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62 Best Research Opportunities for High School Students

June 2, 2024

Hands-on laboratory-based research experiences are coveted by just about every STEM-oriented teenager on the planet. Of course, this level of demand renders research opportunities for high school students a valuable and rare commodity. Fortunately, there are a number of reputable summer programs run by universities, government agencies, and private research laboratories that afford young scientists this highly sought-after experience. Research opportunities during the actual school year are more challenging to locate as colleges are, at that time, catering to their own students, and the rigidity of the high school calendar makes participation a further challenge.

What type of research opportunities can a high school student have, anyway?

Research opportunities for high school students can range from introductory to highly advanced. Some programs focus on teaching students the fundamental skills required for research while others place students with a real working research group and allow them to contribute to legitimate experiments and papers. Your level of involvement will depend on the university or organization’s policies, your mentor, your lab team, and the type of research being conducted.

What types of research experiences look best on college applications?

Authentic, laboratory-based research experiences that you get paid for are the hardest types of positions to nail down, primarily because very few of these spots are available. Moreover, such research groups are conducting serious work—consequently, they’re looking for serious, high-achieving students who will positively enhance their dynamic. Additionally, these positions typically require a longer time commitment, with students working full-time (or close to full-time) hours for several months or even years. As such, accepting one of these positions may limit the other types of summer opportunities that you can participate in. Finally, due to safety concerns and restrictions, you will likely need to be at least 16 years old to participate in many types of lab-based research.

On the flip side are research opportunities that you pay to be involved in, with some being more selective than others. Many families wonder if these programs offer legitimate research experience or are simply another way to capitalize off of the college admissions craze, and the answer is that you have to do your homework.

Although some research opportunities offer little in the way of experience, others are truly authentic opportunities to work with a mentor and delve into an area of interest for academic enrichment—no different than any other cost-based summer program. In these cases, the fact that a student prioritized their intellectual curiosity and spent several months seriously pursuing a topic of interest will be an excellent addition to their application. We’ve gone ahead and done the hard work for you—any one of the opportunities listed below is legitimate and worthy of investing your time and resources into.

How do I decide what types of research opportunities to apply for?

If conducting research is important to you, we recommend applying to a mix of highly selective and lesser selective programs to maximize your chances of being accepted to at least one. Beyond selectivity, it’s important to consider additional several factors:

  • Time commitment —Some programs may require a multi-week, full-time commitment over the summer. Others may require nights and weekends during the school year.
  • Time frame —Some programs are only available in the summer while others run year-round (sometimes for multiple years).
  • Cost/stipend —Do you have to pay for the program, or does the program pay you? Research whether the program will be a good fit for your financial situation, including how much it costs and if you’ll receive compensation for your work, either via academic credit or a paycheck. Note that many residential programs are cost-based while commuter programs that only accept local students are more likely to be fully funded and/or offer a stipend.
  • Location —Evaluate whether you’d like to attend a local program, are willing to travel to a residential program, or would prefer a virtual option.
  • Level of mentor interaction —During some programs, you’ll be closely supported by PhD faculty members, while others may be run by graduate or postdoc students and require students to be more independent.
  • Opportunity to publish or enter research competitions —If publishing research or submitting your project/paper to a research competition is important to you, you’ll want to look into whether the program prepares you for that venture.

Our list includes a bevy of summer program choices as well as year-long internships and apprenticeships. We’ve divided the list into three sections: Virtual, Residential/Multi-Location, and Location-Specific.

For each entry, we list the geographic location of the program, the time frame and length of the program, any associated costs or stipends, and the eligibility criteria for participation.

Virtual Research Opportunities for High School Students

Virtual research opportunities for high school students offer ultimate flexibility, in regard to time commitment as well as subject matter.

1) Polygence

  • Location : Virtual
  • Timeframe : Academic year and/or summer
  • Length: 2-6 months
  • Cost : $495-$3,695
  • Eligibility: No age restrictions

For high school students who want to showcase authentic passion on their college applications, Polygence offers the most personalized and flexible online research program that helps students turn their interests into unique research projects. Accordingly, they pair intellectually curious students with PhD-level mentors to design experiments, build robots, create podcasts, write original screenplays, and publish in peer-reviewed journals in all fields from the humanities to STEM. All 1:1 programs include ten meetings with a mentor in your chosen field as well as a self-selected project topic and outcome, which could include a research paper, a prototype, or a creative piece of work.

A multitude of personalized options are available, including additional brainstorming sessions, time with a specialist who will guide the student through the publishing or research competition process, and academic credit through UCI x GATI. Moreover, Polygence’s Pods program allows students to work with like-minded peers in a group setting.

Sound like a good fit? College Transitions readers can save $50 on their Polygence package.

Research areas available include:

  • Computer science, engineering, AI, & game design
  • Biology, biotech, chemistry, neuroscience, and physics
  • Medicine, surgery, dentistry, and public health
  • Business, finance, and economics
  • Math, statistics, sports analytics, and quantitative analysis
  • Psychology, psychiatry, cognitive science, and social sciences
  • Creative writing, history, philosophy, and literature
  • Animation, the arts, fashion, photography, and dance

Residential/Multi-Location Research Programs

In the following section, we’ve outlined programs that are residential or offer opportunities in multiple locations, making them more accessible to a wider array of students.

Programs are organized alphabetically by discipline.

Biology Research Opportunities for High School Students

2) university of chicago research in the biological sciences (ribs).

  • Location : Chicago, IL
  • Timeframe : Summer
  • Length: 4 weeks
  • Cost : $14,000
  • Eligibility: Current sophomores and juniors

In UChicago’s highly selective RIBS program, students practice a range of molecular, microbiological, and cell biological research techniques. The goal? To prepare them to work in a research laboratory. Accordingly, for the first two weeks, students undergo basic training in lab skills and techniques. Then, they spend the final two weeks of the course immersed in an independent research project. At the end of the course, they present the project during a research forum. Moreover, students can expect weekly writing assignments and seminars. To be competitive, students should have a demonstrated interest in science as well as top grades in those classes.

Biomedical Research Programs for High School Students

3) rosetta institute of biomedical research molecular medicine workshops.

  • Location : Berkeley; San Diego; Columbia; London; virtual
  • Length: 2 weeks
  • Cost : $3,580-$4,180 (residential); $2,280-$2,480 (commuter); $430-1,050 (online)
  • Eligibility: High school students aged 14-18

Curious about biomedical research but not ready to pursue a full-blown lab internship? Rosetta Institute offers a number of residential and online two-week programs that introduce high schoolers to topics in medicine, drug development, pharmacy, and nursing. For example, current workshops include Medicinal Chemistry, Neurological Bioinformatics, and Molecular Biology of Cancer. All students are taught by PhD-level instructors and complete an original research project.

Chemistry Research Opportunities for High School Students

4) american chemical society — project seed.

  • Location : Multiple
  • Length: 8-10 weeks
  • Cost : Free, and students receive a $4,000 stipend
  • Eligibility: All high school students whose families meet annual income requirements, but preferably current sophomores, juniors, or seniors

Having been operational for more than fifty years, Project SEED (Summer Experiences for the Economically Disadvantaged) runs programs at over 350 institutions and has served over 12,000 students. The goal of the program is to empower a diverse cohort of high school students to conduct hands-on research experience in the chemical sciences. Accordingly, all students work full-time on meaningful independent or small group projects, are closely guided by a mentor, and either write a report or do a poster presentation at the end of their fellowship.

Genetics Research Opportunities for High School Students

5) jackson lab summer student program.

  • Location : Bar Harbor, ME or Farmington, CT
  • Length: 10 weeks
  • Cost : Free, and students receive a $6,500 stipend plus funded room, board, and travel
  • Eligibility: High school seniors can apply to the Bar Harbor program, while eligible undergrads can apply to either program.

Hoping to design and execute an original independent research project? You’ll be able to do just that through Jackson Lab’s Summer Student Program, which immerses students in one of seven areas: bioinformatics and computational biology, cancer, developmental biology and aging, genomics, immunology and infectious disease, metabolic diseases, and neurobiology and sensory deficits. Moreover, students are closely guided by a mentor and present their research at the end of the summer. Finally, the application process is intense and competitive, requiring two letters of recommendation, a transcript, a resume, evidence of a strong interest in genetics and genomics, and four essay responses.

Pre-Health Research Opportunities for High School Students

6) national institutes of health high school summer internship program.

  • Location : Research groups are available at many of NIH’s 27 institutes and centers , including the main campus in Bethesda, MD
  • Cost : Free; all students receive a stipend
  • Eligibility: High school seniors age 17+

Through their HS-SIP Program, the National Institutes of Health places high school students in full-time research positions within their many active research groups. Subject areas include biomedical, behavioral, and social sciences, and are geared toward students who are interested in pursuing research and healthcare. Moreover, students can take part in Summer Poster Day, where they present their research to the NIH community. They also have access to professional development programs and educational/career advising.

Note that this research opportunity for high school students is extremely competitive; approximately 7% of applicants are ultimately accepted. Finally, if you are under the age of 18 when you participate in the program, you will need to live within 40 miles of the campus that you’d like to intern at.

STEM/Humanities Research Opportunities for High School Students

7) army educational outreach program—high school internships.

  • Location : Various
  • Timeframe : All Year
  • Length: 3 months
  • Cost : Free, and all interns receive a stipend
  • Eligibility: All current high school students. Some sites may have additional eligibility requirements.

With programs currently available in twenty states, the Army Educational Outreach Program places high school students in university research labs or at a US Army Research Laboratory/Center. Each site has its own technical focus, from biology and materials science to cybersecurity and AI. Regardless of specialty, all interns receive formal mentorship from a professional scientist or engineer, have access to high-tech equipment, and work on relevant research that addresses a current major challenge.

8) Boston University RISE

  • Location : Boston, MA
  • Length: 6 weeks
  • Cost : $5,350 plus room & board
  • Eligibility: Current high school juniors

A residential program located on the Boston University campus, RISE offers high school students the opportunity to conduct laboratory research in one of two tracks: Internship or Practicum. Students in the Internship track work full-time on a research project that aligns with their interests, and are mentored by a faculty member, postdoc fellow, or grad student. 15 subject areas are available, including astronomy, mechanical engineering, medical laboratory research, and nutrition. Alternatively, Practicum students work in small groups on structured research related to systems neuroscience and neurobiology.

Research Opportunities for High School Students—Continued

9) michigan state high school honors science, math and engineering program.

  • Location : East Lansing, MI
  • Length: 7 weeks
  • Cost : $4,000

HSHSP is a highly selective, residential program where students can pursue research opportunities in science, engineering, and mathematics. After learning more about the research process, students deeply explore a problem of interest while engaging in an authentic (not “fail-proof”) research experience. Along the way, they’ll work with professionals and peers in their field of interest. Finally, many students have gone on to publish their work or be recognized at prestigious research competitions.

10) MIT Research Science Institute

  • Location : Cambridge, MA
  • Cost : Free
  • Eligibility: High school juniors

With a combined focus on academic coursework and hands-on research, RSI students first take one week of STEM coursework with MIT professors. Here, they’ll learn about current research topics in biology, chemistry, engineering, mathematics, physics, and the humanities. Then, for the remaining five weeks, students “experience the entire research cycle start to finish.” During this time, they participate in an intensive, mentored individual project experience that culminates in a written and oral presentation.

The program looks for students who are exceptionally academically talented. As such, the application process is quite intensive. PSAT Math scores must be over 740 and ACT Math scores must be over 33. In addition, students must write several essays, acquire teacher recommendations, and provide transcripts. Ultimately, only 100 students are accepted.

11) NASA Internship Programs

  • Location : Various; there are 15 centers and facilities in the US. Remote opportunities may also be available.
  • Timeframe : Available during the fall, spring, and summer
  • Length: 10-16 weeks, depending on session
  • Cost : Free; the majority of interns receive a stipend, but some are unpaid
  • Eligibility: High school students aged 16+

NASA’s Office of STEM Engagement (OSTEM) offers a number of internship opportunities for high school students. Available projects change each year and are location-specific, and not every NASA center will offer internship opportunities every session. That said, current projects span a range of subject areas, including Climate Change in the Hudson Estuary and Characterizing the Urban Land Surface Temperature. During the research internship, students will be closely mentored by a research scientist, engineer, or other professional. Note that you will need to make your own housing arrangements if you are not a local student.

Are you an undergraduate student? Check out NASA Pathways , which can provide a direct transition into full-time employment at NASA.

12) Smith College Summer Science and Engineering Program

  • Location : Northampton, MA
  • Length: 2-4 weeks
  • Cost : $4,745 (2 weeks); $8,082 (4 weeks)
  • Eligibility: Female high school students in grades 9-12; some programs have specific prerequisites

Fun fact: Smith was the first women’s college to create a program in engineering science. As such, their summer programs are an excellent place for young women to participate in hands-on, introductory research experiences. Two-week sessions are offered, and students can take one or both. Each session offers six distinct course choices. For example, the first session offers Chemistry of Herbal Medicine, Designing Intelligent Robots, and Novel Bacteriophage Discovery. Second session courses include Where the Body Meets the Mind, Supercontinents, Rocks, and Fossils, and the Art and Science of Microcontrollers. Students spend five days a week in class, attending lectures and conducting experiments & fieldwork. Additionally, the program is team-based, allowing students to learn from each other’s ideas and perspectives.

13) Stony Brook University Garcia Center Research Experience for High School Students

  • Location : Stony Brook, NY
  • Timeframe : Summer (with possible academic year continuation)
  • Cost : $4,000 plus room & board

At the Garcia Center for Polymers at Engineered Interfaces, high school students can design an original research project in polymer science and technology during an intensive seven-week summer program. Uniquely, the research can then be continued during the academic year under the guidance of a faculty mentor. Students should be highly motivated and high-achieving, with at least three upper-level science courses under their belt. Finally, past participants have regularly published their research and won recognition in national competitions.

14) Stony Brook University Simons Summer Research Program

  • Cost : Students need to cover transportation costs (if commuting) or room/board (if residential). Room/board is $2,781. Stipends are also awarded at the end of the program.

After being matched with a mentor and research team, students are fully immersed in the research process. Placement availability varies from year to year, but typically about thirty projects are available across over a dozen disciplines. These include biochemistry, computer science, geosciences, and pharmacological sciences, among others. Moreover, some have prerequisites, such as specific AP courses or previous programming experience.

All students participate in weekly faculty research talks, workshops, events, and a culminating poster symposium.

15) Summer Science Program

  • Location : Astrophysics: UNC Chapel Hill, University of Colorado, Georgia College & State University, New Mexico State University; Biochemistry: Purdue, Indiana University; Genomics: Georgetown, Purdue, New Mexico State; Synthetic Chemistry : Southwestern Oklahoma State University
  • Cost : $8,800 max; all program fees are scaled according to what each family can afford
  • Eligibility: Current high school juniors and exceptional sophomores

The Summer Science Program offers four different immersive research programs that take place on different college campuses around the country. These include programs in astrophysics, biochemistry, genomics, and synthetic chemistry. Each program has its own research focus. For example, astrophysics students will dive into Asteroid Orbit Determination while genomics students explore Antibiotic Resistance and Directed Evolution.

Students spend six days a week in class deeply investigating their research topics and learning more about general experimental science. They also take part in guest lectures and other special programming.

16) Texas Tech University Anson L. Clark Scholars Program

  • Location : Lubbock, TX
  • Cost : Free; all students receive a $750 stipend upon completion of their projects
  • Eligibility: High school juniors and seniors aged 17+ by the start of the program

The Clark Scholars Program is one of the only programs on this list with research disciplines in the sciences as well as the humanities. For example, current research areas include everything from nutritional sciences and mechanical engineering to history. Over the course of seven weeks, students work closely with a faculty member to complete a research paper in their discipline. They also participate in weekly seminars, discussions, and field trips.

17) University of California Santa Barbara Research Mentorship Program

  • Location : Santa Barbara, CA
  • Cost : $11,874 (residential); $4,975 (commuter)
  • Eligibility: High school sophomores and juniors

During this intensive program, students work 35-50 hours per week on an interdisciplinary research project of their choice. Nearly thirty research areas are available in both the STEM disciplines and humanities; current topics include biochemistry, computer science, history, music, and anthropology, among others. Over the course of the program, they also take two courses: Introduction to Research and Presentation Techniques. Finally, students occasionally continue their research remotely during the academic year, depending on their mentor’s availability.

18) University of California Santa Barbara Summer Research Academies

  • Cost : $8,224 (residential); $2,575 (commuter)
  • Eligibility: High school sophomores, juniors, and seniors

Running for four weeks, the UCSB Summer Research Academies allow students to earn up to four credits. While taking a university-level course that teaches fundamental research concepts, students spend the first two weeks of the program developing a research question & framework via hands-on labs. They’ll then spend the final two weeks of the course analyzing their results and building presentations. Overall, they’ll spend about 25-40 hours per week working. Finally, twelve different tracks are available; each involves multiple disciplines. For example, “Bionic Creatures” combines mechanical engineering, materials science, soft robotics, biomanufacturing, and collective motion.

19) University of California Santa Cruz Science Internship Program (SIP)

  • Location : Santa Cruz, CA
  • Length: 9 weeks (two weeks virtual, seven weeks in-person)
  • Cost : $4,750 plus room & board
  • Eligibility: High school students aged 14+, although some research groups require students to be 16+

UCSC’s SIP Program offers a wide range of research focus areas, including science and engineering as well as social science, humanities, and art. For example, over 100 projects are currently offered that include everything from “Eating Insects in Silicon Valley: Cultural Gaps Between Food-Tech and Tradition” and “Future Projected Changes in the Distribution and Variability of Ocean Chlorophyll in Climate Simulations.” Before you dive in, you’ll spend two weeks doing online research prep (this part is conducted remotely) followed by seven weeks of in-person, mentored research. Students get to engage in authentic, open-ended projects that fully immerse them in the academic research experience. Moreover, they’ll present their findings at a symposium at the end of the program.

20) University of California Davis Young Scholars Program

  • Location : Davis, CA
  • Cost : $6,750
  • Eligibility: High school sophomores and juniors who will be 16+ by the start of the program

Interested in biological, agricultural, environmental, or natural sciences? If so, UC Davis is a stellar place to explore those interests through research. All students have the opportunity to work on independent, original projects while receiving one-on-one faculty mentorship. Moreover, they each produce a journal-quality paper and symposium presentation. In addition to research, students also participate in a lecture series presented by UC Davis faculty; past topics have included forensic entomology and nutrition, among others. Finally, field trips to educational facilities like the Monterey Bay Aquarium and Bodega Bay Marine Laboratory round out the experience.

21) University of Florida Student Science Training Program

  • Location : Gainesville, FL
  • Cost : $5,200
  • Eligibility: Rising seniors aged 16+

Thinking about a career in science, medicine, math, computer science, or engineering? UF’s Student Science Training Program could be the right fit. For thirty hours per week, you’ll work with a faculty mentor and lab team on university-level, ongoing research. Moreover, you’ll participate in a science lecture series as well as a UF Honors Program seminar class. Over the course of the program, you will write a research paper, present a poster, and give two oral presentations. Finally, social programming is included.

22) University of Iowa Secondary Student Training Program

  • Location : Iowa City, IA
  • Cost : $7,500

During this intensive and competitive program, students conduct research within small groups that are supported by a University of Iowa faculty member. There are twenty current active research areas, including chemistry, geography, neurology, orthopedics & rehabilitation, and religious studies. You’ll be working on your project approximately seven hours per day, attending classes in the evenings, and participating in structured activities on the weekend. Moreover, all groups will create and present a poster at the culmination of the program.

23) University of Massachusetts Amherst Summer Programs

  • Location : Amherst, MA
  • Cost : $3,636 (residential); $2,167 (commuter)
  • Eligibility: Rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors

UMass Amherst offers two introductory, research-focused opportunities for high school students. These are Antibiotic Resistance: A Global Health Crisis, which allows students to join the Department of Microbiology in researching new antibiotics, and Energy Without Borders, which delves into climate change, infrastructure, and green energy. In both courses, you’ll learn research methods, complete multiple lab experiences, and present a research poster. Finally, students can earn two college credits upon successful completion of the program.

Location-Specific Research Opportunities for High School Students

The following programs are not residential and only offered in a specific location. Many also only accept local students, although some do allow out-of-state students to apply. If that’s the case, you will need to secure your own living accommodations and transportation. Moreover, if you are under the age of 18, you will need to be supervised by a parent or guardian.

Programs are organized alphabetically by state.

24) California Academy of the Sciences—Careers in Science Intern

  • Location : San Francisco, CA
  • Focus: STEM
  • Length: Multi-year (2-3 years)
  • Eligibility: 9 th or 10 th grade student enrolled in an SFUSD school with a GPA of 2.5 or higher

25) Cedars Sinai INSPIRE High School

  • Location : Los Angeles, CA
  • Focus: Pre-Health
  • Cost : Free; all students are paid
  • Eligibility: High school students age 16+

26) City of Hope Summer Student Academy

  • Location : Duarte, CA
  • Focus: Biomedicine
  • Cost : Free; all students receive a stipend of $4,000

27) Sandia National Laboratories—Internships

  • Location : Livermore, CA
  • Focus : STEM
  • Timeframe : Academic year and summer internships available
  • Length: Academic year or 10-12 weeks (summer)
  • Cost : Free; all positions are paid

28) Scripps Student Research Internship Program

  • Location : La Jolla, CA
  • Focus : Translational science/genomics
  • Cost : Free; stipends are typically offered

29) UCSF SEP High School Intern Program

  • Focus : Biomedical research
  • Length: 8 weeks
  • Eligibility: High school juniors enrolled in an SFUSD high school, SF charter school, or College Track San Francisco

30) UCSF Summer Student Research Program

  • Location : Oakland, CA
  • Length: 9 weeks
  • Cost : Free; all students are given a stipend between $3,000-$4,300
  • Eligibility: High school juniors or seniors, aged 16+


31) jackson lab academic year fellowships.

