The Common App for Summer Internships

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Date Started


Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Growth (have moved past the very first activities; working towards the next level of expansion)

1. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project? NOTE: All applications must include a 1 minute video that answers: “I am stepping up to make change because..."

As a high school student, I wanted to find an internship, but didn’t know where to start. When I asked other students for advice, it was like I hit the big red passion button. Everyone seem to have a rant or a frustration associated with their internship experience. One student said, “From writing essays to getting recommendation letters and sending in transcripts, not once but multiple times, it’s hard to keep on top of all the programs at once.” Another shared, “I’ve definitely been frustrated when I miss out on a program simply because it didn’t come up on my Google search.” The pain points when on and on and on. This was the problem I spotted. And when I realized no one was going to make this process easier, I decided to drive my own solution. SummerApp is a new way forward that benefits everyone, not just a few; and I drew changemaking inspiration from those who felt the pain.

2. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

High schoolers spend hours finding open internships near them that are a good fit. When they go to fill out the application, it’s redundant and time-intensive. Small businesses hunt for interns through friends and family, but end up with interns who aren’t qualified. Already stretched thin, they have to vet students and make sure they are a good fit. Students need experience. Businesses want to give back. Communities thrive in engagement.

3. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

SummerApp is a matchmaking service for students to apply to many internships through one application, and for small businesses to vet and hire highly engaged interns. For both, SummerApp makes it simpler to find each other, and we guarantee student to business fit. We do this through a simple website platform. First, students create profiles through a single form. These profiles also serve as their application for multiple internships. Then, small businesses also create profiles. In order to do so, they must sign a letter of intent stating they will match with one or more students through SummerApp. Students and businesses are matched through SummerApp’s unique algorithm. First, we make sure all logistical preferences align (e.g. location, work-hours, length of internships). Second, we look at student interests and career goals, and make sure the business caters to those needs. Third, we look at business needs, and make sure students are qualified. Finally, we make sure interns and businesses have the same core values, and a compatible company culture. By encouraging small business and high school student partnerships, SummerApp invests into both today and tomorrow.

4. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.

After interviewing 300+ high school students in person, we heard pain after pain point. One 17-year-old said, “I feel like a burden every time I have to ask my teacher to submit recommendations to five different websites, or request my transcript mailed to five different addresses.” With SummerApp, students no longer feel embarrassed to apply. By filling out a single application, students are automatically considered for various verified and reputable internships. For Summer 2018, we’re offering internships that include an all-expenses trip to Washington D.C. for training, and another pays up to $17/hr. Small businesses then rest assured knowing their interns are bold thinkers, hard workers - competent, and a good fit for their company culture. SummerApp has done the research, and plugged you into the student community. Let’s connect today’s pioneers to tomorrow’s workforce.

5. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?

Students and small businesses alike are frustrated because our competitors do not have a multi-sided platform. Internships are a two way street, yet few organizations think of both when making student-business matches. Others do not offer student to business fit, which we accomplish through our unique algorithm. Our comprehensive network of students and local businesses in an area is also something that cannot be bought, and allows us to offer internship variety. Most importantly, current choices in the market are time consuming and a hassle, and do not have a simple application process.

6. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

SummerApp was created fall of 2017, under the guidance of mentors at the TiE Oregon Young Entrepreneurs program. During the following 6-month period, the SummerApp team met for a few hours each week, and went through the lean startup method two times. During our customer interview/validation phase, we talked to more than 300 high school students and 50 small businesses in person. Once we created our prototype (the website), we took this to real-world classrooms for feedback and sign-ups. With the help of our #Solution:SummerApp Instagram campaign launched Dec. of 2017, SummerApp has 300+ high school students in the Portland-Vancouver area committed to using our platform. We have also signed 10+ letters of intents with local small businesses to use SummerApp for Summer 2018; these include Save the Children Action Network, Northwest Media Collective, and Oregon Sports Authority.

7. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?

In the next 30 days, SummerApp’s primary goal is to make actual matches. We plan on securing 20 businesses and 400 students total within these 30 days, and integrate application forms for students and small businesses on our website. In the next 12 months, SummerApp’s goals are oriented around growth. We plan on successfully matching 2,100 internships, and automate the student to business matching process (currently done by hand). Finally, our next 3 years is about expansion into new revenue. SummerApp will expand to 3 new cities, and establish programs such as a tiered-sponsorship model through storing recommendations. Finally, we will partner with other organizations to simplify internship application and administration processes.

8. Future Support: What are the resources needed to make your vision a reality?

Currently, SummerApp is composed of 4 students from the Portland-Vancouver area. Our team placed first at the TiE Oregon State Competition, and the University of Oregon’s New Ventures Pitch Competition. We’re lucky to have the support of organizations such as TiE Young Entrepreneurs, and Blue Ocean Entrepreneurship, where we’ve accessed mentors, material resources, training, and more. Moving forward, SummerApp is looking for driven students to join our team; specifically, a tech guru to design/create a website (moving away from Wix), as well as a content creator for marketing/media efforts (get us in magazines, interviews). Finally, we see partnerships with Chamber of Commerces and student College & Career Centers to expand our reach.

9. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?

  • Friend support
  • Family support
  • Sales
  • Mentors/advisors

10. Ripple Effect: Please share some ideas of how you could partner with other changemakers or involve other young people as leaders in making a difference.

SummerApp is excited to take our idea further because our customer research shows that we address a critical communication issue between students and small businesses. We’ve engaged all types of students and businesses through our customer interviews, connected with teachers and adults for mentorship/feedback, and worked within a cohesive team to establish traction in the market. We seek to engage other changemakers to make a difference by creating a Student Ambassador program, where changemakers can receive the training and resources to go into their own communities and join SummerApp in connecting high school students and local small businesses for mutually beneficial internships. Most importantly, SummerApp’s business model is extremely flexible, and we are open to change. Initially, SummerApp was envisioned to be a social enterprise, where the majority of our profits would go towards streamlining the internship process (e.g. funding transportation for under served students, helping small businesses get the necessary paperwork). SummerApp sees a potential theme of education equity in our work; we're interested in exploring that option, and nonprofit partnerships, further.

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • T-Mobile page or contact
  • In-person event

Evaluation results

8 evaluations so far

1. Overall evaluation

5 - This idea rocked my world. It’s awesome! - 37.5%

4 - This idea seems really exciting. With a little more polishing, it’d be among my favorites. - 12.5%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 50%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - It didn’t make my heart beat faster. - 0%

2. Changemaker Quality

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 50%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 0%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 37.5%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 12.5%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

3. Creativity

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 25%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 25%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 25%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 25%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

No Answer - 0%

4. Commitment

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 100%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 16.7%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 16.7%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

No Answer - 0%

5. Connection

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 37.5%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 37.5%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 25%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

No Answer or No Connection - 0%

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Attachments (3)

SummerApp (1).pdf

SummerApp has currently signed more than 10 Letters of Intents with local Portland/Vancouver small businesses! This includes Nut-Tritious Foods, a local, organic nut butter company.

Summer App Student Intern for Zenith LOI 2018.04.27.pdf

One of our signed Letters of Intents with Zenith - a real estate company in Portland/Vancouver. They're excited to use SummerApp to find students for two paid internships Summer 2018!


A PDF copy of SummerApp's pitch deck!


Join the conversation:

Photo of Ariyan Miller

Hey There Fellow Changemaker,

Congrats on moving to the next phase. I wishing you the best of luck ! & I am sending love and light to all the positive things that you do.

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