invites applications from undergraduate as well as high school students, so you can expect the internship application process to be quite competitive.
As an intern with the Smithsonian APAC, you will be tasked with the development and implementation of public programs and events, contributions to research and exhibition development, as well as help with marketing and outreach efforts, and support for administrative tasks, based on the APAC department you pick to intern with.
Cost: Stipend and college credit offered. Additionally, the Smithsonian Office of Fellowships and Internships also offers funded opportunities to interns through several scholarship programs.
Location: APAC office in Washington, D.C.
Application Deadline: March 10, 2023
Program Dates: About 10 weeks (June to August), with interns dedicating about 20 hours per week.
Eligibility: All high school students can apply
Acceptance Rate - 10-11%, with approximately 45 students making it to each year’s cohort.
The New York City High School Law Internship Program aims to connect interested high school students in the city with legal employers. Since its inception in 1993, it has accepted more than 2000 interns and linked them with prestigious employers. The employers include law firms, corporations, non-profit organizations, and government agencies. The internship offers you practical training, panel discussions, and networking events to help you prepare for a career in law.
Internship duties may include assisting paralegals, filing paperwork, maintaining records, and organizing documents. In addition to the on-the-job experience, you will also receive exposure to the legal profession through development programs offered by your legal employers as part of the internship program.
Cost: No cost, stipend of $15/hour is provided
Location: New York City
Application Deadline: Applications for 2023 have closed. Based on this year, deadlines close in the last week of January.
Program Dates (subject to change): May 29 – August 28, 2023
Eligibility: NYC public high school students are eligible to apply
Acceptance Rate - about 5-8%, with only 300 students being accepted into a cohort from thousands of applicants from around the country.
Every year, the Bank of America Student Leaders Program admits hundreds of community-minded high schoolers are into the program. Selected high-schoolers intern with nonprofits like Boys and Girls Clubs of America and Habitat for Humanity and experience community service through a paid eight-week internship.
In this highly-selective leadership program, high school students participate in the National Student Leaders Summit in Washington, D.C, and understand how stakeholders like nonprofits, governments, and businesses collaborate and interact to meet local needs. This experience enables participating students to create change and improve more lives with inspiring stories of enthusiasm and commitment.
Cost: No cost, stipend of about $11 per hour is provided
Location: Washington D.C.
Dates: 8 weeks, (from the end of your school year, and including the week of July 17-24 in D.C)
Application Deadline: TBA
Eligibility: A current junior or senior high school student legally authorized to work in the USA.
Acceptance Rate - 2-3%, with only 7-8 students making it to each cohort.
This is a 6-week, fully-funded internship offered to high school graduates interested in geoscience. The internship is meant to serve as a bridge program between high school and university, and sees hundreds of applicants from across the country.
As a GeoSciences intern, you will be expected to engage and learn about ocean sciences, atmospheric sciences, and geographic information systems (GIS)/Remote Sensing techniques.
Additionally, you will also be required to take two college-level courses, right before you start your undergraduate degree, to help prepare you for college academics.
The program funds all your meals, housing, travel to and fro the University of Maryland, as well as any other activities you may choose to undertake as part of the internship, along with a stipend.
Cost: Fully-funded, weekly stipend of $500 provided, along with reimbursements for travel.
Location: University of Maryland
Application Deadline: Applications for the 2023 cohort have closed, but you can expect the deadline for the next cohort to be around April end.
Program Dates: The program runs for a total of 6 weeks, from June 26 through August 4, 2023.
Eligibility: High school students, particularly from underrepresented groups, in various areas of the Geosciences field are encouraged to apply.
Acceptance rate - <5%, with the program selecting only 100 students from 2000+ applicants.
If selected after a rigorous process, you are required to spend 10 weeks as a biomedical intern, and are given a $4,000 stipend. Alongside attending seminars and laboratory sessions with the staff, students can create their own research biomedical projects under the recognized mentoring of the City of Hope facilitators. The curriculum ends in the completion of a research paper, which is then presented at the end of the program.
Cost: None, stipend of $4,000 provided
Location: City of Hope Medical Center
Application Deadline: March 16, 2023
Program Dates: TBA
Eligibility: Students must be 16 years old before their first day on campus and have completed chemistry and biology classes in high school before applying.