  • Location : Farmington, CT*
  • Focus: Genetics
  • Timeframe : Academic year
  • Length: 1 school year
  • Cost : Free; students must be able to receive academic credit for their work
  • Eligibility: High school juniors and seniors age 16+ within commuting distance of the lab

*Some fully remote opportunities are available

32) Yale School of Medicine Discovery to Cure High School Internship

  • Location : New Haven, CT

33) Yale University Social Robotics Lab High School Internship

  • Focus: Robotics and human social behavior
  • Eligibility: Rising juniors and seniors aged 16+

34) Argonne National Laboratory — Exemplary Student Research Program

  • Location : Lemont, IL
  • Focus: Engineering
  • Eligibility: Application must be completed by participating teacher

35) Chicago EYES on Cancer

  • Focus : Biomedicine
  • Timeframe : All year, with two 8-week summer research experiences
  • Length: 2 years
  • Cost : Free; all students receive $3,100 stipend
  • Eligibility: High school sophomore, junior, or senior aged 16+

36) University of Kansas Biotech Research Apprentice Program

  • Location : Overland Park, KS
  • Focus : Biotech
  • Length: Semester

37) Jackson Lab Academic Year Fellowships

  • Location : Bar Harbor, ME*

38) National Cancer Institute Werner H. Kirsten Student Internship Program

  • Location : Frederick, MD
  • Timeframe : Academic year & summer
  • Length: 1 year
  • Cost : Free; academic credit available during school year, stipend provided in summer
  • Eligibility: High school junior age 17+ who attends an eligible school located within a 30-mile radius of campus

39) University of Minnesota Lillehei Heart Institute Summer Research Scholars Program

  • Location : Minneapolis, MN
  • Focus: Cardiovascular medicine
  • Eligibility: High school juniors and seniors age 16+ as well as undergraduate students

40) Coriell Institute for Medical Research

  • Location : Camden, NJ
  • Eligibility: High school student aged 17+

41) Princeton Laboratory Learning Program

  • Location : Princeton, NJ
  • Focus : Natural Sciences or Engineering
  • Length: 5-6 weeks

42) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory High School Internship

  • Location : Princeton, NJ*
  • Focus : Physics
  • Eligibility: High school seniors (program takes place summer after graduation)

*Remote projects may be available.

43) Rutgers Institute for Translational Medicine and Science Summer Research Program (RITMS)

  • Location : Rutgers, NJ
  • Focus : Translational medicine/science

44) Rutgers Waksman Institute Summer Experience Program

  • Location : Piscataway, NJ*
  • Focus : Molecular biology/bioinformatics
  • Cost : $2,000
  • Eligibility: High school students who have completed a high school-level biology course

*Online version of the program is also available

45) Los Alamos National Laboratory High School Internship Program

  • Location : Los Alamos, NM
  • Length: 11 weeks
  • Eligibility: New Mexico high school seniors aged 16+

46) Sandia National Laboratories—Internships

  • Location : Albuquerque, NM

47) Baruch College STEM Research Academy

  • Location : New York, NY
  • Timeframe : Spring/summer
  • Cost : Free, but all students receive a stipend of $1,575
  • Eligibility: Must be a NYC public high school sophomore junior to apply

48) Burke Neurological Institute NeuroAcademy

  • Location : White Plains, NY
  • Focus: Neuroscience
  • Eligibility: Completion of NYS Regents Living Environment or equivalent Biology class; cumulative GPA of 3.4 or higher

49) City Tech College STEM Research Academy

  • Length: Two semesters (January-August)
  • Eligibility: NYC public school sophomore or junior

50) Columbia Zuckerman Institute—BRAINYAC Program

  • Eligibility: High school sophomores and juniors from select partner programs/schools in Upper Manhattan and the Bronx

51) HOPP Summer Student Program at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

  • Focus: Biomedical or computational research
  • Eligibility: High school students aged 14+

52) University of Rochester Laboratory for Laser Energetics Summer High School Research Program

  • Location : Rochester, NY
  • Focus: Laser energetics
  • Eligibility: Rochester-area high school students who have completed their junior year

53) Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute

  • Location : Cleveland, OH
  • Timeframe : Varies; depends on lab
  • Length: Varies; depends on lab

54) OHSU School of Medicine Partnership for Scientific Inquiry (PSI)

  • Location : Portland, OR
  • Focus: Biomedical research
  • Timeframe : Academic semester + summer
  • Length: 16+ weeks
  • Eligibility: Oregon-based high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors aged 16+


55) fox chase cancer center high school research programs.

  • Location : Philadelphia, PA
  • Timeframe : During school year
  • Length: 2-3 months; depends on program
  • Eligibility: Philadelphia-area high school students; students must be 16+ for some programs

56) Penn State College of Medicine Research Internships

  • Location : Hershey, PA
  • Length: Varies; could be weeks to months depending on lab
  • Cost : Paid and unpaid internships available

57) University of Pennsylvania GRASP Lab High School Internships

  • Focus: Robotics
  • Cost : Free; stipend typically available
  • Eligibility: Rising high school senior

58) George Mason University Aspiring Scientists Internship Program (ASSIP)

  • Location : Fairfax, VA*
  • Eligibility: High school students aged 15+ or 16+, depending on program

*Some fully remote and hybrid opportunities are available, depending on the lab.

59) Jefferson Lab High School Summer Honors Program

  • Location : Newport News, VA
  • Eligibility: High school students aged 16+ who live within 60 miles of the lab

60) Virginia Tech Fralin Biomedical Research Institute Summer Research Program

  • Location : Roanoke, VA
  • Focus: Health behaviors research
  • Cost : Free; all students receive a stipend of $4,800
  • Eligibility: Rising high school junior or senior in the Roanoke Valley

61) Pacific Northwest National Laboratory High School Research Programs

  • Location : Richland, WA
  • Timeframe : Summer & academic year programs available
  • Length: Academic year or 10 weeks (summer)
  • Eligibility: High school students aged 16+; some labs may require students to be 18+

62) Seattle Children’s Hospital Research Training Program

  • Location : Seattle, WA
  • Eligibility: High school sophomores, juniors, or seniors within commuting distance of downtown Seattle

Final Thoughts—Research Opportunities for High School Students

If gaining research experience is important to you, it’s in your best interest to explore a number of different programs, evaluating whether their structure, length, cost, and outcomes are in line with your goals. Finding the right opportunity may take some time, but it will be well worth the effort required.

  • Research Programs

Kelsea Conlin

Kelsea holds a BA in English with a concentration in Creative Writing from Tufts University, a graduate certificate in College Counseling from UCLA, and an MA in Teaching Writing from Johns Hopkins University. Her short fiction is forthcoming in Chautauqua .

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  • Research Skills

50 Mini-Lessons For Teaching Students Research Skills

Please note, I am no longer blogging and this post hasn’t updated since April 2020.

For a number of years, Seth Godin has been talking about the need to “ connect the dots” rather than “collect the dots” . That is, rather than memorising information, students must be able to learn how to solve new problems, see patterns, and combine multiple perspectives.

Solid research skills underpin this. Having the fluency to find and use information successfully is an essential skill for life and work.

Today’s students have more information at their fingertips than ever before and this means the role of the teacher as a guide is more important than ever.

You might be wondering how you can fit teaching research skills into a busy curriculum? There aren’t enough hours in the day! The good news is, there are so many mini-lessons you can do to build students’ skills over time.

This post outlines 50 ideas for activities that could be done in just a few minutes (or stretched out to a longer lesson if you have the time!).

Learn More About The Research Process

I have a popular post called Teach Students How To Research Online In 5 Steps. It outlines a five-step approach to break down the research process into manageable chunks.

Learn about a simple search process for students in primary school, middle school, or high school Kathleen Morris

This post shares ideas for mini-lessons that could be carried out in the classroom throughout the year to help build students’ skills in the five areas of: clarify, search, delve, evaluate , and cite . It also includes ideas for learning about staying organised throughout the research process.

Notes about the 50 research activities:

  • These ideas can be adapted for different age groups from middle primary/elementary to senior high school.
  • Many of these ideas can be repeated throughout the year.
  • Depending on the age of your students, you can decide whether the activity will be more teacher or student led. Some activities suggest coming up with a list of words, questions, or phrases. Teachers of younger students could generate these themselves.
  • Depending on how much time you have, many of the activities can be either quickly modelled by the teacher, or extended to an hour-long lesson.
  • Some of the activities could fit into more than one category.
  • Looking for simple articles for younger students for some of the activities? Try DOGO News or Time for Kids . Newsela is also a great resource but you do need to sign up for free account.
  • Why not try a few activities in a staff meeting? Everyone can always brush up on their own research skills!

research plan for high school students

  • Choose a topic (e.g. koalas, basketball, Mount Everest) . Write as many questions as you can think of relating to that topic.
  • Make a mindmap of a topic you’re currently learning about. This could be either on paper or using an online tool like .
  • Read a short book or article. Make a list of 5 words from the text that you don’t totally understand. Look up the meaning of the words in a dictionary (online or paper).
  • Look at a printed or digital copy of a short article with the title removed. Come up with as many different titles as possible that would fit the article.
  • Come up with a list of 5 different questions you could type into Google (e.g. Which country in Asia has the largest population?) Circle the keywords in each question.
  • Write down 10 words to describe a person, place, or topic. Come up with synonyms for these words using a tool like .
  • Write pairs of synonyms on post-it notes (this could be done by the teacher or students). Each student in the class has one post-it note and walks around the classroom to find the person with the synonym to their word.

research plan for high school students

  • Explore how to search Google using your voice (i.e. click/tap on the microphone in the Google search box or on your phone/tablet keyboard) . List the pros and cons of using voice and text to search.
  • Open two different search engines in your browser such as Google and Bing. Type in a query and compare the results. Do all search engines work exactly the same?
  • Have students work in pairs to try out a different search engine (there are 11 listed here ). Report back to the class on the pros and cons.
  • Think of something you’re curious about, (e.g. What endangered animals live in the Amazon Rainforest?). Open Google in two tabs. In one search, type in one or two keywords ( e.g. Amazon Rainforest) . In the other search type in multiple relevant keywords (e.g. endangered animals Amazon rainforest).  Compare the results. Discuss the importance of being specific.
  • Similar to above, try two different searches where one phrase is in quotation marks and the other is not. For example, Origin of “raining cats and dogs” and Origin of raining cats and dogs . Discuss the difference that using quotation marks makes (It tells Google to search for the precise keywords in order.)
  • Try writing a question in Google with a few minor spelling mistakes. What happens? What happens if you add or leave out punctuation ?
  • Try the daily search challenges from Google. The questions help older students learn about choosing keywords, deconstructing questions, and altering keywords.
  • Explore how Google uses autocomplete to suggest searches quickly. Try it out by typing in various queries (e.g. How to draw… or What is the tallest…). Discuss how these suggestions come about, how to use them, and whether they’re usually helpful.
  • Watch this video  from to learn more about how search works .
  • Take a look at  20 Instant Google Searches your Students Need to Know  by Eric Curts to learn about “ instant searches ”. Try one to try out. Perhaps each student could be assigned one to try and share with the class.
  • Experiment with typing some questions into Google that have a clear answer (e.g. “What is a parallelogram?” or “What is the highest mountain in the world?” or “What is the population of Australia?”). Look at the different ways the answers are displayed instantly within the search results — dictionary definitions, image cards, graphs etc.

What is the population of Australia

  • Watch the video How Does Google Know Everything About Me?  by Scientific American. Discuss the PageRank algorithm and how Google uses your data to customise search results.
  • Brainstorm a list of popular domains   (e.g. .com,, or your country’s domain) . Discuss if any domains might be more reliable than others and why (e.g. .gov or .edu) .
  • Discuss (or research) ways to open Google search results in a new tab to save your original search results  (i.e. right-click > open link in new tab or press control/command and click the link).
  • Try out a few Google searches (perhaps start with things like “car service” “cat food” or “fresh flowers”). A re there advertisements within the results? Discuss where these appear and how to spot them.
  • Look at ways to filter search results by using the tabs at the top of the page in Google (i.e. news, images, shopping, maps, videos etc.). Do the same filters appear for all Google searches? Try out a few different searches and see.
  • Type a question into Google and look for the “People also ask” and “Searches related to…” sections. Discuss how these could be useful. When should you use them or ignore them so you don’t go off on an irrelevant tangent? Is the information in the drop-down section under “People also ask” always the best?
  • Often, more current search results are more useful. Click on “tools” under the Google search box and then “any time” and your time frame of choice such as “Past month” or “Past year”.
  • Have students annotate their own “anatomy of a search result” example like the one I made below. Explore the different ways search results display; some have more details like sitelinks and some do not.

Anatomy of a google search result

  • Find two articles on a news topic from different publications. Or find a news article and an opinion piece on the same topic. Make a Venn diagram comparing the similarities and differences.
  • Choose a graph, map, or chart from The New York Times’ What’s Going On In This Graph series . Have a whole class or small group discussion about the data.
  • Look at images stripped of their captions on What’s Going On In This Picture? by The New York Times. Discuss the images in pairs or small groups. What can you tell?
  • Explore a website together as a class or in pairs — perhaps a news website. Identify all the advertisements .
  • Have a look at a fake website either as a whole class or in pairs/small groups. See if students can spot that these sites are not real. Discuss the fact that you can’t believe everything that’s online. Get started with these four examples of fake websites from Eric Curts.
  • Give students a copy of my website evaluation flowchart to analyse and then discuss as a class. Read more about the flowchart in this post.
  • As a class, look at a prompt from Mike Caulfield’s Four Moves . Either together or in small groups, have students fact check the prompts on the site. This resource explains more about the fact checking process. Note: some of these prompts are not suitable for younger students.
  • Practice skim reading — give students one minute to read a short article. Ask them to discuss what stood out to them. Headings? Bold words? Quotes? Then give students ten minutes to read the same article and discuss deep reading.

research plan for high school students

All students can benefit from learning about plagiarism, copyright, how to write information in their own words, and how to acknowledge the source. However, the formality of this process will depend on your students’ age and your curriculum guidelines.

  • Watch the video Citation for Beginners for an introduction to citation. Discuss the key points to remember.
  • Look up the definition of plagiarism using a variety of sources (dictionary, video, Wikipedia etc.). Create a definition as a class.
  • Find an interesting video on YouTube (perhaps a “life hack” video) and write a brief summary in your own words.
  • Have students pair up and tell each other about their weekend. Then have the listener try to verbalise or write their friend’s recount in their own words. Discuss how accurate this was.
  • Read the class a copy of a well known fairy tale. Have them write a short summary in their own words. Compare the versions that different students come up with.
  • Try out MyBib — a handy free online tool without ads that helps you create citations quickly and easily.
  • Give primary/elementary students a copy of Kathy Schrock’s Guide to Citation that matches their grade level (the guide covers grades 1 to 6). Choose one form of citation and create some examples as a class (e.g. a website or a book).
  • Make a list of things that are okay and not okay to do when researching, e.g. copy text from a website, use any image from Google images, paraphrase in your own words and cite your source, add a short quote and cite the source. 
  • Have students read a short article and then come up with a summary that would be considered plagiarism and one that would not be considered plagiarism. These could be shared with the class and the students asked to decide which one shows an example of plagiarism .
  • Older students could investigate the difference between paraphrasing and summarising . They could create a Venn diagram that compares the two.
  • Write a list of statements on the board that might be true or false ( e.g. The 1956 Olympics were held in Melbourne, Australia. The rhinoceros is the largest land animal in the world. The current marathon world record is 2 hours, 7 minutes). Have students research these statements and decide whether they’re true or false by sharing their citations.

Staying Organised

research plan for high school students

  • Make a list of different ways you can take notes while researching — Google Docs, Google Keep, pen and paper etc. Discuss the pros and cons of each method.
  • Learn the keyboard shortcuts to help manage tabs (e.g. open new tab, reopen closed tab, go to next tab etc.). Perhaps students could all try out the shortcuts and share their favourite one with the class.
  • Find a collection of resources on a topic and add them to a Wakelet .
  • Listen to a short podcast or watch a brief video on a certain topic and sketchnote ideas. Sylvia Duckworth has some great tips about live sketchnoting
  • Learn how to use split screen to have one window open with your research, and another open with your notes (e.g. a Google spreadsheet, Google Doc, Microsoft Word or OneNote etc.) .

All teachers know it’s important to teach students to research well. Investing time in this process will also pay off throughout the year and the years to come. Students will be able to focus on analysing and synthesizing information, rather than the mechanics of the research process.

By trying out as many of these mini-lessons as possible throughout the year, you’ll be really helping your students to thrive in all areas of school, work, and life.

Also remember to model your own searches explicitly during class time. Talk out loud as you look things up and ask students for input. Learning together is the way to go!

You Might Also Enjoy Reading:

How To Evaluate Websites: A Guide For Teachers And Students

Five Tips for Teaching Students How to Research and Filter Information

Typing Tips: The How and Why of Teaching Students Keyboarding Skills

8 Ways Teachers And Schools Can Communicate With Parents

Learn how to teach research skills to primary students, middle school students, or high school students. 50 activities that could be done in just a few minutes a day. Lots of Google search tips and research tips for kids and teachers. Free PDF included! Kathleen Morris | Primary Tech

10 Replies to “50 Mini-Lessons For Teaching Students Research Skills”

Loving these ideas, thank you

This list is amazing. Thank you so much!

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So glad it’s helpful, Alex! 🙂

Hi I am a student who really needed some help on how to reasearch thanks for the help.

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So glad it helped! 🙂

seriously seriously grateful for your post. 🙂

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So glad it’s helpful! Makes my day 🙂

How do you get the 50 mini lessons. I got the free one but am interested in the full version.

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Hi Tracey, The link to the PDF with the 50 mini lessons is in the post. Here it is . Check out this post if you need more advice on teaching students how to research online. Hope that helps! Kathleen

Best wishes to you as you face your health battler. Hoping you’ve come out stronger and healthier from it. Your website is so helpful.

Comments are closed.

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Research interests: Russian Language and Literature, Russian History, African Literature and History, Philosophy, Comparative Literature, European History

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More From Forbes

A blueprint for high school students to pursue research and get published.

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Regardless of their future career interests, high school students who are curious and enjoy discovering answers to questions should consider research. Research isn’t restricted to just the STEM field; there are countless questions in every field that need to be answered.

Doing research while still in high school can be a great way for students to stand out in college ... [+] admissions process.

Research can be a life-changing experience for a high schooler. It gives them a chance to gain hands-on instruction beyond the classroom and be exposed to the dynamics of a lab environment. In addition, students learn how to work with others as they gain analytical, quantitative and communication skills.

Participating in research can also give students a competitive edge when applying to college. This is especially true for candidates of BS/MD programs , where medical-focused activities are expected. Some BS/MD programs, like Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s 7-Year Program , are specially designed to train future physician-scientists.

How To Pursue Research

While many students want to secure a research position, it isn’t always easy to know how to get started and make progress. Here are a few different methods students can pursue to gain research experience.

Look For Local Research Projects

Depending on where you live, you might be able to find local labs at universities, hospitals or companies where you can get research experience. Start local first to see what types of positions might be available to students.

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When reaching out, add a cover letter that is tailored to each specific organization. You should introduce yourself in a way that demonstrates your academic background, your interest in their research and how you would like to contribute on a voluntary basis. The email should also include your CV or resume so that they can see any relevant coursework or experiences you may have.

When sending out these emails, remember to cast a wide net. These organizations are getting emails from college and graduate students, too, so you might need to email quite a few people before you get a response. If you don’t hear back within two weeks, send a follow-up email. Oftentimes, persistence pays off.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions or if you don’t have local options available, you can also consider virtual opportunities. Virtual work might be a good option due to the flexibility that often accompanies it.

However, cold-emailing professors or companies can be time-consuming and a risk. Even if you secure a position, you need to ensure that you are being flexible and realistic. Some positions might only be available during the hours students are at school, so expecting to get a position that will work around your class schedule or weekends only might be unrealistic. Having open availability and working on their timetable will make more opportunities feasible.

In addition, for these types of positions, you will need to show you can add value. This might require you to learn new skills on your own time, like a new coding language, so you can contribute to the success of the project.

Join A Summer Camp Or Structured Research Program

A structured research program can be the most beneficial experience for students because there is often a clear plan in place: students are expected to show up for a set number of hours per week and have clearly established deliverables on what will be accomplished during that time.

Camps like Rising Researchers, which are open to high school students of all ages, even give students college credit and help the students get their research published at the end of the camp. Nicole Cooksey, one of the instructors at Rising Researchers, says, “Rising Researchers helps students go beyond static learning—the hands-on camp means students acquire new skills and the ability to write a research paper.”

