StandOut Search is a free resource funded by the University of Chicago and The University of Illinois that helps Illinois’ most talented high school students find internships and volunteering opportunities. In the past, we have worked with over 200 companies and organizations to pair them with students hoping to learn about the professional world by bringing their unique skills to a team. We have a special focus on supporting underrepresented students.
The high school students that pass through our application and training process are at the same level of maturity and skills as college students. In the past, they have consistently gone on to top 10 universities and companies such as JPMorgan and McKinsey. However, students who have a good experience may choose to become a permanent part of your team throughout their college years.
A few areas where our students excel are Content Creation on TikTok and other social platforms, Graphic Design and UI/UX, researching and analyzing industry trends, spreadsheet skills and CRM management, customer discovery, and more.
The best person to help you go viral (especially on TikTok) is a high schooler. Our students spend hours on these platforms every day growing their followers for fun.
Many of our students are aspiring authors and journalists and spend their free time writing. They would love to apply their skills to your blog, website, or LinkedIn.
Today many students learn their first coding languages as early as middle school and high school. Having grown up looking at screens, most students have an intuitive sense for UI/UX.
Our students learned to draw on computers and tablets. Plus, their daily intake of social media exposes them to a variety of designs. For them, design is graphic design and art is digital art.
Reading and summarizing complex information is what our students do daily at school. They want to apply this skill to real problems, such as understanding trends in mental health or changes in legal precedent.
Most high schoolers already know their way around a spreadsheet plus some cool tricks to speed things up. They would love to play with data that’s meaningful in the real world.
Full autonomy in all three steps. For free.
Fill out our ten-minute form and complete a 15-minute Zoom interview with StandOut Search.
Only receive resumes from qualified students who believe in your mission.
Decide for yourself to interview them and extend an offer or not.
90% of our partners have invited students to continue working with them past the originally intended internship length
Working with Standout Search has been a seamless experience from defining our intern role to onboarding team members. The candidates we have reviewed are outstanding, accomplished, and ready to support and learn with our full-time employees. For Amory Health specifically, the candidates have been excited about healthcare and have provided a unique perspective contributing to our overall strategy/ progress. We highly recommend the program!Amory Health
Standout has been nothing short of awesome for us. We hired over 5 world-class interns who were able to add value to our company from day 1. Their process for vetting and reaching top talent is incredible, and I'd recommend all startups and organizations looking for new talent to work with Standout.Squiggly
Standout Search has HANDS-DOWN the BEST high school talents in the world! Our team is absolutely blown away by the quality of interns they have found for us. And the whole process is super simple. They do a phenomenal job hand-holding us to make sure you get the best quality applicant and service possible. All we had to do is give her a short description of what our team needed, and she's on it! Perfect for early-stage startups and busy founders who don't want to spend too much time recruiting!Boba Chats
StandOut Search is a very convenient talent search platform for any startup company. As a startup themselves, they truly understand the needs of other startups. They are responsive, dedicated, and highly customizable. We have hired one intern so far, and are planning to hire more in the future. The talents they draw from are nothing short of top-notch. These students are quick learners and eager to prove themselves as well adding value. All in all, I am very impressed.Chilk
We currently partner with 12 accelerators and incubators as a free resource, helping them find interns for their startups. Learn more about how StandOut Search can support your portfolio companies below.
First, we ask for opportunities to fill out our ten minute form with their internship description. Then we schedule a 15-minute Zoom interview and crash course on how to provide a good internship experience. After this, we will put your internship description on our search platform so students can see it.
It generally takes about a month to two months during the Spring season for us to find a qualified student who is excited about your mission. Once we do, we will send you a brief description of their background and why they want to intern at your organization along with a few work samples (i.e a graphic design, social media, coding, or writing sample). If there are multiple students interested in your opportunity we will send you an email every Tuesday listing all interested candidates.
