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Summer Programs for High School Students

Make your summer count!

Shawna Newman

March 08, 2021

2021 summer programs are not cancelled! Find a virtual or in-person summer program that fits your goals.
Summer Programs for High School Students
If you haven’t decided how to spend your summer, you may want to think about the possibility of participating in a summer program. Many camps have converted to an exclusive online-learning format. However, these summer programs have worked to ensure one-of-a-kind experiences—including some Zoom meetings with instructors and/or planned video group chats with other program participants. Not only is it an exciting way to spend your summer, but some summer camps are still open for in-person college campus experiences. Students will have the chance to explore new fields, make friendships with students from around the globe and even earn college credit for the courses taken. No matter where you live or what your interests are, chances are that there's a program offered at a college near you. If summer programs interest you, you should act soon! Application deadlines come early in the year.

Virtual Experience: American University High School Summer Scholars

This 30-day, online program helps high school student pursue their interests in a variety of topics. Each online course is 1-credit hour. Rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors with a 3.0 GPA can choose up to 3 courses on 13 subjects—from Political Action and Public Policy to Oceanography and more.

Virtual Experience: Academic Connections at the University of California - San Diego

This three-week program helps prepare high-achieving high-school students for success by allowing them to experience college-level academics. Students can immerse themselves in study of a particular academic subject taught by graduate students and/or renowned faculty researchers within the field of study.

American Collegiate Adventures

American Collegiate Adventures offers programs in both the United States and abroad. The programs range anywhere from one to five weeks, all of which are details on their web site. For example, they offer a 4-week, on-campus program in Southern California this summer. Be sure to check out their Instagram account!

Academic Enrichment by Westcoast Connection

Westcoast Connection offers Pre-College Enrichment programs for high school students, featuring interactive courses, engaging instructors combined with exciting day trips and excursions. With programs on the campus of UCLA in Los Angeles, McGill in Montreal, Barcelona and Florence, students can prepare for college and their future career path in an inclusive learning and social environment. Upon conclusion of summer courses, students will receive either a certificate of completion or college credit, which is available on select programs.

Virtual Experience: Boston Leadership Institute

The Boston Leadership Institute is an award-winning summer STEM program for high-achieving teens. Students develop high-level research skills and subject matter expertise that strengthen credentials valuable for college admissions, interviews, and essays.

Columbia College of Chicago – Summer at Columbia

This program offers college-level courses to students who have completed their sophomore, junior or senior years of high schoo. Participants are interested in the fields of art, media and communications. The courses do transfer as electives to Columbia College of Chicago and to some other colleges or universities. Program participants can choose from a variety of courses, from game development to illustration; all programs occur from June through August.

Concordia Language Villages

Concordia Language Villages is a language and culture education program. An innovative approach, the program uses immersion techniques to teach language. Participants may choose from 15 world language programs: Arabic, Chinese, Danish, English, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Swedish. Programs are offered for every age and level of ability as well. Checkout their Facebook page for videos, pictures and blog posts.

UConn Pre-College Summer

The UConn (University of Connecticut) Pre-College Summer provides rising high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors the opportunity to live and learn at a nationally ranked public university campus through four challenging and intensive one-week sessions. Students can explore academic interests, interact with engaging professors, build confidence in being a college student, attend personal and academic development workshops, meet new people and learn about university life.

Virtual Opportunities: Cornell Summer College

Cornell Summer College offers both three- and six- week pre-college programs for high school sophomores, juniors and seniors. Program participants are able to earn anywhere from three to six college credits, work with world renowned Cornell faculty, attend college fairs, receive one-on-one admissions counseling and a first-hand college experience.

Virtual Experience: Early College Program Online Summer Institute - School of the Art Institute of Chicago

The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) has a summer online-learning program in art and design. The program offers the opportunity to learn from faculty who also teach in their acclaimed undergraduate program. From virtual demos, remote one-on-one meeting time with faculty and students will deepen their independent exploration and develop a portfolio. In addition to being a fun learning experience, participating in the program has benefits, too. For instance, you can earn college course credit and prepare a competitive portfolio for college admission.

Earthwatch Institute – Teen Expeditions

The Earthwatch Institute, a nonprofit, has been running summer scientific research expeditions for high school students for almost 50 years. Students join academic, researchers with an Earthwatch chaperone and 6 to 12 of their peers for 1-2 weeks to help collect data on everything from endangered sea turtles to climate change in the Arctic.

