Frequently Asked Questions and Answers
About the OSTP Internship Program
Is the OSTP Intern program part of the White House Internship Program?
The OSTP Intern Program is distinct from the White House Internship Program. Students in the White House Internship Program intern with the White House Office, a different component of the Executive Office of the President. Students in the OSTP Intern Program work within OSTP.
Where do OSTP Interns work? Can I work remotely?
Interns must be available to work on site in the White House Complex in Washington, DC.
How many hours per week would I need to commit?
Interns are expected to commit to working full-time for a minimum of 10 weeks during the Summer term. Interns for the Fall and Spring terms are expected to commit to a minimum of 16 hours per week. Preference will be given to applicants available to work for 30+ hours per week.
Is the OSTP Internship a paid position?
No. OSTP internship positions are without compensation. Students may, however, be eligible to receive academic credit from their respective college or university. Student interns may also be eligible to receive a public transit subsidy from OSTP to help defray the costs of commuting to OSTP. In addition, applicants may contact educational and other non-profit organizations to apply for funding or housing assistance. Any outside income, funding or housing assistance received as an OSTP intern must be pre-approved by OSTP Counsel.
Is housing provided?
No. Applicants must arrange for their own housing. Applicants are encouraged to contact educational and other non-profit organizations, as well as local schools, to apply for housing assistance.
I will be graduating at the end of this year, but plan to enroll in another program next term. Am I considered eligible?
While final determinations of eligibility are made by OSTP, students in either of the following two categories are generally eligible:
- Students enrolled at least half-time in an accredited educational institution.
- Students not concurrently enrolled, but who can demonstrate that their gap in enrollment will not exceed five months. Example: College students who graduate in May and who can document their intent to begin a graduate program in August of the same year.
My school is on the quarter system, and I will not finish classes until after the start date of the program. Can I still apply?
Yes. If you are a quarter-system student, please make sure to identify yourself as such on the application and indicate your estimated start date.
I am not a U.S. citizen. Am I eligible? What if I have a green card, am a permanent resident, intend to become a permanent resident, or am currently applying for U.S. citizenship?
Applicants must be U.S. citizens to be eligible for the OSTP internship program. Permanent residents and those seeking U.S. citizenship are encouraged to apply after they have obtained U.S. citizenship.
Are high school students eligible to apply?
About the Application Process
When can I apply for future terms?
Students may apply early for future terms. OSTP considers applications approximately two months in advance of each term’s deadline.
Can students apply for more than one division of OSTP?
Yes, students may apply to multiple divisions of OSTP for the same term. Applicants should indicate their divisions of interest in the cover letter and Web form. For law students interested in applying to both legal internships and division-based policy internships, please see the next question.
I am a law student interested in both Division-based Policy internships and Legal Division Internships. Can I apply to both?
Yes. If you wish to be considered for both policy and legal internship positions, you must apply separately by submitting both the legal internship application and the division-based policy application online. You can generally submit the same materials for each application, but please note that the Legal Division’s writing sample and references requirements are slightly different. If you are interested in working directly with policy advisors on the development of national policy, particularly in a specific policy area that interests you, we encourage you to apply for one of OSTP’s division-based policy internships. In contrast, if you are mainly interested in gaining federal legal experience working with government attorneys who support policy advisors, you will likely prefer interning in OSTP’s Legal Division.
How many interns does OSTP accept each term?
The number of interns accepted varies by organizational needs and space availability.
Are there suggested topics for the writing sample?
A writing sample on any topic that shows professional written communication skills and knowledge of grammar is appropriate. Law students are welcome to submit legal or policy writing samples on a topic of interest.
Can I mail a hard copy of my application?
No. Only applications submitted through OSTP’s online application form will be reviewed.