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Internships for high school students in Chicago

Hi! I’m a high school senior who has extensively researched internships for high school students in Chicago. I know about all the internships for high school students in Chicago. ResearcHStart, the After School Matters internship, the Fermilab target internship, and One Summer Chicago just scrape the surface of all the internships for high school students in Chicago!

Note: I have all of these internships in the high school internship master list table on the home page of this website, but this blog post gives more details about each of these programs. Without further ado, I will tell you about all of the internships that Chicago offers per interest area:

Science internships for high school students in Chicago: researcHStart UChicago, UChicago’s Chicago Eyes On Cancer, MedStem Pathways

UChicago offers the Chicago Eyes on Cancer and researcHStart which are two internships where high schoolers can do cancer research in Chicago laboratories. The pay is good too. researcHStart UChicago pays $2500 for the whole summer and Chicago Eyes on Cancer is $3100 for the summer. There is also the MedStem pathways program which provides science internships over the summer.

High schooler in researcHStart UChicago

MedStem Pathways, Northwestern’s research opportunity, and Health Champions

MedStem Pathways also provides internships over the summer in IT and computer science, but I really don’t know too much about what this program is like. It says on their website that they prioritize students who are from certain schools and live in certain zip codes. I do know that they have you apply through the After School Matters portal to pay you for the program. They also have a program during the school year that is only for students who did their summer internship. Like I will say later, programs that are associated with After School Matters tend to be a hit or miss in terms of quality so be wary of this program. Another science internship is that UIC offers a paid medical internship called Health Champions. Northwestern also offers this paid medical research opportunity.


Adler Planetarium Internship | Internships for high school students in Chicago

The Adler Planetarium has paid space programs that you can apply for, but in my opinion, the programs don’t come across as too impactful. Their programs are paid though. The Adler Planetarium internship is where you work in their museum. They also have a youth council, but I wouldn’t get too excited about their youth council because I applied for their youth council and I didn’t even get a response from them (yes or no) so it might not be worth applying for. Adler Planetarium also has other paid programs during the school year and summer.

Fermilab Target Internship | Internships for high school students in Chicago

Illinois also has the paid Fermilab target internship and the Quarknet Summer research program which seem more impactful. However, both these Fermilab summer high school internships are hard to get. I applied for both of the programs in my junior year and I only got a response from one of them. The other one I don’t even think I got a response from (yes or no) so I don’t know if it’s worth applying for honestly.

internships for high school students

Instead of the Fermilab summer high school internships, I think your best bet here is to just try to cold-email a university professor who does engineering/space research to do a research internship for them. You can read my guide on how to cold-email a university professor to find research opportunities in high school here.


Computer Science | Internships for high school students in Chicago

UChicago’s Data Science Institute | Internships for high school students in Chicago

If you are interested in computer science, UChicago offers the Data Science Institute which is this paid computer science summer research opportunity for high schoolers. They also pay a lot (about $5600 for the summer). This is probably the best computer science internship that you’re going to find online. They also don’t require a recommendation letter. The application is just a google form that you fill out with some essay-style questions so they can learn more about you. The acceptance rate for the program is around 10%. A pro to this program is that you can be as young as 14 (a high school freshman) to apply for it. This job is 40 hours a week and you’re going to UChicago to do the work.

Genesys Works | Internships for high school students in Chicago

Genesys Works is a paid work-study program that high school seniors can apply to from Janurary-March of their senior year. Then, you have to interview for the program and their interviews take place from March to April. During a high schooler’s senior year summer they have paid training for their paid school-year internship program. The training includes interpersonal skills like eye contact. They say that you don’t need any prior experience in business or technology. They will teach you everything you need to know to be ready for your internship.

Your internship will be in a large corporation. Then, during your senior year school year, they place you in an internship. They have 3 tracks/interest areas of internships you can choose from: computer science, information technology, and accounting. Throughout the internship, they also provide you with college and career counseling. 

If you want to go to college, Genesys Works staff assists you with college selection, applications, grants, and scholarships. You’ll earn $10,000-$15,000 over the course of your 12-month internship. Most internships start in August of your senior year and end the next August before you go to college.  As an intern, you’ll work 20 hours a week at a top company in the metro area. You go to school in the morning and work at your internship from 1-5pm Monday through Friday.

Everyone Can Code app program | Internships for high school students in Chicago

There is also the paid Everyone Can Code app program that you have to be 16-24 to do. In this program, you can build your own app or add features to an existing app. One of their requirements to join the program though is that need to have completed a minimum of 120 hours of Swift training w/ demonstrated progress towards or completion of Level 1 App Development with Swift Certification.

Political Science | Internships for high school students in Chicago

Mikva Challenge | Internships for high school students in Chicago

Mikva Challenge offers a paid summer internship in a Chicago elected official’s office. You must be 17-20 to do the internship though. Here is the application link. Mikva also offers a variety of paid youth councils for teens to join.

