Are you a high school student fascinated by forensics and crime scene investigation? Looking to gain hands-on experience in a forensic science career field? An internship in forensics can be the perfect way to explore your interests before college.
If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Forensic science internships allow high school students to work alongside professionals, learn investigative techniques, and get a feel for careers like crime scene investigation, forensic psychology, and forensic anthropology.
Competitive programs are available at coroner’s offices, police departments, universities, and more.
In this comprehensive guide, we will cover everything you need to know about landing an amazing forensic science internship as a high school student.
Benefits of a Forensic Science Internship
A forensic science internship can provide high school students with numerous benefits that will enhance their education and future career prospects. Here are some of the key advantages:
Gain hands-on experience in your field of interest
One of the greatest benefits of a forensic science internship is the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in a field of interest. Interns get the chance to work alongside professionals and learn about the day-to-day tasks involved in forensic investigations.
This practical experience allows students to apply the knowledge they have learned in the classroom to real-life situations, enhancing their understanding and skill set.
Explore different career paths like crime scene investigation, forensic anthropology, etc.
Forensic science is a broad field with various career paths, including crime scene investigation, forensic anthropology, forensic toxicology, and more. By participating in an internship, high school students can explore these different career paths and gain a better understanding of which area they may be most interested in pursuing.
This firsthand exposure can help them make more informed decisions about their future education and career goals.
Observe and assist forensic professionals at work
Interns have the unique opportunity to observe and assist forensic professionals in their day-to-day work. This can involve tasks such as collecting and analyzing evidence, documenting crime scenes, conducting laboratory tests, and more.
By actively participating in these activities, students can learn valuable skills and techniques directly from experienced professionals in the field.
Strengthen your resume and college applications
A forensic science internship is an impressive addition to any high school student’s resume or college application. It demonstrates a genuine interest and commitment to the field, as well as the ability to take initiative and seek out opportunities for personal and professional growth.
Admissions officers and potential employers view internships as a strong indicator of motivation and dedication, setting applicants apart from their peers.
Earn credits towards graduation (sometimes)
Some internships offer high school students the opportunity to earn credits towards graduation. This can be a valuable incentive for students who are looking to fulfill elective requirements or gain additional academic recognition.
It is important to check with the internship provider or school administration to determine if this option is available.
Network with working professionals in your desired field
Internships provide a unique networking opportunity for high school students. By working alongside professionals in the forensic science field, interns can establish connections and build relationships that may be valuable in the future.
These connections can lead to mentorship opportunities, letters of recommendation, and even potential job offers down the line.
Types of Forensic Science Internships for High Schoolers
One of the most common types of forensic science internships for high school students is with local police departments. These internships provide valuable hands-on experience in areas such as crime scene investigation, evidence collection, and data analysis.
Students may have the opportunity to work alongside experienced forensic scientists and law enforcement professionals, gaining insight into the daily operations of a police department.
Coroner/medical examiner offices
Interning at a coroner’s office or medical examiner’s office can offer high school students a unique perspective on forensic science. They may assist in autopsies, learn about the process of determining cause of death, and observe how forensic evidence is collected and analyzed in a medical setting.
This type of internship can be particularly beneficial for students interested in pursuing a career in forensic pathology or forensic medicine.
Interning at a crime laboratory provides high school students with the opportunity to work in a professional forensic science setting. They may assist with tasks such as DNA analysis, fingerprint identification, ballistics testing, and drug analysis.
This hands-on experience allows students to apply their knowledge of forensic science techniques and learn from experts in the field.
Criminal justice organizations
Internships with criminal justice organizations, such as the National Institute of Justice or local law enforcement agencies, can provide high school students with a broader understanding of the criminal justice system and how forensic science plays a role in solving crimes.
Students may have the opportunity to work on research projects, attend trainings, and interact with professionals in various areas of law enforcement.
University forensic programs
Some universities offer summer programs or internships specifically designed for high school students interested in forensic science. These programs provide a comprehensive introduction to forensic science through hands-on laboratory work, lectures, and field trips.
