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  • Writer's pictureEstelle Reardon

9 Medical Internships for High School Students in Chicago

Why do internships in high school?


Before we jump into a long list of medical 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 Medical Internships for High School Students in Chicago


The best way to find medical 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 Medical Internships for High School Students in Chicago


Most of the medical 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: 16-19

  • Location: Chicago, IL

  • Timeline: Summer

  • Deadline: January


ResearcHStart is a multi-institutional program welcoming high school students from the Chicago and Urbana-Champaign areas to explore exciting careers in cancer research. Participants work full time in the laboratories of established cancer researchers, gaining hands-on experience in areas at the forefront of the field: cancer immunology, bioengineering, experimental cancer therapeutics, cancer disparities and more. Rigorous research training is complemented by career development and skill-building workshops, a cancer-based faculty lecture series, and a network of faculty and peer mentors dedicated to students’ success. The program culminates in a research symposium for family, friends and members of the scientific community. Participants receive a taxable stipend of $3,000.



  • Ages: 15-17

  • Location: Evanston, IL

  • Timeline: Summer

  • Deadline: February


The Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care’s Kimberly Querrey Summer Research Program offers a six-to eight-week paid, competitive research experience at Northwestern University for rising high school juniors and seniors and undergraduate college/university students interested in the biological sciences. Our program combines intensive research training with support for students’ academic and professional development. Many of our program’s alumni pursue a BS or PhD degree in the biological sciences, while others go to medical school.



  • Ages: 15-16

  • Location: Evanston, IL

  • Timeline: Fall, Spring, Winter

  • Deadline: September


As part of Northwestern Medicine's commitment to building stronger communities, the NM Discovery Program’s mission is to create a pathway for the next generation of healthcare leaders by drawing on the talents of Northwestern Medicine's incredible team of healthcare professionals to provide STEM career exploration opportunities. The program is designed for students who otherwise would not be able to access these opportunities. Throughout the program, students will be exposed to a broad range of healthcare careers through activities including tours, guest speakers, group discussion, and hands-on projects. In addition, the program fosters character and professional development, cultivates life skills, provides community service and leadership experience, and offers mentorship and networking opportunities.



  • Ages: 16-19

  • Location: Chicago, IL

  • Timeline: Summer

  • Deadline: January


Chicago EYES (Educators and Youth Enjoy Science) on Cancer is a cancer research training program for high school and college students interested in careers in biomedicine. For two consecutive summers, participants work full time in the laboratories of established cancer researchers at the university. Rigorous research training is complemented with a cancer-based summer lecture series, year-round career development and skill-building workshops, and a network of faculty and peer mentors dedicated to participants’ success. 



  • Ages: 17-18

  • Location: Across US, Chicago, IL

  • Timeline: Summer

  • Deadline: February


The Summer Internship Program is designed to provide young people an opportunity to spend a summer working side-by-side with some of the most talented scientists in the world in an environment devoted exclusively to biomedical research. Summer interns conduct full-time biomedical research.  They are expected to work just as hard as the postbacs, graduate students, and postdocs in their research groups, and the group will depend on their results.



  • Ages: 14-18

  • Location: Remote

  • Timeline: Summer, School Year

  • Deadline: Rolling


At our completely student-led 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, we accept high school students (grades 9-12) from all backgrounds, both on a national and international scale, to be a member of Medicine Encompassed! We seek members with a true fervor for STEAM, biology, and the branches of medicine, as we believe (as part of our mission) that it is critical to grant opportunities for every student with a prospective career in these fields.



  • Ages: 15-18

  • Location: Chicago, IL

  • Timeline: Summer

  • Deadline: January


QuarkNet offers summer research opportunities in science and technology for students who have demonstrated a strong interest in and aptitude for science and mathematics. Students work with scientists for seven weeks on projects related to the Fermilab research program.



  • Ages: 14-16

  • Location: Chicago, IL

  • Timeline: Summer

  • Deadline: March


In this six-week, paid summer pre-internship program at Rush University Medical Center, rising high school sophomores and juniors explore careers in STEM and health care, developing academic and workplace skills and researching real-world health issues in their Chicago communities. Students who succeed as MedSTEM Explorers will be considered for the MedSTEM Pathways internship 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 medical internships 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]



Medical Internships for High School Students in Chicago
Medical Internships for High School 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 medical internships for high school students in Chicago 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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