Engineering Internships for High School Students

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Group of students smiling at the camera.

Engineering Internships for High School Students

Here at AdmissionSight, we believe in the efficiency of internships in terms of employing high school students in a specific industry as they offer temporary positions only. As a matter of fact,  internships for high school students are gaining steady popularity. This is demonstrated by the increase in the number of internships that are focused on specific industries, such as law and medicine.

We already did a general view of high school internships. But in this article, we will have a deep dive into engineering internships for high school students and how they can help with the college/school Engineering application process.

But for starters…

Why Do Internships in High School?

Why should High School students participate in internships? Beginning internships while still in high school can give you a competitive edge, not only for college but also for future careers. There are a lot of different reasons for this. The following is a short list of the most important reasons to look for an internship:

Connect with professionals in your field

In many of the internships, you will be paired with a mentor who will not only walk you through some of the chores that you may be unfamiliar with but also talk to you about their own scholastic and career journeys.

You may ask them for guidance on how to make the most of the time you have throughout your high school years in order to put yourself in the best possible position for academic and professional success in college and beyond.

Strengthen your resume or portfolio

Internships are considered a valid kind of work experience, and they have the potential to attract the attention of prospective employers as well as college admissions officers. Not only that, but the real-world experiences you gain while working at an internship can give you a wealth of material for an interesting admissions essay if you choose to write one.

a female student looking at the camera smiling

The most encouraging news is that the vast majority of internships are paid positions; hence, you can even earn money while pursuing the area of study that most interests you.

Gain relevant industry experience

It’s possible that this is the most obvious reason why it should be something that high school kids study. Although other experiences, such as volunteering and typical part-time jobs, help you develop key soft skills that you can take with you to any job, internships teach you what it takes to be successful in the field that you are interested in.

Internships in the STEM fields, in particular, will frequently give you the opportunity to work on improving your logical and analytical thinking skills, find solutions to issues, and acquire skills such as research, data analysis, or coding.

What engineering internships are available for high school students?

Where can we find engineering internships for high school students and what different sorts of opportunities are there to choose from?

Young woman standing in the middle of the school ground with her classmates.

This preliminary list should get you started, not only by assisting you in locating the types of internships that are most suitable for your interests but also by providing you with information regarding what to anticipate from these types of internships in general.

1. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

The application procedure to become a NASA Intern is extremely tough, but if you are successful, you will have the opportunity to participate in pioneering research and learn from NASA professionals currently employed there.

Internships can be done in the fall, spring, or summer, but spots for high school students are only available at a chosen number of locations.

To be eligible, you need to be at least 16 years old and have a grade point average of at least 3.0 on a scale from 4.0. (or an unweighted 3.0 GPA). You are welcome to submit an application here; however, you should ensure that you have a solid letter of recommendation on hand.

2. NSA High School Work Study

Through participation in this program, high school students have the opportunity to work at the National Security Agency (NSA) and earn money both during the summer and throughout the academic year.

If you have prior experience in computer programming, you may be considered for the position of Computer Aide at the National Security Agency (NSA). In this position, you will have the opportunity to learn how to operate the NSA’s cutting-edge data processing equipment.

In order to be eligible, you will need to be a junior in high school, have an unweighted grade point average of at least 2.5, and have experience or an interest in the fields of business, engineering, or computer science. You are also required to live in close proximity to one of the following locations:

  • Ft. Meade, MD (Headquarters)
  • Aurora, CO
  • Augusta, GA
  • San Antonio, TX
  • Oahu, HI

3. Science and Engineering Apprenticeship Program (SEAP)

Another engineering internship for high school students that we recommend is SEAP or Science and Engineering Apprenticeship Program. The goal of this paid internship in engineering is to provide high school students with the opportunity to participate in research over the summer. You will spend the next eight weeks working at a laboratory that is participating in the Department of Navy program.