Some parents might hesitate to commit to a paid summer camp. While many of the most prestigious summer camps like Research Summer Institute (RSI) and Texas Tech’s Clark Scholars program are free, they are often very competitive and only open to students over the age of 16 or 17. Paid programs can be a good alternative because it still provides students with dedicated instructors whose sole focus will be on mentoring the student.

Start An Independent Research Project

Pursuing independent research is another option, but it is not a good fit for every student because it requires long-term commitment and dedication in order to make progress. Students who undertake this task should be prepared to spend at least a year from start to finish researching, writing their paper and submitting it for publication. The review and publication step can often take the longest, sometimes more than one year. For high school seniors, this could mean their paper might not be published before college application season kicks off.

How To Get Started

For the self-starters who want to begin an independent research project, the first step should be to make a list of your future career interests. Writing it down can help you decide what areas of research you might want to consider. Next, read previous research journals to get an idea of topics that might be of interest to you and possible to do on your own.

Once you have settled on a general topic, think about what questions you want to ask and answer in your research. These questions will help you create your thesis statement, which should address a specific question or problem.

The final step is to gather your sources and begin writing your paper. Look for resources from reputable sites, such as:

  • PubMed: A great tool for finding research articles on a variety of subjects
  • PubMed Central: Curates research articles without paywalls
  • Google Scholar: Find Primary literature on all scientific topics
  • Directory of Open Access Journals: Find additional open-access journals here
  • CDC - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • The Public Library of Science: find peer-reviewed articles for free

Add Research To Your Student Resume

Undertaking a research project when you are still in high school requires effort on your part, but your persistence can pay off. Adding research to your student resume can help you stand out to competitive colleges and demonstrate a strong passion for a particular subject.

Kristen Moon

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How to teach research skills to high school students: 12 tips

by mindroar | Oct 10, 2021 | blog | 0 comments

Teachers often find it difficult to decide how to teach research skills to high school students. You probably feel students should know how to do research by high school. But often students’ skills are lacking in one or more areas.

Today we’re not going to give you research skills lesson plans for high school. But we will give you 12 tips for how to teach research skills to high school students. Bonus, the tips will make it quick, fun, and easy.

One of my favorite ways of teaching research skills to high school students is to use the Crash Course Navigating Digital Information series.

The videos are free and short (between ten and fifteen minutes each). They cover information such as evaluating the trustworthiness of sources, using Wikipedia, lateral reading, and understanding how the source medium can affect the message.

Another thing I like to integrate into my lessons are the Crash Course Study Skills videos . Again, they’re free and short. Plus they are an easy way to refresh study skills such as:

  • note-taking
  • writing papers
  • editing papers
  • getting organized
  • and studying for tests and exams.

If you’re ready to get started, we’ll give you links to great resources that you can integrate into your lessons. Because often students just need a refresh on a particular skill and not a whole semester-long course.

1. Why learn digital research skills?

Tip number one of how to teach research skills to high school students. Address the dreaded ‘why?’ questions upfront. You know the questions: Why do we have to do this? When am I ever going to use this?

If your students understand why they need good research skills and know that you will show them specific strategies to improve their skills, they are far more likely to buy into learning about how to research effectively.

An easy way to answer this question is that students spend so much time online. Some people spend almost an entire day online each week.

It’s amazing to have such easy access to information, unlike the pre-internet days. But there is far more misinformation and disinformation online.

A webpage, Facebook post, Instagram post, YouTube video, infographic, meme, gif, TikTok video (etc etc) can be created by just about anyone with a phone. And it’s easy to create them in a way that looks professional and legitimate.

This can make it hard for people to know what is real, true, evidence-based information and what is not.

The first Crash Course Navigating Digital Information video gets into the nitty-gritty of why we should learn strategies for evaluating the information we find (online or otherwise!).

An easy way to answer the ‘why’ questions your high schoolers will ask, the video is an excellent resource.

2. Teaching your students to fact check

Tip number two for teaching research skills to high school students is to teach your students concrete strategies for how to check facts.

It’s surprising how many students will hand in work with blatant factual errors. Errors they could have avoided had they done a quick fact check.

An easy way to broach this research skill in high school is to watch the second video in the Crash Course Navigating Digital Information series. It explains what fact-checking is, why people should do it, and how to make it a habit.

You can explain to your students that they’ll write better papers if they learn to fact-check. But they’ll also make better decisions if they make fact-checking a habit.

The video looks at why people are more likely to believe mis- or disinformation online. And it shows students a series of questions they can use to identify mis- or disinformation.

The video also discusses why it’s important to find a few generally reliable sources of information and to use those as a way to fact-check other online sources.

3. Teaching your students how and why to read laterally

This ties in with tip number 2 – teach concrete research strategies – but it is more specific. Fact-checking tends to be checking what claim sources are making, who is making the claim, and corroborating the claim with other sources.

But lateral reading is another concrete research skills strategy that you can teach to students. This skill helps students spot inaccurate information quickly and avoid wasting valuable research time.

One of the best (and easiest!) research skills for high school students to learn is how to read laterally. And teachers can demonstrate it so, so easily. As John Green says in the third Crash Course Navigating Digital Information video , just open another tab!

The video also shows students good websites to use to check hoaxes and controversial information.

Importantly, John Green also explains that students need a “toolbox” of strategies to assess sources of information. There’s not one magic source of information that is 100% accurate.

4. Teaching your students how to evaluate trustworthiness

Deciding who to trust online can be difficult even for those of us with lots of experience navigating online. And it is made even more difficult by how easy it now is to create a professional-looking websites.

This video shows students what to look for when evaluating trustworthiness. It also explains how to take bias, opinion, and political orientations into account when using information sources.

The video explains how reputable information sources gather reliable information (versus disreputable sources). And shows how reputable information sources navigate the situation when they discover their information is incorrect or misleading.

Students can apply the research skills from this video to news sources, novel excerpts, scholarly articles, and primary sources. Teaching students to look for bias, political orientation, and opinions within all sources is one of the most valuable research skills for high school students.

5. Teaching your students to use Wikipedia

Now, I know that Wikipedia can be the bane of your teacherly existence when you are reading essays. I know it can make you want to gouge your eyes out with a spoon when you read the same recycled article in thirty different essays. But, teaching students how to use Wikipedia as a jumping-off point is a useful skill.

Wikipedia is no less accurate than other online encyclopedia-type sources. And it often includes hyperlinks and references that students can check or use for further research. Plus it has handy-dandy warnings for inaccurate and contentious information.

Part of how to teach research skills to high school students is teaching them how to use general reference material such as encyclopedias for broad information. And then following up with how to use more detailed information such as primary and secondary sources.

The Crash Course video about Wikipedia is an easy way to show students how to use it more effectively.

6. Teaching your students to evaluate evidence

Another important research skill to teach high school students is how to evaluate evidence. This skill is important, both in their own and in others’ work.

An easy way to do this is the Crash Course video about evaluating evidence video. The short video shows students how to evaluate evidence using authorship, the evidence provided, and the relevance of the evidence.

It also gives examples of ways that evidence can be used to mislead. For example, it shows that simply providing evidence doesn’t mean that the evidence is quality evidence that supports the claim being made.

The video shows examples of evidence that is related to a topic, but irrelevant to the claim. Having an example of irrelevant evidence helps students understand the difference between related but irrelevant evidence and evidence that is relevant to the claim.

Finally, the video gives students questions that they can use to evaluate evidence.

7. Teaching your students to evaluate photos and videos

While the previous video about evidence looked at how to evaluate evidence in general, this video looks specifically at video and photographic evidence.

The video looks at how videos and photos can be manipulated to provide evidence for a claim. It suggests that seeking out the context for photos and videos is especially important as a video or photo is easy to misinterpret. This is especially the case if a misleading caption or surrounding information is provided.

The video also gives tools that students can use to discover hoaxes or fakes. Similarly, it encourages people to look for the origin of the photo or video to find the creator. And to then use that with contextual information to decide whether the photo or video is reliable evidence for a claim.

8. Teaching your students to evaluate data and infographics

Other sources of evidence that students (and adults!) often misinterpret or are misled by are data and infographics. Often people take the mere existence of statistics or other data as evidence for a claim instead of investigating further.

Again the Crash Course video suggests seeking out the source and context for data and infographics. It suggests that students often see data as neutral and irrefutable, but that data is inherently biased as it is created by humans.

The video gives a real-world example of how data can be manipulated as a source of evidence by showing how two different news sources represented global warming data.

9. Teaching your students how search engines work and why to use click restraint

Another video from the Crash Course Navigating Digital Information series is the video about how search engines work and click restraint . This video shows how search engines decide which information to list at the top of the search results. It also shows how search engines decide what information is relevant and of good quality.

The video gives search tips for using search engines to encourage the algorithms to return more reliable and accurate results.

This video is important when you are want to know how to teach research skills to high school students. This is because many students don’t understand why the first few results on a search are not necessarily the best information available.

10. Teach your students how to evaluate social media sources

One of the important research skills high school students need is to evaluate social media posts. Many people now get news and information from social media sites that have little to no oversight or editorial control. So, being able to evaluate posts for accuracy is key.

This video in the Crash Course Navigating Digital Information series also explains that social media sites are free to use because they make money from advertising. The advertising money comes from keeping people on the platform (and looking at the ads).

How do they keep people on the platform? By using algorithms that gather information about how long people spend on or react to different photos, posts and videos. Then, the algorithms will send viewers more content that is similar to the content that they view or interact with.

This prioritizes content that is controversial, shocking, engaging, attractive. It also reinforces the social norms of the audience members using the platform.

By teaching students how to combat the way that social media algorithms work, you can show them how to gather more reliable and relevant information in their everyday lives. Further, you help students work out if social media posts are relevant to (reliable for) their academic work.

11. Teaching your students how to cite sources

Another important research skill high school students need is how to accurately cite sources. A quick Google search turned up a few good free ideas:

  • This lesson plan from the Brooklyn Library for grades 4-11. It aligns with the common core objectives and provides worksheets for students to learn to use MLA citation.
  • This blog post about middle-school teacher Jody Passanini’s experiences trying to teach students in English and History how to cite sources both in-text and at the end with a reference list.
  • This scavenger hunt lesson by 8th grade teacher on ReadWriteThink. It has a free printout asking students to prove assertions (which could be either student- or teacher-generated) with quotes from the text and a page number. It also has an example answer using the Catching Fire (Hunger Games) novel.
  • The Chicago Manual of Style has this quick author-date citation guide .
  • This page by Purdue Online Writing Lab has an MLA citation guide , as well as links to other citation guides such as APA.

If you are wanting other activities, a quick search of TPT showed these to be popular and well-received by other teachers:

  • Laura Randazzo’s 9th edition MLA in-text and end-of-text citation activities
  • Tracee Orman 8th edition MLA cheet sheet
  • The Daring English Teacher’s MLA 8th edition citation powerpoint

12. Teaching your students to take notes

Another important skill to look at when considering how to teach research skills to high school students is whether they know how to take effective notes.

The Crash Course Study Skills note-taking video is great for this. It outlines three note-taking styles – the outline method, the Cornell method, and the mind map method. And it shows students how to use each of the methods.

This can help you start a conversation with your students about which styles of note-taking are most effective for different tasks.

For example, mind maps are great for seeing connections between ideas and brain dumps. The outline method is great for topics that are hierarchical. And the Cornell method is great for topics with lots of specific vocabulary.

Having these types of metacognitive discussions with your students helps them identify study and research strategies. It also helps them to learn which strategies are most effective in different situations.

Teaching research skills to high school students . . .

Doesn’t have to be

  • time-consuming

The fantastic Crash Course Navigating Digital Information videos are a great way to get started if you are wondering how to teach research skills to high school students.

If you decide to use the videos in your class, you can buy individual worksheets if you have specific skills in mind. Or you can buy the full bundle if you think you’ll end up watching all of the videos.

Got any great tips for teaching research skills to high school students?

Head over to our Facebook or Instagram pages and let us know!

Research Opportunities for High School Students in 2024: More Than 50 Options Across Multiple Academic Disciplines and Interests

Jin Chow with Tree Background

By Jin Chow

Co-founder of Polygence, Forbes 30 Under 30 for Education

24 minute read

High school research projects offer a gateway for exploring passions, honing critical skills, and showcasing ambition for college admissions. Details from Harvard suggest that applicants who provide evidence of “substantial scholarship or academic creativity” have a much greater chance of gaining admission.

High school research projects offer a gateway for exploring passions, honing critical skills, and showcasing ambition for college admissions. Details from Harvard suggest that applicants who provide evidence of “substantial scholarship or academic creativity” have a much greater chance of gaining admission. In fact, 92% of students who completed the Polygence high school student research program were admitted to R1 universities in 2023. They significantly enhance a student's profile and academic creativity, boosting their chances of admission to top universities. These projects not only boost learning enthusiasm but also contribute positively to mental well-being .

Our curated list provides a program overview of over 50 research opportunities and programs for high school students covering various fields, emphasizing affordability, prestige, rigor, and social engagement. We encourage current students to verify program details, such as the necessary application information, and review updates as they may change yearly.

For personalized, self-driven projects, consider Polygence Core Program research mentorship to achieve your unique goals.

Do your own research through Polygence!

Polygence pairs you with an expert mentor in your area of passion. Together, you work to create a high quality research project that is uniquely your own.

7 Top Business, Economics, Finance, and Leadership Research Opportunities for High School Students

1 . beta camp .

Hosting institution: BETA Camp

Super Early Bird (Enroll by January 15, 2024): $3,000

Early Bird (Enroll by March 1, 2024): $3,500

Regular (Enjoll by June 15, 2024): $3,950

Format: Online

Application deadline: Mid-April

In this 6-week program, high school students aged 13-18 can learn from experts at world-class companies like Google, IKEA, Airbnb, and more. Participants create a real-world company, reach out to influencers, and partner with them to promote a real solution. Participants also practice their skills on real companies with feedback from their top executives. Finally, all learnings go toward building your own startup with weekly guidance. 

2 . Essentials of Finance 

Hosting institution: Wharton University

Cost: $7,299

Format: In-person (Philadelphia, PA)

Application deadline: Early April

This two-week intensive program gives high school students in grades 9 - 11 an opportunity to learn finance theory and methods at one of the most prestigious business schools in the world. Participants are exposed to the fundamentals of both personal and corporate finance. Other topics include the time value of money, the trade-off between risk and return, equities, and corporate accounting. You’ll learn the fundamentals of finance with real-world applications and case studies.

3 . Berkeley Business Academy for Youth (B-BAY)

Hosting Institution: Haas School of Business - University of California, Berkeley

Cost: $7,050

Format: In-person (Berkeley, CA)

Application deadline: Mid-March

With an intimate cohort of only 50 students, this immersive two-week college prep business program invites students to learn concepts of teamwork, communications, presentations, writing a business plan, and research skills. While immersed in on-campus life, participants also experience social activities, hear from guest speakers, and collaborate with a team to build a business plan which they then present at the end of the course. We think this is a great, immersive experience and B-BAY’s cost is the only reason it falls lower on the list of top business research opportunities for high school students.

4 . Entrepreneurship Academy

Hosting Institution: Georgetown University

Cost: Estimated tuition $5,775

Format: In-person (Washington, DC)

Application deadline:

Early Bird Deadline: January 31, 2024

Final Deadline: May 15, 2024

This high school student business program in Washington, DC, would have been higher on our list, but the Entrepreneurship Academy price tag relative to its short week-long length made it less cost-effective than our top options. That said, this program offers high school students the opportunity to hone practical business skills like public speaking, networking strategies, and team-building techniques. They also participate in the complete startup process: from doing market research to developing business plans to giving a pitch presentation to running their own enterprise. This high school student business program is a mix of classroom lectures, field trips, hands-on activities, and group discussions.

Lets get down to business

Interested in Business? We'll match you with an expert mentor who will help you explore your next project.

5 . Camp Business

Hosting Institution: Drexel University

Cost: $950-$2,000

Application deadline: Ongoing

Camp Business is a great option for business-minded high school students. This hands-on summer program is designed to teach rising high school sophomores and juniors skills, such as accounting, marketing, and stock market basics. Students also take part in a team business pitch competition and learn critical soft skills such as leadership, professional image, etiquette, and team building.

6 . Business Opportunities Summer Session (BOSS) 

Hosting institution: Penn State

Cost: $50 registration fee, only if accepted

Format: In–person (State College, PA)

Application deadline: Late March

BOSS is an excellent pick for business-minded high school students. This competitive two-week program gives students a taste of college life via college prep and business fundamentals courses taught by Penn State faculty. In addition to coursework in Hospitality Management, Risk Management, and Management and Organization, students are invited to participate in social activities. Typically, around 60 high school students are accepted to this business program.

7 . Summer High School Sessions and Pre-College Programs

Hosting institution: Adelphi University

Cost: $5,200

Format: In-person (Garden City, NY)

Application deadline: Late May

During this three-week course, high school students can delve into various aspects of starting a business as well as review the parameters for business success. Students are introduced to the primary areas of business including accounting, finance, production, operations, marketing, human resources, and information/technology. Creating business plans and exploring communication skills are integral to the program. Adelphi University summer sessions and pre-college programs made it to the top of our business program list because participants are provided with a ton of valuable information in a very short timeframe.

Business, Economics, Finance, and Leadership Research Resources for High School Students

High school research opportunities:.

Business and Finance research opportunities for high school students

Leadership research opportunities for high school students

High school research and passion project ideas:

Economics and Business passion project ideas for high school students

Leadership passion project ideas for high school students

High school research mentor profiles:

Business research mentors

Economics research mentors

Finance research mentors

Organizational Leadership research mentors

13 Top Biology, Medical, and Neuroscience Research Opportunities for High School Students

1. embarc summer design academy.

Hosting institution: UC Berkeley

Cost: $9,675

Application deadline: Early May 

This summer science research program is perfect for high school students interested in both environmental studies and urban planning. Students at embARC study urban design, architecture, and sustainable city components. Throughout the program, you will have access to the Cal Architecture and Urban Design Studio. You’ll also have the chance to participate in Sustainable City Planning and Digital Design workshops and engage in an Environmental Design Conversations Series and a Community Build project.

2. CDC Museum Disease Detective Camp

Hosting institution: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Format: In-person (Atlanta, GA)

Application deadline: End of March

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) had a lot of media exposure during the pandemic and students interested in biology and medicine may recognize its value like never before. This week-long summer program allows high school students to fully immerse themselves in subjects such as epidemiology, environmental health, public health law, global health, and public health communication. Newsworthy topics are woven into many of the camp’s activities. Students will even experience re-created outbreaks and mock press conferences. This is a short but academically rigorous program that we believe provides a unique and valuable student experience.

3. High School Research Immersion Program

Hosting institution: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

Cost: Free; you get paid a $4,800 stipend

Format: In-person (Memphis - Shelby County, TN)

Application deadline: January 31, 2024

This 8-week summer program for incoming high school seniors based in the Memphis, TN area offers you a chance to work in partnership with a research mentor and showcase your research project in a community exhibition. Your research project will be conducted in St. Jude laboratories and could focus on oncology, epidemiology, clinical research, pharmaceutical science, or another topic. You will also work with a science educator; develop a personal statement for your college application; explore St. Jude career paths; and gain valuable experience in scientific research.

Student participants must attend in person 40 hours a week within a typical 9 am-5 pm weekday schedule; housing is not provided. The St. Jude High School Research Immersion Program launched in 2022 , so it’s still relatively new. We believe it has great potential and is an incredible opportunity that Memphis area students with a passion for science and medical research should consider.

4. Texas Tech’s Anson L. Clark Scholars Program

Hosting institution: Texas Tech University

Format: In-person (Lubbock, TX)

Application deadline: February 15, 2024

This free and intensive seven-week program offers exceptional junior and senior high school students interested in biology the opportunity to work with outstanding professors at Texas Tech University's General Health Sciences Center . Although the program is research-based, it also includes weekly hands-on seminars, discussions, and field trips. We’re very impressed by this program’s academic rigor and its on-campus experience with zero cost to the student. The biggest drawback is that only twelve students are selected every year, so getting into this research program is extremely competitive.

Contribute to the cure

Interested in Medicine? We'll match you with an expert mentor who will help you explore your next project.

5. Provost’s Summer Mentorship Program (SMP)

Hosting institution: University of Pennsylvania

Application deadline: May

Though this college preparatory experience is only available to Philadelphia, PA high school students, its academic rigor, excellent facilities, and no-cost status earned it a spot on our top biology opportunities for high school students list. SMP is a 4-week immersion summer program that pairs participants with one of the five affiliate University of Pennsylvania Professional Schools. It is highly competitive and typically accepts between 40-50 high school students each year.

6. Brown Environmental Leadership Labs (BELL)

Hosting institution: Brown University

Cost: $2,707-$9,459

Format: In-person (Anchorage, AK; Mammoth, CA; or Providence, RI)

Application deadline: May 10, 2024

For high school students looking to literally expand their horizons, BELL is a great chance to visit a spectacular landscape, learn its native history, and do your own research. You will also investigate the causes and impacts of climate change, identify sustainability practices, and learn about socially responsible leadership. This program guides you to create your own environmental action plan and apply your learnings to issues in your hometown. This high school student research program can be a bit more of an investment than a paid internship, but it’s one of our top picks for future environmental leaders.

