For Students, Parents, and Schools

StandOut Search is a free search platform funded by the University of Chicago and The University of Illinois that helps Illinois high school students find internships and volunteering opportunities. Our goal is to be the number one place Illinois high school students across backgrounds go to find career-development opportunities. Right now, we are accepting applications for our Summer internship matching program until June 6th.


The Program

Students who are accepted to our Summer program will have the opportunity to search through hundreds of internship opportunities just for high school students across industries. Most of our opportunities are at startups and nonprofits as these small teams can give students exposure to a wide variety of career interest areas. We provide both virtual and in-person opportunities with all in-person opportunities based in the Illinois area. We have both paid and unpaid opportunities, correlated with a student’s level of time commitment. 


Sample Opportunities



Become a Creative Writing intern for Comet Health, a startup out of Stanford tackling chronic musculoskeletal pain. Research and learn about physical therapy and chronic pain while writing posts that will reach hundreds of people.



Become a Business Development & Finance Intern for HaylonTechnologies, a startup building longer-lasting batteries. Learn how to identify potential customers, research partnerships, and conduct market analysis.


Public Service

Become an Advocacy Intern, for the American Childhood Cancer Organization, the oldest US childhood cancer nonprofit. Earn volunteering hours while researching topics pertaining to cancer treatment and how policy influences patients. 



Become a Software Development Intern for Public House, a startup out of Harvard University building a modern event-planning app. Learn how to build and debug new product features for the app on the front end and backend.


Who You Are

  • Currently enrolled in an Illinois high school, preferably within Chicago
  • At least 14 years old
  • Ready to commit your summer to at least a two-month internship contributing at least 5-10 hours per week


Timelines and Steps

After filling out the application above and having a parent sign our online consent form, students will hear within two weeks if they have been accepted into the program or not. We would love to take every student who applies, but we have a limited number of spots this year and will be prioritizing candidates who are a good fit for the existing internship roles in our portfolio. Students who are not accepted will receive an email encouraging them to apply again for our next cohort. 

Students who are accepted will have one week to use our search platform to find five opportunities they would be happy to be matched with and fill out a form stating why they are interested in the opportunities they have chosen and what their most relevant previous experience is. They will also be asked to submit any relevant sample materials, such as a writing or graphic design sample. 

After submitting their opportunity choices, students will have a week to complete a brief professional training module. Within about four weeks, we will connect them via email for an interview with the opportunity they have selected that has the most available spots. Students will be responsible for CCing StandOut Search on all emails with the opportunity during the matching process so that we can track their progress. Students who consistently fail to CC us on emails with the opportunity will be dropped from the program. 

Once a student is accepted to an opportunity, they will be able to start their summer internship at their earliest convenience. Most internships will run for two to three months between June or July and August. Throughout their internship experience, students will be expected to respond to surveys from StandOut Search so that we can ensure that they are having a good experience. For a step-by-step guide to the matching process, please view our Instructions Page below.



To remain a part of our program, students must adhere to the following deadlines and rules:

  1. Students must submit our form listing the opportunities they are interested in within a week of being accepted to our program 
  2. Students must submit their training module within a week of selecting their opportunities. 
  3. Students must respond to all questions from StandOut Search within 48 hours. 
  4. Students must fill out all surveys within a week of receipt.


Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is this program free?

    Yes! The StandOut Search internship matching program is completely free for high school students and schools.

  • How do you vet opportunities to ensure they are qualified to host a student intern?

    Most of our opportunities come to us through competitive accelerator and incubator programs such as The Polsky Center at The University of Chicago and MATTER Health. 70% of our opportunities have previous experience hosting interns. Once an opportunity comes to us, we have them fill out a detailed application, the opportunities that pass this stage must complete an interview and training module.

  • How long are the internships?

    Our internships tend to be about three months, but students and opportunities are welcome to extend the length of the internship if they both wish to continue. We have internship cohorts throughout the year, with most students completing an internship during the summer.

  • How many hours per week are the internships?

    Students can choose from the following hourly requirements:

    • 5 to 10 hours per week
    • 10 to 15 hours per week
    • 15 to 20 hours per week (16+ only)
    • 20+ hours per week (paid and 16+ only)
  • Are the internships virtual or in-person?

    As Chicago is still recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic most of our internships are virtual. We have a limited selection of in-person opportunities as well, all of which are based in the Chicago area.

  • Are the internships paid or unpaid?

    Most internship opportunities for high school students are low time commitment and unpaid with the intention of serving as experiential learning opportunities that can be easily paired with a summer job or class. We also have a selection of paid internships. Creating more paid internship opportunities for students is a top priority for our organization.

  • What types of volunteering experiences do you provide?

    We provide a selection of internships for students at nonprofits. Since the student is contributing to a nonprofit, these opportunities generally fulfill community service requirements as well.

  • What do you look for in an applicant?

    We look for applicants who have a track record of academic success and are passionate about doing an internship. We prioritize students who are a good fit for the specific roles opportunities have listed with us.

  • How long does it take to be matched with an internship?

    It generally takes students about three to four weeks after choosing opportunities to receive an interview and a week-post interview to receive an internship offer. If a student does not receive an offer from their first match, the matching process could take up to two and a half months.

  • Is this program just for students from Illinois?

    Currently, we just serve students within the state of Illinois, but we hope to expand to your state in the future!

  • This sounds like a great program! Why haven’t I heard about this before?

    When StandOut was founded in 2020, we started out working with public high schools in New York. However, we soon realized that students in our home city of Chicago have much less access to internship opportunities. Thus, we went back West, partnering with our alma mater, The University of Chicago to bring our program to over 100 Chicago students. Today, we are here in Chicago to stay.

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