About StandOut Connect
StandOut Connect is a program backed by The University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Innovation that matches high school students with internships at innovative companies. Our mission is to help the brightest high school students of our generation realize they are more than exam scores or college acceptance rates by creating a real impact in the professional world.
StandOutSearch was founded in 2020 by students at the University of Chicago and the Chicago Booth School of Business. They were frustrated by how little high school prepared them for the internship and professional recruitment process, especially for competitive fields such as finance, consulting, and FAANG (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Google). They noticed that more and more students were doing internships in high school before coming to UChicago (70%, according to UChicago consultancy PRISM) and that these students consistently had better outcomes applying to student professional organizations and internships. The problem was that most students only found internships through personal connections, which not every family has.
To solve this problem, StandOut’s founders started using the Chicago Booth entrepreneurship network to match local Chicago students with internships. The program quickly grew, thanks to partnerships with entrepreneurship ecosystems at other universities such as Harvard Ventures, The Yale Entrepreneurial Society, and Stanford’s Cardinal Ventures.
In 2022, StandOutSearch won second place in UChicago’s College New Venture Challenge, receiving investment from UChicago and the University of Illinois.
In 2023, the founders used this funding to create the largest existing database for high school internships. The program where students are directly matched with internships became StandOut Connect, an independent program within the StandOutSearch database that is now available to students globally.
Students Starting Careers in High School
Students matched with
Companies from top universities and accelerator programs
Students who receive optional return offers
Just 10% of students globally complete an internship in high school, but 70% of students across top-50 universities do one. Program alumni have gone on to attend some of the following institutions and more.