7. Summer Child Health Research Internship

Hosting institution: University of Colorado Boulder

Cost: None; you get paid a $3,500 stipend

Format: In-person (Boulder, CO)

Application deadline: Early February

The University of Colorado Boulder’s Department of Pediatrics offers summer research opportunities for rising high school seniors, college students, and first-year medical students. After the research program, the summer research interns hand in a 2 to 3-page written summary of their research experience. They are encouraged to submit these abstracts to local, regional, and national meetings. The Child Health Research Internship also provides funding for travel and registration if a student’s paper is accepted at a medical conference. We feel this is a uniquely robust program and really love that it gives you the opportunity to walk away with professional presentation experience.

8. Center for Talented Youth (CTY) Honors Biology

Hosting institution: Johns Hopkins University

Cost: $1,455

Although the CTY Honors Biology program doesn’t have that same exciting campus feel as some of our other top picks for high school students, we’re impressed by its academic rigor, cost-effectiveness, relative affordability, flexible scheduling, and geographic accessibility. This grade 7+ course allows academically advanced students to dig into challenging biological concepts with expert instructors and a dynamic online environment. Courses are offered in various formats to fit your schedule. If biology isn’t your primary study interest, take note that CTY offers online courses in a variety of other disciplines as well.

9. Carl B. & Florence E. King Foundation High School Summer Program

Hosting institution: MD Anderson Cancer Center

Format: In-person (Houston, TX)

Application deadline: January 17, 2024

This is an incredible opportunity for aspiring doctors. The Carl B. & Florence E. King Foundation High School Summer Program offers a rare chance for high school students to participate in a research project in one of the biomedical courses under the guidance of a full-time MD Anderson faculty member. Program participants will learn the importance of basic principles that form the basis of scientific research. Selected students will work in the MD Anderson labs during the week, participating in hands-on research. Students walk away from the experience with a clear understanding of what it means and what it’s like to be a researcher in the biomedical sciences . Although this program is only open to current Texas high school seniors, it made our top 10 list of biology opportunities for teens because its no-cost aspect makes it accessible to underrepresented communities.

10 . Brain Research Apprenticeships in New York at Columbia (BRAINYAC)

Hosting institution: Columbia University

Format: In-person (New York, NY)

Application deadline: Fall

BRAINYAC is a bit of a niche neuroscience program based solely in New York City, but it provides exceptional mentorship at no cost to the student. Zuckerman Institute Brain Research Apprenticeships offer New York City high school students a hands-on summer research experience in a Columbia laboratory. Each student is matched with a Columbia neuroscientist who guides the student through a research project. In the process, participants learn key skills required to work in a research environment, and the experience looks great on a college application.

11 . Summer Academy for Math and Science (SAMS)

Hosting institution: Carnegie Mellon

Format: In-person (Pittsburgh, PA), with an online “pre-course”

Application deadline: March 1, 2024

This is a great program for high school students interested in taking a deep dive into engineering (it’s a five-week course) and it’s free. SAMS concludes with an exciting symposium. Students explore math, science, seminars, writing workshops, small group mentoring, and collaborative learning, as well as have a chance to learn about financial aid, FAFSA, and college admissions. We love this program because it is a fully funded, merit-based program for participants, making it accessible to traditionally underrepresented communities.

12. Summer Student Program

Hosting institution: The Jackson Laboratory

Cost: None; you get paid a $6,250 stipend

Format: In-person (Bar Harbor, ME)

Application deadline: January 29, 2024 (by 12:00 pm EST)

If you’re going to be a graduating high school senior and you love genetics, this highly competitive 10-week program is an amazing opportunity. Approximately 40 students are chosen to work alongside an experienced mentor on a genetics or genome-centered research project. Each student develops an independent project in state-of-the-art facilities, implements their plans, analyzes data, and reports results. Outside the lab, students are encouraged to visit Acadia National Park . You’ll receive a great stipend, room and board is provided, as well as roundtrip travel costs.

13. Clinical Neuroscience Immersion Experience (CNI-X)

Hosting institution: Stanford University 

Cost: $1,295

Format: In-person (Stanford, CA); online options are also available

If you’re interested in medicine, this immersion experience for high schoolers is a great pick for you. This shorter 10-day program provides you with basic exposure to the study of neuroscience, psychiatry, and brain science in addition to a potential chance to finish a cooperative capstone project. High school students get the chance to work with Stanford professors and researchers and engage in exciting and cutting-edge research in the standards of neuroscience, clinical neuropsychiatry, and other areas within neuroscience research. In addition to participating in interactive lectures, you would also work in small teams to design solutions to pressing issues related to psychiatry, psychology, and neuroscience.

Biology, Medical, and Neuroscience Research Resources for High School Students

Biology research opportunities for high school students

Medical research opportunities for high school students

Neuroscience research opportunities for high school students

Biology passion project ideas for high school students

Environmental Studies passion project ideas for high school students

Medical passion project ideas for high school students

Neuroscience passion project ideas for high school students

Biology research mentors

Cancer research mentors

Chemistry research mentors

Cognitive research mentors

Environmental Science research mentors

Healthcare research mentors

Medicine research mentors

Psychiatry research mentors

Public Health research mentors

Neuroscience research mentors

Surgery research mentors

Check out the unique journey Polygence cancer research mentor Selena Lorrey took to discover her passions and become a cancer researcher and PhD candidate at Duke University.

14 Top STEM Research Opportunities for High School Students

1. california state summer school for mathematics and science (cosmos).

Hosting institution: University of California (students apply to one of four campuses: Davis; Irvine; San Diego; and Santa Cruz)

Cost: $5,008 (for California residents)

Format: In-person (California)

Application deadline: February 9, 2024

This four-week study program for future scientists, engineers, and mathematicians lets high school students work alongside university researchers and faculty. You can explore topics that extend far beyond the common high school curriculum. Past topics have included Biodiesel from Renewable Sources, Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine, and Introduction to Autonomous Vehicles.

2. Engineering Academy

Hosting institution: Oxford University

Cost: £6,495 GBP

Format: In-person (Oxford, UK)

This program allows high school students to experience Oxford-style teaching with practical challenges and debates. Small class sizes help students explore the concepts of hydraulics, pneumatics and the math behind engineering. The curriculum also helps students develop skills in public speaking, critical thinking and teamwork. If you’ve always wanted to immerse yourself in Oxford life , love engineering, and can afford its price tag, Engineering Academy is an amazing teen study program to pursue.

3. Academy for Robotics

Hosting institution: University of Texas at Austin

Cost: $2,100

Format: In-person (Austin, TX)

Application deadline: Closes after first 60 accepted registrants

ChatGPT and Bing are all the rage, and the robotics market is expected to grow 400% by 2026. Our list, therefore, would not be complete without a high school research opportunity focused on robotics. This program focuses on the study of AI robotics and teaching participants how to think critically to solve complex problems. Students will delve into Linux and C++ programming, sensor thresholding, skid steering, utilize tools used in robotics research, and compete in a robot race.

4. High School Research Academy (HSRA)

Cost: $3,500 per student

Application deadline: Late March 

This great (albeit costly) on-campus experience offers STEM research opportunities for high school students. This 5-week program provides participants with immersive and hands-on research experiences in the fields of biochemistry, biology, environmental science, genetics, neuroscience, genome engineering, data analytics, ecology, and more. Students participate in research projects and active laboratories in the College of Natural Sciences (CNS) and get a real taste of life as a researcher.   

5. Adler Planetarium Summer High School Internship

Hosting institution: Adler Planetarium

Cost: None; you get paid a $350 stipend

Format: In-person (Chicago, IL)

Application deadline: Early March

If you live in Chicagoland and want a more diverse yet still immersive experience, this is an amazing option. This 6-week hands-on internship allows Chicago area high schoolers to engage with STEAM fields while preparing for a variety of careers. Participants are given space for personal growth and scientific experimentation while connecting with peers from around the city. You may also get the opportunity to present your research at the end of the internship.

6. Stockholm Junior Water Prize

Hosting institution: The Water Environment Federation

Format: In-person (location varies year to year)

This is a bit of a niche opportunity and more of a competition rather than a research program. However, for those high schoolers who can participate, it is an excellent opportunity to expand on your existing research (especially if you have participated in science fairs such as Regeneron ISEF ) and reach a worldwide audience. If you’re a high school student who has conducted a water-related science project, you can present it to this panel of expert judges. They will rate it on relevance, methodology, subject knowledge, practical skills, creativity, and paper/presentation. A national winner is chosen to compete in an international competition in late August, with all-expenses-paid travel to Stockholm.

7. Genes in Space

Hosting institution: Boeing and miniPCR bio, along with ISS U.S. National Laboratory and New England Biolabs

Application deadline: April 15, 2024

If you love space exploration , this program for high school students is a wonderful option. To apply to the program, you must first design DNA experiments that address a challenge in space exploration using tools such as the fluorescence viewer, PCR thermal cycler, or the BioBits cell-free system (or a combination of them). The grand prize is an opportunity to participate in Space Biology Camp and travel to the Kennedy Space Center to see the launch of your DNA experiment into space! Initially, you must be self-driven enough to drive your own research and the social aspect is rather limited at first, but there is the potential for networking on a grand scale. At least one student from each finalist team must be available to present at the ISS Research & Development Conference (late July to early August).

8. CURIE Academy

Hosting institution: Cornell University

Cost: $1,850 (tuition subject to change)

Format: In-person (Ithaca, NY)

We appreciate that this one-week residential engineering program is designed specifically for rising junior and senior high school girls. Because, let’s face it: engineering is still a male-dominated field. This wonderful program helps female students feel more confident about engineering as a viable career choice and shows them graduate school pathways into engineering. High school students work collaboratively with professors, graduate students, and undergraduate students. Additionally, they participate in nine field sessions across the school’s engineering majors, as well as a field session focused on the admissions process.

9. Yale Summer Session

Hosting institution: Yale University

Cost: $4,650 (+$85 technology fee)

Format: In-person (New Haven, CT) and online

If engineering is your passion, this might be a top program for you. At these Yale Summer Sessions, high school students can pick from five-week courses such as Multivariable Calculus for Engineers, Engineering Improv: An Introduction to Engineering Analysis, and Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics. You will get an on-campus feel for the rigors of an Ivy League college experience, but this experience does come with a heftier price tag than other high school STEM research opportunities on our list.

10. Simons Summer Research Program

Hosting institution: Stony Brook University

Cost: None; this is a paid fellowship

Format: In-person (Stony Brook, NY)

Application deadline: February 7, 2024

This prestigious and highly selective program matches about 30 high school students each year with a Stony Brook faculty mentor in the fields of science, math, computer science, and more. Simons Fellows are selected based on their academic achievements, research potential, and personal qualities such as creativity, curiosity, and dedication. This program gives you a great opportunity to join research groups, produce a research abstract, work with a supportive community of peers and mentors, plus receive a stipend award. This high school student fellowship program is supported by the Simons Foundation .

11. Internship and Fellowships

Hosting institution: Library of Congress

Cost: Free, with some paid internships

Format: In-person (various locations)

Application deadline: Various 

This hidden gem of a program offers around fifty different internship and research opportunities for all sorts of under-represented areas of interest and is open to high school students. Research opportunities range in focus from the Digital Data and Geographic Information Systems to the Young Readers Center to the Manuscript Division . We love that you can get paid for your time and that the program offers scheduling flexibility. This is an opportunity that’s worth looking into, especially if you’re an ambitious high school student interested in history, architecture, art, or literature.

12 . Laboratory Learning Program

Hosting institution: Princeton University

Format: In-person (Princeton, NJ)

Application deadline: March 15, 2024

This is an intensive, academically rigorous 5 to 6-week summer internship program with prestigious Princeton faculty and research staff, who will mentor you in ongoing research projects. The fields of study are engineering and natural science. High school students submit a 2-page research summary of their summer project at the end of the Laboratory Learning Program internship. These research papers can be used to great effect on college applications and/or serve as a jumping-off point for independent research.

13. Internship Programs

Hosting institution: NASA Office of STEM Engagement (OSTEM)

Cost: None; these are paid internships

Format: In-person (Greenbelt, MD; Wallops Island, VA; New York, NY; or Fairmont, WV)

Application deadline: Varies according to program 

It doesn’t get much better than NASA when it comes to name recognition. These internships are designed to provide you with the exciting opportunity of performing research under the guidance of a NASA mentor at an actual NASA facility. NASA offers many internship opportunities for high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors over 16 years of age. In addition to being able to put this research experience on your resume and college applications, you will be paid for your efforts. Students can find available intern positions via NASA STEM Gateway .

14. Research Science Institute (RSI)

Hosting institution: Center for Excellence in Education (CEE)

Application deadline: December 13, 2023

Our top cost-effective, prestigious, academically rigorous, socially enriching pick is the Research Science Institute (RSI) program. The biggest caveat is that RSI is highly selective and only admits about 80 high school students each year from a pool of thousands of applicants. The program is hosted at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Students are selected based on their academic achievements, research potential, and personal qualities such as creativity, leadership, and motivation. RSI is free, with all expenses paid (including travel, room and board, and research supplies).

STEM Research Resources for High School Students

Computer Science research opportunities for high school students

Data Science research opportunities for high school students

Engineering research opportunities for high school students

Participating in a high school science fair or competition is another opportunity for teens to utilize STEM research - and maybe win awards!

Computer Science passion project ideas for high school students

Data science passion project ideas for high school students

Engineering passion project ideas for high school students

AI and Machine Learning (AI/ML) research mentors

Animation research mentors

Biotech research mentors

Computer Science research mentors

Engineering research mentors

Game Design research mentors

Math research mentors

Polygence computer science mentor Ross Greer wrote a High School Computer Science Research Guide that details everything from how to scope, create, and showcase your own high school research project . It’s a great resource to refer to when deciding on a passion project to pursue, especially if you’re considering taking on a STEM-related study topic.

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13 Top Humanities Research Opportunities for High School Students

1. medill cherubs.

Hosting institution: Medill-Northwestern Journalism Institute

Cost: $5,000

Format: In-person (Evanston, IL)

Application deadline: Mid-March 

Notable alumni of the Medill School of Journalism include NPR host Peter Sagal , CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Sanjay Guupta and Vox co-founder Ezra Klein , which gives you some indication of its reputation and proven track record. This Northwestern University summer program for high school students gives you the opportunity to immerse yourself in all aspects of media for five weeks at this esteemed school. Areas of study include: writing, reporting, and editing for print, digital and broadcast; photography; videography; and website and podcast creation. Collaborative learning occurs both inside the classroom and on field trips. The Medill Cherubs program includes private mentoring sessions.

2. Sotheby’s Summer Institute

Hosting institution: Sotheby’s

Cost: $5,560 for day students; $6,845 for residential students

Format: In person (New York, NY)

Monday, February 6 (Early Decision)

Monday, March 13 (Priority + Financial Aid)

Monday, April 24 (Regular)

Curious and passionate about the arts? This two-week program will immerse you in one of the most vibrant art capitals in the world: New York City. High school students are invited to learn the intricacies of running galleries and museums as well as to explore painting and drawing techniques throughout history. Each course draws on the caché of Sotheby's Institute of Art , taking students behind the scenes of world class museums, galleries, auction houses, artists’ studios, and more. 

3 . RISD Pre-College

Hosting institution: Rhode Island School of Design

Cost: $8,715 - $11,350

Format: In-person (Providence, RI)

Application deadline: February 8, 2024 

This visual arts summer program offers an intensive six-week-long pre-college experience for young artists at, arguably, one of the top design schools in the world. High school students experience a college-style curriculum with day-long studio classes and can avail themselves of resources such as the RISD Nature Lab and the RISD Museum . Participants experiment with new materials, tools and techniques, learn from mentors, and create final projects that can be used for college application. Its hefty cost kept this opportunity for high school students from being higher on our list. However, need-based financial aid can cover up to 50% of the RISD Pre-College program tuition and fees .

4. SCAD Rising Star

Hosting institution: Savannah College of Art and Design

Cost: $6,334

Format: In-person (Atlanta, GA; Savannah, GA; or Hong Kong) and online

Application deadline: May 31, 2024

Creative high school students should definitely consider SCAD Rising Star as one of the top US design schools. This intensive five-week program lets you take two college-level art classes while helping you build your personal portfolios. The program includes courses in a variety of disciplines, and students have the option of participating online, or in-person in Savannah, Atlanta, or even Hong Kong. If the SCAD Rising Star pre-college program cost is prohibitive, you might be eligible for financial aid.

5. Summer Drama Program

Hosting institution: Yale

Cost: $9,475 (plus meals and housing)

Format: In-person (New Haven, CT)

Application deadline: Mid-April 

This is our top pick for high school students interested in theater. The Yale School of Drama is considered to be one of the most prestigious and selective drama programs in the world, and the Summer Drama Program at Yale is no exception. Applicants can choose between the 5-week-long Conservatory for Actors and the 10-day Director’s Workshop . With small groups of 10-12 students, participants will benefit from focused collaboration and attention. Rehearsing and clowning are part of the “out of classroom” experience of living on campus.

6. Parsons Summer Intensive Studies

Hosting institution: Parsons New School

Cost: $4,675

Format: In-person (New York, NY or Paris, France)

Application deadline: Mid-May to Mid-June

Parsons School of Design is a highly esteemed art school and this three-week summer program can provide a life-changing experience for arts-minded high school students. Offered in two cultural centers of the art world, this program enables students to focus on their own projects, present their work, explore the city during art and design field trips, network with guest speakers, and earn up to 3 college credits.

7. Met High School Internships

Hosting institution: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Cost: None; this is a paid internship

If you’re interested in art history, writing, marketing, social media, education, or conservation, this is a top pick for you. The program accepts rising juniors and seniors from New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut high schools and connects them with professionals at one of the world’s finest museums: The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Throughout this program, students will develop professional skills, build a network, gain work experience amidst masterpieces, and get paid.

8. Summer Immersion: New York City

Cost: $2,825-$12,449

This is our top pick for future journalists, but we also recognize the cost might be prohibitive for some. High school students can choose either a one-week or three-week program and will learn reporting and interviewing skills through writing assignments such as profiles, op-eds, features, and audio pieces. Summer Immersion: New York City is an exciting pre-college program since you will work with Columbia writing professors and acclaimed journalists in the field.

9. Pre-College Scholars: Summer Residential-Track

Hosting institution: University of California, Berkeley

Cost: $15,800 (8-week session); $14,500 (6-week session)

Application deadline: March 11, 2024

Although this program’s social, prestigious, intensive, and academic advantages put it in our top ten picks of humanities research opportunities for high school students, we took points off for its expense. Still, it offers students from all over the world a chance to experience college campus life at UC Berkeley and take college-level courses taught by Berkeley professors. Here, you can earn college credit while experiencing university campus life with a cohort of students. Like us, you may believe that earning college credit can later justify the program’s expense. High school students can enroll in 2 different courses offered through Berkeley’s Summer Sessions program and participate in a series of extracurricular activities and excursions.

10. Camp ARCH

Hosting institution: Texas A&M University

Cost: $1,500

Format: In-person (College Station, TX)

This week-long program sponsored by the Texas A&M School of Architecture is for high-achieving high school students. Camp ARCH combines academic courses with social activities to create an in-depth research-focused pre-college experience. Participants work with faculty and choose an area of focus from architecture, construction science, or landscape architecture and urban planning.

11. Summer Arts Camp

Hosting institution: Interlochen Center for the Arts

Cost: $1,830-$10,880

Format: In-person (Interlochen, MI)

Application deadline: January 15, 2024

Art students, this is a fantastic option for you. High schoolers can choose to spend 1 week, 3 weeks, or 6 weeks at Interlochen Center for the Arts pursuing visual arts, dance, creative writing, music, theatre, or film and new media. Arts Merge, a 3-week interdisciplinary arts program , is open to students in grades 6 through 9. All of Interlochen’s programs encourage the creation of original work as final projects. The social opportunities and beautiful natural surroundings it provides also really round out the teen participants’ experience.

12. Film and Television Summer Institute - Digital Filmmaking

Hosting institution: UCLA

Cost: $4,225

Format: In-person (Los Angeles, CA)

Application deadline: June 1, 2024

Future filmmakers, this is the research opportunity for you. This two-week, intensive production workshop gives high school students a chance to get hands-on experience course can expand high school at one of the most prestigious film schools in the world. Along with filming collaboratively on projects, students will attend film screenings, hear guest speakers, and visit a Hollywood studio. If cost is a barrier, UCLA Summer Sessions Summer Scholars Support is a financial aid option for California high school students that is worth looking into.

13. Art as Experience: Drawing and New Media Program

Cost: $5,040

Art is woefully under-represented on this list, but this immersive Cornell University pre-college studies course can expand high school students’ understanding of the ideas and practices of art today. Studio projects include a range of media from drawing and collage to digital photography and video installation. Participants attend online seminars; synchronous and asynchronous lectures; labs; and discussions, supplemented by readings and critiques. You may earn up to 3 college credits and an official Cornell transcript as a high school student , which helps justify the cost. Despite its virtual nature, many participants have made long-lasting friendships with other artistically gifted students all over the globe.

