If you haven’t decided how to spend your summer, you may want to think about the possibility of participating in a summer program. If summer programs interest you, you should act soon! Application deadlines come early in the year.
Not only is it an exciting way to spend your summer, but you’ll get to experience life on a college campus, explore new and exciting fields you may want to pursue as for college majors, make friendships with students from around the globe and, perhaps, even earn college credit for the courses you take.
To get you started on the process, check out the following directory of popular summer programs for high school students. In addition to our list, if you're a military family be sure to check out Military.com
's list of Free or Discounted Summer Camps for Military Kids
Keep in mind that, if you aren't interested in any of the programs listed below, there’s no need to worry. There are hundreds of summer programs offered each year at colleges all over the country. No matter where you live or what your interests are, chances are that there's a program offered at a college near you.
Summer Programs For High School Students:
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 are able to immerse themselves in study of a particular academic subject taught by graduate students and/or renowned faculty researchers within the field of study.
The program is specific to college-bound high school students, so students must be in high school, grades 9-12, and have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.3 or above.
Learn more about Academic Connections at the University of California - San Diego
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 (linked below).
Their 4-week program, for example, takes place over the summer in Wisconsin and details the college admissions process. Be sure to check out their Instagram account
Learn more about American Collegiate Adventures
Academic Enrichment by Westcoast Connection
Westcoast Connection offers Pre-College Enrichment programs
for high school students, featuring an all-encompassing blend of 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 have the opportunity to 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.
Students interested in exploring the executive, design and marketing aspects of fashion work towards becoming the next generation of industry professionals with Westcoast Connection’s Seventeen Fashion Experience
in New York City.
Additionally, from Itatly to Spain, immersive language programs
prioritize an emphasis on both classroom and experiential learning.
Discover why Westcoast Connection’s summer experiences are optimal for high school students in supporting their college preparedness. You'll want to take a look at their robust Instagram account
as it features photos specific to each adventure opportunity
Learn more about Academic Enrichment by Westcoast Connection
Bentley University Summer Athletic Camps
Bentley University’s Summer Athletic Camps have earned the reputation as being one of New England’s the best teaching camps for athletics. The college offers summer athletic camps for high school students within the sports of basketball, volleyball, field hockey and more.
Providing both a fun and interactive setting, along with state-of-the-art facilities, Bentley’s camps offer students an opportunity to learn games strategies and skills from quality players and top coaches.
Learn more about Bentley University Summer Athletic Camps
Boston University Summer Journlism Institute
Boston University's Summer Journlism Institute
will conduct three two-week sessions available in June or July to teach teenagers, between the ages 15–18, the basic skills of journalism, communications or writing.
According to their website, “Each instructor is also a working journalist, so what’s taught is grounded in real-life experience. Each lesson is tied to its practical application, by giving students reporting assignments on campus and in the city. Each day is an opportunity to taste what’s it like to work in the news field, live on a campus, and make new friends from all over the country."
Each day is composed of five learning blocks that include reporting teams, newsroom experiences, touring the Boston Globe, and other iconic Boston landmarks.
We’ve made time for students to explore the city of Boston, its museums, its shopping and its history. Many students tour Boston University as well as nearby schools such as Harvard, MIT, Boston College, Tufts, Emerson, Northeastern and University of Massachusetts at Boston.”
Learn more about Boston University Summer Journlism Institute
Boston Leadership Institute
The Boston Leadership Institute
is an award-winning summer STEM program for high-achieving teens.
Since 2011, BLI has provided unique, engaging, and valuable opportunities to thousands of students from around the United States and the world. Led by highly qualified and decorated teachers and professors from the Boston area, the ever-expanding BLI lineup covers Medicine
, and Science
Students develop high-level research skills and subject matter expertise that strengthen credentials valuable for college admissions, interviews, and essays.
Their programs are geared towards rising 8th grade to seniors in high school. The season starts the week of June 15 and ends the week of August 3. They offer one- and three-week enrichment programs. The tuition for our one-week program is $599 and the tuition for their three week program is $2200.
Learn more about Boston Leadership Institute
California State Summer School for Mathematics and Science (COSMOS)
California State Summer School for Mathematics and Science (COSMOS) is a four-week summer residential program that gives high school students who have demonstrated skills within STEM subjects (science, technology, mathematics and engineering) opportunities to explore beyond their usual high school curriculum.
From July 5 through August 1st, students are able to work on advanced topics with renowned faculty members, scientists and researchers as well as experience state-of-the-art lab environments and facilities.
Participants will also have the opportunity to take university-level courses and gain an awareness of both educational and career options within the STEM fields.
The students attending the program live in campus housing with other program participants. Full and partial scholarships are available.
