If you’re a high schooler interested in engineering, you may be wondering what you can do now to get a head start. Luckily, there are tons of jobs and programs for prospective engineering high school students. Here is a comprehensive list of jobs, camps, clubs, teams, internships, and research opportunities you can participate in as a high-school student to gain relevant engineering experience.
- Engineering summer camps/programs
- Engineering research programs for high-schoolers
- Become a club president
- Join First robotics
- Join Girls who Code
1. Engineering summer camps/programs
Summer camps are a great way to get engineering experience in high school. Both going to them and being a counselor at them are great things to have on your resume.
Here are some camps for prospective engineering students that we love:
- Tinkering Camp: Tinkering camp is a week-long overnight summer camp at Elkus Ranch in San Francisco, California. Every year, they come up with a new, exciting engineering project to work on for the duration of the camp. Previous projects have included building wooden roller coasters, race cars, and pulley elevators. This camp is for students 16 or younger.
- NASA Internship: NASA offers summer internships for high school students that are free to attend. Interns are usually even paid a stipend.
- The Women’s Technology Program (WTP) at MIT: WTP is a highly competitive four-week summer program at MIT. It is designed for women in minority groups entering their senior year of high school, who have excelled in their math and science courses but have limited access to engineering programs. They have two tracks available: one for electrical engineering and one for mechanical engineering.
2. Engineering research programs for high-schoolers
Many local colleges and universities offer volunteer research positions for high schoolers. There are also summer research opportunities available for students. Here are some that we like:
- Stony Brook University — Simons Summer Research Program: This is a 6-week, free summer research program for high school students. They provide research opportunities in math, science, and engineering.
- Boston University — Research in Science & Engineering (RISE): RISE is a six-week summer research program at Boston University. It costs $4,650 to attend but is a great learning opportunity for high school students interested in engineering.
- Science and Engineering Apprenticeship Program (SEAP): SEAP is an eight-week long summer research program. Participants are paid a stipend of $3500 to attend. It is open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors and focuses on Naval research. They have several labs around the country that accept student researchers.
3. Become a club president
If you really want to boost your resume for college engineering applications, starting or becoming a president of an engineering club at your high school is a great thing to do. It shows that you are passionate about engineering, and have the leadership and teamwork skills needed to manage a club. Some ideas for high school engineering clubs include robotics, steel bridge, building rockets, or a coding club. Choose something you’re passionate about and that you think would be both fun and educational.
4. Join First Robotics
First Robotics is a great program to join in high school to prepare yourself for engineering. First Robotics is a nationwide robotics competition open to students from elementary school to high school. To join, you first need to choose a league and division. Once you do that, you can find local teams near you to join. It’s a great way to get hands-on experience with robotics, building, and teamwork.
First Robotics is a very well-known organization that is widely known by college engineering programs.
5. Join Girls who Code
Girls who Code is a nonprofit organization made to encourage women in stem and computer science. They have a variety of after-school and summer programs for high school students looking to learn to code. Now more than ever, coding is becoming an important part of many engineering jobs. The earlier you can expose yourself to coding, the better off you will be. Girls who Code provides a fun and welcoming avenue to learn to code.
Tutoring is a great way to make money as a prospective engineering student. Many students need tutoring in math and science that you could provide. It also proves to colleges that you are passionate about math and science. Furthermore, the ability to teach and explain things in a logical manner is a fantastic skill that many engineers lack.
Any engineer can have great ideas, but if you don’t know how to explain them to people, your ideas will never get off the ground. Don’t underestimate the value of social skills learned in jobs.