The following states provide opportunities that could be of interest to you:

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Florida
  • Hawaii

4. Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

If you are a senior in high school and live in or around Princeton, there is a chance that you could take part in a project-based internship at the Plasma Physics Laboratory (which, by the way, is totally awesome).

Because of the nature of this internship, you will be expected to work closely with the administration at your high school to devise a timetable that will both permit the internship to count for academic credit and meet the requirements of the internship project.

This internship will last the entirety of the semester. You are required to be at least 16 years old and a senior during the semester for which you are applying in order to be considered.

5. Idaho National Laboratory

At the Idaho National Laboratory, you can get compensation to work directly with a guide. Although this laboratory is the national leader in nuclear energy for the Department of Energy, they also contribute to other research fields such as environmental science and national security.

To be eligible for this position, you will need to be at least 16 years old and willing to commit to working full-time for a period of eight weeks during the summer.

6. Spark Summer Internship Program

The last recommendation in our list of engineering internships for high school students is the Spark Summer Internship Program. Students in the Seattle area have access to a variety of STEM enrichment activities through an organization called Spark. Among these options are internships with a number of Spark’s business partners.

Their partner businesses are mostly concerned with computer science and offer opportunities to work in fields such as software development, the creation of mobile applications, and web programming.

What Skills and Qualities Do Employers Look for in High School Interns?

Employers offering engineering internships for high school students are not merely looking for young minds to fill a seat. They are on the hunt for potential, for sparks of brilliance that could one day ignite into a roaring flame of innovation.

They seek students who are not only academically sound but also demonstrate a keen interest in engineering, a proactive attitude, and an ability to think outside the box. They value students who show promise of becoming future leaders in the field of engineering.

Importance of a strong academic foundation

You see, engineering is a discipline that requires a solid grounding in mathematics and the sciences. It’s not just about getting good grades, but about understanding the fundamental principles that underpin the field.

Engineering internships for high school students are a fantastic opportunity to apply this academic knowledge in a real-world context. Employers appreciate students who can leverage their academic prowess to solve practical problems and contribute to ongoing projects.

Value of extracurricular activities and leadership roles

You might be thinking, “What does being a captain of a sports team or a member of the debate club have to do with engineering?” Well, these experiences cultivate skills such as teamwork, leadership, and time management – skills that are crucial in any professional setting, including engineering.

Employers offering engineering internships for high school students often look for these qualities as they indicate a well-rounded individual who can contribute positively to their team dynamics.

The role of soft skills in engineering

The role of soft skills in engineering is often overlooked, but it’s a critical aspect that employers consider. Engineering is not just about calculations and designs; it’s also about communication, collaboration, and creativity.

It’s about being able to present your ideas clearly, work effectively in a team, and think creatively to find innovative solutions. Soft skills can often make the difference between a good engineer and a great one. So, when you’re applying for engineering internships for high school students, don’t forget to highlight these skills.

Demonstrating a passion for learning and problem-solving

Engineering is a field that’s constantly evolving, with new technologies and methodologies emerging all the time. Employers value students who show an eagerness to learn, a curiosity to understand how things work, and a drive to solve complex problems.

This passion is often what sets successful applicants apart. So, when you’re seeking engineering internships for high school students, let your passion shine through. It could be the key that unlocks a world of opportunities.

How Can an Engineering Internship Shape Your Future Career Path?

The answer lies in the transformative power of practical experience. Engineering internships for high school students offer a unique opportunity to step into the professional world while still in your formative years.

They provide a platform to explore, learn, and grow, shaping your perspective of the engineering field and influencing your future career choices. These internships can serve as a catalyst, propelling you toward a successful career in engineering.

Real-world application of classroom learning

You’ve spent countless hours studying theories, solving equations, and working on projects. But how does it all translate into the real world? Engineering internships for high school students provide the perfect platform to bridge this gap.