Humanities Research Resources for High School Students

Architecture research opportunities for high school students

Arts research opportunities for high school students

Arts and Humanities research opportunities for high school students

Literature research opportunities for high school students

Architecture passion project ideas for high school students

Arts and humanities passion project ideas for high school students

Creative Writing passion project ideas for high school students

Design passion project ideas for high school students

Literature passion project ideas for high school students

High school research project mentors:

Arts research mentors

Creative Writing research mentors

Dance research mentors

Fashion research mentors

Illustration research mentors

Languages research mentors

Linguistics research mentors

Literature research mentors

Music research mentors

Photography research mentors

3 Top Social Science Research Opportunities for High School Students

1 . explo psychology + neuroscience.

Hosting institution: Wellesley College

Cost: Residential: $7,895; Commuter: $3,995

Format: In-person (Norwood, MA)

This EXPLO Pre-College Career Concentrations program gives high school students interested in psychology the chance to deep dive into highly specific topics. For the neuroscience concentration, participants will dissect a brain, diagnose mental illness in patients, and analyze neurochemical reactions to connect how brain structures and biology deeply impact the way that humans think and behave. Key benefits for participants include the chances to learn from industry experts, such as Dr. Lisa Feldman Barrett – one of the most-cited scientists in the world for her psychology and neuroscience research – who was a guest instructor in 2023; and earn credits at Sarah Lawrence College, Hampshire College, or Wheaton College .

2. Pre-College Program in American History

Hosting institution: William & Mary and National Institute of American History & Democracy (NIAHD)

Cost: $5,600

Format: Online and in-person (Williamsburg, VA)

15 May 2024: Deadline for domestic students applying to Session 1

1 June 2024: Deadline for domestic students applying to Session 2

History buffs will love this program, both for its historic campus and its curriculum. This three-week program gives high schoolers a good preview of college-level history while helping you earn college credit. Students will participate in class discussions, read 30-60 pages of college-level articles and primary source documents each night, and submit written work each week. Coursework includes Artifacts of American History (a new course), The Road to the American Revolution, and The Road to the United States Civil War.

3. Student Volunteer Program

Hosting institution: United States Secret Service (USSS)

Format: In-person (various)

Application deadline: Various

If you’re interested in sociology, criminal justice, history, government, homeland security, and other related fields, the Secret Service Student Volunteer Program is a unique, hands-on, and fast-paced opportunity. It gives high school students insight into the nature and structure of the USSS while teaching important “soft skills”, such as excellent communication, analytical observation, and problem solving. Student volunteers must be at least 16 years old and devote at least 12 hours per week. While the positions are unpaid, you may receive academic credit for your time.

History and Social Science Research Resources for High School Students

History research programs for high school students

Psychology research programs for high school students

History passion project ideas for high school students

Psychology passion project ideas for high school students

History research mentors

Psychology research mentors

Social Science research mentors

Psychology research guides

How to do psychology research

Data collection in psychology

The IRB approval process

Additional Ways to Conduct Research as a High School Student

Of course, our lists don’t include every pre-college program, internship, and research opportunity available to high schoolers; there are lots of other amazing options out there, likely in your city or state. If you don’t come across a perfect match for you and your interests, create your own research opportunity!

Find high school research programs close to home

Our High School Student Research Opportunities Database is an excellent resource you can use to find research programs for teens based on location .

Work directly with a professor

If you have a clear idea of your passions, you can reach out to professors in your field to see if they are open to collaborating with you. Refer to our Guide to Cold-Emailing Professors (written by Polygence literature research mentor Daniel Hazard , a PhD candidate at Princeton University).

Engage in your own research project

Students with initiative and focus can opt to tackle research on their own. Carly Taylor , a Stanford University senior who has completed several research projects this way, outlined a guide about how to write a self-guided research paper . By reading it, you’ll get a better understanding of what to expect when taking on this type of project.

Need some inspiration to prepare yourself to develop your own high school research opportunity? Here are some resources to help you:

Types of research ideas for high school students

Passion project ideas for high school students

Research projects completed by Polygence students

Choosing the perfect project idea using ikigai

5 exciting ways to discover your passions

How to brainstorm your way to perfect research topic ideas

The essential elements of research

Connect with a research project mentor

You’re never too young to start researching, especially if you think you'll be interested in doing undergraduate research as a college student. And if you're one of many prospective students looking to get into a great school like Rice University, Baylor College, or George Mason University contact us to get matched to a mentor from one of those schools!

Polygence has helped over 2,000 students work with leading research mentors in their field to conduct high-quality research projects. High school students have been able to achieve amazing outcomes, ranging from award-winning short films to conversations with local politicians about policy improvement . We provide research project support , from pairing students with mentors to offering showcasing opportunities , to guiding students in their passion identification and discovery process.

Learn more about what sets Polygence apart from other middle school and high school student research opportunities.

Want to start a project of your own?

Click below to get matched with one of our expert mentors who can help take your project off the ground!

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Madeleine Karydes

Madeleine Karydes

Lead admissions expert, table of contents, start your search for your dream research opportunity, 40 incredible research opportunities for high schoolers, 1. research mentorship program, 2. aspiring scholars directed research program (asdrp), 3. quarknet summer research program, 4. student research institute, 5. student research internships, 6. simons summer research program.

  • 7. Summer Research Experience Program 

8. WYSE Summer Engineering Camp

  • 9. WYSE Young Scholars Summer STEMM Program 

10. Biomedical Research Academy

  • 11. Chemistry Research Academy 
  • 12. Experimental Physics Research Academy 
  • 13. Neuroscience Research Academy 
  • 14. Social Justice Research Academy 

15. Medical Sciences Summer Institute

16. high school summer research experience, 17. summer science research experience, 18. medical institute summer research program (simr), 19. grips program, 20. summer student research program, 21. educational pathways for cancer research, 22. future scientist program, 23. kimberly querrey summer research program, 24. student research apprentice program, 25. summer experience for students, 26. research in the biological sciences (ribs), 27. high school summer internship program, 28. summer high school research program, 29. biomedical research workshops, 30. college now stem research academy, 31. bioengineering research programs, 32. life sciences research program, 33. marine science research program, 34. school of medicine research program, 35. business research program, 36. summer research program, 37. high school internships with aspirnaut, 38. student volunteer program, 39. student scholars program, 40. full research programs.

Stay up-to-date on the latest research and college admissions trends with our blog team.

40 Incredible Research Opportunities for High School Students

Why are research opportunities for high school students in 2024 so exciting? Well, there are a few reasons. Firstly, teenagers in the 21st century are coming of age during a thrilling era of cutting-edge scientific development. Technology advances exponentially every day, breaking down barriers to interdisciplinary knowledge. What’s more, high school students have unprecedented access to research opportunities that can significantly enhance their academic and professional futures. Under the right guidance, research experience can add a serious competitive edge to a young student’s resume. 

It’s true. Engaging in research not only cultivates critical thinking, problem-solving, and analytical skills for young adults, but also provides a platform for today’s students to contribute to real-world advancements and innovations. As we step into 2024, the breadth and diversity of research opportunities available to high school students are more varied than ever, encompassing fields from the sciences and engineering to the humanities and social sciences. 

Are you excited yet? Let’s dive into what options are available.

This article explores the myriad of incredible research opportunities accessible to high school students this year, detailing programs, internships, and competitions that can help aspiring scholars gain invaluable experience and make meaningful contributions to their chosen fields . 

Whether your interest lies in laboratory research, social science studies, or interdisciplinary projects, there is an opportunity waiting to help you unleash your potential and prepare for the future. Let’s get this research party started! 

working in the library

Next up we have a list of some of the best research opportunities out there for high school students in 2024, presented for you to browse. These options are presented in no particular order.

Along with their mentor, students will learn about research techniques, gain insight into professional research-based opportunities, and mature their academic goals. The GRIT talks lecture series will connect students to some of the best minds within the UC Santa Barbara research community as they present their ground-breaking research and innovative technology.

  • Apply to : University of California, Santa Barbara
  • Age Eligibility : Freshman (9th), Sophomores (10th), and Juniors (11th)
  • Location : Santa Barbara, California

Students participate in research projects across various subjects in STEM, including chemistry, biology, computational modeling, computer science, and much more. Students publish and present their work as well in venues within and outside of ASDRP. Research in ASDRP is supervised by highly skilled scientists  and engineerson the research faculty, who are clustered under one of three departments—Biological/Human/Life Sciences, Chemistry/Biochemistry/Physics, or Computer Science & Engineering.

  • Apply to : Olive Children Foundation Engineering Research Laboratory
  • Age Eligibility : All high school students (9th-12th)
  • Location : Fremont, California

QuarkNet offers summer research opportunities in science and technology for students who have demonstrated a strong interest in and aptitude for science and mathematics. Students work with scientists for seven weeks on projects related to the Fermilab research program.

  • Apply to : Fermilab Research Alliance
  • Age Eligibility : Sophomores (10th), Juniors (11th), and Seniors (12th)
  • Location: Fermilab campus in Illinois

Projects will focus on using Python, Java or other programming languages for interesting applications such as in cryptography or in global data trend evaluations. Computational science projects will utilize molecular modeling and drug design methods for biological or medicinal applications (cancer and other diseases).

  • Apply to: Quest SRI
  • Age Eligibility: Sophomores (10th), Juniors (11th), and Seniors (12th)
  • Location: Virtual meetings

The Student Research Internship Program is a 10-week summer program designed for high school, undergraduate, graduate and professional students. The primary goal is to equip students interested in health sciences, statistics, and computational/computer science to become future leaders in the realm of translational medical research.

  • Apply to: Scripps Research Institute
  • Age Eligibility: All high school students (9th-12th)
  • Location: San Diego, California

The Simons Summer Research Program gives academically talented, motivated high school students the opportunity to engage in hands-on research in science, math or engineering at Stony Brook University. Simons Fellows work with distinguished faculty mentors, learn laboratory techniques and tools, become part of active research teams, and experience life at a research university.

  • Apply to: Stony Brook University
  • Age Eligibility: Juniors (11th)
  • Location: New York campus

7. Summer Research Experience Program 

Computer Science and Informatics Summer Research Experience Program (CSIRE) is a 6-week research experience program on computer science and informatics for high school students. The program assumes the participant already has good skills in programming or data analytics. Since launching in 2017, the program has become increasingly competitive.

  • Location: New York campus OR virtual meetings

These summer camps are designed to allow students to experience authentic & challenging projects & activities, world-class instructors, and a collegiate experience from one of the best engineering schools in the world. Camps provide exposure to different areas of engineering through demonstrations, lab tours, classroom presentations, hands-on activities, and interactions with various students, staff, and professors in those fields.

  • Apply to: University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
  • Age Eligibility: All high school students (91th-12th)
  • Location: Urbana-Champaign, Illinois campus

9. WYSE Young Scholars Summer STEMM Program 

Participate in an authentic STEMM research experience at a world-class research university for 6 weeks during the summer. Students will gain hands-on experience in areas at the forefront of various STEMM fields, such as cancer immunology, neuroscience, artificial intelligence, physics, quantum mechanics, bioengineering, electrical engineering, and more!

  • Location: Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Iowa, and Wisconsin

Aerial view of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

The Biomedical Research Academy introduces the experimental basis of cellular, molecular, and genetic aspects of biology, focusing on relevance to diseases. Fusing daily lectures, faculty research talks, laboratory experiments, and small group investigations into current research topics, students gain insight into the core of biomedical research.

  • Apply to: The University of Pennsylvania
  • Age Eligibility: Freshman (9th), Sophomores (10th), and Juniors (11th)
  • Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

11. Chemistry Research Academy 

Penn Chemistry is a leading center for molecular research and instruction, whose researchers are at the frontier of modern chemistry, tackling a wide variety of important societal challenges. The Chemistry Research Academy provides students with the foundational knowledge to understand this cutting-edge research, while providing opportunities to hear and learn directly from several of the research professors and students.

  • Age Eligibility: Sophomores (10th) and Juniors (11th)

12. Experimental Physics Research Academy 

The Experimental Physics Research Academy focuses on current physics, specifically mechanics, electromagnetism, quantum dynamics, and astrophysics. Through lectures, activities, projects, and discussions with their instructors, students move past memorized equations to gain an understanding of cause and effect, and ultimately an appreciation of physics on a higher level.

13. Neuroscience Research Academy 

The Neuroscience Research Academy explores the biological foundations of the brain, progressing from the cellular foundations of the neuron to an understanding of the sensory systems, and culminating with higher-order cognitive functions such as memory, emotion, and morality. Taught by members of Penn’s Biological Basis of Behavior program, the Neuroscience Academy introduces students to this cutting-edge field in both research and medicine, which has provided important insights into understanding the mind in both health and disease.

  • Age Eligibility: Freshman (9th), Sophomores (10th)s and Juniors (11th)

14. Social Justice Research Academy 

The Social Justice Research Academy brings students from around the world together for three weeks to dive deep into the past, present, and future of social justice. Designed to encourage discussion and critical thinking about the political, historical, and cultural context of inequality and resistance, the program welcomes students with a variety of academic interests across the social sciences, humanities, and arts. Topics vary from year to year but include a selection of significant historical struggles as well as those that define our recent past and present.

research plan for high school students

The University of Cincinnati College of Medicine has created a summer workshop for those who are at least 16 years old, interested in careers in medicine, or other healthcare related fields, and wish to gain some experience in medical research in a state-of-the art laboratory. Students will learn to formulate hypotheses, design experiments, analyze data and communicate their conclusions at a research symposium at the end of the course.

  • Apply to : University of Cincinnati College of Medicine
  • Location: Cincinnati, Ohio

In addition to lab work, you’ll have classroom instruction on cancer basics, seminars with invited speakers, and professional development opportunities. At the end of the summer, you’ll give a poster presentation at a research conference just like our graduate students and post-doctoral scholars do.

  • Apply to: Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • Location: Buffalo, New York

SSRP Scholars will participate on a research team designed and guided by Rockefeller trainees. SSRP teams mirror the structure of a Rockefeller laboratory, where one trainee serves as team lead with support from dedicated scientist-mentors. Each team will have their own space in the RockEDU laboratory.

  • Apply to: The Rockefeller University
  • Location: New York City, New York

This is an eight-week program in which high school students with a broad range of experiences, interests and backgrounds are invited to perform basic research with Stanford faculty, postdoctoral fellows, students and researchers on a medically-oriented project. The goals of the program include increasing interest in biological sciences and medicine in high school students and helping students to understand how scientific research is performed.

  • Apply to: Stanford University
  • Age Eligibility: Juniors (11th) or Seniors (12th)
  • Location: Palo Alto, California

GRIPS is a twenty hour, eight week long research intensive experience for high school students. Program participants will be placed in a research laboratory for the summer and conduct genomics research under the supervision of a lab mentor.

  • Location: Palo Alto, California (with hybrid meetings)

This summer program provides one-on-one mentorship with health care providers and researchers, along with access to unique workshops, seminars, training, simulations, and networking opportunities. The program culminates in a formal research symposium in which each student presents their project findings to the scientific community, many of which continue on as future grants, publications, and advances in healthcare.

  • Apply to: University of California, San Francisco
  • Age Eligibility: Juniors (11th) and Seniors (12th)
  • Location: San Francisco, California

The EPCR summer program provides mentored, high-quality, cancer-focused research experiences for graduating high school seniors and undergraduate students. Participants will develop skills to think analytically and critically; design, perform and troubleshoot experiments; interpret research data; formulate new ideas; and propose meaningful strategies for testing those ideas through experiments with guidance from mentors.

  • Apply to: Indiana University
  • Age Eligibility: Seniors (12th)
  • Location: Bloomington, Indiana

The Future Scientist Program at IU Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center is a summer science program for high school juniors at Indianapolis and all Marion County public schools, providing the opportunity to spend eight weeks on a research project under the mentorship of a university researcher.

The Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care’s Kimberly Querrey Summer Research Program offers a six- to eight-week paid, competitive research experience at Northwestern University for rising high school seniors and undergraduate college/university students interested in the biological sciences. Our program combines intensive research training with support for students’ academic and professional development.

  • Apply to: Northwestern School of Medicine
  • Location: Evanston, Illinois

This is a five-week summer program that provides students with a research experience in one of the basic science or clinical laboratories.

  • Apply to : University of Connecticut Health
  • Location: Storrs campus in Connecticut

This is a paid opportunity for high school and college students to work alongside world-renowned scientists and researchers and gain insights into careers in science or related areas. Through our four-week Summer Experience program, we offer a limited number of students an exclusive opportunity to be a part of the day-to-day research activities in dynamic research and biobanking environments, and we offer the possibility to experience biobank operations.

  • Apply to: Coriell Institute for Medical Research
  • Location: New Jersey

This four-week intensive training program is designed to expose students to a broad range of molecular, microbiological, and cell biological techniques currently used in research laboratories. Students are immersed in the research experience, giving them a taste of ‘life at the bench.’

  • Apply to: T he University of Chicago
  • Location: Chicago, Illinois

Our program provides students with the opportunity to participate in basic, translational, or clinical scientific research with the goal of stimulating interest in biomedical research as a potential career. During the 6-week, 240-hour program (holidays included) each student will have the opportunity to work on their own research project under the guidance of an investigator and their staff at MWRI or Magee-Womens Hospital.

  • Apply to: Magee Womens Research Institute
  • Location: Southwest Pennsylvania region

research lab with medical students

Students are selected from a pool of applicants for a five-week full-time summer research experience. Applicants must demonstrate academic excellence and be recommended by their high school science teacher and/or science chair.  Students are assigned to Einstein research labs and will join the lab team under the guidance of the laboratory director (or principal investigator) who will serve as a mentor.

  • Apply to: Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Our online workshops include Introduction to Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Medicinal Chemistry and Medical Bioinformatics. Intro to Cellular and Molecular Medicine is our entry-level workshop that is only two hours/day. Students in the Medicinal Chemistry and Medical Bioinformatics workshops learn how to use online tools to analyze biochemical data. For students interested in doing research or working on a project for a science fair, this is a great way to get started.

  • Apply to: Rosetta Institute of Biomedical Research

This is a two-part program designed to provide students with an opportunity to develop the essential skills to be strong scientific thinkers by engaging in authentic enquiry based research activities. The first component of the program is a high school credit scientific investigative course (DNA Detectives) offered during the spring semester, and the second component is a six week college credit course (BIO189, 1 credit) that meets during the summer, in which students work in research labs under the supervision and mentorship of Lehman College faculty and their graduate students. Students are selected to participate in the summer mentorship based upon successful completion of the spring semester DNA Detectives course, and meeting additional eligibility criteria.

  • Apply to : Lehman College

The UC San Diego Department of Bioengineering and UC San Diego Extended Studies are pleased to offer courses to high school students who are excelling in scholarship and would like to explore Bioengineering. The course offerings are based on fun, experiential, remote, at-home, hands-on lab activities.

  • Apply to: The University of California, San Diego
  • Age Eligibility: Sophomores (10th), Juniors (11th), or Seniors (12th)
  • Location: San Diego, California (or hybrid meetings)

In partnership with Boz Institute, we will offer a unique science research learning experience. Our programs will involve field work, fundamental molecular biology topics, modern laboratory techniques, and relevant bioinformatics and statistical applications. Learn to synthesize life science fundamentals, review literature, formulate hypotheses and design experiments, collect and process samples, execute experiments, analyze data, and showcase your work through poster presentations attended by local scientists and industry leaders.

The following programs are designed to empower high school students to share learning, network with peers, and become environmental advocates. The goal of this program is to develop problem solving, organization, creative thinking, communication, collaboration, and leadership skills that will support future career goals and aspirations.

geisel library

The following programs are designed with faculty from UC San Diego School of Medicine and are designed for high school students who wish to go into fields of medicine.

The following course is designed to prepare students for careers and advanced education in business innovation, entrepreneurship, and management with a solid grounding in fundamentals. While learning about topics of business innovation, design, venture financing, and growth strategy, students will gain the knowledge necessary to build an innovative business proposal and gain economic acumen.

  • Location: Virtual Meetings

For eight weeks in the summer, student interns usually work with the mentors in laboratories or clinics. Interns learn techniques used in the health sciences laboratories, gain research study skills, and experience professional development and career preparation through weekly program seminars. Additionally, they receive training in presentation skills, including how to prepare a presentation for a scientific meeting.  At program end, all interns present their research findings at a poster session or oral symposium.

  • Apply to: Louisiana State University
  • Location: New Orleans, Louisiana

High school students are embedded in a biomedical research laboratory for six weeks as a member of a team of researchers (chemists, biologists, physicians, mathematicians, engineers) working on diabetes, cancer and regenerative biology projects. Students conduct their own research and gather results that contribute to the data and goals of the larger research team. At the conclusion of the experience, students present their research to peers and mentors through both oral and poster presentations.

  • Apply to: Vanderbilt University
  • Location: Nashville, Tennessee

NRL seeks volunteers that are currently enrolled in high school or college and possess an interest in science and engineering. Volunteer service is limited to services performed by a student as part of an agency program established for the purpose of providing educational experience for the student. The work is done strictly on an uncompensated basis.

  • Apply to: US Naval Research Laboratory
  • Location: Based in Washington, D.C.

The selected interns gain valuable hands-on experiences working with full-time AFRL scientists and engineers on cutting-edge research and technology and are able to contribute to unique, research-based projects.