Once you receive an email from StandOut Search with the information of an interested candidate(s) you will have a week to decide whether to interview them or not. We will then connect you with the student within 48 hours so you can schedule an interview. IMPORTANT: Keep us CC’ed on all communications with the student before you accept or reject them so we can track their progress finding an internship. Many of our students already have Calendly’s set up with their availability.
We ask that you schedule an interview within at most three weeks of the connection, and that you decide if you would like to extend an offer to a student or not within a week of the interview. If you choose to extend an offer, please include rough start and end dates for the opportunity. Be sure to also reiterate if the opportunity is paid or unpaid. Once they receive an offer, students will have one week to accept.
Over the course of the summer we will check in with you at regular intervals to make sure the internship is going well and help anywhere we can. These check-ins are essential for us as we attempt to raise more money and turn StandOut Search into a national program.
We allow opportunities to list both paid and unpaid internships. If your organization is hoping to work with underrepresented students, then we highly recommend that you list paid roles. Typically, paid internship positions offer a stipend of $2000-$3000 for a three-month internship.
We offer both virtual and in-person opportunities. In-person opportunities must be based in the Illinois area.
Most of our internships are two to three months, starting in June or July and running through August or early September. Most students are looking for a summer internship, but we offer internships during all seasons. We give opportunities the flexibility to work out the best timeline with the student based on your mutual scheduling needs. If a student is having a good experience, they will often choose to continue an internship past the originally intended timeline.
You can choose from the following common hours per week requirement ranges:
During our spring matching season, it generally takes a month or two months for us to find a qualified and passionate student. It takes us longer to match advanced roles with many pre-requisites or without an interesting and exciting internship description.
It is important to us to only send you candidates that are qualified and passionate about the role. Occasionally, we are unable to find a good match for a certain role. If this appears to be the case, we will contact you after a month with suggestions for changing your internship description to be more attractive to students.
The students we work with are high-school-aged. 14-18 years old.
All of our students are from Illinois with most coming from Chicago schools.
Blue Fever is a Techstars startup building a mental health social media app. They were looking for a diverse candidate to help them with their marketing. We matched them with a 14-year old student, Sarah, with previous experience creating Instagram and TikTok content for school clubs and even leading town halls in her community. Sarah helped source trending social content, brainstorm creative ways of attracting more beta testers, and design blog posts. She chose to continue working with Blue Fever even after her three-month internship.
Fitalyst is a company out of Wharton providing an ed-tech platform that uses student and campus data to promote student wellness behavior. They were looking for a Business Development intern to help with financial modeling, brainstorming strategic partnerships, researching potential investors, and more. We matched them with a 16-year-old boy with previous financial modeling experience from high school and previous internship experience doing research in a laboratory. What was originally going to be a summer internship, turned into a year-long internship experience he hopes to continue part-time in college.
There are two main legal aspects when it comes to hosting a high school intern. How many hours they are working and whether the internship is paid. I have described the important information about both aspects below.
Hours: If a student is under 16, then they are only allowed to work under 15 hours per week. Our matching process is designed so that if you want an intern to work more than 15 hours per week, you will not be able to interview students under 16.
If a student is over 16, they may work up to 40 hours per week in Illinois. Internships that require more than 20 hours per week of work must be paid.
Payment: Unpaid and paid internships are both perfectly legal. Whenever possible, we recommend creating a paid internship, even if it is just a stipend, so you can have the widest range of qualified interns.
When creating a paid internship, make sure to follow all federal and state laws regarding how to pay an intern. If your intern is under 16, they will need to get a work permit.
Instructions for how to begin that process can be found here: https://www.isbe.net/Pages/Work-Permits.aspx
When creating an unpaid internship, special attention must be paid to the Department of Labor Unpaid internship test found here: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/fact-sheets/71-flsa-internships
This test is a flexible test, and no single factor will determine if an unpaid internship is legal or not. Therefore, we recommend that when designing an unpaid internship, it matches the DOL guidelines as much as possible.
Broadly speaking, an unpaid internship should be designed to be an educational experience for the high school student and should not interfere with a student’s academic schedule. As a result, we require any internship over 20 hours per week of work to be paid.