25 Awesome Internships for High Schoolers in 2023
- What is an Internship and How does it Work?
- 25 Awesome Internships for High Schoolers
- How do Internships Impact Your College Chances?
What do you want to be when you grow up? If you’re like most high school students, the answer still isn’t crystal clear. That’s all right, and in fact, it’s 100% normal. The good news is that there are plenty of ways—like internships—to explore your interests and various career fields before you take the leap and commit to a certain program or college major. Internships are a great way for high school students to gain work experience, learn about professional opportunities, and network within career and academic fields.
What Is an Internship and How Does It Work?
An internship is essentially an introductory work experience in a professional career field. It is sometimes paid, though usually at the lowest end of the pay scale, and it is sometimes unpaid. The function of an internship is to gain experience and insight into a certain field while also performing some functional work in exchange for the experience.
For example, if you get an internship in a research lab, usually you won’t jump right into hands-on lab work. Instead, you’ll start with things like cleaning the lab and entering data into spreadsheets. While this might sound tedious, it will also give you the opportunity to connect with the people who work there, learn about the day-to-day functioning of the worksite, and give you an idea of whether or not a career in this field might be of interest to you.
Before you commit to an internship, you should always make sure that you are clear on the expectations. Have a good understanding of the time commitment, the length of the internship, the responsibilities, and whether or not you’ll be receiving anything in exchange. Some unpaid internships might offer other perks like free classes at related institutions, travel reimbursement, or even housing. You should also be certain you understand your responsibilities and that you’re comfortable sticking with them.
Internships are a great way to break into difficult career fields. For students who want to gain experience in research, medicine, law, or other professions normally requiring an advanced degree, an internship is a way to gain some insight and experience without the commitment of a degree. You will learn about the field and forge important connections with people who might ultimately write you a recommendation or even offer you a job.
25 Great Internships For High School Students
Application Deadline: Two sessions; February and July 2023
Duration: 1 Semester
Through participation in the USSS Student Volunteer Program, students gain insight into the nature and structure of the Secret Service while gaining valuable personal and professional skills. Students must be at least 16 years old and volunteer at least 12 hours per week. While the position is unpaid, they may receive academic credit.
Application Deadline: Fall 2023
Duration: January to August 2024
Offered through the Zuckerman Institute’s Brain Research Apprenticeships in New York at Columbia (BRAINYAC), this internship connects NYC 10th and 11th graders with scientists for intensive summer lab internships including hands-on experience. The program centers around an intensive six-week neuroscience research experience under the supervision of a mentor during the winter and continues into a full-time internship over the summer. The internship sponsors a variety of partner programs and applications and requirements may vary for each one.
Application Deadline: January 10, 2023
Duration: At least 12 weeks (Summer 2023)
The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Scholars Program offers valuable hands-on experiences working with full-time AFRL scientists and engineers on cutting-edge research and technology. Through four different applications, students can choose from a variety of STEM-related project topics, each of which will give them experience working in a technology-based environment under the supervision of experienced researchers and engineers. The program pays a competitive stipend.
Application Deadline: February 14, 2023
Duration: 8 weeks (Summer 2023)
The Hutton Program is a paid summer internship and mentoring program for high school juniors and seniors interested in pursuing natural resource and environmental management. Sponsored by the American Fisheries Society (AFS), the program teaches about and encapsulates various fisheries professions among groups that are underrepresented in these fields, additionally providing students with mentors that can become life-long connections.
Application Deadline: TBD 2023
Duration: 6 weeks (Summer 2023)
Offered for high school seniors to apply, the Geosciences Bridge Program is funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation and is a 6-week paid internship for graduating high school seniors. Participants study and participate in hands-on activities in marine geology, physical oceanography, atmospheric science, marine biology, marine chemistry, biogeochemistry, and remote sensing/GIS. Students will stay on the University of Maryland Eastern Shore campus, where they will live and learn, working alongside fellow recent high school graduates.
Application Deadline: March 31, 2023
Duration: 7 weeks (June 27 – August 11)
With these undergraduate and high school summer internships at Boyce Thompson Institute (BTI), Cornell University and the USDA provide an excellent opportunity to gain research experience and explore if a scientific career in plant science research and bioinformatics is a good fit. Students will work to further the BTI’s missions of increasing food security, improving environmental sustainability in agriculture and making basic discoveries that will enhance human life. Students will also receive a competitive stipend paid biweekly throughout the internship.