Acceptance Rate - about 3%, with 27 students making it to the final cohort each year.
If you’re interested in pursuing a degree in marine biology or conservation, the Hutton Junior Fisheries Program is one you should consider applying to. The program is open to high school students in the summer, and is highly competitive, inviting applications from across the country.
As a Hutton Scholar, you will be placed in fisheries-related organizations, such as state fish and wildlife agencies, federal fisheries offices, research laboratories, or conservation organizations. At these postings, you will be assigned mentors who help guide you through projects and activities.
Since its inception in 2001, the program has seen over 750 scholars placed in more than 250 institutions.
Hutton Scholars go on to study fisheries or other biological sciences, and have attributed their growing interest in the topics to their enriching summer experience.
Cost: Fully funded, stipend of $3,000 provided to interns. All interns are also awarded a fully-funded trip to the Hutton Scholars Summit (University of Arkansas, Pine Bluff).
Location: Varies according to partner organization assigned, locations are spread across all 50 states.
Application Deadline: February 14, 2023
Program Dates: June to August (start date depends on the Scholar’s schedule)
Students who live and have residency in the United States, Mexico and Canada are eligible to apply.
The program is open to all current high school students in their sophomore, junior, and senior year.
Students from traditionally excluded backgrounds in the fisheries profession are encouraged to apply.
Acceptance rate - 3%, with about 50 students making it to the final cohort.
SIMR is one of the most prestigious summer programs for STEM enthusiasts in high-school. SIMR provides extensive research opportunities across various medical disciplines for all its participants from immunology and neuro biology to cancer biology - they have it all covered.
Once selected, you will be assigned a particular field of study (branch) based on your preference, and spend two months as a mentee. You will be mentored by imminent scholars, researchers, and Ph.D. fellows in the field of medicine.
Each branch has a slightly different internship structure to help you get the best exposure to that branch, so be sure to read through the internship structures carefully.
The program is slightly different from the others we’ve mentioned in the list, as it is a research-heavy internship with a heavy focus on learning and training.
This program will keep you challenged and give you an immersive learning experience into the nuances of research work such as ethics, methodology, collection and analysis of scientific data, etc. The program provides a $500 stipend.
Note: Stanford also offers some great STEM programs for high school students, including residential, immersion, and workshop-based programs. You can check out the complete list here.
Cost: No cost, minimum stipend of $500 provided
Location: MIT Campus
Application deadline: December 16, 2023 (tentative)
Program dates: June 13 - August 4, 2023 (tentative)
Eligibility: Open to juniors and seniors residing in the US with a permanent American residency
Acceptance rate - <10%, with about 20 students making it to the final cohort each year.
HiSTEP aims to expand the pipeline of students interested in biomedical and healthcare careers and helps expand opportunities for high school students. The program is open to current high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors.
Note that HiSTEP is an internship program that focuses more on learning, training, and research, similar to the structure of SIMR.
As a HiSTEP intern, you will explore the importance of biomedical research, work on skill development and explore STEM-M careers. Sessions and activities at the HiSTEP program have included the following -
Basic science skills, including hands-on science experiments
Current topics in the health sciences, case studies, group projects, and an examination of recent topics in human health.
STEM-M careers assistance, learning about the roles played by scientists, health care workers, and public health experts.
Career readiness and leadership development:
College and career advising, interns are provided with resources to help them understand the college application process, find scholarships and mentors, and transition successfully to college.
Cost: No cost, stipend ranging from $2000 to $4000 provided on the level of education completed before joining the program.
Location: National Institutes of Health campus in Bethesda, MD
Application deadline: February 01 (tentative)
Program dates: June 12 to August 4 (tentative)
Eligibility: High school seniors are eligible to apply
To build a solid, engaging college application, it is important to participate in internships, your hobbies, as well as independent research in a subject of your choice.
You can read through a complete list of 24 summer research programs here.
If you are looking to start your own research journey with 1-1 mentorship from a top PhD scholar, check out the Lumiere Research Scholar Program, a selective online high school program for students that I founded with researchers at Harvard and Oxford. 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 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: Ladder Internships logo