  • Apply to: The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL)
  • Location: Several locations across the United States

Our student-driven research programs teach the process of science through the creation of a field research project. By studying locations near your school campus, students strengthen their connection to the ecosystems in your community. In addition to delivering increased academic confidence, better social skills, and building science and language skills, all of our programs are designed in a fun and engaging way.

  • Apply to: Headwaters Science Institute
  • Location: Multiple locations in California

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There you have it, folks. That’s our roundup of incredible research opportunities for high school students in 2024. Nonetheless, if none of these options strike your fancy, there are more out there. Check out this article for more tips on STEM academic programs for high schoolers. You can also consider a more customized program like Empowerly’s Research Scholar Program . No matter your academic interest area, there’s a project out there for your student!

When it comes to your education, there’s no need to compromise. Work with the experts to ensure you’re on the right track for academic success. 

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A Guide to Pursuing Research Projects in High School

research plan for high school students

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Most common high school pursuits and interests can be fit fairly neatly into the academic or extracurricular categories. There are of course required courses that you take, and then there are the activities that you pursue outside of school hours, usually for your own enjoyment. You may play on a sports team, participate in a service project, or pursue visual arts. In most cases, even if your interests are somewhat untraditional, you can somehow package them in a way that neatly qualifies them as an extracurricular activity.

But what if your interests outside of school are more academic in nature? What if you’ve long been fascinated by the potential that carbon sequestration holds to limit the effects of climate change? What if you’re interested in the history of civil disobedience, or the ability of exams to measure actual comprehension? Whatever the case may be, there are some topics of interest that just don’t fit neatly into any extracurricular club or activity.

If you find yourself longing to pursue an interest such as this, you might consider conducting your own research project. While the concept may seem daunting at first, if you break it down into smaller, manageable tasks, you’ll quickly find that you probably already have the skills necessary to get started.

In this post, we will outline the process for conducting a long-term research project independently, including several avenues for pursuing recognition of your work and a step-by-step guide to completing your project. If you’re interested in pursuing an independent research project during high school, keep reading.

Why Pursue an Independent Research Project?

An independent research project is a great way to explore an area of interest that you otherwise would not get to learn about outside of school. By undertaking a research project on your own, not only will you explore a personal area of interest in more depth, but also you will demonstrate your dedication to pursuing knowledge for the sake of learning and your ability to work independently over a prolonged period.

Independent research projects, when conducted well and presented appropriately on a college application, can be a great advantage to you on your college admissions.

How to Choose a Topic for a Research Project

If you’re interested in pursuing a research project, you probably already have a topic in mind. In fact, the desire to conduct a research project usually stems from an existing interest, not just from the idea to conduct research on a vague or undetermined subject matter.

You should aim to narrow your research project to something that has some academic relevance. Perhaps it is related to your existing coursework. Maybe it reflects work you hope to pursue in the future, either academically or professionally. Try to fine-tune your project enough that you can easily explain the driving force behind it and its relevance to your future career path.

While you don’t need to decide on your exact topic or thesis quite yet, you should have a general idea of what your project will entail before moving forward.

Are There Existing Avenues for Undertaking a Research Project At Your School?

While you could certainly conduct your research project completely independently from your school, it is usually easier and more productive to conduct it in a way that is somehow connected to the rest of your schooling.

If the project is STEM-oriented, think about whether it would fit into a science fair or other STEM competition in which your school already competes. Also consider the AP Capstone Program if your school offers it. The second course in this sequence is AP Research , and it requires an in-depth research project as its culminating assessment.

If neither of these formal avenues are available, or neither provides a good fit, look into the possibility of pursuing your project as an independent study. If your school offers independent studies for credit, you can usually get information about them from your adviser. These types of projects usually require an extended application process that must be followed closely if you want to gain approval.

Finally, even if you can’t take advantage of one of the options above, if you have achieved advanced standing or enough credits, your school might still allow you to undertake an extended individual research project through some type of formal arrangement. Talk with a teacher, mentor, or adviser to learn what your options are. Clearly communicate your innate desire to learn more about this specific topic and be prepared to give some background on the issue that you want to research.

Steps for Undertaking the Research Project

1. find a mentor or adviser.

You will need someone to help guide and advise your work, so finding a willing and able mentor should be one of your first steps. This should ideally be a person with existing expertise in the subject area you wish to pursue. In the least, this person should share your interest and passion for the topic.

A teacher at your school who can also serve as an adviser is ideal, and may even be a requirement if you are formally pursuing the project as an independent study for credit. If that is not possible, you can certainly find a mentor somewhere else, even remotely if necessary.

Find out if your subject matter pertains to any local industries or companies, or if there are any scientists or professionals nearby who specialize in it. Consider checking the instructors of local summer programs or judges from past science fairs at your school.   Also consider a professional who has written an article that interested you in the field.

Before you approach a mentor to request their help, familiarize yourself with his or her work. Be able to speak articulately about what has drawn you to him or her specifically. Put some thought into informed questions you might ask him or her. Be upfront about your needs if you are going to require any specific guidance or extended time or energy from your mentor. It might be difficult to find someone at first, but keep trying. Finding a mentor for your project is an important step.

2. Set a Timeline and Stick to It

Once you’ve found a mentor, you can get started laying out the timeline for your project. When you do this, list each step of your project as specifically as possible. These will include at a minimum: background research, writing a thesis statement, in depth research phase, outlining your final paper, drafting your paper, editing your paper, and publishing your paper.

You will probably have a completion date in mind, whether it’s required by the school or simply the end of the semester or school year. Work backwards from your completion date to set a realistic timeframe for each of these steps.

It helps to have a calendar displayed prominently with your deadlines listed clearly on it to keep you on track. Also be sure to put your deadlines into your school assignment book or Google calendar so that you can see how they overlap and affect your other commitments.

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3. Conducting Research

After you’ve completed your deadline calendar, you’re ready to get started with the fun stuff:   the actual research. There are many sources for finding high quality research materials. You can use your school library, your local library, and sometimes even the library at local colleges or universities. Sometimes the libraries at colleges are open only to registered students and faculty, but if you contact a library official or a member of the department related to your research project, you might be able to gain access for research purposes.

You may also take advantage of online research tools. Google Scholar is a good place to find peer-reviewed, high quality publications. You may also find out if your school has a subscription to any online research databases like Ebsco , or JSTOR . These databases provide digital compilations of hundreds of research journals, both current and archived.    

Be careful what you choose to use as sources, though. You need to ensure that every source you rely on is high-quality and fact-based. Many internet resources now are not as accurate as they might appear. Some are outdated and some are just wrong. Remember that just about anyone can publish something online these days, so you can’t rely on information that you find on just any old website. Be particularly wary of pages like Wikipedia that look like fact-based resources but are actually drawn from unfiltered user submissions.

As you research your topic, take careful notes to track your work. Choose a system to organize your notes, such as writing on notecards that can be easily organized, or using different colored pens to color code different subtopics of your research. By carefully organizing your notes, you’ll be better set up to organize your paper.

4. Organize Your Paper

Once you’ve completed the research phase of your project, you’re ready to organize your paper. Go through your notes carefully to see how they support your thesis. If they don’t, be prepared and open to changing your thesis. Always allow the research to guide the direction of your paper, and not vice versa.

Organize your notes into the order that makes most sense in your paper. Use them to guide an outline of your paper. Once they are in order, write out a rough outline of your paper.

Prewriting is an important step to writing your paper. It allows you to go into the drafting phase with as much preparation as possible so that your writing will have a clear direction when you begin.

5. Write Your Paper 

After your organization and prewriting, you’re ready to draft your paper. Try to break this phase up into smaller pieces so that you don’t burn out. Your final product will probably be one of the longest papers you’ve ever written, usually ranging from 15-30 pages depending on your subject, so you’ll want to pace yourself.

Break up your writing deadlines into more specific sub-deadlines to help guide your work. Set goals for completing the introduction, various sections of the body, and your conclusion.

6. Edit Your Paper 

There will be multiple stages of editing that need to happen. First, you will self-edit your first draft. Then, you will likely turn a draft of your paper in to your mentor for another round of editing. Some students even choose to have a peer or family member edit a draft at some point. After several rounds of editing, you will be prepared to publish your work.

7. Publish Your Work

Publication sounds like a very official completion of your project, but in reality publishing can take many different forms. It’s really just the final draft of your project, however you decide to produce it.

For some students, publication means submitting a draft of your project to an actual journal or formal publication. For others, it means creating a polished draft and a display board that you will present at a school or public event. For still others it might just be a polished, final draft bound and turned into your mentor.

However you decide to publish your work, be mindful that this should be a reflection of an entire semester or year of work, and it should reflect the very height of your learning and abilities. You should be proud of your final product.

If you’re a high school student with in-depth interests in a subject area that doesn’t fit neatly into any of your existing extracurriculars or academic courses, you should consider pursuing a research project to reflect your interest and dedication. Not only will your pursuit allow you to further explore a subject that’s interesting to you, but also it will be a clear example of your independence and commitment on your college applications.

Looking for help navigating the road to college as a high school student? Download our  free guide for 9th graders  and our  free guide for 10th graders . Our guides go in-depth about subjects ranging from  academics ,  choosing courses ,  standardized tests ,  extracurricular activities ,  and much more !

For more information about research and independent projects in high school, check out these posts:

  • Ultimate Guide to the AP Research Course and Assessment
  • How to Choose a Project for Your AP Research Course
  • How to Get a Research Assistant Position in High School
  • An Introduction to the AP Capstone Diploma
  • How to Choose a Winning Science Fair Project Idea
  • How to Plan and Implement an Independent Study in High School

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CommonLit 360 How to Teach a CommonLit 360 Research Unit

Olivia Franklin

Olivia Franklin

Engage students with interesting research topics, teach them skills to become adept independent researchers, and help them craft their end-of-unit research papers.

CommonLit 360 is a comprehensive ELA curriculum for grades 6-12. Our standards-aligned units are highly engaging and develop core reading and writing skills.

Want to engage students in independent research? Looking to hook students with interesting research questions and informational texts? CommonLit has your back.

CommonLit’s 360 curriculum provides research units for grades 6-10 that will help students complete independent research and craft evidence-based research papers.

Get students excited about their research with Essential Questions designed around timely topics

Each research unit has an Essential Question that students analyze and discuss throughout the unit. The topics for each research unit are designed to be interesting, timely, and relevant to students’ lives.

Students will learn about the status of the world’s oceans, discuss if social media is beneficial or risky, argue if contact sports are worth the risk, research how branding influences purchasing behavior, and learn about the human costs of clothing.

Here are the research units and their Essential Questions:


Unit Title

Essential Question


Our Changing Oceans

How are changes in the world’s oceans affecting people and animals? How can we be better stewards of our oceans and waterways?


Social Media: Risks and Rewards

Is social media more beneficial or more risky for teens? How can we promote the benefits of social media over the drawbacks?


Contact Sports: Worth the Risk? 

Are contact sports worth the risks? How can we provide a clearer picture of the benefits and risks of contact sports to prospective players and their parents?


The Science of Branding: Why We Buy

How do brands use different tactics to influence our purchasing behavior? How can we make branding tactics and messaging more visible to potential consumers?


The Fashion Industry: Past to Present

What are the true human costs of the clothes we buy?

Get students excited about the research topic with introductory slide decks

Each unit comes with introductory slide decks that preview what students will be learning about over the course of the unit. The slide decks spark classroom discussion, hooking students from the very first lesson.

In Our Changing Oceans (6th grade), students discuss what it would be like to be an oceanographer, preview the texts they will be reading about issues facing our oceans, and hear about the key skills they will be learning throughout the unit.

research plan for high school students

Informational texts anchor each research unit

CommonLit’s research units are centered around informational texts that provide students with key background information and research to eventually support their end-of-unit essay.

Four core texts make up the Essential Reading Lessons for 6th grade. These texts teach students about the need to protect Antarctica and how plastic debris, sea level rise, and overfishing are affecting the world’s oceans. These texts teach students important facts they will need to cite in their end-of-unit research papers.

A list of the unit texts for 6th Grade Unit 4.

Supplemental texts allow students to dig deeply into independent research

Each unit comes with a large selection of supplemental texts to provide students with more facts and information to use in their research paper.

In middle school, students use the provided supplemental texts to further inform their research. In high school, students learn about finding reliable sources and can use both provided supplemental texts on CommonLit and texts from additional sources in their research.

For example, in Our Changing Oceans, 6th graders choose to research one of three topics related to ocean changes.

A list of the supplemental texts 6th graders are given.

In high school, students are taught about the beginning of the research process, including developing a research question, finding reliable sources, and reading and taking notes. Students in 9th and 10th grade can use the supplemental texts as well as texts found in books or on other online learning platforms.

A screenshot of an independent research lesson for 9th graders.

Students learn about the research process and how to craft research papers throughout the unit

Each unit includes lessons about conducting research so students can be prepared for the end-of-unit research paper. Scaffolded supports help students move through the research process. In lower grades, certain steps in the process, like developing a research question and finding reliable sources, are provided for students.

Students learn about writing research papers during writing lessons. In 8th Grade, students learn how to discuss and outline research papers. Then, they learn how to write a counterclaim, format a Works Cited page, and use in-text citations properly. Each of these research-paper focused writing lessons will prepare students to answer the end-of-unit essay.

A screenshot of the arc of writing instruction for 8th grade.

Students also explore how to conduct independent research in research-specific lessons. In 8th Grade, teachers explain that they have provided the first two steps of the research process for students: developing a research question and finding reliable sources.

In the lesson, students are taught how to use a graphic organizer to take notes on each text they read in preparation for their research paper. Students also engage in an Introduction to Independent Research lesson, where they learn about steps of the research process and begin reading and taking notes on supplemental texts. Later, students engage in a discussion lesson that will help them synthesize all the information they have learned throughout the unit by discussing the research question with classmates.

Related Media Explorations provide even more background information for students

Related Media Explorations are a unique cornerstone of our ELA curriculum. These interactive tasks bring our research units to life and provide background information for students to use in their research.

In 8th Grade,  students learn about the way football culture has changed over the past few decades as scientists learn more about the long-term effects of repeated concussions. Students watch three videos that explain the culture of football in the past and present, and analyze statistics about concussions before discussing the question: “Who is most responsible for shaping mindsets about tackling in football: players, coaches, parents, or fans?”

research plan for high school students

Discussion lessons help students synthesize information in preparation for their research paper

Discussion lessons in each research unit provide students with the opportunity to practice citing evidence from sources, explain their evidence to classmates, and practice synthesizing information. These conversations give students the chance to gain new perspectives, receive feedback on their ideas, and boost their confidence before delving into the research paper.

In 8th Grade, students synthesize their ideas about the research question through a class discussion. After the discussion, students have an opportunity to outline their research paper using both their discussion notes and the note-taking graphic organizer they have used throughout the unit.

research plan for high school students

Participate in an optional final project that fosters creative thinking and collaboration

Each research unit comes with an optional end-of-unit project to further engage students through project based learning. These optional projects help foster student creativity and collaboration. Students can work with a partner or group to complete the task.

In 8th grade, students must make a brochure providing prospective parents and student athletes with factual information about the benefits and risks about contact sports so families can make an informed decision about participating. Students must work with a peer with an opposing view on the topic so the brochure is factual and unbiased. This task encourages teamwork and collaboration between peers with differing views.


Unit Title

Optional Final Project 


Our Changing Oceans

Create 1-3 mock social media posts about ocean conservation


Social Media: Risks and Rewards

Create 2-3 mock social media posts that promote positive usage of social media 


Contact Sports: Worth the Risk? 

Create a brochure to provide prospective parents and student athletes with factual information about the benefits and risks of contact sports 


The Science of Branding: Why We Buy

Make a Brand Strategy and Messaging Video Blog to help prospective buyers of a brand make informed decisions about the company they are putting their money behind 


The Fashion Industry: Past to Present

Put together a presentation about the humaneness of a chosen clothing brand for an audience of potential consumers 

Vocabulary and grammar lessons build student comprehension and writing skills

Each 360 unit comes with vocabulary and grammar lessons. Vocabulary activities help students internalize high-impact academic vocabulary words they will see in the texts they are reading. Grammar activities help students improve their writing skills, teaching students valuable skills to construct carefully crafted, grammatically correct paragraphs.

research plan for high school students

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Interested in learning about our affordable support packages? For just $6,500 per school, School Essentials PRO Plus provides teachers with three  benchmark assessments, two unit skill assessments per 360 unit, personalized professional development, school-wide data reports, LMS integrations, and more.

research plan for high school students

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Language Arts Classroom

Teaching Research Papers with High School Students

Teaching research papers with high school students? Here are guidelines to make this writing unit a success. Teaching the research paper requires various tools.

Teaching research papers with high school students? Teaching students how to write a research paper is an important part of an ELA class. Here are guidelines to make this writing unit a success.

Teaching research papers with high school students requires teaching ethical research. Teaching students how to write a research paper includes following the writing process, organizing student essays, & connecting gramamr to writing. Conferencing with students makes teaching research papers easier. This process of how to teach research to high school students walks through research paper lesson plans. Teaching the research paper in high school English classes meets writing standards.

Lawyers, political organizers, advertisers, real estate agents: most jobs require ethical research and then a written report. As a citizen, I research concepts important to my community and family. As knowledge in our world grows, student will only have more reasons to be ethical digital citizens.

Providing students with a sustainable foundation is a humbling responsibility. Teachers know that teaching students how to write a research paper is important. While teaching students how to research, I share those sentiments with them. I want students to know I take research seriously, and my expectation is that they will as well. My research paper lesson plans take into account the seriousness of ethical research.

prepare your high school writing unit

What is the best way to teach research papers to students?

The best way to teach research papers to students is by breaking down the process into manageable steps. Start with teaching them how to choose a topic, conduct research, and create an outline/list/graphic organizer. Then guide them in writing drafts, revising and editing their papers, and properly citing sources.

Even after teaching for a decade, I sometimes overwhelm myself with this duty. I handle teaching research papers with four ideas in my mind.

outline expectations for high school writers

Provide clear expectations.

Idea one, be clear.

A feeling I always hated as a student was the unknown . Sure, part of the learning process is not knowing everything and making mistakes. I, as the teacher, don’t want to be the source of frustration though. I never want my classes to wander down a path that won’t advance them toward our end goal: a well-researched paper. Part of teaching research skills to high school students is providing clear expectations.

As writing in the ELA classroom becomes more digital, I simply give writers tools on our online learning platform. That way, I can remind them to check a certain section or page as we collaborate on their writing.

Research lesson plans high school: include a writing overview for expectations.

Give a writing overview.

Idea two, provide an overview.

Every teacher grades a little differently. Sometimes, terminology differs. Throw in the stress of research, and you might have a classroom of overwhelmed students. An overview before teaching research papers can relax everyone!

I start every writing unit with clear expectations, terminology, and goals. I cover a presentation with students, and then I upload it to Google Classroom. Students know to consult that presentation for clarity. Initially, covering the basics may seem wasteful, but it saves all of us time because students know my expectations.

Furthermore, parents and tutors appreciate my sharing that information. As students work independently (inside or outside of class), they can take it upon themselves to consult expectations. Their responsibility with this prepares them for their futures. Finally, having established that overview with students during virtual classes was invaluable.

Research lesson plans high school: give students an overview.

Show an overview of research.

Idea three, clearly explain research.

Before you begin teaching students how to research, outline what strong research looks like. You might consider these questions:

  • What (if any) secondary sources will I accept? What about Wikipedia?
  • Should students use a balance of books and online material? Do they have access to books?
  • Are dates for certain topics important? Will I not accept research from before a certain date?

I’m not answering these questions for you, but I’ve seen teachers provide such guidelines while teaching research skills to high school students. Whatever parameters you have for teaching the research paper, share those with students.

domain-specific vocabulary

Define domain-specific vocabulary.

Idea four, don’t assume classes share the same domain-specific vocabulary.

High school classes are likely familiar with the writing process, yet the research process brings more vocabulary with which they might not be familiar.

Providing definitions for the most basic concepts enables me to walk through expectations and clarify concepts. Examples might include:

  • Informational text
  • Search engine
  • Credible sources
  • Claim, counterclaim
  • Research question
  • Journal articles

Plus, by providing definitions to terms, scaffolding occurs naturally. Academic writing has terms we teachers might use casually, but some students maybe have not heard of them.

Add this revision and editing sheet to your high school writing unit. Perfect addition to any Writing curriculum high school.

How can we model ethical research?

After outlining expectations to young writers, we begin research. Some schools rely on Google Scholar, and others use Explora or EBSCO. Sign students into your databases, and run them through the program.

I stress to young writers that conducting oneself with honesty and integrity is crucial to writing. When teaching research papers with high school students, I connect these ethics to their very near futures. Aside from the basics of documenting and citing, I highlight these two points.

Teaching the research paper will require teaching thorough research.

  • Citing material. This includes direct quotes and paraphrasing. I review both of those concepts throughout our research and writing. The majority of a paper should be the writer’s thoughts, supported by research. Students need those concepts repeated, and they are important, so I spend time emphasizing them.

Often, I turn the basics of research into a writing mini lesson . Modeling ethical research is a very specific part of ELA classes. I understand that other classes require research and that parents might teach research skills as well.

