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political science research opportunities for high school students

25 Political Science Internships for High Schoolers in 2024

What’s covered:.

  • Senate Page Program
  • State Legislature Page Programs
  • Other Political Science Internships
  • How Much Do Internships Impact Your College Chances?

An internship focused on political science is a good idea for high school students interested in pursuing a political science major in college and, ultimately, a career in government, politics, or public policy. A political science internship looks great on your college resume, builds your network, and gives you an inside look at life in politics.     

Senate Page Program 

A spot in the Senate Page Program is one of the most coveted internships among students with an interest in political science. Page positions are available both during the school year and over the summer and combine employment in the Senate (performing tasks like delivering messages) with rigorous academic coursework. Rising juniors and seniors who are 16 or 17 years old, U.S. citizens, and have a GPA of at least 3.0 are eligible to apply.   

1. Michael Bennet Senate Page

Application Deadline: Varies

  • Fall and Spring Sessions: Approximately five months
  • Summer Sessions: Between three and four weeks

Colorado Senator Michael Bennet knows about the Senate Page Program and the benefits it provides high schoolers—he served as a page when he was a junior in high school. Just 30 pages are selected to serve per session. They’ll live in Washington, D.C., get the opportunity to meet some of the nation’s most prominent leaders, and listen to debates over pressing political issues, all while continuing their studies. Pages will also get an up-close look at the fast-paced environment of an influential Senator and one-time presidential candidate.

2. Maggie Hassan Senate Page

  • Fall and Spring sessions: Approximately five months   
  • Summer Sessions: Between three and four weeks  

New Hampshire’s Daniel Webster received his first page appointment in 1829, and the U.S. Senate has welcomed young students to assist in its day-to-day operations ever since. Senator Maggie Hassan’s office continues the tradition, welcoming high-achieving juniors and seniors from the Granite State between ages 16 and 17 to play a role in the functioning of the federal government. These students continue their schooling while working for a Senator hailing from a state known for its first-in-the-nation presidential primary and large role in national politics.  

3. Sherrod Brown Senate Page

  • Fall and Spring Sessions: Approximately five months   

Paging for Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown provides an exciting opportunity to participate in the impressive Senate Page Program—working for a U.S. Senator while also living and learning in the nation’s capital. It also provides a unique perspective of working in one of the country’s most recognizable swing states. 

State Legislature Page Programs 

Only 30 page positions are available per session, making the Senate Page Program extremely competitive. State legislatures provide an excellent alternative for high schoolers who want to gain personal experience working in government.  

4. Washington State Legislature Senate Page Program

Application Deadline: February 9

Duration: One week

The State of Washington is known for its robust page program—hundreds of students participate annually. Pages are sponsored by legislators and serve for one week during the legislative sessions, assisting with everything from office tasks to delivering messages. Pages also spend time in Page School, learning about how the state government operates.

Students can participate in either the Washington State Legislature Senate or House Page program one time only.

5. Washington State Legislature House Page Program

Application Deadline: N/A

Duration: One week (40 hours) 

The Washington State Legislature House Page Program provides young Washingtonians the opportunity to participate in the process of state government. Pages perform duties such as presenting the flags, running errands, and assisting in offices. This week-long experience is open to students between ages 14 and 16, and participants receive a stipend of $65 a day for their work and can earn up to 20 hours of community service. 

Students can participate in either the Washington State Legislature Senate or House Page program one time only. 

6. Florida House of Representatives Messenger Program

Application Deadline: November 1

Duration: One week  

The Florida House of Representatives Messenger Program is a long-standing tradition in the Sunshine State—the program dates as far back as 1865. Participants in the program serve for one week—out of a 60-day session—observing the legislative process up close while performing their duties. Students who serve in the Messenger Program will have their names appear in the Journal of the House, the official record of the Florida House of Representatives.

The Messenger Program is open to students in grades nine through 12.

7. Georgia General Assembly House Page Program

Duration: One day  

For over five decades, the Georgia General Assembly House Page Program has connected the state’s elected leaders with students interested in the legislative process. The program is open to Georgia students between 12 and 18 years of age. Pages duties include delivering documents, bills, and letters to legislators in the House Chamber. Pages are paid $10 for their work, are served a lunch provided by Chick-fil-A, and receive a certificate of service. 

