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The Best Summer Internships and Programs to Attend

As the school bell finally rings on the last day of school, students rush out of drab hallways and metal doors, scrambling to their cars and getting ready to relax for the summer. Sounds nice, doesn’t it? But this is nothing but a pipe dream for most high school students. Often, summers are occupied by studying for standardized testing, visiting universities, and above all, attending summer internships.

Summer internships fall under the category of direct experience as they often allow students to get involved hands-on and are specialized to a specific major or field. They are also a really great way to demonstrate to colleges your dedication and interest in a certain topic as you are investing your summer break into diving deeper and gaining experience. Not only that but the application process is often modeled after that of college applications which will allow you to get a feel of the timeline and how to write essays.

It is often best to apply to these types of programs beginning freshman year, although it may prove difficult to do so as many programs may prioritize higher grade levels. It becomes especially important in the summer after junior year as there are many programs such as the Bank of America Conference that are incredibly prestigious but also restricted to rising seniors.

While they can be quite expensive a handful of programs are free of charge. Of course, these types of programs are selective and uncommon but they tend to be the most impressive as the application process is grounded in merit rather than the limitations of financial capability. Something else to consider is that often these programs are held on college campuses and as such, they can help you visit the school itself and the school in the area. For example, if you attend the Leadership in the Business World program at UPENN then you will be able to knock out a visit to UPENN and other schools in the area if you fly an hour or two.

But, knowing all this how do you find these programs? Most schools will usually have a section of their websites dedicated to the summer programs that they offer on campus, which is simple enough. It gets more complicated when it comes to third-party organizations such as LaunchX or RSI which depends on research through online forums or simply browsing the web.

Knowing how complicated the process can be here are a handful of programs to give you a headstart.

STEM Programs:

  1. Research Science Institute (RSI): A highly prestigious program that accepts 80 students to travel to MIT to conduct research on a topic of their choice free of cost

  2. Research Mentorship Program (RMP): A six-week research program that connects students to an expert and mentor to help guide their research into an interdisciplinary study of their choice. Students also have the opportunity to attend lectures presenting the most recent and innovative research.

  3. Summer High School Internship: Hosted by Fred Hutch at the University of Washington, it is an 8 week paid internship program where students assist faculty members in research.

Business and Humanities

  1. LaunchX: Sponsored by MIT and hosted at college campuses around the country, the program helps aspiring entrepreneurs connect with students with diverse skill sets to design and create a business.

  2. Leadership in the Business World (LBW): Hosted by the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania (UPENN) students learn the techniques of business management and leadership.

  3. Bank of America Student Leadership Conferences: Recognizes 300 students from around the country as leaders and connects them with companies through mutually agreed upon paid internships. They will also be invited to a summit in Washington D.C. to network and connect with other leaders.

These are a couple of programs to get you started but feel free to contact me at While applying to these programs is a huge boost to a student’s application and definitely a worthwhile experience, many gain entrance into prestigious universities every year without them.

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