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  • Ishaan Chawdhary

15 Virtual Research Opportunities for High School Students

Every discipline of study, from economics to physics to sociology, relies on research to fuel innovation. Research impacts the everyday functioning of industries, the direction of major policy decisions, and helps us understand the world around us. Today, research has become one of the most important ways for high school students to spend their time during the summer, with research experience becoming a distinctive advantage in the college admission process.


Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted a lot of research opportunities and experiences that students previously had access to. Due to social distancing rules, many high school students are finding it more difficult to gain hands-on experience. Additionally, several students who live in other parts of the world can have trouble accessing research opportunities located on-campus in countries abroad. Fortunately, a number of research opportunities are now virtual, making them more accessible for students.


Here are 15 Virtual Research Opportunities for High School Students:

1. Perimeter Institute International Summer School for Young Physicists (ISSYP)

ISSYP is a summer program for current juniors and seniors who are interested in theoretical physics and want to pursue it in college. Students attend Perimeter Institute experts' talks on the newest theoretical physics issues, as well as short courses, keynote speeches, and mentorship sessions. ISSYP is a very competitive program that only accepts 30–40 students each year. While ISSYP used to be hosted at the Perimeter Institute in Waterloo, Ontario, it is now an entirely online program.

Cost: $195

2. UC San Diego Academic Connections Research Scholars

This summer program selects 25 students to work on research, individually with a UCSD faculty researcher, in Chemistry, Biochemistry, Biology, or Nanotechnology. The program has shifted online for the 2022 edition. The program is available to rising sophomore, junior, and senior students. The program lasts 6 weeks.

Cost: $4200

3. Secondary Student Training Program (SSTP) (University of Iowa)


Designed for advanced students in their sophomore and junior years, this program is highly selective, and offers students the chance to conduct research in a wide list of fields ranging from Biochemistry to Religious Studies. Participants are placed under the guidance of a faculty mentor, and get to work on research with them. While some disciplines can only be researched offline, others are available online. The length of the program is 5 weeks. Applications for this program close on February 18th.

Cost: $6395

4. United Nations

On the United Nations' database, there are a plethora of volunteer opportunities. Volunteers who work from home are connected to government bodies, like the United Nations, and they help with a variety of civic advocacy efforts. Research, writing, translation, social media, and art and design are among the other volunteer activities available through the United Nations platform.

Cost: None

5. Camp Psych, Gettysburg College

This virtual program takes place over 5 days, rising high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors are eligible. This year, the dates are July 11-15th, 2022. The program is designed for rising high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors, and involves approximately 17.5 hours of live sessions via Zoom. Students will spend most of the week in small groups, complemented with a few larger whole camp sessions. Each session will involve lectures, discussions, activities, and demonstrations. Instructors will answer questions about college, careers, and research.

Cost: $350

6. Syracuse University Pre-College Accelerated Online Semester: Social Psychology

The 8 week pre-college course is taught by SU faculty and instructors, and classes are structured like real college classes. The program is open to rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors. The program offers a wide variety of courses, ranging from forensic science to academic writing. Students attend classes and explore research on prominent topics in their chosen discipline.

Cost: $695



7. EnergyMag Research Internship

Open to high school and college students, EnergyMag offers virtual research internships to students looking to gain experience working in the renewable energy sector. Students gain research and analytical skills, alongside work experience, by researching specific companies, technologies, and markets. Internships can be half-time (2-8 weeks, 20 hours per week) or quarter-time (1-9 months, 8 hours per week)

Cost: None

8. PHC Group, LLC Mary Miller Summer Program

Through this paid internship, rising high school seniors and graduates can build leadership skills and pursue independent interests. Students will work on social media and community projects, as well as social marketing research under the direction of the public health director.

Cost: None

9. Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory – High School Student Summer Research Fellowship

In this research fellowship, students join MDI Biological Laboratory to develop their lab science research skills. Participants receive hands-on training and experience in research from instructors who work at premier labs. Before applying, students must be nominated by a teacher. Students receive a stipend for their participation.

Cost: None

10. Camp Euclid – A Mathematics Research Camp

Camp Euclid is a math research program for kids that takes place online. Math problems will be presented to the participants (which have never been solved before). Within a circle of fellow scholars, students spend time on understanding, solving, and applying complex math problems. The opportunity is open to students over the age of 13.

Cost: $1400

11. Seattle Children’s Research Institute – Research Training Program Students can become familiar with research and gain hands-on experience, as well as increase their knowledge of global health. They will also participate in workshops on college readiness and career exploration. The program has both online and in-person components.

Cost: None

12. The Summer Youth Intensive Program

The College of Chemistry at UC Berkeley coordinates and conducts the Summer Youth Intensive Program (SYIP). The one-year program helps students who are interested in scientific research to gain hands-on experience, and improve their chances of success in college. It also aims to assist students in adjusting to college life.

Cost: $14,500

13. CHORI – Cystic Fibrosis Summer Research Program The CHORI Summer Student Research Program allows students to spend three months during the summer immersed in basic and/or clinical research. The program matches students with one or two CHORI PIs who act as mentors, guiding them through the whole research process. The phases include research design, hypothesis testing, and methodological development. At the end of the program, students present their findings to their peers.


Cost: None

14. Simons Summer Research Program


Conducted from June 27th to July 29th this year, the Simons Summer Research Program gives high school students the opportunity to undertake hands-on research in a variety of disciplines, ranging from science and math to engineering. Students can join research teams, collaborate with faculty members, and learn about laboratory equipment and methodologies. Students receive a stipend for their participation.


Cost: None

15. UIllinois – High School STEM Research Programs

This program is open to rising high school juniors and seniors. Students receive an authentic STEM research experience at a research university for 6 weeks during the summer, in disciplines ranging from cancer immunology, neuroscience, artificial intelligence, physics, quantum mechanics, bioengineering, to electrical engineering. Students accepted into the program will be matched with another student and a teacher from their chosen field.

Cost: None

One other option – Lumiere Research Scholar Program


If you are interested in a selective, structured research program, consider applying to the Lumiere Research Scholar Program, a selective online high school program for students founded by Harvard and Oxford researchers. The program pairs you with a full-time researcher to develop your own independent research project, in any discipline of your choice. Last year over 1500 students applied to 500 slots in the research program! You can find the application form here.

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