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Finding a Summer High School Internship & Using It on Your College Apps

Not only is a summer internship beneficial in terms of career experience, but it will look great on your college applications as well!

Erica Cirino, Varsity Tutors' Contributor

April 08, 2015

Finding a Summer High School Internship & Using It on Your College Apps
Many high school students think of the summer months as a much-needed break after a hectic school year. While this is true for some students, others choose to remain busy over the break, whether through paid employment or a summer internship. High school students who complete summer internships benefit from several advantages.

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The Benefits of High School Internships

First, a student who participates in an internship that is relevant to his or her educational and professional goals is more likely to gain admission to college. Second, he or she gains hands-on career experience in a specific field, as well as new professional contacts.

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Third, summer internships are a wonderful source of personal growth.

Finding the Right Opportunity

Successfully completing a summer internship begins with selecting the opportunity that is best for you. Early in the spring, start your search by deciding what you would like to learn during your internship. Do you want to explore a specific academic field like biology or museum studies? Or do you want to learn new skills that are related to a specific profession like medicine?
Once you have set your internship goals, look online for open positions. Geographically, you can search locally or online.

Applying & Securing the Internship

Once you have completed your search, compile a short-list of internship opportunities, and then start applying. Of course, you will want to be sure that you carefully review your application and resume before you submit them. A well-written application can help you make a strong first impression, and this is excellent practice for when you will be applying to colleges in the not-so-distant future! As you begin to hear from companies, focus on selecting the internship that will benefit you most. Once you make your decision, contact your internship supervisor and thank him or her for the opportunity. You can also express your excitement to begin this summer. Several weeks before your official start date, confirm your internship details.


After you complete your internship, be sure to thank your supervisor for the experience. If you formed a strong relationship with this person, you can also ask if you can list him or her as a professional reference. If you excelled as a summer intern, chances are your supervisor will be more than happy to vouch for your skills and character.

Listing Your Internship Experience on College Applications

When the time comes to present your summer internship on your college applications, you should do so by listing it as one of your extracurricular or work activities. Specify its duration and include a brief description of the internship, including your job title, duties, and any special projects you worked on. If the opportunity presents itself, you can also use the admissions essay to describe your summer internship in greater detail. Depending on the essay prompt, you may wish to focus on one aspect of your internship experience. For example, you can emphasize the practical knowledge or skills you gained as an intern, as well as how you will apply what you learned to your college studies. Another great idea is to discuss how your summer internship led to personal growth that will help you excel in college. Colleges hope to see that you have gotten something positive out of your internship, and that you will bring that positivity to their campus. Thus, presenting your internship in a way that highlights this connection can greatly increase your chances of acceptance.

Erica Cirino is a contributing writer for Varsity Tutors, a technology platform for private academic tutoring and test prep designed to help students at all levels of education achieve academic excellence.

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