7 Pre-College Programs You Can Join in High School

Although your high school might have a wide range of clubs, sports and other extracurricular activities to get involved with, sometimes you just want to branch out even more. Luckily, there are many opportunities to get involved with in your local community or even nationally.

Pre-college programs outside of high school are great opportunities to add to your resume. They allow you to delve deeper into a subject area or industry of interest to you, and meet new people. Check out this list we compiled and let us know of any opportunities you think all pre-collegiettes should know about.

1. Her Campus High School Ambassador Program 

Get involved right here at Her Campus and learn the ins and outs of the communications industry. Part internship, part mentorship, you’ll learn important skills to help you succeed in the media and marketing fields. Join this great community of empowering young women and gain amazing experience for college and your career.

2. Youth Court

Calling all future Olivia Popes and Annalise Keatings: if you’re interested in the legal system or becoming a lawyer, Youth Court gives you the chance to get real-life courtroom experience and incredible mentoring (though it's not paid).

“I learned a lot about professionalism and etiquette in the workplace," says Claire, a freshman at Clemson University. “Even though I no longer want to pursue a law degree, I think being involved in a pre-professional program in high school taught me real world skills I wouldn't have learned in the classroom or through sports. Our mentors were practicing attorneys that … taught us a whole lot about what they do in a regular day and the types of cases they are involved with. I also had a lot of fun with it.”

You can serve as a lawyer, juror, or judge for actual juvenile delinquents and their court cases. Founded in 2005, the goal of Youth Court is for teenagers to determine a fair and restorative sentence or disposition for their peers. That’s right—real cases, real sentencing in a real court.

Related: 7 Great Companies With High School Internships

3. Become a social media brand ambassador 

Are you social media savvy? Companies like PrepReps and Reppr are looking for high school (and college!) students to promote brands on their social media accounts. If you’re interested in marketing and media, this is a great way to observe and participate firsthand in this drastically evolving industry. Plus, brand ambassadors get free stuff, and some are paid positions.

4. Girls Who Code 

Whether you’re an expert hacker or have absolutely no experience with coding, Girls Who Code has computer science courses for you. They have clubs all over the country, plus summer immersion camps. Technology jobs are skyrocketing, but there is a considerable gender gap that Girls Who Code seeks to close with outreach to girls in sixth through 12th grade. Plus, the clubs focus on solving local issues with computer science. Sisterhood, career building skills and community service? Doesn’t get much better than that.

5. Teen outreach programs at your local museum

From New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art to the Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston to the Nelson-Atkins Museum in Kansas City, many museums throughout the country have teen advisory groups or councils you can get involved in. If you love art and want to spread your passion, check out your local museums for information.

6. Start a local chapter of a nonprofit

If you’re feeling adventurous, create your own program of sorts. Recruit members from your local community to make a difference with some great organizations. UNICEF, She’s the First, the American Red Cross and more organizations have programs where you can start your own club and join a national network of young philanthropists.

7. Nordstrom Fashion Ambassador

If you’re interested in fashion or just love cute clothes and giving your opinions, you should check out this program by Nordstrom for juniors and seniors in high school. The program gives you the opportunity to get behind-the-scenes access to the fashion industry. Ambassadors meet once a month at select Nordstrom stores to meet with buyers and event planners.

There are so many ways to branch out past your school’s sponsored activities. Hopefully this list gives you an idea of how to get involved and engaged with the real working world. Whatever you’re interested in—career- or service-wise—it’s worth doing research to find companies and organizations looking for intelligent, hard working young adults like you.

Kansas City native with a love for reading, writing, Julie Andrews, and tea.

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