Highland Capital Partners, the venture capital firm that has invested in companies like Ask.com, Digg, SCVNGR, and Leap Motion, has announced it is now accepting applications for its sixth annual Summer@Highland student entrepreneurship program. Those accepted into the program will have a chance to work with the firm out of its Boston or Silicon Valley office.

From now until April 1, 2013, Highland Capital says that students may submit their team’s application for a chance to be a part of this student program, in which up to 12 student teams will receive $18,000 each during the 10 week summer engagement, free office space, and be paired with a Highland investor mentor to help get their business off the ground.

This isn’t an ordinary student internship — in fact, it probably shouldn’t even be considered an internship. In the program, those applicants that are chosen will not be sitting around filing papers or necessarily shadowing people at Highland looking at what their careers are like. On the contrary, it’s about giving them the ability to get their idea or business off the ground.

Silicon Valley has been involved in trying to recruit young minds to help them harness their ideas. Last October, entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist Peter Thiel announced that he was beginning to accept his latest batch of students for his “20 Under 20″ Thiel Fellowship. The difference between Thiel’s and Highland Capital is rather distinct: Thiel offers $100,000 while also encouraging students to leave formal education. Highland isn’t asking them to do that.

Higland says that the difference between Summer@Highland and other accelerators and incubator programs is that the $18,000 being given isn’t an investment, but a stipend, thereby relieving each team of any obligations to Highland. Additionally, it says that it’s interested in helping teams accomplish “pre-set business or product goals, not raising money” — so it doesn’t have a Demo Day for its participants, instead choosing to use as much of the summer to increase their learnings. Lastly, each class size is “relatively small” and Highland says it treats each team like it was a portfolio company.

Highland Capital says that applicants that have come through their doors as part of the Summer@Highland program have created startups like Cloudflare and Gemvara, and in total have raised an aggregate $100 million in venture capital, with some even being acquired by Dropbox, Google, Oracle, and others.

Notable alumni that have been through the program include Wildfire Interactive’s Victoria Ransom, Ksplice’s Jeff Arnold, adpop’s Shazad Mohamed, Cloudflare’s Michelle Zatlyn, Gemvara’s Matt Lauzon, and others.

Students interested in applying will need to meet the following requirements:

  • There must be between 2-5 team members
  • At least one team member needs to be a current student or recent graduate (no earlier than December 2012)
  • All team members must be US citizens or have “appropriate paperwork in place”
  • All participants need to spend 10 weeks at either Highland’s Boston or Silicon Valley office between June 1 and August 31, 2013

➤ Summer@Highland entrepreneurship program

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