2 months ago
Admissions Advice

How do people start community service programs and/or get internships as high schoolers?

Usually when people post their college stats that got them into college, if there isn't some type of internship or research project, there is some sort of community service program they have started. How are high schoolers able to get these opportunities? I'm a low income high school student and I do understand doing something like starting a non profit is probably really expensive and probably something I can't do, but I do see low income college students posting about volunteer opportunities they created or internships they have gained. How is all of this possible? Is there a secret place that tells you how to do these things that I haven't gained awareness about lol


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2 answers

Accepted Answer
a month ago[edited]

For research programs, if you know what you want to do in college then it's easier to start from there. If you have an idea of what you want to do your research on, I'd highly recommend partnering with a nearby college to get started. Or if you don't really know what you want to do, you can communicate with a college near you where they have a major you are interested in, if its computer science or biochemistry or medicine etc, and ask for an opportunity to meet the professor and ask him/her/them what he/she/they are working on and tell him/her/them that you are from the area and interested in a research project if he/she/they are working on one, or you have an idea of a research project and see what he/she/they have to tell you. Most likely if there's a research project going on, he/she/they will be happy to invite you to join in. Importantly is that you find it interesting to work on cause otherwise it'll not be the best feeling for you. And best if you don't come off as someone simply looking to add things on the ECs but rather someone just looking for genuine knowledge and better understanding of their field before setting in, and the best part is....you can then form a personal relation with the college and definitely apply in the future and you'll have so much to talk about the college and your experience there and increase your chances to get in. The downside might be your schedules may not collerate so be ready to compromise. There also different programs such as InspiritAI for computer science and AI interested students, am not certain what you want to do so I can't specifically pinpoint but definitely you can find resources online on where to start from, as there different programs where you can learn about the field you are interested in and get a chance to do a research related to it, however this can be a little costly so you might want to factor that in or ask if they give financial aid as some programs do.

Another thing about starting a non profit, I definitely don't think its impossible if the only reason you can't is financial. If you have the right team with you that also wants to be part of it, and you have a goal that you want to accomplish, let's say related to health care or education or social, and you have it down in notes, what you want to achieve, what you plan to do when you receive the fundings, then I'd highly recommend reaching out to foundations and highly established non profit organisations in your area. I once did, I had an idea related on improving education and health care in my local community and had to write down the planning, what I plan to achieve and exactly how I'll achieve it when given the chance to. I then found some local foundations and highly funded non profits that I knew of, sent emails detailing my request, who we are, what we want to do and the fact that we need assistance with funding (no need to specify here before meeting). I was then invited to the biggest foundation in my city (which I was highly interested in and genuinely, the email I sent them was so tailor-made and they really knew that I was interested in them, what they do was also related to social and community well being which made it was easier), I went in the interview and received personalised assistance and advice, and started operating shortly after with close supervision from a worker there, who we often meet virtually or in person to discuss where we are and perhaps any challenges or an improvements, running for almost two years now. We are separate with very different names but definitely always credit them as an appreciation and our largest supporter. So it's really all about shooting your shot, find a foundation in your area that is already well established and has something related to what you want to do, there's a higher chance they will accept your request compared to the ones who aren't, and if they are already operating on the same idea, you might volunteer with them or ask for an unpaid internship if they have a specific role you are interested in, but if they don't, let them know on your idea and what you want to achieve and how you will achieve and be ready to put the work for it as since you are using their resources including funds, they'll likely want to know how you are planning to balance your studies and running the non profit organisation and be honest and committed about it, 20 hours a week, perhaps more, be ready to answer that and more related questions like what you are planning to do once you graduate high school, will you still run it or once you get into college then that's the end goal and will handover your non profit and the rights to them (which can either work on your favour if they are happy to take over or they'll not want it if they'll find it as extra work and will definitely need to hire new people to run it so think it through). But best if you are really planning to successfully run and assist them even during college or find people in your school who'll be interested to join in even after you leave so they don't have to worry about paying someone new. But do some research on local well established foundations related to your interest and see if they can fund your non profit ideas or perhaps volunteer or ask for unpaid internship if there's a role that you are interested in, as long as you can set time and commit to it, I'd definitely hope it should work, just go out there, send emails detailing your request and hopefully you'll be invited for an interview somewhere.

So well my best advice would be, if you have an idea you want to research on, find a local college around you with the major, communicate accordingly and find the professors related to your interested niche and see who has something you can work on or who will support you. Also consider applying for unpaid internships (you might find some paid, but will be very hard if you don't have enough experience as they are usually reserved for college students looking for experience and have a higher level of understanding about them compared to high school students, so you'll have an easier time finding an unpaid internship) or finding a local organisation you'd love to volunteer in and work with, be specific with what you want to help or if you are looking for volunteer opportunities related to X field, also might help to give a site called Teen life, I highly recommend it. Its a place I go for finding both schools or colleges am interested in, or volunteer programs, summer school, and so much more, also the best part is you can personalise so that it can fit, you can find free programs related to your interest, or ones that cost withing your budget, so there's definitely something for everyone, also if you are looking for virtual programs or ready for in person programs, there's all that you can be looking for so highly recommend it. But best, communication is key, if you have something specific you are looking to work on and can do a little research on where in your local area you can start with and communicate accordingly, then you'll definitely have offers pouring in and strengthen your college applications but also gaining real world experience.

Hope this helps in anyway!

2 months ago

For internships a good place to start is LinkedIn if you qualify your search you can generally find some. Additionally get specific with what you want to do it’s easier. Ex: I want to do medical stuff and research so I looked up opportunities in my area and applied to volunteer at a hospital. Your impact is what matters more than if you start your own volunteer organization. Someone can start one just for college apps and it does nothing. Or you could volunteer a lot in a preexisting program and make a large impact on your community (bonus points could make a good college essay story). Also if you can try and get involved with clubs at your school if they have any. Colleges like to see people taking leadership opportunities. And some clubs have volunteer opportunities attached as NHS. In short focus on what you want to go into with your ecs and make an impact.

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