Political internships in secondary schools in 2022: summer internships, classes and more

When you think of politics, you think of elections, but political participation is much more than just elections. High school students can learn about public policy and public service early in life through high school summer political internships or leadership-focused youth programs.

High school political internship programs, youth conferences, or leadership summits give you invaluable information and first-hand experience of current issues affecting your day-to-day freedoms and rights. This article shares the best political internships for high school students and other ways to get involved in politics.

Can high school students gain access to political internships?

Yes, political internships are not just for college students. You can participate in a summer internship or youth program that focuses on leadership, governance, public service, or international affairs. High school political internships are offered through government agencies, nonprofit organizations, or university political science networks.

Are there political summer internships in high school?

Yes, there are political summer internships in high school. From your local government to the state and federal levels, political internships will teach you about various career opportunities in government. As an intern you will be given a wide range of tasks such as event coordination or research.

Why are internships important for high school students?

  • Professional skills. It’s never too early to develop professional skills that will be useful for your future. An internship in politics will give you hands-on experience and teach you time management or even program planning skills, which will be useful in any career field.
  • Leadership skills. Nothing is more important to politics than leadership. An internship is an exciting opportunity that allows you to develop your leadership skills and skills. Leadership is a valuable life skill for any profession.
  • Management skills. There is a wide range of management skills you can learn from an internship. A political internship program offers students the opportunity to learn skills from personal and interpersonal management to finance and resource management. If you are interested in politics, then you must have these skills.

Top 10 Political Internships In High Schools

American Legion Boys State and Boys Nation

  • Place: All states except Hawaii
  • Length: A week
  • Time commitment: full time

This internship program for high school students teaches students about local, state, and state government. Students are often placed with business leaders in their communities. Two students from each state are selected to represent their state in Washington, DC, to learn about the federal government.

American Legion Auxiliary Girls Nation

  • Place: All states except Hawaii
  • Length: A week
  • Time commitment: full time

This is the female counterpart of Boys State and Boys Nation. Participants learn about the political processes by participating in a simulated government scenario, selecting representatives, practicing public speaking and holding legislative sessions. Two high school interns have also been selected to represent their state in Washington, DC, where they will meet their government representatives on Capitol Hill.

Junior State of America Summer Institutes

  • Place: Oakland, CA, online
  • Length: Three weeks in the summer
  • Time commitment: part time

The Junior State of America (JSA) is a student-run, civic-centered organization that aims to empower students to engage in civic initiatives through engagement and hands-on experience. JSA has three different summer institutes that give you the chance to meet and interact with elected government officials, leaders, journalists, and other students from across the US.

Conference page program

  • Place: Washington, DC
  • Length: One or more school semesters or in the summer
  • Time commitment: full time

As a Senate page, you work as an assistant to one of your members of Congress in the US House of Representatives or the Senate. Your role is to perform administrative duties and you must attend classes at the US Senate Program School. To score a position for this beneficial experience, you must be nominated and apply before the application deadline.

National Student Leadership Conference

  • Place: Washington, DC
  • Length: Nine days in the summer
  • Time commitment: full time

This youth leadership program aims to show students the inner workings of the U.S. Congress and the political process through first-hand experience. You will participate in simulated presidential elections and simulations of the US Senate with other students from across the US, and hear from guest speakers with relevant personal experience in various areas of government.

US Department of Agriculture Pathways Internship Program

  • Place: Varies with stage
  • Length: A year
  • Time commitment: part time

The Pathways Internship Program is the official internship program for all U.S. federal government departments. The Department of Agriculture is a great place to learn about political issues related to growing food and administering federal emergency programs, such as food aid programs. This is a paid internship and one of the small selection of government programs that often lead to future employment.

Summer Immersion at George Washington University

  • Place: Washington, DC
  • Length: Two weeks in the summer
  • Time commitment: full time

Students will attend a two-week session on a topic of their choice, either foreign policy, international relations, US public policy, or national security. This internship program offers students the opportunity to learn from college professors who are experts in their fields and to experience politics in Washington, DC.

YMCA Youth & Government

  • Place: by the US
  • Length: Depending on location
  • Time commitment: Depending on location

This program prepares high school students for political leadership through relevant experience. Students learn about public policy through a collaborative learning simulation where they participate in a state-wide model government program. The details of the program vary from state to state.

Pasquines Stage

  • Place: Online
  • Length: voluntarily
  • Time commitment: Flexible (minimum 2 hours per week)

Pasquines is a non-profit news organization that focuses on US foreign policy and shows the connections between national affairs and local political issues. This is a very flexible virtual internship program and specific foreign policy tasks and topics will vary. There are no official internship dates, you fill out the application form at any time and interns are accepted on an ongoing basis.

Internship at the US Department of Education

  • Place: Washington, DC
  • Length: By appointment
  • Time commitment: By appointment

These internship opportunities are offered to students interested in education policy and administration at the federal government level. While learning from the dedicated staff of the United States Department of Education, one of the requirements is that you continue your studies part-time during the internship.

Political lessons for high school students

You don’t have to be a graduate student at Harvard University or Columbia University to learn about politics, governance, and foreign policy. There are many different resources available outside of traditional educational programs. You can now take some classes and take advantage of an excellent opportunity to learn more about politics, political career areas and the legislative process in general.

  • Introduction to Political Science by Udemy. In this course you will become acquainted with political science. It will help you understand political ideologies, political history, the law that governs politics and how government works. This is especially useful for understanding how to participate in politics as a prospective voter.
  • Act on Climate: Steps for Individual, Community and Political Action by Coursera. Public policy on natural resource management is an important political issue everywhere from local politics to international affairs. This course is offered through Coursera by the University of Michigan. You will learn how to tackle climate problems through political action.
  • Moral Foundations of Politics by Coursera. Offered by Yale University, this course will help you understand the major political theories, how they have evolved over time, and different perspectives on political theories. You learn to analyze political issues and to think critically.
  • Ultimate time management for teens and students by Udemy. Time management is an excellent skill to master no matter what career options you think of. In fact, if you want to get a political internship, you need to be organized with your time. This course will help you balance your workload and academic commitments without missing a beat.
  • Introduction to International Relations by Udemy. This is a beginner’s course, no previous experience in international relations is required. You will learn about theories of international relations, how sovereign states came to be, causes of conflict and war, and the role of international organizations in the struggle for peace.

Should You Do a Political Internship in High School?

Yes, you should do a political internship in high school. An internship exposes you to real-life experiences and allows you to learn new professional skills. In addition, the university application process is more competitive than ever, and a political internship shows that you are a committed student. As a bonus, some programs even offer luncheons with policy experts, so you might be able to get mini career counseling sessions from someone who knows what they’re doing.

Frequently Asked Questions About Political Internships for High School Students

Are there political internships in data science?

Yes, there are political internships in data science. For example, the United States Department of Education provides training and development in data analytics as part of their internship programs.

Can I get a political internship without any work experience?

Yes, you can get a political internship without any work experience. High school internship programs are designed for high school students, and potential employers know that most high school students do not have work experience before their first internship.

Is there an alternative to internships?

Yes, you can try an internship instead of an internship. Internships aren’t just for craft jobs. You’ll find them in industries such as financial services, information technology, human resources, and advanced manufacturing.

How can I prepare for my internship interview?

You should review common questions about internship interviews and practice your answers beforehand. Study the job description and make sure to match your answers to each part of the description. Please be on time, dress formally and bring copies of all documents you submitted with your application. To prepare for an internship interview, you need to approach it with the same seriousness as a job interview.

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