They allow you to apply your academic knowledge to real-world problems, giving you a deeper understanding of the concepts you’ve learned. This practical experience can be incredibly rewarding, reinforcing your classroom learning and enhancing your overall educational experience.

Discovering specific areas of interest within engineering

The field of engineering is vast, encompassing numerous disciplines from civil and mechanical to electrical and software engineering. Engineering internships for high school students offer a unique opportunity to explore these different areas, helping you identify your passions and interests.

You might find yourself drawn to the creativity of design engineering, the precision of manufacturing engineering, or the innovation of software engineering. These experiences can guide your academic and career choices, helping you carve out a path that aligns with your interests.

Building a professional network

The connections you make during your internship can prove invaluable throughout your career. From mentors who can provide guidance and support, to peers who could become future colleagues or collaborators, the relationships you build can open doors to opportunities you might not have otherwise encountered. Engineering internships for high school students provide a platform to start building this network, setting the foundation for a successful career in engineering.

Gaining a competitive edge for college applications and future job prospects

In today’s competitive landscape, having practical experience can set you apart. Colleges and employers value the initiative and commitment demonstrated by pursuing an internship while still in high school.

The skills and experiences gained from engineering internships for high school students can make your applications stand out, giving you an edge over your peers. So, as you embark on this journey, remember that the benefits extend far beyond the internship itself, influencing your academic and career trajectory for years to come.

How to Impress Colleges With Your Engineering Internship Experience?

How to make an impression on colleges with your experience working as an Engineering Intern? How can you ensure that your participation in an engineering internship or program will offer your college application the greatest possible boost after you have finished the program or internship?

Young woman talking to a principal and a teacher in a room.

Because engineering internships for high school students have the ability to look highly impressive to Engineering colleges/schools, apply the three tips that are provided below to set yours apart from the competition.

Explain Your Accomplishments

Although it may appear to be common sense, a lot of people (including those who are much further along in their careers) just state their job title and expect others to understand their responsibilities and accomplishments based on that.

However, those who are reviewing resumes are not minded readers, thus it is imperative that you make this clear to them. Make sure that in the section of your college application where you mention your work experience and extracurricular activities, you include a few phrases or bullet points outlining the work that you did for the job and what you achieved during your internship.

Do the same thing if you took any engineering classes, including detailing the assignments you had to turn in and any final projects you may have finished.

Link Your Portfolio

After finishing an engineering internship or course, you will likely have completed a few projects, either on your own or as part of a group. These projects could have been made individually or collectively.

Create a website (another excellent way to show off your talents) and include a summary of your thought process and the work you accomplished, in addition to links and/or photographs of your creation. This is an additional wonderful method to show off your skills.

Having an online portfolio at such an early stage in your career will put you ahead of the competition, not only when you apply to colleges, but also when you apply to other engineering internships and jobs in the future.

Get a Letter of Recommendation

It is a terrific approach for universities to gain a better understanding of what you have actually accomplished if you ask the person who supervised your internship or the professor of the course to submit a letter of recommendation detailing your internship responsibilities or coursework requirements.

Some institutions demand that recommendation letters come exclusively from teachers who taught you when you were enrolled in high school, while others either do not have limits or permit an additional letter of recommendation to come from an individual who was not your high school instructor.

View of a man writing in front of his laptop.

If your instructor or supervisor is willing, getting a letter of recommendation from them can greatly help convince universities that you had an experience that was relevant to you and that you are genuinely preparing yourself for a future career as an engineer.

Segue to AdmissionSight

Do you know that AdmissionSight is offering first-rate support to college candidates at a wide variety of colleges and institutions, particularly those in the Ivy League?  Do not be concerned any longer if you require further support in the application procedure. AdmissionSight is an excellent option for meeting all of your requirements for college entrance.

We are the foremost college admissions consultant in the business, and we have more than a decade of experience assisting individuals just like you in gaining entry into the top educational institutions of their choosing. Get in touch with us right away to schedule a consultation that is completely free of charge.



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