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At least with my internship, they treat high school students like undergrads, and I think if you demonstrate interest and work hard, that's all that really matters.
I've talked to some professors that have told me they love working with high school students because they are incredibly self-motivated and dedicated if they are pursuing research at a relatively early age.
Most of the time, advanced research projects are so focused, but if you devote a lot of time and effort into reading papers and asking questions, that's what matters.
I've recieved a number of replies from professors in my field of interest (political science) and I'm really quite excited about the possibility of working with them over the summer, or even earlier. I encourage all of you to at least give it a try and send out a few emails. Don't expect to assist them on groundbreaking research as an equal. There's simply no way that's going to happen. Instead, be open to various possibilities. Let your passion for your field of interest show in your email. Let them know how honored you would be to work for them, and always be respectful and mindful of the fact that they are very busy individuals. If you're lucky, as I have been, you may get a few responses and then you go from there. Meet with the professor in person (you go to him - don't expect him to come to you) and just have fun. Seriously.
Also, a word of advice. If you're really serious about working with someone, don't send emails to the tenured faculty with a bazillion published articles and graduate level classes. Instead, try to single out younger, newer faculty members who teach at the undergraduate level (maybe introductory courses), and perhaps have a little more time on their hands/scheduling flexibility. It seems to have worked for me, that's all I'll say.
Dear Dr X,
My name is xxx and, together with my schoolmate yyy, we are grade 8 students from zzz high school. We are looking for a mentor for our project under the x Program.
I had to write about the program I was in. Maybe you could write about your interest in research.
For our project, we are interested in the workings of antioxidants in relation to pesticides. Our project is titled The Effect of Pesticides on Antioxidants Found in Alfalfa (Medicago sativa) and Mung Bean (Vigna Radiata) Sprouts. We believe that our topic is within your field of interest. I have attached our proposal to this letter and would appreciate if you are able to look through our proposal (still in draft form) and recommend changes to make it more scientifically rigorous.
We hope very much you can be our mentor and would be grateful if you look at our request favorably. The deadline for signing up a mentor is this x-day, xxx , and we would appreciate if you could let us know before then if you are able to be our mentor. If you are unable to be our mentor, could you recommend another scientist who may be able to help us in our project?
Thank you for taking the time to consider our request.
xxx email and telephone number
yyy email and telephone number