Application Deadline: Varies
Duration: 10 weeks (Summer: June-August 2023; Fall: September-November 2023; Spring: January-March 2023)
This is a fantastic opportunity for just-graduated high schoolers to start gaining professional experience and building networks before attending their first college class. Assignments vary, however, the perks—which include free admission to permanent CMC exhibits, access to the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, and invitations to select exhibit previews/special events/lectures—are the same for all interns. Students can also apply for programs in the winter, summer, or fall.
Application Deadline: March 28, 2023
Duration: 10 weeks (June 5-August 11, 2023 or June 19-August 25, 2023)
The Scripps Translational Science Institute (STSI) offers a Student Research Internship Program for highly motivated high school students. Interns work with and learn from a multi-disciplinary team of scientists who include internationally renowned investigators in the areas of genomics, bioinformatics, and digital medicine. Students will work within the program to complete a research project encapsulating in a final presentation to Faculty. While the internship is unpaid, it is a great opportunity for students to get hands-on research experience before entering college.
Application Deadline: September 25th, 2023
Duration: 8 months (October 26, 2023 – June 7, 2024)
Interns use the resources of the New York Historical Society to conduct exciting research and share their scholarship through creative projects. Interns meet with professional staff to learn about careers in the museum, library, and history fields; work collaboratively with fellow students to develop their public speaking and leadership skills; and engage in hands-on work to deepen their understanding of American history and art. For most students, the internship will be unpaid, however, students attending a Title 1 school or are eligible for free or reduced lunch will be offered a stipend for participation.
Application Deadline: March 14th, 2023
Duration: 4 weeks (July 11 – August 5)
In Microsoft’s high school internship program, students will learn a lot about the world of computer science and programming. Microsoft internships are geared toward STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) students, and will expose students to a variety to STEM-related professions at Microsoft and beyond.
Application Deadline: January 31, 2023
Duration: 4 months (April 4 – August 4, 2023)
Offered through the Constitutional Rights Foundation, the Expanding Horizons Internship provides first-generation, college-bound high school students attending Title 1 schools in the Los Angeles area with an intensive experience of skill development and personal growth that prepares them for college, career, and civic life. The EHI program begins with interactive seminars in the spring and concludes with a paid summer internship at a prestigious law firm, corporation, government agency, or non-profit organization.
Application Deadline: Varies
The Smithsonian offers a wide variety of internship opportunities ranging from centrally funded opportunities that place interns throughout the Smithsonian to specific opportunities available at each of the Smithsonian’s various museums, research centers, and other units. Participants can find roles in art history, business and administration, museum conservation, and much more, for which they will receive a competitive stipend.
Application Deadline: April 28th, 2023
Duration: 4 weeks (June 26 – July 20, 2023)
Offered through the Office of the Librarian, this internship is an unpaid opportunity for students interested in history and government to learn about the Library of Congress and its responsibilities as well as helping curate a new learning space for youth and families. The internship is currently offered in a hybrid format, with the option for in-person opportunities for those applicable. The internship also offers up to 60 community service hours for those interested.
Application Deadline: December 23rd
Duration: 7 weeks (June 19 – August 4, 2023)
This full-time internship is designed to introduce underrepresented and low-income high school and undergraduates to careers in health, Kaiser Permanente’s KP LAUNCH program provides paid opportunities in Oakland and across Northern California. Through the program, interns build professional and community leadership skills, as well as the practical skills needed for employment in health professions. Students will make minimum wage depending on their city.
Application Deadline: March 1, 2023
Duration: 8 weeks (in-person, June – August 2023) or 5 weeks (virtual, July – August 2023)
This summer program exposes Baltimore-area high school students from underrepresented backgrounds to careers in the neurological sciences. Participants receive hands-on research experience under the supervision of a mentor and are given educational resources and encouragement for pursuing a pathway to a profession as a researcher or clinician scientist at the highest level. Students can choose to apply to the nationwide virtual research opportunity or the in-person internship if they’re local to Baltimore, and both opportunities will compensate students accordingly.
Application Deadline: Varies
NASA offers a multitude of internship opportunities for high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors over 16 years of age. Internships are designed to increase the capabilities and diversity of the nation’s STEM workforce and provide participants with the opportunity to perform research under the guidance of a mentor at a NASA facility. Learn more about the NASA internship and how to apply in our blog post.
