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  • Writer's pictureEstelle Reardon

10 Business Internships for High Students in Chicago

Why do internships in high school?


Before we jump into a long list of business internships for high school students in Chicago, it is important to understand why these opportunities could matter for your future. According to PRISM, a consultancy, 70% of students attending a US News top 50 University have completed at least one internship while in high school. These opportunities serve as a way to distinguish yourself in the admissions process by showing that you have gone out and verified your future goals through experience. Doing internships will help you enter college with a clearer idea of the professional environments you enjoy or don’t enjoy, which will make it easier for you to recruit into a job you love after graduation. Students who have done at least one internship in high school also typically have an easier time recruiting into college internships and pre-professional organizations such as finance or pre-law clubs.


How to find Business Internships for High School Students in Chicago


The best way to find business internships for high school students in Chicago is through online search tools and lists. The StandOutSearch database provides the largest free resource that lists almost every internship program for the high school age group and allows you to search by interest area. MIT Admissions also provides a helpful list of High School Internships


However, official programs tend to be very competitive, so if you are serious about finding a summer internship in high school, you should also prepare a cold outreach strategy. You can read more about how to form a cold outreach strategy to find a high school internship at the end of this article. We also include email templates to make finding an internship or research position through cold outreach less daunting.


10 Business Internships for High School Students in Chicago


Most of the business internships for high school students in Chicago below have an acceptance rate of 20% or lower, given that there are many more high school students looking for internships relative to official programs that provide them. We recommend choosing at least five opportunities to apply to. If you see an opportunity that excites you, take a moment to write the deadline on your calendar!



  • Ages: 15-19

  • Location: Virtual 

  • Timeline: Summer, Spring, Fall, or Winter

  • Deadline: Various Deadlines


StandOut Connect is a program created thanks to investment from UChicago’s Polsky Center for Innovation that matches high school students with internships in their interest area. Students interview with potential mentors who are leaders and innovators within their area of interest until they are hired for a two-month internship. Many students then receive optional return offers to continue with their internship for as long as they would like.



  • Ages: 16, 17, 18

  • Location: Chicago

  • Timeline: Summer

  • Deadline: March


Description: As the signature program for ROTARY/One, JOB1 prepares City of Chicago high school 11th grade and graduating seniors, who are sixteen and over, for the workplace by providing job readiness training, as well as, substantive paid summer internship opportunities with local businesses and not-for-profits in Chicago.

 


  • Ages: 15, 16, 17

  • Location: Chicago

  • Timeline: Summer

  • Deadline: Late Spring


Description: Founded in 1991 to provide paid summer internships for Chicago high school students and to introduce them to the financial services sector, the Chicago Summer Business Institute’s goals have always remained the same: to give participants an incentive to continue their education while preparing them for the business world.

 


  • Ages: 16, 17, 18

  • Location: Greater Chicago

  • Timeline: 8-Weeks over the Summer

  • Deadline: January


Description: As a Student Leader, you will participate in an eight-week paid internship at a local nonprofit organization where you will learn first-hand about the needs of your community and the critical role nonprofits play. In addition, you will learn valuable civic, social and business leadership skills. Each Student Leader will attend the Student Leaders Summit held in Washington, D.C. where you will learn how government, business and the nonprofit sector work together to address critical community needs.

 


  • Ages: 16, 17, 18

  • Location: Chicago

  • Timeline: 9 Months During Academic Year

  • Deadline: Priority - April 19, Final - May 3


Description: The Urban Alliance High School Internship Program is a paid nine-month program for high school juniors and seniors that includes professional development training, paid internships, and one-on-one support. 



  • Ages: 16, 17, 18

  • Location: Varies

  • Timeline: September - August

  • Deadline: October 31


Description: Office assistant—you will perform basic administrative tasks—type, file, maintain records, answer phones and operate business equipment like word processors and personal computers. Computer aide—you will operate or maintain data processing equipment, often the most sophisticated equipment on the market.

 


  • Ages: 15, 16, 17, 18

  • Location: Downtown Chicago

  • Timeline: Three Weeks - April

  • Deadline: Varies


Description: Be Your Own Boss is a paid internship that gives you the opportunity to explore the startup ecosystem, network with professional entrepreneurs, and build community with peers from all different backgrounds—all while working to create and pitch your own business ideas! During the internship, you’ll work in teams to create a business idea, build a basic working app prototype, and pitch your app at a virtual community showcase.



  • Ages: 17, 18

  • Location: Chicago

  • Timeline: 8 Weeks Training Over the Summer + Paid Internship During Academic Year

  • Deadline: Late March, 2025


Description: Our “earn and learn” model provides you with in-demand business technology training and matches you to a paid, meaningful year-long internship with a company during your senior year of high school. As a young professional, your unique perspective positively influences your company’s business and overall culture. You develop professional skills, gain experience with a major corporation, earn $10,000-$15,000 during your senior year of high school, build an impressive resume, meet new students from other schools, and drive meaningful change within major corporations.



