Research as a high school student?

In summary, as a high school student, participating in research through an internship can greatly benefit your college applications, especially for technically-oriented schools. Getting published in a peer-reviewed journal is impressive, and recommendations from practicing scientists are helpful. Starting to look for internships in February or March is recommended, and it's important to not get discouraged if you don't find one right away. The exact tasks assigned during an internship will vary, but it often involves organizing data and performing grunt work that is essential for research and theoretical results. It is also beneficial to have a basic understanding of physics, calculus, and programming.
  • #1
romsofia
597
310
"Research" as a high school student?

How would it look when applying to colleges? Will it be considered as a "boost" if you had "research" over a summer or two compared to someone who hasn't?

Note by research I am implying an internship!
 
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  • #2


Of course it can only help, but keep in mind that some schools don't care about anything except GPA + SAT. That being said, the schools that do care and are technically oriented will care a lot and yes it will help.
 
  • #3


It can definitely make you stand out for top schools; about half the people who get into CalTech each year had some sort of undergraduate research experience. Of course, not all internships are equal. Publishing your results in a peer-reviewed journal (even as a co-author) is very impressive for a high school student.
 
  • #4


romsofia said:
How would it look when applying to colleges? Will it be considered as a "boost" if you had "research" over a summer or two compared to someone who hasn't?

Note by research I am implying an internship!

Yes. Hugely. Also it helps a lot to get good recommendation letters from practicing scientists.

Things like science fairs, science talent searches, math competitions also help a lot.
 
  • #5


Thanks for the advice! So, if I were to ask for an internship would it be wise to start asking near January/February or March/April?
 
  • #6


My advice would be to start in February or March, and don't get discouraged if you don't find something at first. Remember that some students who get offered an internship will turn it down. Thus, by May or early June, more spots will open up.
 
  • #7


I would say you should start talking to some teachers or professors that might be able to help you in case you don't get into the internship you're applying to. Any kind of research would be do able, though I'll assume you have some skills that can be offered?
 
  • #8


Sweet: Thanks for the advice!
Had: Yes, I would probably have some skills that could be offered! I wouldn't be trying to get an internship string theory or something way above my head! But I don't think I would be doing much work since I am in high school :x. I'm guessing I'd probably just be organizing papers :x
 
  • #9


Hmm.. I think you don't quite have the right idea of what you're getting into. Not to say anything bad about organizing papers, but internships and research involve some serious stuff, so you'd have to know some basic physics and calculus at the very least. Try to teach yourself a programming language as well, this will greatly help your chances. Maybe if you taught yourself these things then you could try for the next summer or maybe even during the school year later on. I'm sorry to burst your bubble, but I think you might be a little confused.
 
  • #10


Could you explain what I would be doing o.o? When I asked my dad earlier this week he said I'd probably just be organizing papers since I am still in high school :x
 
  • #11


romsofia said:
Could you explain what I would be doing?

No. That depends on who you are working for, and what the job is, etc. Your question is like "what would I be doing if I interned at GE or IBM?"
 
  • #12


romsofia said:
Could you explain what I would be doing o.o? When I asked my dad earlier this week he said I'd probably just be organizing papers since I am still in high school :x

The exact topic will depend on the internship, but usually for high school students, it turns out that there is a huge amount of grunt work that needs to be done to get research and theoretical results. That grunt work often is a good fit for high school interns.

So something that typically happens is that you have a program that generates a ton of data. You need someone to go through and run the program, get the data, organize it in some sort of format, and then graph it. This is essential, it doesn't require huge amounts of skill, and it's really time consuming. Great work for a high school intern.
 

Related to Research as a high school student?

1. What kind of research can I do as a high school student?

As a high school student, you have access to a wide range of research opportunities. You can conduct experiments, gather and analyze data, review existing literature, and even participate in research projects with universities or other organizations. The key is to find a topic that interests you and then seek out resources and guidance from your teachers and mentors.

2. How can I get started with research in high school?

The first step is to identify a topic or area of interest. This can be something you are passionate about or a problem you want to solve. Next, do some preliminary research to see what has already been done in this area and what resources are available to you. Reach out to your teachers, mentors, or other experts for guidance and support. Finally, develop a research question and plan for how you will conduct your research.

3. Do I need special equipment or materials to do research as a high school student?

Not necessarily. While some research topics may require specialized equipment or materials, many can be conducted with basic tools and resources. Your school or local library may have resources such as books, databases, and online journals that you can use. You may also be able to borrow equipment from your school or collaborate with other students who have access to certain materials.

4. How can I balance research with my other school commitments as a high school student?

Time management is key when it comes to balancing research with other school commitments. It's important to prioritize your tasks and set aside dedicated time for your research project. Communicate with your teachers and mentors about your schedule and any conflicts you may have. They can provide guidance and support to help you manage your time effectively.

5. Can I present or publish my research as a high school student?

Absolutely! There are many opportunities for high school students to present and publish their research. You can participate in science fairs, conferences, and competitions at the local, national, and even international level. You can also submit your research to journals or online platforms that showcase student research. Talk to your teachers and mentors about these opportunities and how to prepare your research for presentation or publication.

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