8. Montana Legislative Page Program

This state legislature page program provides high school juniors and seniors the opportunity to participate in the legislative process. Pages assist by running errands, delivering messages, and distributing bills. They also have the privilege of working on the floor of the Senate or House during legislative action.

Pages are paid minimum wage and have the chance to meet high-level officials like the Governor and Secretary of State.

9. Wisconsin Senate Scholars Program

Application Deadline: November 17

Duration: One week (January 21 – 26, February 11 – 16, March 10 – 15)

The Wisconsin State Senate sponsors this competitive program—just 33 Wisconsin high school juniors and seniors are accepted annually. Senate Scholars gain real-world experience with the legislative process and gain experience in everything from policy development to constituent relations working hand-in-hand with Senators and staff.

Unlike many other state legislature programs, Senate Scholars are charged tuition—$250—to cover the expense of lodging, meals, and events.

10. Oklahoma State Legislature High School Page Program

High school juniors and seniors from the Sooner State with an interest in political science will want to check out the Oklahoma State Legislature High School Page Program. Pages serve for a week during the legislative session doing everything from working in the House chamber to running errands. Pages will also take part in a Mock Legislature—electing officers, working through the legislative process, and gaining a better understanding of how state government functions.

Other Political Science Internships 

11. north carolina governor’s page program.

Duration: Four days

For more than five decades, the governor of North Carolina has provided high school juniors, seniors, and recent graduates with the chance to gain firsthand experience in state government. Over the course of four days, participants will learn from government officials, develop a policy project, and tour government buildings and historic sites. Pages will also plan a service project.

Pages receive a $200 stipend to help offset expenses like travel and lodging.

12. New York Mayor’s Office Internship Program

Application Deadline: March 22

Duration: June 24 – August 16

This internship program, open to New York City high schoolers over the age of 16, provides the opportunity to harness the potential of one of the world’s great cities. Interns will learn about the challenges facing New York City residents and help develop solutions that lead to a brighter future.

Internships are available in a variety of departments, ranging from Administrative Services to Operations to the Press Office. Interns will also take part in a bi-weekly speaker series and collaborate on a service project.

13. Pasquines Internship

Application Deadline: Rolling 

Duration: N/A 

The non-profit news organization Paquines is dedicated to bringing U.S. territories into the national conversation and covers the impact that federal issues such as those involving politics, policy, design, and innovation have on them. into the national conversation. The organization is always searching for unpaid, virtual interns who are passionate about politics, public affairs, writing, and reporting to assist in a variety of positions. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.  

14. International Leadership Foundation Youth Leadership Academy

Application Deadline: N/A 

This program is designed to cultivate the next generation of civic leaders by helping students better understand U.S. democracy and their place in it. Participants take part in a week-long intensive seminar and participate in a project of their choice—interning, volunteering, or shadowing with a local government, non-profit, or community service organization.  

15. U.S. Department of the Treasury Student Internship Program

Duration:  

  • Spring: January through May
  • Summer: May through August
  • Fall: September through December 

The U.S. Department of the Treasury offers a handful of interesting internship opportunities (including positions for students with an interest in studying political science) for high school students who are accepted at an accredited college or university. Internships are unpaid, but the experience students get working in a cabinet-level federal agency, exploring a career in the public sector, and building a professional network is invaluable. 

16. Department of Education Student Trainees Volunteers

Duration: Eight to 10 weeks

This eight- to ten-week program allows high schoolers who are accepted at an accredited college or university to build professional and personal skills while working in a field of interest. Internships are available in a variety of areas, including fields of interest to prospective political science majors like educational policies and project management and communications. In addition to their official duties, participants also take part in a brown bag lunch series with senior Education Department officials, professional development workshops, and tours of notable Washington, D.C., landmarks. 

17. United States Senate Youth Program

Application Deadline: December 1 

Duration: One week (March 2 – 9)  

While not an internship, students with an interest in politics will want to look into this prestigious week-long, intensive, Senate-sponsored program. The United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP) is open to outstanding high school juniors and seniors and is designed to provide students with an in-depth look at the Senate as well as provide a better understanding of how the legislative, judicial, and executive branches of government work. This program is extremely competitive and just two students from each state are selected to participate. 

18. Workshops Foundation Congressional Seminar

Duration: One week 

The Workshops Foundation Congressional Seminar isn’t an internship, the opportunity requires paying a fee. That said, the program offers an incredible chance to experience the legislative process up close. Participants meet Senators and Representatives, attend briefings from those involved in all areas of the political process, and visit landmarks around Washington, D.C. Participants also participate in a model Congress, giving them hands-on experience with the dynamics and challenges of policy making. 

