Summer Opportunities for High School and College

By: Aditi Adhikari

There are so many cool opportunities out there, and it can be hard to know where to begin. Hopefully, the resources in this post can give you an idea about what you want from your summer experiences, now and in the future. This post is not supposed to be read from beginning to end (that would be really really long), and this is not meant to be an exhaustive list of cool or interesting opportunities. Rather, I tried to put together a diverse array of opportunities that can give you a good idea of what's out there for you. Keep in mind, however, that oftentimes the best and most impactful opportunities are ones in your town or local area.

Summer activities do not need to be fancy or flashy to be fulfilling and worthwhile. Whether you decide to volunteer with your local library or with the Red Cross, what matters most is what you get out of it and bring with you into your other activities and interests. Summer opportunities are a great way to delve deeper into new interests or try something entirely new! Though it's easier said than done, try not to stress too much about what is considered "valuable" or "prestigious," especially to colleges, because the most important thing is that you have fun and learn something while you're at it.
I wanted to compile a list of diverse opportunities and resources to help guide you in your upcoming search for summer activities -- hopefully something here will stimulate your curiosity and help you find something perfect for you! I've divided them by field/area of interest, as well as thrown in a couple of search engines that could help you along the way!

Valuable Places to Look:

Social Justice/Nonprofit

Hilliard P. Jenkins Fellowship
10-week paid fellowship for college students with interest in race relations, social justice, and entrepreneurism.

Freedom House Detroit Volunteering
Volunteer with refugees in the Detroit area

GiveWell Summer Research Analyst
Paid position for undergraduate and graduate students looking to work with nonprofit research.

Breakthrough Collaborative Teaching Fellowship
Available to undergraduate students. Teach kids in underserved communities who have the goal of going to college.

US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants
Learn about the issues facing refugees and immigrants in this nation by training and providing assistance to refugees in resettlement issues.

Blight Busters Internship
Spring and summer internship for college and high school students in nonprofit management, urban agriculture, and social justice.


American Red Cross Internship
10-week paid or unpaid opportunities available year-round to undergraduate and graduate students in cities ranging from Cincinnati to St. Louis to Sacramento.

Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations
Full time internship for undergraduate students in Geneva or Washington, DC.

WHO Internship Programme
The WHO allows college juniors and graduate students to interns at their various offices around the world

Foundation for International Medical Relief of Children
An international experience in public and rural health in underserved areas for a variety of durations, ranging from one week to six months.

Technology and Computer Science

Disney Internships (various)
Disney offers a number of internships at varying levels of qualifications to those interested in software and/or business.

Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program
Free program for high school girls centered around creating projects in robotics, animation, web sites, apps, and gaining exposure to tech companies.

Business and Entrepreneurship

MIT Launch Summer Program
High School entrepreneur programs that allow teams to compete for real funding for their startup.

Lifepack Internship
A budding startup in St. Louis is looking for interns to help move their environmental-friendly packaging movement forward.

Quicken Loans Internship Program
Paid, full-time internships are available all year round in Scottsdale, Detroit, and Cleveland at this mortgage lending company.

STEM Research

BlueStamp Engineering Summer Research Program
High school students can work with experienced engineers on designing an original prototype and project.

Program in Mathematics for Young Scientists (PROMYS)
A six-week program for high school students to explore mathematics, supplemented by research opportunities, guest speakers, and specialized seminars.

Amgen Scholars Program
All expense-paid undergraduate research programs in 10 institutions across the United States, mostly in STEM and engineering. 

NASA Internships
A variety of internships for high school, college, and graduate level students in locations ranging from Washington, DC to Palo Alto, CA.

High School Honors Science, Math, and Engineering Program
Seven-week intensive research program at Michigan State University where you get to work with leading professors and scientists in STEM fields.

International Relations

Seeds of Peace
Summer program that attempts to bridge the divide between people from different sides of international conflicts.

United Nations Internship
The organization Temple of Understanding hosts an internship at the UN for high school and college students.


Smithsonian Institute Internships
The Smithsonian Museums offer a variety of internships for high school and college students that range from Research Experiences for Undergraduates to opportunities at the Hirschhorn Art Museum.

LEDA Scholars Program
For high school juniors. Spend your summer at Princeton University receiving top-notch instruction on leadership training, standardized test prep, and the college application process.

For grades 4-12. Learn valuable leadership and resilience skills while staying active by biking or hiking across the United States.

National Student Leadership Conference
Experience classes and professional development in a wide variety of topics at a number of college campuses and cities around the United States.

Sylvan Learning Center Tutor
High school and college students and graduates can give back to their community and also earn money by working for a tutoring or learning center such as this one.

The posts published on the blog are written by a talented group of Joyce Ivy Fellows, who are all members of the Publications Team. To see who the members are, please visit here.

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