Experience Christendom Summer Program

The Experience Experience Christendom Summer Program (ECSP), is a program which attracts students from all across the country and various foreign countries. 40-50 students attend the Front Royal, VA, campus for a week (Sunday through Saturday) and take part in academic, social, recreational, and spiritual activities, led by current students as counselors. They come away with a new appreciation for the Catholic faith and culture and are exposed to the transformative power of a truly Catholic liberal arts education.

Virtual Experience: Harvard’s High School Programs

If you’re wondering what college is like, Harvard offers online college programs just for high school students who are curious. Harvard’s high school programs allow you to take real courses and earn college credit. The program is open to high school students who meet the application and admission criteria. Financial aid is available for qualifying students.

Virtual Opportunities: Immerse Education Programs

Immerse Education's summer programs offer in-person and online courses in a variety of subjects and take place throughout the United Kingdom. 11–18-year-old students from around the world get to learn on the campuses of Cambridge or Oxford and at various British boarding schools across the UK. An immersive experience, Academic programs range from history, and creative writing to medicine and engineering.

Virtual Experience: Mathcamp

Mathcamp is an intensive, five-week “Virtual Mathcampus” in which students can explore various principles of mathematics. Students learn about undergraduate and graduate-level topics while remotly connecting with a diverse group of people who share the common love of mathematics. The program offers courses, problem-solving sessions and lectures by leading mathematicians. The program is open to students ages 13 to 18. A qualifying quiz is required of all applicants. Mathcamp is free to students with qualifying family incomes. Financial aid is also available.

Virtual Experience: National Youth Science Camp

The National Youth Science Camp (NYSC) is an intense month-long camp for young scientists the summer after high school graduation. Students must demonstrate academic proficiency in either mathematics or the sciences as well as other documented leadership skills. Students from around the country are challenged in online lectures and participate in remote discussions.

Putney Pre-College Summer Programs

These pre-college summer programs have existed for several decades, so you know they provide a productive experience. Putney's Pre-College programs are offered domestically including the UCLA, Harvard or Amherst campuses. Their abroad camps occur in Berlin, Barcelona or Tokyo. Academic program focus is determined by the summer program location you choose, and ranges from film and video production to international business and trade.

Virtual Opportunities: New York Film Academy's Summer Film and Acting Camps

Both the in-person immersion workshops and online learning options range from four-week programs to full-year programs. Programs are designed to introduce students of all ages to the creative and technical demands of telling stories with moving images. Students have the opportunity to write, direct, shoot, edit and, even, star within short films, depending upon the student’s interest.

Virtual Opportunities: Summer Study Programs

The Summer Study Programs at a variety of schools like, Georgetown, UCLA, and Cambridge, combine academically challenging courses with the fun and excitement of campus and study abroad life. High school students can choose from a variety of both in-person and online programs, ranging from 2 to 6 weeks.

Virtual Experience: Summer Science Program (SSP)

For more than fifty years, the Summer Science Program has enlightened selected high school students in advanced college-level topics in astronomy, physics, calculus and programming. In turn, students are able to develop intellectually while being challenged academically. In 2021, their program will be offered entirely online.

Summer Term @Ross

According to the site, Summer Term @Ross is a “world-class program located in safe, idyllic East Hampton, New York." Programs offered for students ages 12-18 are Mandarin Immersion, Design and Invention, Marine Science, ESOL, Mathematics, and Tennis. They are designed for both day and boarding students, and will run for six weeks from July to August on the East Hampton campus.

Virtual Opportunities: Tufts Summer Study for High School Students

Tufts attracts top high school students who wish pursuing academic excellence while gaining a head start on their college career. The programs offered to high school students include: Tufts Summer Writing Program, Foundation of Law & Ethics, Health Science Honors, Biomedics Inquiry through Sequencing (BIOSEQ) and College Courses for Seniors. Tufts summer study programs offer benefits like small affordable tuition, small course sizes, financial assistance, college credit options and more.

Virtual Experience: Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) – Launch Program

In the LAUNCH program for students in 9th and 10th grade, students will leverage state-of-the-art research and technology to find solutions to current problems in a variety of scientific fields alongside WPI’s renowned faculty. The online program runs from June 27-July 2 and August 8-13. Students will be able to step in the shoes of an environmental scientist, lab chemist, computer scientist, and roboticist.

Virtual Experience: Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) – Frontiers Program

There are regular pre-college summer programs, and then there’s Frontiers. This online, summer program is designed for high school students entering their junior and senior years, Frontiers is celebrating more than 30 years. Program participants are challenged to explore the outer limits of their knowledge in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) with current laboratory techniques and exploring unsolved problems across a wide spectrum of disciplines.

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