Students may have the chance to work with state-of-the-art equipment and learn from professors and researchers in the field.
Private forensic science firms
Interning at a private forensic science firm can give high school students insight into the business side of forensic science. They may assist with casework, learn about the process of analyzing evidence for legal cases, and gain a better understanding of the role of forensic science in the justice system.
This type of internship can be particularly valuable for students interested in pursuing a career in forensic consulting or as expert witnesses.
Local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies like the FBI
Interning at local, state, or federal law enforcement agencies, such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), can provide high school students with a unique and prestigious opportunity to learn about forensic science at the highest level.
Students may have the chance to work on high-profile cases, assist with complex forensic investigations, and learn from some of the top forensic scientists and investigators in the country.
Application Requirements and Tips
GPA requirements – often 3.0 or higher
One of the key requirements for applying to a forensic science internship as a high school student is maintaining a good grade point average (GPA). Most programs often require a GPA of 3.0 or higher. This is because forensic science internships are highly competitive, and a good academic record demonstrates your commitment to your studies and ability to handle the rigorous demands of the internship.
It’s important to note that some programs may have different GPA requirements, so it’s essential to carefully read the application guidelines of each internship opportunity you are interested in.
When applying for a forensic science internship, it is common for programs to require one or more teacher recommendations. These recommendations provide insight into your academic abilities, work ethic, and commitment to learning.
It is important to choose teachers who know you well and can speak to your skills and potential as a forensic science intern.
Make sure to give your teachers ample time to write the recommendations and provide them with any necessary information, such as the internship program details and your areas of interest within forensic science.
A strong recommendation letter can greatly enhance your application and increase your chances of being selected for an internship.
Many forensic science internship programs require applicants to participate in an interview as part of the selection process. The interview allows the program coordinators to assess your communication skills, enthusiasm for forensic science, and your ability to work in a team.
Prepare for the interview by researching common interview questions and practicing your answers. It can also be helpful to dress professionally and bring any relevant documentation or portfolios to showcase your work or projects related to forensic science.
Relevant coursework completed
Completing relevant coursework in high school is highly beneficial when applying for forensic science internships. Taking science courses such as biology, chemistry, and physics can provide you with a solid foundation and demonstrate your interest and dedication to the field.
When filling out your application, include a list of the courses you have completed or are currently taking that are relevant to forensic science. This will give the program coordinators a better understanding of your academic background and preparation for the internship.
Cover letter highlighting your interests
Most forensic science internships require a cover letter as part of the application process. The cover letter is an opportunity for you to showcase your interests, passion, and motivation for pursuing a career in forensic science.
In your cover letter, be sure to highlight any relevant experiences, skills, or knowledge you have gained that make you a strong candidate for the internship. Discuss why you are interested in forensic science and how this internship aligns with your future career goals.
Remember to tailor your cover letter to each specific internship program you apply to, to demonstrate your genuine interest and understanding of the opportunity.
Some programs require you to be 16-18 years old
It is important to note that some forensic science internship programs have age restrictions, typically requiring applicants to be between 16 and 18 years old. These age restrictions are in place to ensure the safety and appropriateness of the internship experience for high school students.
Before applying to any program, carefully review the eligibility requirements to ensure that you meet the age criteria. If you do not meet the age requirements, consider exploring other opportunities or waiting until you are eligible to apply.
Finding and Applying for Opportunities
When it comes to finding and applying for forensic science internships for high school students, there are several avenues you can explore. Here are some of the most effective ways to discover these exciting opportunities:
Your high school guidance counselor
Start by reaching out to your high school guidance counselor. They can provide valuable information on local internships and connect you with relevant resources. They may also have contacts within the forensic science field who can point you in the right direction.
Many colleges and universities offer forensic science programs and have dedicated pages on their websites listing internship opportunities. Check out the websites of institutions near you to see if they have any high school internships available.
It’s important to note that some programs may have specific eligibility criteria, so be sure to read the requirements carefully.
