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  • Writer's pictureEstelle Reardon

10 Political Internships for High School Students

Why do internships in high school?


Before we jump into a long list of political internships for high school students, 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 Political Internships for High School Students 


The best way to find political internships for high school students 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 Political Internships for High School Students 


Most of the political internships for high school students 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: 15-18

  • Location: New Jersey

  • Timeline: Summer

  • Deadline: May 3, 2024


The Mercer County Internship Program is designed to provide students in high school and college with paid opportunities to work and gain practical training and hands-on, real world experience that will help meet their educational goals and prepare them for a professional career. During the course of the summer program, students have the opportunity to take part in a variety of curated activities coordinated by the Office of Personnel designed to teach new techniques and skills,  enhance existing knowledge and abilities, while also exploring possible career paths in the public administration. 



  • Ages: 16-18

  • Location: New Haven, CT

  • Timeline: Summer

  • Deadline: TBD


The City of New Haven values education and believes that students bring new ideas, new energy and new skills to the workforce. The City’s employment of students takes place through the Student Intern Program. Internships provide valuable work experience directly related to the student's academic field of study. Participants will be given high-level work experience that may prepare them for permanent positions in the workforce.



  • Ages: 16-17

  • Location: Kentucky

  • Timeline: Summer

  • Deadline: TBD


​The Governor’s Scholars Program is a summer residential program for outstanding high school students in Kentucky who are rising seniors. The Program originated in 1983 as a result of Kentucky leaders’ concern that the state’s “best and brightest” were leaving the Commonwealth to pursue educational and career opportunities elsewhere without fully understanding the potential of their talents at home. Students who are selected attend the Program without charge. In the spirit of partnership, the Office of the Governor, the Kentucky State Legislature, and private enterprise come together to provide the financial support for the Program. The Program’s mission is to enhance Kentucky’s next generation of civic and economic leaders. The first class numbered 230 and was housed on one college campus. Since then, the Program has enjoyed excellent support and grown to over 1,000 students on three campuses.



  • Ages: 16-18

  • Location: Raleigh, NC

  • Timeline: Summer

  • Deadline: May


The North Carolina Senate Page Program offers young men and women the opportunity to learn about and participate in the legislative process of our state. It is an experience that allows high school students in tenth, eleventh and twelfth grade to observe firsthand how our laws are made. It provides them the unique privilege of working on the Senate Chamber floor in the midst of legislative action.



  • Ages: 16-19

  • Location: Charleston, SC

  • Timeline: Summer

  • Deadline: April


Students will be assigned to the Department of Public Safety.  They will attend training in either Emergency Medical Services (EMS) or the Consolidated 9-1-1 Center.  Training will be provided free of charge with the focus being to prepare them for employment within the agency.  The program is a paid part-time internship.



  • Ages: 14-15

  • Location: Princeton, New Jersey

  • Timeline: Summer

  • Deadline: TBD 


The Princeton University Preparatory Program is a highly engaged, holistic college preparation and success program that fosters development of students who have been historically marginalized. Our multi-year, tuition-free program prepares participants for admission to and success within selective colleges and universities, and beyond.



  • Ages: 14-18

  • Location: Chicago, IL

  • Timeline: Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall

  • Deadline: Open now, deadlines vary, contact for information


The Internship and Externship Program at CAIR-Chicago offers students a great opportunity to learn, interact, and grow in a friendly and diverse environment. Our program is career-oriented and based in grassroots activism.



  • Ages: 14-18

  • Location: San Francisco, CA

  • Timeline: Summer

  • Deadline: February


The City and County of San Francisco offers various internships and summer programs for high school students through several departments and programs (Airport, City Attorney, Department of Children, Youth and Their Families, Department of Elections, District Attorney, General Services Administration, Office of Economic Workforce Development, Public Utilities Commission, Opportunities for All [San Francisco Students Only], and Public Works)



  • Ages: 16-17

  • Location: Oregon

  • Timeline: Spring, Summer, Fall, or Winter

  • Deadline: January


Students who are selected for the program work one-on-one with an attorney mentor over the course of the 2023 – 2024 school year. In the past, mentors have helped students with college essays, taken students to observe courtroom proceedings, and provided general networking assistance on topics of the students’ interests. Mentors will follow COVID-safe protocols.


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 political internships for high school students 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]



Political Internships for High School Students
Political Internships for High School Students


Conclusion


Whether you are applying to established programs or launching a cold outreach strategy, the name of the game when looking for a political 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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