Learn more about California State Summer School for Mathematics and Science
Columbia College of Chicago – Summer at Columbia
Columbia College of Chicago’s Summer at Columbia offers college level courses to students who have completed their sophomore, junior or senior years of high school but have not yet attended college and 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, depending on the discretion of the particular school.
Students even have the option of living on campus. If you would like to apply for housing, options are limited, so early application is encouraged. There is an extra cost for housing, which includes a meal plan.
Program participants are able to choose from a variety of courses, all of which take place in July.
Learn more about Columbia College of Chicago – Summer at Columbia
Concordia Language Villages
Concordia Language Villages is a language and culture education program. Their mission is to prepare young people for responsible citizenship in the global community.
The villages have adopted an innovative approach using 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.
Learn more about Concordia Language Villages
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.
Throughout the program, students have the opportunity to explore academic interests, interact with engaging professors, build confidence in being a college student, attend workshops that stress personal and academic development, meet new people and make new friends, and learn the culture of college, before college.
Learn more about UConn Pre-College Summer
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 experience college life first hand.
Students are also able to experience living within a residence hall and a roommate, meeting other students from more than 56 countries and enjoy summer activities.
Learn more about Cornell Summer College
Duke University's TIP Academy for Summer Studies
Duke University's TIP Academy for Summer Studies provides students with an academic and social experience so that they are able to experience both challenging coursework and build lasting friendships with other academically gifted students.
This exclusive program is available to students based upon their ACT or SAT scores - all courses were developed with gifted students in mind. Only students within grades 7-10 are eligible for the academy.
The summer studies take place at various sites including Rice University, University of Georgia, Wake Forest University and Duke University.
Learn more about Duke University's TIP Academy for Summer Studies
Early College Program Summer Institute - School of the Art Institute of Chicago
The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) has a summer residency program in art and design. The program offers unlimited access to the Art Institute of Chicago museum -- the third largest collection of art in the world – and the opportunity to learn from faculty who also teach in their acclaimed undergraduate program. They even offer housing in our residence halls for 2 or 4 week sessions.
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.
Learn more about Early College Program Summer Institute - School of the Art Institute of Chicago
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, PhD 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.
The Earthwatch Teen Expeditions are designed specifically and exclusively for 15- to 18-year-olds and are different from any other experience teenagers can have. Eighteen-year-olds have the option of joining a Teen Expedition or a regular expedition as an adult. The experiences have led many students to careers of their own in academic, environmental field research.
Learn more about Earthwatch Institute – Teen Expeditions
Experience Christendom Summer Program (ECSP)
The Experience Experience Christendom Summer Program
(ECSP), is a program which attracts students from all across the country and various foreign countries.
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.
Each year, high school students spend a week on campus and, by the end of the week as “one of the best weeks of their lives,” and have ranked the program on average 4.75 out of 5 on a survey. Not just of the summer, but ever.
The program consists of an average of 45-50 students in each session and runs six of these one-week sessions.
The cost of the program fairly inexpensive and generous financial aid is given to students who request it/qualify. The program is for students who will be entering their senior year of high school in the fall.
Many years have had waiting lists, so if you’re interested, don’t delay in signing up!
Learn more about the Experience Christendom Summer Program
Grand Canyon University Summer Camps
Grand Canyon University invites high school students to get a jumpstart on their college learning and explore potential careers in their Christian summer camp programs.
In three days and two nights, students will experience GCU's college life and gain insight into career fields. Each day is planned with exciting social events and informative academic programming.
According to their website, “High school students are required to have an unweighted GPA of at least 3.0 to attend the Summer Institute. Honors camps require a GPA of at least 3.5 to attend. Students will be required to submit unofficial transcripts during the registration process.”
Learn more about Grand Canyon University Summer Camps
Harvard’s Pre-College Program & Secondary School Program (SSP)
If you’re wondering what college is like, Harvard offers college programs just for high school students who are curious.
Harvard’s high school programs allow you to take real courses along with college students and actually earn college credit.
You’ll be able to learn about subjects they don’t teach within your high school curriculum, study with Harvard faculty, have use of Harvard labs and other state-of-the-art libraries and equipment.
While you’re there, you’ll meet other students from around the work, attend college prep events and participate in fun and exciting activities.
The program is open to high school students who meet the application and admission criteria (see the web site for details; linked below).
Financial aid is available for qualifying students.
Learn more about Harvard’s High School Programs
Immerse Education's summer programs offer 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.
Learn more about Immerse Education Programs
Miami University of Ohio - Summer Scholars Program
Miami of Ohio’s Summer Scholars Program is an intense two-week program providing an early college experience for academically gifted rising high school juniors and seniors.
Students who participate in the program can expect to become immersed within an academic setting focused around a specific topic of interest, learning alongside the college’s leading faculty and experts.
