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The Ultimate Guide to Microsoft's High School Internship (Discovery Program)

If you are a high school student interested in a future in technology and computer science, it’s a great idea to attend some strong and competitive programming internships. There are several internships that are highly prestigious and hosted by top companies across the world. In these programs, you will learn core skills, gain access to key resources, and exposure to industry mentors and professions. These are essential tools for a future in technology and will be a significant boost to any resume. One such program that we recommend is the Discovery Program.


What is the Discovery Program?

The Discovery Program is a 4-week summer internship program open to high schoolers and hosted by Microsoft, one of the biggest technology corporations in the world. Discovers will be introduced to core computer science concepts, gain mentorship from Microsoft employees, and train for a future career at a company like Microsoft. Designed for students with a strong interest in technology and the tech industry, the program has a strong focus on hands-on learning and exploration. Incredibly valuable for students with an interest in STEM, this program looks for students who are genuinely passionate about a potential career in technology.


Eligibility for the Discovery Program?

To apply for the Discovery Program, you must be a graduated high school senior about to start your first year of your bachelor degree program (rising college freshman). You must have completed a pre-calculus or equivalent course by the start of the program. You must be at least 16 years old with a legal right to work in the U.S. An important qualification is that you must also live at an address within 50 miles of Redmond, Washington.


Even though this program is only for graduating seniors, we chose to include it because it is a great opportunity for students looking to go a gap-year or gain experience before their first year of university! However, if you’re looking for opportunities for high school students, you can look at NASA Internships, Meta Summer Academy, Army Educational Outreach Programs and more! You can look at our blog about computer science internships and computer science programs for more options.


Important dates to know

During the summer of 2023, the program was held for 4 consecutive weeks from July 10th to August 4th. Applicants must be available to work during all 4 weeks in order to be considered.


Application details for next year will be posted in February 2024, with an application deadline likely around March 2024.


Are there any costs to attending Microsoft’s High School Internship?

There is no cost to attend the program. Instead, applicants are paid for the 4-weeks they are working, at a base rate of $20/hour.


Is the internship prestigious?

The Microsoft Discovery Program is certainly prestigious, simply because it gives high school students who have not yet entered college an opportunity to intern with a huge tech company: Microsoft. As Microsfot is one of the biggest names in the tech industry, the program’s association with the company makes it a highly-ranked program. In addition, the internship is fully-funded, attracting even more applicants. The application process is quite selective, with only a few applicants chosen for a first interview, and then a second interview. Applicants must demonstrate a genuine interest for learning and technology in order to be considered.


Pros and Cons of attending the Discovery Program


Pros

1. It’s a prestigious program

The Microsoft Discovery Program is a very unique program, allowing high school students an opportunity typically only given to college students: the chance to intern at Microsoft. If you are looking to seriously pursue a future career in the tech industry, having this name on your resume is a huge boost. This can be an incredibly valuable experience for high school graduates looking to jump-start their career in technology. Not many people get to attend this program, and you are sure to stand out when it comes to future employment opportunities.


2. The program is a great learning opportunity

In this program, students will learn programming fundamentals in computer science, engineering, and technology, in order to explore their interest in areas such as software engineering, data science, artificial intelligence, and product management. Participants are able to gain hands-on experience working on real-world projects and problems, attending workshops and training sessions, and learning under world-class mentors to experience what it’s really like to work at a company like Microsoft. If you are looking for a future in technology, this program is a great way to explore your interests and find what career areas appeal to you before you even step foot in college and begin your studies. This is a rare opportunity to build your skillset in a real-world working environment.


3. The Discovery Program offers huge networking opportunities

One of the biggest pros to attending the Discovery Program is the network you will build. This program offers targeted networking opportunities for you to reach out, meet, and speak with industry professionals and mentors. Each day, you will be surrounded by Microsoft employees who will be an essential resource for you whenever you decide to try and break into the tech industry, whenever you have questions, whenever you want a recommendation letter, and more. The program also offers countless resources to help participants develop career readiness skills and prepare for interviews and job applicants. This is a huge leg-up for a student not yet in college!


4. You can earn money from being a part of this program.

Unlike many educational programs, this program is a paid-opportunity. While there is no cost to attend, students will be making money throughout the summer simply to learn, network, and have a good experience!


Cons


1. This program is open only to students who live in Western Washington

Applications from students outside a 50 mile radius of Redmond, WA, will not be considered. Thus, this opportunity is only available to a select number of students. The location requirement severely limits the amount of students who can apply, and could likely affect your eligibility.


2. You must be a rising college freshman to apply

The Discovery Program is only open to rising college freshmen. This means it will be of no use on college applications, as you will have already been admitted to a college before attending this program. In addition, it means you’ll be spending your summer before college working a 4-week internship. This might be considered a loss to those who hope to fully enjoy their last high school summer.


Our Review

In conclusion, we think the Microsoft Discovery Program is a great option for students in the Washington area. You’ll be exposed to a premier tech institute, a huge network of resources, and a taste of what a career in technology would be like. This internship would certainly be the right choice for those with a strong passion for the field and those looking to get a foot in the door of the tech industry as soon as they can!


If you are looking to do cutting-edge research in computer science, then you should 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.


Amelia is a current senior at Harvard College studying art history with a minor in economics. She’s enthusiastic about music, movies, and writing, and is excited to help Veritas AIs students as much as she can!


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