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How to Find a College Prep Program or High School Internship

High school students who pursue experiences before college can stand out among the competition.

7/31/2015 | College Prep | 4 minute read

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High school students today face real challenges as they prepare for the future. Admission to college and entry into the workforce is increasingly competitive.

Savvy students are exploring opportunities earlier in life, with many seeking out internships and other enrichment opportunities while still in secondary school.

If you’re a high school student, such opportunities can help you:

  • Explore potential academic and career fields.
  • Enhance your college application.
  • Gain real-world insights that can help you succeed in college.
  • Build a network of contacts for future opportunities.

As a guide, we’ve gathered here several college prep opportunities and high school internship ideas to help you out.

Attend an academic program for high school students 

Students in Harvard YardSpecial programs tailored to secondary school students offer opportunities to explore academic interests, meet faculty or professionals, and familiarize yourself with the concepts of college.

Some programs are highly specialized. Some hospitals allow you to explore a health career or conduct research. Aquariums offer internships for high school students interested in marine science.

Many college prep programs provide a broad range of courses in which you can earn college credit. And you can experience life on campus.

Our own Harvard summer programs for high school students has two- and seven-week options, for noncredit or credit, in many subjects. Check with colleges and universities in your area. They just might offer a program that suits your needs.

Volunteer in a field of interest

Job shadowing is nothing new. Take Your Kid to Work Day is a staple of many American elementary educations.

Why not use the same simple principle to test drive careers? Offering to take on administrative duties in the form of an unpaid internship provides valuable insight into the industry. And the experience can help when applying for paid internships or full-time positions in the future.

Explore areas of study through free online courses

The best way to learn about college courses is to take one. Free online courses in many areas of study make it increasingly easy for you to try before you buy, essentially sampling departments and majors before stepping onto campus.

The added college course experience can also give you more confidence in your academic direction and put you ahead of your classmates on the first day. 

There are many ways to take a free college course. Harvard offers free course content via edX. Khan Academy and Coursera are other options.

Gain real-world experience at a part-time job

A summer job at a restaurant can be more than bussing tables. You can create opportunities for yourself by simply asking for more responsibility.

Young employees with an interest in marketing can explore new social media opportunities and future accountants can offer to assist with inventory. The added responsibility might even bring in some extra spending money. 

With some smart planning and a little creativity, you can start to map out a successful, rewarding future. Try these high school internship ideas and alternatives as a way to prepare for life at the next level.

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