Internships are a terrific way to get experience and “get a feel” for a particular subject or line of work that you have a passion or interest in. You can learn a lot about a field, and gain valuable real world experience by working along side experienced professionals as mentors. Doing an internship can demonstrate to a college that you are actively pursing your interests and have experience in the workplace.
Although some internships are paid positions, you may need to accept minimal compensation or an unpaid position to gain experiences that allow for exposure to real work environments in an field of your choice, confirmation of your interest, and a chance to work with a mentor.
How do I find out about possible internship opportunities?
- Established Local Internships for High School Students
- Look through the following internship search directories.
Some of these search sites may require you to look through each job description for required qualifications. Some internships are specifically for high school students, others require you to be a college student. If you encounter the latter, there is no harm in calling to inquire about the possibility of allowing a high school student to intern, especially if you are taking advanced classes or have experience relevant to the job.
- Don't overlook resources in your backyard.
Often students find internships through their parents, family friends, or neighbors, so tell everyone you know what you are looking for. Visit the list of CU Boulder Academic Departments to look for a possible area of interest at CU Boulder. Stop in at local companies and ask if they need any additional summer help. Unpaid internships might also be available at a local community organization or non-profit. If your interest includes government or you want to hone your organizational skills, offer to contribute your time to a campaign effort.
- Create your own internship.
Sometimes CU Boulder professors offer research opportunities and internships for high school students. Start by calling the department you are interested in and talk to an administrative assistant. See the list of CU Boulder Academic Departments to find phone number to contact. Often this person can lead you to the right contact in that department who would be knowledgeable of research projects underway and opportunities for high school students.
- Try a Web Search
Finally, for more opportunities, try a web search using words such as "high school internship boulder CO marketing" (or biology, etc.)
How do I solicit an internship?
Once you've identified an internship opportunity, if the company doesn't have a process to follow for applying for an internship, you may need to contact the company. It's best to identify a person in the company to contact, either by phone or via an email. For more detailed information on soliciting an internship and some examples, click on the following links:
- Tips for Writing an email to Solicit an Internship
- Making Internship Inquiries (or Follow-up) by Phone
How do I prepare for the internship application process?
Most of the internship programs listed have a process that includes filling out an application, submitting a resume and sending a current transcript and a letter(s) of recommendation from one of your teachers. They may also contact you for an interview. To practice your interviewing skills, come to the Fairview Counseling Center to arrange a mock interview. Your resume and interview should emphasize any relevant coursework or experience that would highlight your abilities to provide measurable contributions to a work environment.
The first thing you need to do after you find an internship that you are interested in is to check the deadline for application. Many of these deadlines are firm—if you miss them you cannot apply. Many of the application deadlines for the programs below are as early as January.
Work on building a resume now that highlights your interests, activities and accomplishments as well as the course work you have completed that support why you would be a good candidate for the program you are interested in.
Contact a teacher that you want to write you a letter of recommendation. Ask them if they would be willing to write a recommendation for you, and if they’ll write a good one! Give them plenty of notice so they can have time to complete and send your letter before the deadline.
How do I make my Internship a Success?
You have landed an internship! Congratulations! Now you want to get the most from your internship experience. For some advise on how to do this, go to Making your Internship a Success.