Online searches – keywords like ‘high school forensic internship’
Utilize search engines to your advantage. Conduct online searches using keywords like “high school forensic internship” or “forensic science internships for high school students.” This will help you find organizations or programs that offer internships specifically for high school students interested in forensic science.
Local law enforcement agencies
Reach out to your local law enforcement agencies as they may have internship programs tailored for high school students interested in forensic science. These agencies often collaborate with forensic professionals and can offer valuable hands-on experience in the field.
Forensic professional organizations
Research forensic professional organizations such as the American Academy of Forensic Sciences or the International Association for Identification. These organizations may have internship listings on their websites or can provide guidance on where to find opportunities.
Consider becoming a member of these organizations to stay updated on the latest internships and networking events.
Don’t wait – popular programs fill up fast!
It’s important to note that forensic science internships for high school students can be highly competitive. Popular programs tend to fill up quickly, so it’s crucial to start your search early and submit your applications as soon as possible.
Be prepared to demonstrate your passion for forensic science and your commitment to learning and growing in the field.
By exploring these various resources and taking proactive steps, you can increase your chances of finding and securing a forensic science internship that aligns with your interests and goals. Remember, internships provide invaluable real-world experience and can be a stepping stone towards a successful career in forensic science!
Making the Most of Your Internship Experience
Getting an internship in the field of forensic science is an exciting opportunity, especially for high school students who are passionate about this area. To make the most out of your internship experience, here are some tips to keep in mind:
Come prepared – read up on forensic fundamentals beforehand
Before starting your internship, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the fundamentals of forensic science. This will not only give you a better understanding of the field but also make you more confident during your internship.
Take the time to read up on basic forensic techniques, terminology, and current trends in the field. Websites such as Forensic Science Simplified can be a great resource for gaining foundational knowledge.
Ask thoughtful questions
During your internship, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Asking thoughtful and engaging questions shows your interest and eagerness to learn. It also provides an opportunity for you to delve deeper into specific areas of forensic science that pique your curiosity.
Remember, the professionals you are working with have a wealth of knowledge and expertise, so take advantage of their presence and seek their insights.
Take initiative to get involved
While internships may involve some mundane tasks, don’t be afraid to take initiative and get involved in more hands-on activities. Express your interest in participating in experiments, lab analyses, or even shadowing professionals during crime scene investigations.
Taking the initiative shows your enthusiasm and dedication, which can lead to more meaningful and impactful experiences during your internship.
Keep an open mind – you may discover unexpected interests
During your internship, keep an open mind and be willing to explore different aspects of forensic science. You may have come into the internship with a specific area of interest, but don’t limit yourself. Be open to trying new things and exploring different subfields.
You might discover a passion for something unexpected, leading to new career possibilities you hadn’t considered before.
Stay in touch with professionals you meet after the internship ends
Building a network of professionals is an essential part of any internship experience. After your internship ends, make an effort to stay in touch with the professionals you worked with. Connect with them on professional networking platforms like LinkedIn and send them a personalized message expressing gratitude for the opportunity.
Staying in touch allows you to maintain relationships and potentially opens doors for future opportunities or mentorship.
Get supervisor feedback on areas to improve
Feedback is crucial for personal and professional growth. During your internship, seek feedback from your supervisor on areas where you can improve. This feedback will help you develop and enhance your skills in forensic science.
It’s important to approach feedback with an open mind and a willingness to learn from constructive criticism. Use this feedback to continuously improve and excel in your future endeavors.
Forensic science internships give high school students an amazing opportunity to gain real-world experience and determine if a career in this field is the right choice. By securing an internship at a medical examiner’s office, police department, university lab, or other organization, you can learn investigative techniques alongside professionals, strengthen your resume, and make valuable connections in the forensic science community.
With some research and planning, you can find competitive forensic internship programs that match your unique interests and career aspirations. Approach the application seriously, come prepared to learn, and make the most of your one-of-a-kind experience in the world of forensics.