What is Political Science?
Political Science major is for students interested in American Politics and global affairs, as well as a desire to understand the exercise of power in different settings. According to Columbia University, the discipline has four areas of study: American Politics, Comparative Politics, International Relations, and Political Theory.
As a Political Science student, you will receive a well-rounded education, from writing and analytics to communications and critical thinking. As mentioned above, Political Science students can pursue exciting careers in various fields: law, campaign management, NGO, business, and consulting.
Here is a spreadsheet giving students an overview of job titles, organizations, and industries:
Clubs and Activities
Debate Club is a popular offering for students during high school. In the process of honing their argumentative and communication skills, debate club students will also learn how to research and evaluate complex subjects, form hypotheses, and develop solutions to current world issues. Not only will they have the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of topics related to politics, but they’ll also have chances to practice building persuasive arguments in a controlled environment. Members of the debate club can even participate in public speaking competitions against other high school teams for added experience.
A mock trial is a great way for students to learn about the judicial system and practice many of the skills they’ve been developing in other extracurricular activities. Students get to collaborate with classmates to perform legal research, build arguments, and simulate a court trial. This experience can help students develop an understanding of how the legal system works and how decisions are made with regards to international agreements. Plus, the competition aspect allows them to hone their critical thinking and debating skills in real-world scenarios.
Other clubs that can also benefit students in the studying of political science is:
Criminal Justice Club
In addition to school clubs, you can reach out to a local newspaper or political campaign to volunteer. By involving yourself with organizations related to the Political Science field, you will be exposed to the field and the real world of political science. With your help, the political campaign can engage young voters and help them understand the importance of voting; sample activities include: school newspaper, local newspaper, volunteering for a local political campaign. For students who want to do an independent activity, opening a political blog can be beneficial in order to discuss any political topics they are interested in and to offer insightful opinions on various issues.
National Student Leadership Conference (NSLC) on Political Action & Public Policy
The National Student Leadership Conference on Political Action and Public Policy provides students with the opportunity to experience working in the U.S. Congress. Students will lead political advisors, politicians, and experts through the intricacies of government in a simulated mock Presidential campaign. Students will participate in the simulated presidential campaign, visit the U.S. Senate, and explore government institutions.
Junior State of America
The Junior State of America is an American non-partisan youth organization. Participating in JSA provides high school students with many opportunities for growth, leadership, and activism. Students will have the chance to engage in activities such as conferences, conventions, debates, and legislative simulations. Not only will they be able to learn more about current topics related to politics and public policy, but they’ll also become active members of the community. In addition, JSA also offers scholarships and awards for members who demonstrate exceptional leadership skills and involvement in events.
Model United Nation and Model Congress
Model UN and Model Congress are the simulation version of the UN General Assembly and congressional conference. These two types of conferences allow students to engage in role-playing, acting as a congress or nation member, and discussing international affairs. During these conferences, students will be able to improve their public speaking skills, research abilities, debating tactics, and increase their understanding of foreign policy. It’s also a great way for them to make new connections with people from other countries or states.
APPAM aims to improve public policy and management by fostering research, analysis, and educational excellence. Being a student member of APPAM, students will have access to many opportunities such as:
Coalition Z is a national, youth-led organization creating concrete political change by bridging the gap between Generation Z and the government. Students can participate in one chapter of Coalition Z based on location and school and network with like-minded students. Through Coalition Z’s chapters, students can build relationships with like-minded peers and participate in events such as organizing campaigns, attending demonstrations, and writing letters to representatives. It’s a great way for students to raise awareness of certain issues and make a real impact on the lives of others.
High school students can register for various internship positions related to political science. Internships are short-term work experiences offered by organizations for students to get exposure to the industry or field. Internships are typically paid, but sometimes can be unpaid. Students have the chance to gain experience, skills, and knowledge through hands-on work and real-life projects.
Some public policy/political science internships are:
The Manhattan District Attorney’s High School Internship Program
This internship program gives students an insider’s view of the criminal justice system. Interns will be paired with a staff member to receive guidance and support. Interns can participate in workshops and discuss criminal justice, police brutality, civic engagement, leadership, and more. Applicants must live in or attend school in Manhattan and must be sophomores, juniors, or seniors when they apply.
Application Timeline: January 5 – March 8, 2024
Thurgood Marshall Summer Law Internship Program
The Thurgood Marshall Summer Law Internship Program places diverse New York City public high school students with legal employers for the summer. Job assignments in firms vary depending on the employer’s needs; nonetheless, they typically include assisting paralegals, filing, record keeping, assisting library and back-office personnel, data entry, and organizing documents and exhibits.
Application Deadline: December 2023
If you’re looking for an internship in your state, there may be opportunities all around you. Consider asking any personal connections that you have about any opportunities they may know of, ask for support from your high school counselor, or even just search online. You should also try reaching out to local organizations to join a campaign as a volunteer or intern. Read in detail how you can find internships here: Complete Guide to High School Internships.