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How high schoolers can do research this summer

BY VIOLET W.*
Cover photo courtesy: https://education.scripps.edu/

All students, regardless of their academic interests, could do research. Not only is it a great way for them to deep dive into a subject that interests them, but they can also learn a variety of skills in a hands-on environment. However, high school students might struggle to know how to secure a position. So here are a few tips on how high schoolers can do research this summer. 

Reach Out To Local Researchers

Students might be able to intern at local universities, companies, or even hospitals. While these positions aren’t advertised, you can reach out with a tailored cover letter and resume inquiring about what positions might be available. 

You likely won’t get many responses, so make sure to cast a wide net and follow up after a few weeks if you haven’t heard back. 

Reaching out to local companies or professors can be a bit more of a risk, because there is no guarantee that you can find anything, and also you will be working around their schedules to make more opportunities feasible. Another challenge is being able to demonstrate how you could potentially add value and contribute to the project.

Join A Research Program 

Joining a structured research program—either throughout the school year or during the school—is the most beneficial way for the students to learn and improve their research skills. Those programs usually have a clear goal of what will be taught and accomplished during the structured program.

One such program is Rising Researchers, which is beneficial and open to high school students of all ages. Students cannot only learn new skills and earn college credits, but most importantly, they will learn how to write a research paper and publish it at the end of the camp. Attending a summer research camp can be a great way for students to demonstrate practically their interest in a topic. 

Explore Independent Research Project

Starting your independent research is another option, but it requires a longer time commitment and dedication. It usually takes at least one year from the time you start your paper, finish it, and submit it for publication. One big advantage of an independent research project is that you can study any topic of your choosing. If you are a rising senior, you might not have time to get the paper published before college application season. 

To begin working on an independent research project, follow these four steps to get started: 

  1. Make a list of your future career interests.
  2. Read previous research journals to get an idea of topics that might interest you. 
  3. What questions do you want to ask and answer in your research? 
  4. Gather your sources and begin writing your paper.

Add Research to Your Resume

Getting your research published as a high school student is challenging, but with some effort, your dedication will pay off. You can stand out with your peers, showcase your passion and increase the probability of getting into a more competitive school.


*Violet W is a College Counselor & Outreach Coordinator at MoonPrep. 

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