Other political science opportunities | Internships for high school students in Chicago

High schoolers can also do election judging in Chicago, which is basically helping out during elections. Another program Chicago offers is that the Board of Education has this program called the Honorary Student Board member that high school sophomores and juniors can apply to. They only choose one Honorary Student Board member and it’s very competitive so you need to have awesome extracurriculars already. Chicago also offers the Mayor’s Youth Commission which is this paid youth council. 

There’s also the Illinois State Board of Education youth council and the Illinois Student Advisory Council. The applications for the Illinois Student Advisory Council have stayed closed for like about 1.5 years though but the Illinois State Board of Education youth council applications do open every year around the spring.


Junior Economic Club | Internships for high school students in Chicago

There is a Junior Economic Club chapter in Chicago. This is not an internship but rather, the Junior Economic Club is an organization across the U.S in many states that provides high schoolers interested in business with networking connections. It’s competitive to be accepted, but worth it. You are more likely to get internship offers in high school by joining the organization and the organization provides you with networking connections. 

They also provide kids with special opportunities to join elite youth councils in Chicago that you couldn’t get in otherwise if you weren’t in this organization. This organization also provided its student members with opportunities to work on websites for schools if you’re also interested in computer science. Here’s the application.

Future Founders and CSBI

There is also CSBI which is for high school juniors. They give summer internships in the financial services sector. For Chicago high schoolers, Future Founders, which is an entrepreneurial organization offers this couple-week paid program called Be Your Own Boss that lets you network with entrepreneurs. 

Honestly, though I don’t feel like this little program is really worth it. Maybe it can let you with entrepreneurs a little bit, but honestly if you are 18 I would go for applying for their programs in the dropdown in the image below. These actually help you further your business and you can get real resources.   

internships for high school students chicago

Many fields

Job1 internship | Internships for high school students in Chicago

Chicago offers the Job1 program where you can get paid summer internships in a variety of fields over the summer. This is definitely worth checking out because you can get an internship in a real business here and the application process is not that competitive.

Urban Alliance | Internships for high school students in Chicago

This is a paid work-study program that high school seniors can do during the school year of their senior year. You can select on the application what you are interested in. 

However, I had emailed them about this program and they told me they offer a variety of internships and will place you with an internship that matches your skillset. They do have a few internships that are computer science based, but they said that overall you should choose their program if you are looking to develop your professional skillset. They emailed me that they try our best to match students to their interest areas, but ultimately will choose the best for the student’s skill development. So the consensus is that an internship in your interests is not guaranteed.

After School Matters | Internships for high school students in Chicago

If you’re a Chicago high schooler then you probably already know what After School Matters is. It’s this organization that offers paid internships and apprenticeships in basically every field to high schoolers starting as young as 14. They offer programs during the school year and summer. My problem with these programs is that they tend not to be that good in general, especially the apprenticeship programs that have barely any interview process and they just accept anyone. For example, in one of these programs, it was just very slow-paced and you weren’t learning much.

However, internships are for students 16+ and their internships tend to be better but know that it can be a hit or miss. Make sure that the program you are applying to is competitive and they have an interview process because that is a sign that a program is better. Also, know that the pay in After School Matters is not that good. It’s only 850 for the summer and the job is really not like a full-time job. You’re probably only doing 10-15 hours a week.

Students in after school matters internship

One Summer Chicago | Internships for high school students in Chicago


In addition, I just wouldn’t waste my time with One Summer Chicago (basically a worse version of After School Matters) because their programs just aren’t very good in general from my experience, especially for high schoolers. You’re just not really doing much in the program. 

One Summer Chicago really only accepts people to their programs who are extremely poor and/or homeless. I honestly would not even bother applying to One Summer Chicago if you are in high school because their programs aren’t the best and sometimes you won’t even hear anything back from them after applying. Know that you can apply to this if you are 14 but the programs for people under 16 are even worse (I’ve been in one of their under 16 programs).

one summer chicago banner and logo

If there is a program you find interesting that’s associated with One Summer Chicago you should get in touch with one of the providers of a program through One Summer Chicago, make sure this program manager knows who you are and that you are applying for their program, and then you can apply for their program on the One Summer Chicago application form. 

I was able to get in touch with one of the program providers and they just write people’s names down of who is going to apply. This makes it more likely you’ll be accepted to their program. Also, for some other high school programs that Chicago offers, specifically the Mikva Challenge internship and their youth councils and the Everyone Can Code app program, after applying for their specific program on their website, you have to apply for their program also on the One Summer Chicago portal and choose either Mikva Challenge or Everyone Can Code as who you want to work with.


Other resources:

You can view my guide on how to find an internship in high school.

You can view my post about the benefits of internships in high school.

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