19. American Legion Boys Nation

Duration: One week (July 19 – 26)

The Boys Nation program teaches young leaders about the structure and function of the federal government. Two representatives are selected from each state—Hawaii is the only state that doesn’t participate in the program—and act as Senators in a mock government. Senators caucus at the beginning of the session, organize into committees, and conduct hearings on bills—ultimately gaining firsthand experience with the legislative process. Participants are also treated to lectures, visit federal offices, visit notable sights, and meet with elected officials from their home states. 

20. American Legion Auxiliary Girls Nation

Duration: One week (July 20 – 27)

A complementary program to American Legion Boys Nation, Girls Nation operates in a similar manner. Two “Senators” are chosen from each state and participate in a mock legislature—submitting bills and resolutions, participating in senate sessions, and electing officials such as president and vice president. Participants will also visit historic Washington, D.C., monuments, Arlington National Cemetery, and Capital Hill. 

21. Mikva Challenge Programs

Duration: N/A

The Chicago-based youth organization, Mikva Challenge, doesn’t exactly offer an internship, however, it does provide high schoolers with a variety of ways to become more involved with government, have real-world democratic experiences, and take civic action.

The organization connects youth to campaigns to assist with everything from door-knocking and phone banking to registering voters through its Campaign Experiences Program. More than 2,000 high school juniors and seniors serve at polling sites—in Chicago and Washington, D.C.—each election cycle through the Student Election Judge Program, helping fellow citizens cast their ballots and gaining first-hand election experience.

22. USC Dornsife Center for the Political Future High School Internship Program

Duration: Eight weeks (June 1 – August 1)

High schoolers can have a collegiate internship experience through this prestigious program. Interns are tasked with completing two projects: summarizing the center’s signature event, the Climate Forward Conference, and composing an essay drawing their own conclusions from the event. Students will gain experience with political research and have their work published on the center’s website and social media.

23. Maine Youth Council Internship

Application Deadline:

  • Spring: January 18
  • Summer: May 15
  • Fall: September 21

The League of Women Voters of Maine supports this internship for high school students interested in community organizing, communications, youth organizing, and creating a more equitable and just society.

Interns explore how they can make an impact on their communities, learn how state laws are passed, and develop organizing skills. Interns are encouraged to choose the direction of their internship and in the past students have done everything from hosting events to creating public service announcements.

Interns work five hours a week and are paid $15 per hour.

24. EMILYs List

Application Deadline: March 31

EMILYs List allows students to gain political experience while helping elect Democratic pro-choice women to office. Internships are designed for people who have little to no professional political or campaign experience but are interested in a career in politics.

Interns assist in their departments, participate in staff events, and gain a deeper knowledge of the political process. Interns are paid $17 per hour.

25. Kentucky Governor’s Scholars Program

  • Session 1: June 16 – July 20
  • Session 2: June 22 – July 26
  • Session 3: June 23 – July 27

This program for outstanding rising Kentucky seniors aims to foster its best and brightest students and encourage the next generation of civic leaders to remain in the state. While not an internship, this residential program is free and provides a fantastic opportunity to have a residential college experience and build a network of other potential future leaders.

Participants in this program pursue a topic of interest and take classes focused on community leadership and service learning. They also attend leadership seminars that tackle topics like values clarification, career choice, and interpersonal relationships.

How Much Do Internships Impact Your College Chances? 

Internships are an extracurricular activity that can count for as much as a quarter of admissions decisions. However, their influence on admissions depends on their impressiveness and rarity, which is best quantified using the 4 Tiers of Extracurricular Activities .   

For example, a Senate page position is a tier-one extracurricular activity, as it is extremely prestigious, competitive (just 30 pages are selected per session), and high-profile. Conversely, local, less selective, and more common internships fall into the lower tiers—three and four.  

Wondering how your internship will affect your odds of acceptance? CollegeVine can help! Our free admissions calculator factors in your GPA and standardized test scores, along with other considerations such as extracurricular activities (like internships), to calculate your odds of admission at hundreds of schools across the country.

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COMMENTS

  1. 10 Politics Programs for High School Stu…

    A spot in the Senate Page Programis one of the most coveted internships among students with an interest in political science. Page positions are available both …