  • Ages: 17, 18

  • Location: Across the US

  • Timeline: Summer

  • Deadline: April 30, 2024


Description: Whether you're interested in being a producer, a journalist, a web developer, an engineer, a business executive, a PR agent, a sales representative, or any other career in media or tech, the EBF Internship is here to help you get your start. If selected, you will have the opportunity to immerse yourself in partner organizations so you can learn, grow and put yourself on the fast-track to career success (Warner Bros, NFL, Fox News, Paramount, Time, Spectrum…) 



  • Ages: 16, 17, 18

  • Location: Across the US

  • Timeline: Year Round

  • Deadline: Varies


Description: The temporary nature of the ITEP allows for interns to work during seasonal and holiday breaks in academic programs as well as year-round. Interns in this program are appointed to temporary appointments, not to exceed one year or their projected graduation date (whichever is shorter) and extensions may be made in one year increments. The positions to which the interns are appointed have no promotion potential, therefore, students must apply through USAJOBS to be considered for higher-graded positions. ITEP participants who are expected to work 130 hours per month or more for at least 90 days will be eligible to enroll in a health benefits plan. ITEP participants are not eligible for any other benefits until after conversion into the competitive service. ITEP participants are eligible for noncompetitive conversions to the competitive service within 120 days of completion of the Pathways Program.

 

Cold Outreach Strategy for High School Internships 


If the opportunities listed above don’t turn out to be a fit, the next step to finding a business internship for high school students in Chicago is to launch a cold outreach strategy. This may seem intimidating at first, but the guide below should make it much more simple. As an added note, please exercise caution when reaching out to professionals you don’t know. It is always safest to interview or meet virtually. 


How to Find Companies to Reach Out to for a High School Internship 


Use LinkedIn to find small companies where you can help with skills such as social media, coding, content/grant writing, or graphic design. Smaller companies that need more hands on deck will be the most likely to hire high-school-aged students. Try to find personal connections with the professionals you reach out to, such as being from the same state originally or liking the same sports team. 


How to Find Professors to Reach Out to for a High School Research Position 


You can use online university staff directories to find professors to reach out to for research positions. Note that if you are looking for a remote research position with a professor, you should be aware that these opportunities tend to be harder to come by. Professors typically have high school students help with more manual laboratory tasks such as washing beakers or running equipment and usually do not have very much use for interns at a high school education level within a remote setting. The exception is if you are doing computational research, which generally requires introductory knowledge of Python or R to parse large datasets. You should be able to learn Python or R on your own for free within a few months using resources such as Coursera’s R Programming Course or Python for Everybody.


How to Structure and Send Outreach Emails 


For a successful cold-outreach strategy, aim to send at least 50 emails to potential internship providers. Be sure to include a link to your resume, which should be no more than one page while you are in high school. UChicago provides a helpful free resume template and guide. We recommend including your resume as a Google Drive link because including it as a PDF will sometimes negatively impact the deliverability of your email. However, be sure to check that the sharing settings on the document allow anyone with the link to view its contents. It can also be a good idea to include work samples in your resume, such as the link to a website you designed, a social media account you manage, or your GitHub profile. 


Email Template for Finding a High School Internship 


If you are unsure how to structure your outreach emails to potential internship providers, here are some basic templates you can customize to your needs. 


Template for Finding an Internship


Subject: Student Reaching Out


Dear Mr./Ms.____,


I hope you are having a great day! My name is [your name], and I am a rising [grade] at [your school]. I read about your company on LinkedIn and found the concept quite interesting. For context, [briefly state how the company relates to your interests or experience]. 

I was wondering if you might be looking for interns. I know I would have a great deal to learn from working with you, and I would love to contribute in any way I can. I have included my resume here. Thanks so much!


Sincerely, 


[Your name]


Template for Finding a Research Position


Subject: Student Reaching Out


Dear Professor/Dr. ____,


I hope you are having a great day! My name is [your name], and I am a rising [grade] at [your school]. I recently read your paper on [restate the abstract] in [name of publication] and was quite intrigued by [part you found interesting]. I was wondering if I might be able to intern for you over this summer. [Elaborate on your relevant skills and experience and why you are passionate about the field]. 

I have included my resume here. Thanks so much! 


Sincerely,


[Your name]



Business Internships for High Students in Chicago
Business Internships for High Students in Chicago

Conclusion


Whether you are applying to established programs or launching a cold outreach strategy, the name of the game when looking for a business high school internship or research position is perseverance. These opportunities can be extremely difficult to secure, but most high school students find it worth it in the end to get a head start on building their careers. If you found this article helpful, don’t forget to save it for later or share it with a friend. Good luck on your internship search journey! 

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