Still, to have a functioning society, students must view relevant information with critical eyes. Teaching young citizens how to write a research paper includes clear guidelines for research and one-on-one conferencing.

Teaching research papers with high school students requires teaching ethical research. Teaching students how to write a research paper includes following the writing process, organizing student essays, & connecting gramamr to writing. Conferencing with students makes teaching research papers easier. This process of how to teach research to high school students walks through research paper lesson plans. Teaching the research paper in high school English classes meets writing standards.

How can we encourage strong writing?

Hopefully, students write with passion. Hopefully, they want to show or prove their statements. Teaching students how to write a research paper is easier when students enjoy their topics.

I cover grammar with students (all year), and I always make the connection for them to implement those lessons. Teaching them to write a research paper requires some focus on writing skills. Primarily, they will work on strong verbs and syntax.

Teaching research papers will require a discussion of verb use

Look at verbs.

Students possess strong verbs in their vocabularies. Sometimes in writing, humans create a fast rough draft, myself included. Every verb is a linking verb, and every sentence reads subject + linking verb + predicate adjective. (Nothing is wrong with a linking verb, but writers should break from the mold.) When I see that a paper can be improved with strong verbs, we conference about ways to improve the verbs without thesaurus abuse.

Ask students to pick their least favorite paragraph in a research paper and to highlight every verb . Chances are, they are not conveying their message because of weak verbs. Help them turn the predicate adjectives into verbs or think of an action that will convey their meaning. Additionally as you continue teaching students how to research, you’ll cross strong verbs in research. Point out those verbs to your classes.

Teaching students how to write a research paper requires sentence structure lessons.

Examine syntax.

Just as every sentence shouldn’t contain a linking verb, not every sentence should be a simple sentence. Sentence syntax takes practice, and often teamwork! Ask students to provide a sentence that needs improvement. Break the sentence down into phrases and clauses. (If it is a simple sentence, ask for another sentence to attach.) What is the best arrangement? What is the student’s goal? Would a conjunctive adverb lead readers to a conclusion? What if a subordinating conjunction started the sentence, or, should the dependent clause come second in the complex sentence? Play with the language of papers! By connecting grammar to writing, you have empowered learners to improve their writing.

Sentence structure is also part of teaching students how to write a research paper because the information must be factual. Sometimes students report information incorrectly, and sometimes, their sentence structure is to blame. Focus on a return to simple syntax for ethical research, and then work on sentence diversity if possible.

All parts of an ELA classroom fit together like puzzle pieces, and when teaching research papers, that neatly assembled puzzle sits on display. By giving classes clear expectations, you are ready to guide them through ethical research and through strengthening their writing. Teaching the research paper is a large task, so you should know what you want to accomplish.

scaffold writing units

Is scaffolding teaching research papers possible?

Overall, a research unit takes me 2-3 weeks with high school students. Every teacher has different methodologies, but if I allow writing research papers for about a month, writers become bored. Fifteen working days for research, revision, and publishing is my average time frame. Going longer, and different aspects fall apart, and we lose momentum.

Scaffolding is built into our days. Outline the writing process with your calendar, and add days that follow the writing process. Pieces to consider:

writing errors

Scaffold writing errors.

Overall, writing errors are an inevitable part of the learning process. As teachers, it is crucial that we address these errors in a way that not only corrects them but also helps students understand why they occurred in the first place. When it comes to research papers, grammatical errors can significantly affect the credibility and clarity of the information presented.

One effective way to scaffold writing errors is by focusing on the actual problems that classes have in their papers. When we conference, I jot down common errors and then cover them as a class.

editing and revising days

Include revising and editing days.

Young writers should take ownership of the writing process which includes revising and editing. This can be achieved by dedicating specific days in the research unit for revising and editing. By allotting time for these crucial steps, writers will learn to critically analyze their work and make necessary improvements.

During the revision phase, students can focus on the overall structure and organization of their research paper. They should evaluate if their arguments are clear and logical, if the evidence supports their claims effectively, and if there is a smooth flow of ideas throughout the paper. This stage allows them to refine their content and ensure that it aligns with their desired objectives.

After revising, students should move toward publishing and sharing with their peers.

Your turn, writing teachers: What questions do you have left?

All activities mentioned in this post (except the common errors bundle) are included in my writing bundle for freshmen and sophomores .

What questions remain? Do you have different advice to offer teachers?

What do you focus on with when teaching research papers? Read how Melissa from Reading and Writing Haven differentiates when teaching research writing .  

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This writing unit contains everything needed for a successful research unit or writing unit.

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8 The Action Research Process from a High School ELA Teacher’s Perspective

Things to Think About

This chapter will provide a vignette of a one teachers use of action research in her (Jobe) classroom. Her vignette will also illustrate important aspects of the action research process and link back to those aspects in the chapters. We hope this will provide some coherence across the preceding chapters!

Many teachers think of research as a cumbersome and meticulous process involving piles of data and hours of analysis. Further, teachers’ attitudes toward research can be complicated:  while many teachers find value in research-supported systems and strategies, they often view researchers as being too far removed from classroom practice to really understand what teachers need. This is where teacher-driven Action Research comes in— teachers who act as researchers have the opportunity to be their own guide, potentially influencing teacher praxis in positive and practical ways.

If you find yourself feeling intimidated about conducting your own research, think of the process as very similar to what you already do every day as a teacher. When you consider the steps to Action Research (plan a change, take action, observe, reflect, repeat), it is easy to see correlations to the teaching cycle. First, teachers must consider their students and develop objectives for the growth they want to see over the course a unit ( plan a change ). Then, teachers must create a series of strategies to help students make progress ( take action ); during the learning process, teachers collect data on their students to understand what is working and what is not ( observe ). Finally, once a unit is over, teachers assess which students made progress and consider how they can help those students who are stuck ( reflect ). This cycle continues from one unit to the next with teachers modifying their actions to reflect their assessment of the students. Action Research follows in much the same way.

How Does Action Research Begin?

My first formal experience with Action Research emerged in the Teachers as Researchers course that I took during my master’s program. I used the weekly reflections on the required readings to identify issues to address in my classroom, either through pedagogical changes or adjustments to my curriculum, and I followed the outlined steps to action research to implement a plan, collect data, and develop a report. Yet, what this experience taught me was I was engaging in action research fairly regularly without realizing it.  Similar to my experience in graduate school, the action research process in my own classroom often began from reflection—action steps naturally emerged as part of my own teaching cycle, or from yearly evaluations with administration, during which I identified challenges I was experiencing and problem-solved—usually through research—ways to overcome.

In one particular year, after reflecting on my own practice, I realized (rather, admitted) that my junior-level English students did not enjoy our classroom novel studies, resulting in a lack of engagement and poor performance for many of them. The ‘start and stop’ method—where students read a chapter, then stop to either discuss the chapter or take a quiz—did not replicate how people read books, and it seemed to be destroying my students’ desire to engage with the novels they were assigned. This is where action research emerged, though if you had asked me at the time, I would not have identified this experience that way.

While the research I conducted in my classroom was not part of formalized project and did not emerge in a linear fashion, I will describe it to you using the outlined steps provided in subsequent chapters to make it clear how your own previous questioning and problem-solving experiences might fit into the action research model.

Topic Development

The first important step in any action plan is choosing a topic and understanding what you are hoping to accomplish. If I consider the questions posed in Chapter 2   related to the processes of an action research project, here is what I understood about my chosen topic:

  • Does it address a practical problem? I wanted to address students’ lack of engagement with classroom novels (research topic). This was a practical problem in an ELA classroom because the curriculum is often built around novel studies, and if students were not engaged with these units, they risked poor performance in the class.
  • Does it generate knowledge? The goal was to research different whole novel study strategies and implement changes in my own classroom to see which strategies improve engagement.
  • Does it enact change in your pedagogy/classroom/school? Yes. By addressing this problem in my own classroom first, I could test strategies that worked and develop a plan to share those strategies with colleagues in my ELA department.
  • Is it participatory? Yes. As the classroom teacher implementing the strategies, I would be actively involved in the research process.
  • Could it be a cyclical process? Yes. The strategies I implemented could work to improve engagement, but they may not improve overall performance, which would raise new questions for me as I refined the process. Each outcome could generate a new and interesting question to address in the future. Further, the strategies I develop could have a significant impact on one group of students while showing little effect on a different group, which would also prompt further investigation.

This particular research topic fit in the ‘ Improving Classroom Practice ’  context because my focus was on changing pedagogical strategies to improve student outcomes. From this point, I had to develop a research question to guide my thinking, knowing this question may change as the research process evolved. For this topic, my research question had three parts: How can I adapt whole novel studies to more closely reflect the natural reading process, take into account each student’s reading level, and improve overall reading performance and engagement? This question was complex, and multi-faceted, which meant it would likely change as the project developed, but it gave me a good place to start because it focused on the three challenges within my chosen topic.

Understanding the Research

In a formalized project, the literature review  would be a compilation of several pieces of research from different sources that help you understand the research that already exists over your chosen topic. In this example, my next step in this process was to find research on whole novel studies in the classroom and use that information as a catalyst for my own research. I read several articles and one full-length book on alternative methods to whole novel studies, but most of what I could find was based on a middle school classroom. This was good news! It meant, on a large scale, my research would have a place in the broad educational context by filling an existing void in the information available to classroom teachers. On a small scale, this meant other teachers in my own department could benefit from what I design since a lack of resources existed in this area.

Researching Action

The action part of the research comes from the literature review and understanding your topic: what are you going to do in your classroom to address your question? In this example, after reading several examples of alternative methods, I settled on three new strategies I was interested in testing in my classroom:

  • Allow students to read at their own pace –I held them accountable by asking them to do three things: read 25-30 pages per day, complete 4 sticky note annotations per chapter, and adhere to checkpoints throughout the unit. To support the goal pace, students were given in-class time dedicated to reading, and the only homework assigned during the unit was to read; however, students could read ahead if they wanted, and they were not necessarily punished if they got behind. This addressed part one of my research question: how can I adapt whole novel studies to more closely reflect the natural reading process?
  • Sticky Note Annotations with the Three Levels of Thinking (literal, inferential, critical)– Students had to complete four sticky note annotations per chapter with an attempt to demonstrate thinking at all three levels, and I offered extension activities for students who decided to read ahead. This addressed part two of my research question: how can I adapt whole novel studies to take into account each student’s reading level?
  • Personalized Writing Prompts — I allowed students to create their own writing prompts at the end of the unit to demonstrate their knowledge of the novel. This addressed the third part of my research question: how can I adapt whole novel studies to improve overall reading performance and engagement?

I implemented these strategies in two different courses, one of which was considered an ‘advanced’ course, with students at all different reading levels. The three strategies allowed for differentiation while also keeping the class on pace to finish the unit at the same time.

Data Collection and Analysis

The data I collected naturally aligned with the three new strategies I adopted for the unit. Since these strategies were all new to the classes, I could isolate my observations on those interventions and compare the outcomes to previous novel studies that did not incorporate these strategies.

Data Collection Methods

I collected data using four different sources throughout the unit: sticky note annotations, reading progress checks, student reflections, and final essays. First, to track progress toward part one of my research question, I monitored student reading engagement by observing their reading in class. Using a scale of 1-4, I recorded student progress toward the daily 30-page reading goal on a spreadsheet. Second, to track students’ understanding of the text, I read their sticky notes for each chapter, noting their level of thinking based on their commentary (literal, inferential, or critical). The goal would be to see students move toward more consistent critical thinking as the novel progressed. Finally, to gauge student engagement and performance, I used a formative assessment in the form of their final essays, and I used a reflection to understand their own feelings about the new method and their progress. These four data sources reflect a combination of qualitative and quantitative data.

Data Triangulation & Analysis

To better understand the efficacy of the new strategies I implemented, I looked at all four sources of data and I discovered that the qualitative data supported what I saw in the quantitative data. When I read student reflections, many mentioned feeling a greater sense of enjoyment throughout the novel study–some of these students admitted to getting behind on the reading at a few points, but concluded that having the final deadline as the only looming one eased their anxiety and allowed them to engage more completely with the novel as they worked to get caught up. Other students mentioned that they usually disliked annotating texts, but the sticky note process was less intrusive, and actually helpful as they went to plan their own essays. Finally, students enjoyed choosing their own writing prompts because it made them feel more ownership of the unit.

When I looked at my spreadsheets tracking student progress, I could see that students improved on the 1-4 scale over the course of the unit—the few students who were sometimes behind on meeting the daily reading goal had gotten back on track by the end of the unit, and the majority of students had stayed on pace the whole time. Annotations on sticky notes showed an increase in students at the critical thinking level, and their essays were largely more comprehensive and thoughtful than essays for previous novel studies.

Still, like with most things in teaching, not every student showed progress because of these strategies. While the vast majority did improve, there were still students in each class who showed no improvement in meeting the goals of the unit, despite the change in strategies. If I was going to continue this research, my next question in the cycle would begin here.

Action Implications

The final step in the process is to consider what the data implies about your research question. What I learned from implementing these new strategies is that adapting the whole novel study process to be more reflective of the natural reading process allowed me the room to take into account students’ different reading levels, which kept them on pace and engaged. By giving students more ownership in the unit, they performed better on assigned tasks, like reading on pace, taking notes regularly, and analyzing the novel at the critical level.

The successful first attempt at changing my practice was exciting because it meant I could (and should) continue to adapt these strategies each year, refining the process until it meets the needs of all students and generates positive outcomes in all classes. When I set out to change these classroom practices, I did so to benefit my own students, without any plans for taking the research and its outcomes beyond my two walls. However, I have always found the most meaningful professional development for me as a teacher is when I get the opportunity to learn from my peers. It was important to share what was happening in my classroom to give my colleagues that same opportunity.


To share my research, I developed a small presentation for my ELA department. I drafted an outline of the strategies, including examples of student work, to provide each teacher, and I spoke at a department meeting about the positive outcomes I had achieved from making these changes. I had several teachers request more information about this process following the presentation.

Dissemination plans do not have to be extensive to be effective. In Chapter 4, we discussed the need to understand your capabilities and realize that change often happens slowly. My research addressed an issue that many teachers in my department were dealing with but it focused just on my classroom, making data collection and analysis manageable. The opportunity for my research to impact more classrooms in my school came from my dissemination plan. I could continue to develop my reach by presenting at a school-wide or district-wide in-service, or I could even plan to present at a local, state, or national conference.


Action research is a powerful professional learning tool because it asks you, the teacher, to take a critical look at your own classroom and theorize about your pedagogy, with the understanding that this process is both reflective and fluid. Because action research is unique to your own educational context, it does not look the same for everyone, and each educator’s learning will be distinctive.

Though the example of action research provided here does not reflect a formalized project, it speaks to how teachers naturally engage in the process of questioning and problem-solving to create change for their students. It also demonstrates the value in what teachers discover in their own classrooms. By thinking of the action research process as similar to the teaching cycle, you can more easily step into the role of Teacher Researcher and begin developing a plan to positively impact your classroom.

To review, the steps to action research and the corresponding examples presented here are as follows:

  • How can I adapt whole novel studies to more closely reflect the natural reading process, take into account each student’s reading level, and improve overall reading performance and engagement?
  • Implement three new strategies: allow students to read at their own pace, utilize sticky note annotations, incorporate personalized writing prompts.
  • Use spreadsheet data on reading goal and levels of thinking, student essays, and student reflections.
  • Develop a presentation for a school department meeting.
  • Revise the strategies to address students who did not show progress in the unit. Ask more questions.

Action Research Copyright © by J. Spencer Clark; Suzanne Porath; Julie Thiele; and Morgan Jobe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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35 Psychology Research Ideas for High School Students

research plan for high school students

By Eric Eng

Three students walking in the campus.

Looking for psychology research ideas can excite high school students keen on understanding the mind and human behavior. As you look for engaging research topics in psychology, choosing ones that match your interests and deepen your knowledge of psychological concepts is crucial.

Let’s find topics that suit your interests, shed light on human behavior, and maybe even set the stage for further psychology studies. With the right research ideas, you can conduct studies that boost your academic record and ignite your passion for psychology.

Psychology Research Area #1: Social Media and Mental Health

Exploring the impact of social media on mental health is crucial for high school students looking into psychology research ideas. This area is ripe for investigation because it directly affects adolescents’ well-being and academic performance.

A man using social media

Students interested in psychology can gain valuable experience by studying these effects, preparing them for college-level research and potential careers in mental health fields.

Here are specific topics you can explore:

1. Investigate the link between daily social media use and high school students’ self-reported depression levels.

This topic is relevant as it sheds light on how social media usage might contribute to depressive symptoms. Students can use surveys to collect data on social media usage and depression levels, analyzing the relationship between the two.

2. Examine how social media use frequency relates to anxiety levels in adolescents, considering variables like academic stress.

Understanding this relationship is crucial because it can inform interventions to reduce anxiety. Students can approach this research by designing studies that use questionnaires to measure social media use and anxiety, factoring in academic stress as a control variable.

3. Assess social media’s impact on high school students’ self-esteem by tracking changes over time using validated scales.

This is relevant as it explores the potential negative effects of comparing oneself to others on social media. Students can conduct longitudinal studies, employing scales like the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale to track self-esteem changes over time.

4. Investigate how cyberbullying on social media affects mental health, focusing on depression and anxiety symptoms.

Cyberbullying’s impact is a significant concern, making this a pertinent research area. Students can use qualitative and quantitative methods to explore the experiences of peers and the psychological effects of online bullying.

5. Explore the effectiveness of digital detox interventions in reducing social media-related stress and improving adolescents’ well-being.

This topic is increasingly relevant as digital detoxes become more popular. Students can design and implement a digital detox program, then measure its impact on stress and well-being using pre- and post-intervention surveys.

Psychology Research Area #2: Bullying and Peer Relationships

Bullying and its effects on peer relationships are critical areas for high school students seeking psychology research ideas. This topic is vital because it addresses the immediate and long-term psychological impacts on all parties involved, including victims, bullies, and bystanders.

For students aiming to pursue a psychology major in college, researching bullying can provide profound insights into human behavior, conflict resolution, and the development of empathy, equipping them with valuable skills for their future careers.

6. Examine the psychological effects of various bullying forms on victims and bullies, using measures like the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale.

This investigation can reveal how various bullying forms (e.g., verbal, physical, cyber) uniquely impact mental health, guiding intervention strategies. Students can approach this by distributing surveys measuring exposure to bullying and psychological distress.

7. Investigate the impact of bystander intervention strategies on reducing bullying in high schools.

This topic is relevant for understanding how peer actions can mitigate bullying’s effects. Research can involve designing and implementing bystander intervention programs, then evaluating their effectiveness through qualitative feedback and incident tracking.

8. Assess how peer support groups promote resilience and coping skills among bullying victims.

Peer support groups can be vital for victims’ recovery, making this a significant area of study. Students can create and monitor support groups, using pre- and post-assessments to measure changes in resilience and coping abilities.

research plan for high school students

9. Explore the link between perceived peer support and bullying behavior among adolescents.

This research can highlight the protective role of social support against becoming involved in bullying. Surveys measuring perceived social support levels and involvement in bullying activities can be used for this purpose.

10. Investigate the long-term psychological effects of bullying on victims and perpetrators using longitudinal data.

Understanding long-term impacts is essential for grasping bullying’s full extent. Students can conduct longitudinal studies, following subjects over months or years, to assess psychological outcomes using standardized psychological assessment tools.

Psychology Research Area #3: Stress and Coping Mechanisms

Understanding stress and coping mechanisms is essential for high school students interested in psychology research ideas. This area is critical as it delves into how adolescents manage stress, which is pivotal for their mental health and academic success.

For students looking to major in psychology in college, investigating stress reduction and coping strategies offers practical experience in mental health research and introduces them to techniques that could benefit their peers and themselves.

11. Examine the effectiveness of mindfulness-based stress reduction for high school students, using pre- and post-intervention assessments.

This research is vital as it tests practical interventions for stress. Students can conduct studies where participants engage in mindfulness practices, then use surveys or interviews before and after the intervention to evaluate its impact.

12. Investigate the correlation between physical exercise and stress levels in adolescents, controlling for sleep quality and academic workload.

This topic highlights the potential stress-reducing benefits of physical activity. By surveying students on their exercise habits, stress levels, sleep quality, and academic pressures, researchers can uncover patterns and suggest effective stress management strategies.

13. Assess peer support networks’ impact on stress coping and mental well-being among high school students.

Peer support is a crucial factor in adolescent mental health. This research can involve evaluating the role of peer support groups or networks in enhancing coping mechanisms and well-being, using questionnaires or focus groups to gather data.

14. Explore how academic stressors relate to coping mechanisms in students.

Understanding this relationship can help in developing more effective stress management programs for students. Researchers can collect data on students’ academic stressors (e.g., exams, homework load) and their preferred coping strategies through surveys, analyzing the effectiveness of different approaches.

15. Investigate the role of creative outlets in promoting stress relief and emotional expression among adolescents, using qualitative interviews.

This area examines the therapeutic potential of creative activities. By conducting interviews with students who participate in art or music therapy sessions, researchers can gain insights into how these outlets facilitate stress relief and emotional well-being.

Psychology Research Area #4: Effects of Technology on Attention

The effects of technology on attention are increasingly relevant for high school students exploring psychology research ideas. This focus area is crucial as it examines the impact of everyday technology use on cognitive functions and academic performance.

