Students interested in foreign policy and international affairs may become what is commonly referred to as a U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) junior agent, although more appropriate terms would be junior officers or interns. Junior agents provide support to CIA officers in their respective fields, while obtaining on-the-job experience to make a greater contribution to the CIA after graduation. Junior agent positions are available for undergraduate and graduate students wishing to make a smooth transition to full agent upon graduation.
Be a U.S. citizen and enroll in a four to five year college program, as requirements dictate on the CIA.gov website. Earn good grades while in college. The CIA prides itself on retaining the best and brightest minds that America has to offer. Therefore, all potential junior CIA agents must have a grade point average of 3.0 or better.
Learn a foreign language to proficiency. Fulfilling the CIA's mission may include gathering and intercepting intelligence from foreign sources, which will require the mastery of at least one language. Additional languages learned may benefit junior CIA agents as they compete for a position and seek to move up the ladder within the CIA after graduation.
Stay on top of foreign affairs, especially as it relates to your area of study. All CIA junior agents are expected to be well versed in foreign affairs. Whether you collect and analyze intelligence, translate foreign documents or develop budgets for large scale operations, all junior agents must have an understanding of the region and language to which they are assigned.
Avoid using illegal drugs. Applicants must not have used illegal drugs within at least one year prior to applying, states CIA.gov. Each situation will be decided on a case by case basis. However, a final determination will not be made until after the full application process is complete.
Apply to become a junior CIA agent. The Central Intelligence Agency offers several programs for junior agents as young as high school seniors enrolling in college who are looking to gain career experience. To become a junior CIA agent, you must apply to the undergraduate scholarship program and have an SAT score of at least 1000 on the math and verbal portions, a 3.0 grade point average and the basic requirements of all CIA employees, according to the government's website. Other paths include applying for the Undergraduate Internship Program or the Graduate Studies Program, which have special requirements in addition to the basics.
Prepare yourself for an extensive investigation into all aspects of your life. Due to the serious nature of the CIA's work, a full background investigation will be conducted to review your financial records, criminal history and work experience, in addition to the lives of those closest to you. You will undergo a mental and physical examination as well as a polygraph test. Because a junior agent is in training to become a full-fledged CIA employee, the background investigation also will check the veracity of the information contained within the application.
Wait to be contacted. Once you have been chosen to become a junior CIA agent, you will be notified and told when to report to Washington, D.C., to begin your training. All student positions for junior CIA agents complete their work in Washington, D.C., when college is not in session or during alternating semesters, depending on which program you choose.
Use discretion in who you tell that you are applying to the CIA, as secrecy is key, according to the CIA.gov website.
Some scholarships require you to commit to working for the CIA for a certain period of time after graduation.