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9 Awesome High School Internships in DC

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Between academic assignments, after-school jobs, and athletics, the average high schooler has multiple responsibilities competing for their time during the year. While students might be tempted to use the summer just for rest and relaxation, the truth is that these months are the perfect time to take on an internship as well.


Along with enabling students to try out various career interests before applying to colleges, internships look great on college resumes. The end result is that admissions committees may be more likely to accept you over the competition. Keep reading to discover some of the best high school internships in DC and the surrounding DMV area. 


9 Awesome High School Internships in DC


1. Architect of the Capitol Internship


Government internships are a natural choice for high schoolers with a passion for politics. One of the best paid internships in DC, this 12-week summer position with The Architect of the Capitol has an hourly rate of $14.26 per hour. Responsibilities include communicating with staff and guests, providing organization support, and assisting with notes and record keeping. Additionally, applicants should be fluent in Microsoft Office applications like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. The internship is open to current high school and college students who will be at least 16 years old at the start of summer. 


2. Department of the Treasury Internship


Another internship for high school students in DC with an interest in government, this Department of the Treasury position exposes students to the ins and outs of public policy. As an intern, you can expect to attend hearings and conduct research along with completing administrative functions. Be prepared to specify in which Treasury office you want to work on your application. The opportunity is open to high school students age 16 or older who have strong grades and are able to pass a background check. Additionally, the most desirable candidates have a background in finance, economics, congressional relations, and IT. The role is unpaid. 


3. Bank of America Student Leaders Internship


Future business leaders may be interested in this Bank of America internship for high school students in DC. This eight-week paid program invites selected Student Leaders to attend a week-long summit focused on the relationships that exist among government organizations, businesses, and nonprofits. Along with gaining business leadership skills, participants will have the opportunity to see what life is like inside some of DC’s top nonprofit organizations. The opportunity is open to high school juniors and seniors able to work 35 hours a week. There are also internships available around the country, if you’re not based in DC.


4. Smithsonian Institution Internship


Made up of 19 museums and nine research centers, the Smithsonian is the largest museum in the world and a great choice for a high school internship in DC. Open to any applicants 14 years or older, the program seeks out interns with a passion for education and a talent for communicating. Tasks include writing and editing web content and organizing events, though some administrative work is required. While the internship isn’t paid, you may be able to earn academic credit through your high school. 


5. NSA Gifted and Talented STEM Internship


Experts in cryptology and cyber threats, the National Security Agency collects and processes information on a global level. Aimed at high school seniors with a talent for STEM, the NSA STEM internship is a paid 12-week program that takes place during the summer after senior year. To qualify for this internship, students need an unweighted GPA of 3.5 as well as advanced knowledge of Russian or Chinese demonstrated through an AP exam score or a proctored exam. 


Be prepared to write an essay to apply explaining why you’re interested in a career in STEM. As a bonus, successful interns may be able to enroll in the Stokes Educational Scholarship Program, which features up to $30,000 in tuition assistance.


6. NASA Stem Engagement Internship


Another science-based internship for high school students in DC, this program lets applicants choose among a variety of projects related to NASA’s missions. Along with the chance to be mentored by NASA scientists, participants can opt to work at the NASA headquarters in DC, or at another location around the U.S. This opportunity comes with a stipend based on the student’s academic experience and is open to full-time high school and college students 16 and over. A 3.0 GPA is required for admission.


High School Internships Near Washington, DC


While there are a plethora of opportunities in DC, you may also consider going just outside the city for these awesome high school internships.


7. NIH Internship 


Considering a career in public health? Aimed at high schoolers with a passion for biomedical research, the National Institutes of Health’s summer internship gives students the opportunity to work side by side with industry experts. As a bonus, the program hosts career workshops, seminars, and activities aimed at helping students get into college. 


The internship is being offered both virtually and in-person. To be eligible for admission, students must be high school juniors or seniors who will be 17 by the start of summer. Accepted interns will receive stipends for their efforts. The NIH is located in Bethesda, MD, just 10 miles from the center of Washington, DC.


8. Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory Internship


While Johns Hopkins is typically associated with healthcare expertise, the school is also renowned for its physics program. So, it’s no surprise that the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory hosts a summer internship for talented high schoolers. Located near DC in Laurel, MD (30 minutes away), the ASPIRE Summer Session provides high school juniors and seniors with the opportunity to work on STEM projects alongside staff mentors. 


To apply, students should have a 2.8 GPA with a B average or higher in science and math coursework. While the position is unpaid, the program requires 25 hours of work per week, so interns may have the opportunity to take on a part-time job as well. 


9. National Archives Internship


Do you dream of a career where you spend every day surrounded by historical documents that tell the story of the nation? If so, then the National Archives has a variety of internship opportunities which could be a good fit for you. The National Archives offers internships in the DMV area relating to a variety of fields, from archival work to business internships. 


To be eligible, students must be US citizens, 16 years old, in good academic standing at their high school, and accepted for enrollment at an accredited university. Internships are unpaid, though they can be completed for college credit. They take place during a variety of dates throughout the year. 


How Do Internships Impact Your College Chances?


College admissions is a holistic process. Along with your grades, admissions officers evaluate your essays, letters of recommendation, background, extracurricular activities, and more parts of your profile. 


Extracurriculars can be a particularly good way to stand out from other applicants. While many students are academically qualified to attend top colleges, not nearly as many have exceptional extracurriculars. You will ideally want to do activities which could be considered Tier 1 or Tier 2 extracurriculars based on CollegeVine’s tiering system. If you are looking for more upper-tier extracurriculars, internships can be a great way to gain the experience that you are looking for. 


Check out our free chancing engine to see how your own extracurriculars will be evaluated by thousands of colleges. The changing engine and all the other tools you can use after making a free CollegeVine account will also quantify your odds of admission to the schools on your list. CollegeVine is here to help you on every step of your college admissions journey!


Take a look below for more posts about extracurriculars that will make your college application stand out:


10 Business Internships for High School Students

20 STEM Internships for High Schoolers

Short Bio
The college applications process is all about responding to one question: who are you? I am passionate about helping students craft a creative answer. I have been helping students gain admission to the T25 schools of their dreams since 2018. Soon after graduating from Georgetown University with a B.A. in History and minors in French and Russian, I made college advising my career. I currently mentor students through one-on-one consulting sessions, blog posts, and admissions livestreams, in addition to tutoring in humanities subjects. When I am not advising, you can probably find me taking a road trip or reading a novel in French.