For students interested in pursuing psychology or related fields in college, studying the interplay between technology use and attention offers a chance to engage with cutting-edge research and develop interventions that could enhance learning and concentration in their peers.

a female student writing

16. Assess the correlation between daily screen time and performance on attention tasks among high school students.

This research is important because it quantifies the impact of screen time on attentional capacities. Students can use attention assessment tools and self-reported screen time logs to analyze this relationship.

17. Investigate how multitasking behaviors affect cognitive abilities like sustained attention and task-switching efficiency.

Multitasking with technology is common among adolescents. Research can involve experimental studies where participants perform tasks under different multitasking conditions (e.g., texting while studying, browsing social media during class) to measure cognitive performance changes.

18. Examine the relationship between smartphone notification frequency and self-reported distractibility levels.

Notifications are a constant source of distraction. By surveying students on their notification habits and distractibility, researchers can explore how constant interruptions affect focus and attention control.

19. Investigate the effectiveness of digital mindfulness interventions in improving attention and reducing impulsivity among adolescents.

Digital mindfulness could counteract some of technology’s negative effects. This topic allows students to evaluate mindfulness apps through pre- and post-intervention assessments of attention and impulsivity.

20. Assess how blue light exposure from electronic devices affects sleep quality and daytime alertness in high school students.

Poor sleep can significantly affect attention. Students can measure sleep patterns and alertness levels in relation to blue light exposure, using wearable devices to collect sleep data.

Psychology Research Area #5: Gender Identity and Self-Perception

Investigating gender identity and self-perception offers high school students engaging psychology research ideas. This field is critical as it touches on how societal norms and personal experiences shape one’s view of gender and self.

For students planning to major in psychology, sociology , or gender studies, researching this area can provide deep insights into identity formation and the social dynamics affecting mental health and self-esteem.

21. Examine how media portrayals of gender roles influence adolescents’ self-perceptions of masculinity and femininity through content analysis of popular media sources.

This topic is relevant because media significantly impacts youth perceptions of gender. Students can analyze TV shows, movies, and social media to assess how gender is portrayed and its potential effect on self-perception.

22. Investigate the relationship between gender identity affirmation and mental well-being among transgender and non-binary high school students, using validated measures of gender dysphoria and psychological distress.

Affirmation of gender identity is crucial for mental health. Through surveys and interviews using validated scales, students can explore how support (or lack thereof) for gender identity affects well-being.

23. Assess how gender-specific socialization experiences impact self-esteem and body image among adolescents.

Socialization plays a key role in shaping gender perceptions. Research can involve comparative studies on how different socialization experiences (e.g., sports participation, peer group dynamics) influence adolescents’ self-esteem and body image.

24. Explore parental attitudes and behaviors’ role in adolescents’ gender identity development and self-concept.

Parents’ views significantly affect gender identity formation. By conducting interviews or surveys with students and parents, researchers can examine how parental attitudes and behaviors impact adolescents’ gender identity and self-concept.

students looking out into the university

25. Investigate the prevalence of gender-based discrimination and harassment in high schools and its impact on psychological outcomes like self-efficacy and academic motivation.

Discrimination and harassment have profound effects on students. Using questionnaires and possibly focus groups, students can study the prevalence of these issues and their impact on psychological well-being and motivation.

Psychology Research Area #6: Environmental Psychology

Environmental psychology examines how our surroundings impact our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, making it a fascinating area for high school students seeking psychology research ideas. This field is especially relevant in educational settings, where environmental factors can significantly affect student learning , behavior, and well-being.

For students interested in psychology, exploring the psychological effects of environmental design offers a unique opportunity to understand and improve educational environments.

26. Investigate classroom design’s impact on student attention and academic performance, comparing traditional layouts with innovative designs.

This research can reveal how physical space affects learning efficiency. By comparing different classroom setups (e.g., flexible seating, natural lighting), students can assess which elements contribute to better academic outcomes and student focus.

27. Examine how incorporating biophilic elements into classrooms affects student stress levels and well-being, using physiological measures and surveys.

Biophilic design connects people with nature, potentially reducing stress. Students can measure the impact of natural elements in classrooms (e.g., indoor plants, natural materials) on well-being and stress, providing insights into how to create more supportive learning environments.

28. Explore outdoor learning environments’ impact on student engagement and motivation, evaluating nature-based education’s benefits on academic outcomes.

Outdoor education might boost engagement and motivation. Through observational studies and feedback collection, students can evaluate how learning in natural settings influences academic performance and enthusiasm for learning.

29. Investigate how access to green spaces affects student mental health, assessing nature exposure’s effects on stress reduction.

Access to green spaces (e.g., school gardens, nearby parks) has been linked to improved mental health. By surveying students about their access to and use of green spaces, and correlating this with mental health assessments, the study can provide evidence on the benefits of nature for emotional well-being.

30. Examine environmental sensory stimuli’s role in shaping learning environments, using monitoring tools and surveys to evaluate comfort and concentration levels.

Sensory elements like noise and air quality can affect comfort and focus. Students can use tools to monitor environmental conditions in classrooms and survey peers to understand how these factors influence their learning experience and concentration.

Psychology Research Area #7: Adolescent Risk-Taking Behavior

Studying adolescent risk-taking behavior is a vital area for high school students interested in psychology research ideas. This topic explores the factors influencing teenagers to engage in behaviors that could harm themselves or others.

For students considering a college major in psychology, criminology , or health sciences, researching risk-taking behaviors provides a foundation in understanding human decision-making processes, the impact of social and environmental factors, and strategies for prevention and intervention.

31. Explore how peer pressure shapes adolescent risk-taking behaviors through qualitative interviews.

Peer pressure is a significant factor in adolescent decision-making. Students can conduct interviews with peers to gather insights into how group dynamics influence choices related to risk-taking.

research plan for high school students

32. Investigate the correlation between specific personality traits and adolescent engagement in risky behaviors using standardized assessments and behavioral observation.

Personality traits (e.g., sensation seeking, impulsivity) can predispose individuals to riskier behaviors. By employing personality inventories and observing behaviors in different contexts, students can identify correlations between traits and risk-taking actions.

33. Examine how parental monitoring and communication styles affect adolescent risk-taking behaviors, evaluating parental guidance effectiveness.

Parental influence plays a crucial role in shaping adolescents’ choices. Research can include surveys or interviews with students and their parents to evaluate how monitoring and communication impact behavior.

34. Explore adolescent risk assessment and decision-making processes through experimental paradigms like behavioral tasks and neurocognitive assessments.

Understanding how adolescents assess and decide on risks is key to addressing risky behaviors. Students can use experimental tasks that simulate risk-taking decisions and cognitive tests to analyze thought processes.

35. Investigate how cultural and socio-economic factors influence adolescent risk-taking behaviors, exploring contextual variables’ impact on attitudes towards risk.

The context in which adolescents grow up significantly affects their behavior. Through comparative studies across different cultural and socio-economic groups, students can uncover how these factors influence risk-taking tendencies.

How do I choose the right high school psychology research topic?

Choosing the right topic is the first step toward a successful high school psychology research. Focus on issues that interest you and have a clear connection to current psychological theories or societal issues. The topic should also be feasible in terms of resources and time available.

Consider the impact of your research on your audience. A topic that resonates with your peers or addresses a gap in existing research can be particularly rewarding. For high school students, selecting a psychology research topic that aligns with their interests and academic goals can pave the way for deeper exploration and understanding of the subject.

How can conducting psychology research in high school affect college admissions?

Conducting psychology research in high school can significantly enhance a student’s college application. It demonstrates initiative, a deep interest in a subject area, and the ability to undertake complex tasks independently. These qualities are highly valued by college admissions officers, who look for students with a proven track record of academic curiosity and achievement.

Furthermore, a well-executed research project can be a talking point in interviews and essays , providing a unique angle to a student’s application. It showcases the student’s commitment to learning and their potential to contribute to the college’s academic community.

For students interested in psychology, presenting research findings at school fairs or competitions can also add a distinctive accomplishment to their portfolio.

What ethical considerations should high school students keep in mind while conducting psychology research?

When conducting psychology research, high school students must prioritize ethical considerations to protect their participants’ rights and well-being. This includes obtaining informed consent from participants or their guardians, ensuring anonymity and confidentiality, and minimizing any potential harm or discomfort.

Additionally, students should be truthful and transparent in their research practices, accurately reporting data without fabrication or omission. It’s important to respect the privacy of participants and to use data solely for the intended research purposes.

Adhering to these ethical guidelines not only safeguards participants but also enhances the credibility and integrity of the research conducted by high school students.

Female student smiling at the camera.

Engaging in psychology research during high school provides students with the opportunity to develop critical thinking, analyze data, and learn ethical research methods. By exploring the complexities of human behavior, you can shape your educational path and open doors to opportunities in college and beyond.

Remember, the insights gained from this research not only enhance your academic knowledge but also foster a deeper understanding of yourself and others, leaving a lasting impact on your personal growth.


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Money blog: Savers have a rare opportunity - but it might be the last hurrah; major credit card cutting minimum repayments – and why that could cost you a lot

Welcome to the Money blog, your place for personal finance and consumer news and tips. Leave a comment on any of the stories we're covering below.

Thursday 4 July 2024 10:01, UK

  • Barclaycard cutting minimum repayments - but it could cost you a lot of money
  • Great British mortgage divide - as people pay off all debt seven years earlier in some parts of country
  • M&S to launch clothing repair service

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  • Savings Guide:  Savers have a rare opportunity - but it might be the last hurrah
  • Cheap Eats : Two Michelin-starred chef reveals his favourites in Birmingham
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  • Basically... What is income tax?
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Ask a question or make a comment

It's not just a big day in the UK with voters heading to the polls but also in the US with 4 July celebrations taking place.

And there's plenty to celebrate for those with a stake in US stocks. 

Last night, there was another record high for the S&P 500 index that tracks the share price performance of the 500 largest companies listed on US stock exchanges.

The performance of companies on the tech firm-heavy New York-based NASDAQ too reached a new high.

It came as Elon Musk's Tesla saw its share price reaching a six-month high, along with the rise and rise of trillion-dollar AI microchip maker Nvidia.

Today and tomorrow will likely be quieter as the US markets close. 

In the UK, both the Financial Times Stock Exchange (FTSE) 100 and 250 indexes are up - 0.76% in the list of 100 most valuable companies and 0.42% in the 101st to 250th most valued firms. 

While the pound does by buy less euro than it did earlier this month, with £1 equal to €1.18 it's still buying more than during most of the last year.

Against the dollar, sterling has held the gains of the last few weeks and a pound will get you $1.2749. 

There is no let up for motorists as the oil price is sticking around the two-month high mark. A barrel of the benchmark Brent crude oil costs $86.59.

As house prices continue to rise, so too does the age at which young people can expect to own their own home. 

Unfortunately, even the ceiling of the term "young people" isn't far off from being challenged - with fresh research suggesting that the average age of a first-time buyer in the UK is 33 years and 8 months old, according to Mojo Mortgages . 

In comparison, in 1960, the average first-time buyer was 23 years old, according to separate research by Keepmoat Homes. 

Comparatively, however, the average age of a first-time buyer in 2014 was 32 years, 6 months old, according to the Office for National Statistics. 

During the same period, the average price of a house in the UK rose from around £188,000 (January 2014) to £282,000  ( January this year). 

Back to today's figures - and those in Wales are able to buy their homes the youngest, with the data suggesting the average first-time buyer there is 31 years old. 

Naturally, the older you buy a home, the later in life you'll pay off a mortgage. 

With an average mortgage length of 30 years, it seems the average UK first-time buyer isn't expected to be mortgage-free until they are 63 years and 8 months old.

And if you live in the capital, you'll surpass the current retirement age at 66 years, 8 months. 

Here's a full breakdown of how old first-time buyers are, the average mortgage length and age they can expect to be mortgage-free by region... 

A lot of people have had to renegotiate or extend their mortgages thanks to soaring interest rates in recent years - and the data from Mojo tells us a little about that too.

The study found extending your mortgage term by 10 years (to 35 years) will cost today's average first-time buyer an extra £110,640, which may impact later life planning and their pension.

Barclaycard is cutting the minimum amount its customers have to repay each month.

While the move may sound like good news on the surface, it could well mean you're in debt for longer and end up paying more interest. 

At the moment, most Barclaycard customers have a minimum repayment of 3.75% of their balance, 2.5% of their balance plus interest, or £5. 

But, from 22 July, that will change to the highest amount out of: 

  • 1% of their balance
  • 1% of their balance plus interest

This means if you are currently only paying the minimum on your card, you'll likely repay less each month. 

But, minimum amounts are designed to keep people in debt for as long as possible, and lowering them just makes this period even longer.

MoneySavingExpert says the change means it could now take a customer with a £1,000 debt an extra decade to pay it off, if they only pay the minimum amount.

On average, it says it will take 19 years and three months to clear and the interest will total £1,655. 

Founder of MoneySavingExpert Martin Lewis says the change is "worryingly under the radar" and urged customers to check if their repayments are set to the minimum amount.

"Minimum repayments have always been credit card firms' secret weapon. Letting people repay little looks appealing – hence why Barclaycard says this is about 'flexibility'. Yet it takes flexibility to kick your own backside, and this will hurt some just as much," he said.

A Barclays spokesperson told Sky News: "We regularly review our products and from July, some Barclaycard customers will see changes to their minimum monthly payments, alongside adjustments to the APR.

"Customers will benefit from a reduction in their minimum monthly repayment and the vast majority have no change to APR, while some will receive a decrease.

"We have made these changes to increase flexibility for our customers and have been clear in our communications that paying more than the minimum can help customers clear their balance sooner and pay less interest." 

Marks and Spencer is to launch a clothing repair service next month.

The retail giant has teamed up with clothing repair and alterations experts SOJO, which was founded in 2021 by Josephine Philips, to give clothes "another life".

From August, M&S customers will be able to book a bespoke repair service through a new online hub, "M&S Fixed by SOJO".

Repairs will start from £5 and be carried out by SOJO's in-house repair team.

The items will then be returned directly to the customer's doorstep within seven to 10 days.  

Richard Price, managing director of clothing and home at M&S, said: "Through the launch of our repair service, we're making it even easier for customers to give their clothes another life, whether they are using our new repair service or long-standing clothes recycling scheme."

This week, Savings Champion research and development manager  Daniel Darragh gives  an overview of the savings market right now and reveals the best rates on offer across a range of accounts…

On the topic of savings rates, he says...

It is great to see that rates have remained steady throughout the year, despite frequent speculation over when the Bank of England would be decreasing the base rate. 

This means that, with inflation slowly dropping month on month (and finally hitting the Bank's target of 2% in May) there are now more accounts that beat inflation than ever before, meaning savers have a rare opportunity to really increase the purchasing power of their money.

That being said, the Bank of England has signalled that it will cut the base rate at some point in the year, and with the election result looming in the next few days, the decision may be taken sooner rather than later. 

Such a decrease will see borrowing and savings rates likely fall – so this may be the last hurrah for savers to get some of the best rates seen in years.

This explains why longer-term fixed rates are lower than shorter term – called an inverted curve, which indicates that we can expect interest rates to fall over the next few months and years. 

So, while locking your money away for, say, five years, may earn you a lower interest rate now than a one-year term could currently earn you, that might not be the case in a year's time when and if interest rates fall as predicted – meaning your hard-earned funds increase much more in value over a five-year term than they would in renewing one-year terms every year. 

That being said, the last few years have shown us how unpredictable and quickly economic conditions can turn!

Another interesting and important shift we have seen of late is that ISA rates, particularly on variable rate ISAs, have kept pace with, and in some cases outstripped, those of non-ISA accounts. 

As an example, the best non-current account linked, non-ISA easy access account is paying 5.07% via the Flagstone platform, versus the best non-current account linked ISA account paying 5.17% with Plum on new ISA funds. 

Of course, funding of ISA accounts is limited to the current limit of £20,000 per tax year, but this shift shows that ISAs have become increasingly popular again, as more savers find they are breaching their Personal Savings Allowance (PSA) with smaller and smaller amounts.

Hawksmoor is reportedly looking at funding options which could see the steak restaurant chain valued at around £100m.

Investment bank Stephens has been hired to run the process for the business, which is currently seeking opportunities to expand outside the UK.

Hawksmoor currently has three restaurants outside the UK, which are located in New York City, Chicago and Dublin. It has 10 other sites, including seven in London.

Private equity firm Graphite Capital owns 51% of Hawksmoor. If new investment comes in, co-founders Will Beckett and Huw Got are expected to retain their minority stake and continue to run the business.

Beckett said: "We've got a great relationship with Graphite, and together we are getting to know the US investment community in more depth. As that continues, an opportunity may emerge that we wish to explore together."

The Co-operative Bank is withdrawing its switching deal this week, leaving people just days to get £150 for free. 

New customers, who switch using the CASS system, can bag £75 upfront for opening a standard current account or an Everyday Extra account. 

They can then get paid £15 a month for five months if they also open a Regular Saver account. 

Anyone making the switch will receive the initial £75 within seven days of meeting all the qualifying criteria. 

This includes setting up two direct debits, depositing at least £1,000, making a minimum of 10 card transactions and registering for online or mobile banking. 

All of these tasks need to be completed within 30 days of making the switch. 

To qualify for the extra £75, you have to open a Regular Saver account before the last day of the month you receive the free cash incentive and deposit £50. 

The offer is due to be withdrawn on Friday 5 July.

The average monthly rent being asked outside London has hit a record high of £1,316 , according to Rightmove. 

The new record across Britain means that average advertised rents outside the capital are around 7% higher than a year earlier, the property website found. 

London has the highest rent prices in the country with an average of £2,652 per month, it said. 

The South East has the second highest at £1,836, which is a 6% rise since last year. 

The cheapest region is the North East, which typically costs £894 a month. 

Rightmove has urged the next government to accelerate housebuilding and incentivise landlords to invest in more homes for tenants. 

A budget supermarket chain has announced higher welfare standards for its chickens . 

Aldi has said it will introduce improved stocking density requirements for its fresh chicken suppliers, which will mean the birds have 20% more space than the industry standard. 

The extra space will let the chickens engage in "natural behaviours" such as stretching their wings, dust bathing and roaming, it said. 

"Animal welfare is of paramount importance to us," said Aldi's managing director of buying, Julie Ashfield.

"We're already one of the UK's largest providers of responsibly farmed chicken and we've been working hard with our suppliers to reduce stocking density to help us improve the living conditions of these animals even further." 

The move is due to be completed by October 2024. 

Younger adults find financial jargon harder to learn than a foreign language, according to new research.

A survey of 2,000 adults by Klarna revealed that 64% of Gen Z (people born from 1997 onwards) consider picking up basic foreign words easier than understanding terms such as "APR", "capital gains" and "compound interest".

When it came to millennials (people aged between 28 and 43 in 2024), 57% said learning a new language was harder.

Survey respondents said the top three most confusing finance terms were "AMC" (asset management company), "IFA" (independent financial adviser) and "adverse credit".

"AER" and "compound interest rate" also made the list of the jargon people find most baffling.

Klarna is now calling for the winner of Thursday's election to "prioritise financial inclusion" in the school curriculum.

A spokesperson for the buy now, pay later service said: "Whilst foreign languages of course open up opportunities and cultural experiences, financial inclusion is just as important."

We're aiming to help you bust the jargon of complex financial terms through our Basically... series. Here are just a few examples...

Greece has controversially introduced a six-day working week for some sectors. 

The legislation, which came into force at the beginning of July, aims to boost productivity and employment. 

Employees of private businesses that provide around-the-clock services will have the option of working an additional two hours per day or an extra eight-hour shift.

The change means a traditional 40-hour week could be extended to 48 hours per week for some companies. 

Food service and tourism workers are not included in the initiative.

The pro-business government of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has said the measure is both "worker-friendly" and "deeply growth-orientated". 

However, unions have criticised the move, saying it bucks a global trend of workforces exploring a shorter week. 

Giorgos Katsambekis, a lecturer in European and international politics at Loughborough University, told our US partner site CNBC it was a "a major step back" for a workforce that is already working the longest hours in the European Union.

Marks & Spencer is offering 20% off its new school uniforms to help parents get ready for the new school year.

The average cost of school uniform in England has dropped by 4% in 2024, according to a survey by The Schoolwear Association.

However, the average cost of compulsory secondary school uniform and sportswear items for a child starting secondary school in England is still £92.35 per pupil.

That can be a big expenditure, especially for families with multiple children.

M&S's discount excludes footwear, hosiery, underwear, outerwear, accessories, school bags and lunch boxes.

Asian-inspired eatery Itsu is looking at plans to double the number of its stores in the UK.

The chain is considering opening 80 new restaurants and has appointed Savills to advise on its expansion plans.

Itsu is looking to strengthen its foothold in London, where the majority of its restaurants are based, as well as growing its presence in new locations with flagship stores in big cities.

Liverpool, Birmingham, Cardiff, Sheffield, Newcastle, Glasgow, and Belfast are among the UK cities currently without an Itsu store.

Kate Thompson, property director at Itsu, said: "At Itsu, we are focused on making the joy of delicious, health[ier], Asian-inspired food available to everyone across the UK and beyond.

"We look forward to working with Savills to help us deliver on our plan for growth."

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research plan for high school students


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