Application Deadline: March 31st, 2023
Duration: 7 weeks (June 24 – August 11, 2023)
Rising juniors and seniors from New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut can connect with professionals in the fields of art, museum, and creativity at one of the world’s finest museums—The Metropolitan Museum of Art—with this awesome in-person paid internship. Over the course of this program, students will develop professional skills, build a network, and gain work experience in various departments of the museum. The internship will be primarily about 10-20 hours a week.
Application Deadline: March 2023
Duration: 7 weeks (Summer 2023)
This eye-opening internship allows Chicago high schoolers to engage with STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) fields while preparing for a variety of careers. Participants are given space for personal growth and scientific experimentation while connecting with peers from around the city. Students will work in various museum roles and help develop research and engineering projects in this paid in-person opportunity.
Application Deadline: January 13, 2023
Duration: 8 weeks (Summer 2023)
This paid internship connects a diverse group of socially concerned high school juniors and seniors with non-profits to serve their communities and build leadership. Participants leave the program with a firsthand look at how non-profits, governments, and businesses collaborate to meet local needs and the skills needed to bring about positive change. The program includes a one-week in-person summit in Washington D.C. where students will congregate and continue to develop their skills. The internship is about 35 hours a week.
Application Deadline: February 2023
Duration: 8 weeks (Summer 2023)
This awesome internship opportunity offers exposure in biomedicine and behavioral science to students from underrepresented populations. Participants in the program will undertake projects with a mentor, such as laboratory-based research, computer-based database research, or clinical research. On Indiana University’s campus, students will learn from faculty, fellow students, and researchers to gain experience and knowledge in biomedicine and behavioral science and begin their path toward a career in these fields. The internship is 40 hours a week and students will receive a paid stipend for their work.
Application Deadline: N/A
High school students 16 years of age or older can participate in this internship and provide front-line support for social issues in India, without having to leave the comfort of their home. There is a wide range of internship opportunities and students are paired where there’s the greatest mutual benefit for locals and for them. Interns can expect to help with everything from writing reports to fundraising to creating content for social media. Participation in the program requires a fee, but students can be compensated with course credit and experience in a global professional environment.
Application Deadline: February 24, 2023
Duration: 8 weeks (June 26 – August 13, 2023)
Stanford Compression Forum interns are given the chance to pursue research projects over the summer under the mentorship of students, faculty, and staff of the Stanford Compression Forum. Project themes are numerous and include the science of information and communication, engineering, the arts, linguistics, psychology, biology, neuroscience, computer science, technology, philosophy, and design. The goal of the program is to provide students with early exposure to STEM-based research in both collegiate and professional environments, and while students won’t be paid during their time, they will receive invaluable experience that will help guide them through their early careers. The format of the internship is currently virtual with some possibility for in-person elements, and students should expect to participate around 30-40 hours a week.
Application Deadline: Varies
Unpaid in-person internships are available at all four Carnegie Museums—Carnegie Museum of Art, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Carnegie Science Center, and The Andy Warhol Museum—allowing high schoolers to either work in public-facing or behind-the-scenes positions. No matter where interns are employed, they’ll leave with an incredible work experience, a host of skills, and a bolstered professional network.
Application Deadline: Varies (Fall October 16, 2023 for Spring)
Duration: 12 weeks (Fall 2023 or Spring 2024)
This internship for students with an interest or background in the performing arts helps participants build professional skills and gain an understanding of arts management. Interns will receive a small stipend for their time, working about 15 hours over a 12 week span, and interns are also invited to attend many Washington Performing Arts performances for free.
Application Deadline: February 15, 2023
Duration: 5-6 weeks (Summer 2023)
Princeton University offers a full-time research experience for students looking to enter STEM fields such as engineering and natural sciences. Faculty and staff will incorporate interns into ongoing research projects where they will gain hands-on exposure to research in an intensive environment. The internship is highly selective and encourages students to be local. It does not offer any compensation.
How Do Internships Impact Your College Chances?
Extracurricular activities play a considerable role in the college admissions process and are an excellent opportunity for applicants to stand apart from a field of academically equal candidates.
In general, any internship is beneficial to your application, but some are more influential than others. For example, the more high-profile and selective the opportunity, the better it looks to a prospective school. Similarly, the more responsibility and leadership a student demonstrates in an internship position, the more likely it is to catch the eye of an admissions office.
CollegeVine’s free chancing engine is an easy way to learn the strength of an extracurricular activity and gain a better understanding of your odds of admission at hundreds of schools across the country. Give it a try to get a jumpstart on your college strategy!