Additionally, participants will be provided with a complete collegiate experience through living in a residence hall, eating within a dining hall and enjoying access to all campus facilities.
Workshops on college processes such as the college admissions process, financial aid, test prep, college essay writing and applying for scholarships are also available.
Learn more about the Miami University of Ohio - Summer Scholars Program
Mathcamp is an intensive five-week summer program in which students are able to explore various principles of mathematics. Students are able to learn about undergraduate and graduate-level topics while bonding 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.
Learn more about Mathcamp
National Youth Science Camp (NYSC)
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.
Located within a rustic setting, students from around the country are challenged in lectures, hands-on studies and are able to participate in an outdoor adventure program.
Because special events are planned to surprise participants each day, the camp does not publish detailed program calendars.
Learn more about the National Youth Science Camp
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.
According to their Website
, seminars are "purposefully small and immersive, and are taught in and out of the classroom for a learning experience that rivals anything you have experienced before. Choose two seminars—a major and a minor—and dive into your coursework through engaging discussions and hands-on projects."
Learn more about the Putney Pre-College Summer Programs
New York Film Academy's Summer Film and Acting Camps
These immersion workshops 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.
The NY Film Academy's summer camp was voted a top-20 summer camp in the U.S. Award-winning instructors, abundant equipment and small classes provide students with the individual attention and support necessary to complete their own work.
Learn more about the New York Film Academy's Summer Film and Acting Camps
Rhode Island School of Design Pre-College Program (RISD)
The six-week RISD summer Pre-College Program introduces high school students to the focused curriculum of a college of art and design experience.
Program participants follow college-level studio curriculum are immersed in experiencing the elements of a complete RISD education in one of the school’s 21 majors.
Students live in residence halls, attend social activities and study a particular subject in the fine or visual arts. Participants must be high school students between the ages of 16-18 years old. You can follow the program on Instagram
Learn more about the Rhode Island School of Design Pre-College Program
Smith College Precollege Summer Programs
Smith College Precollege Summer programs offer intellectually stimulating and unique opportunities for high school girls and international students who wish to pursue their academic interests in the classroom and beyond.
Annually the programs offer around 200 young women the freedom to explore challenging and intriguing subjects to strengthen their college applications and increase exposure to undergraduate experiences.
Each summer, Smith welcomes young women from many nationalities and diverse racial and socio-economic backgrounds that together form an extraordinary intellectual community. The learning environment is hands-on, collaborative, exploratory, challenging and rich in role models.
Professors who are excellent scholars offer personal attention in the classroom while encouraging students’ interests and passions, helping them to develop their academic skills.
Programs include Science and Engineering; Young Women’s Writing Workshop; Discovering Women’s History; Field Studies for Sustainable Futures and a College Admission Workshop.
Smith College is a place where young women are taken seriously and inspired to excel—as scholars, scientists and leaders.
Learn more about the Smith College Precollege Summer Programs
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 programs, ranging from 2 to 6 weeks.
Learn more about the Summer Study Programs
Summer Science Program (SSP)
For over fifty years, the Summer Science Program in Ojai, California, has enlightened selected high school students in advanced college-level topics in astronomy, physics, calculus and programming. In turn, students are able to develop both intellectually and socially while being challenged academically.
The program takes place on three campuses: at the New Mexico Institute of Technology in Socorro, University of Colorado, Boulder and Purdue University.
Learn more about the Summer Science Program (SSP)
Summer Term @Ross
According to the site, Summer Term @Ross is a “world-class program located in safe, idyllic East Hampton, New York. Our unique offerings balance rigorous academic courses with relaxation and time at the beach, cultural events, shopping, and day trips to vibrant New York City. Studying at Ross while also exploring the Hamptons and surrounding areas is a fantastic and fulfilling way to make friends from around the world and get a head start on realizing your academic potential and preparing for your college experience!”
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.
Learn more about Summer Term @Ross
Telluride Association Summer Programs (TASP)
TASP is a six-week educational experience for high school sophmores or juniors. Students participate in seminars led by college and university members and participate in educational and social activities outside the classroom.
Telluride Association seeks students from all kinds of educational backgrounds who share a passion for learning – students who attend want both a personal and intellectual challenge. The programs offer no grades or college credit.
Telluride Association Summer Programs are completely free; every student awarded a place in a TASP attends the program on a full housing, dining and tuition scholarship.
Learn more about the Telluride Association Summer Programs (TASP)
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.
Tufts summer study programs offer benefits like small affordable tuition, small course sizes, financial assistance, college credit options and more.
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.
Learn more about the Tufts Summer Study for High School Students
University of Chicago - The Young Scholars Summer Program (YSP)
The University of Chicago’s Department of Mathematics offers an enrichment program, entitled the Young Scholars Program, which focuses on the subject of mathematics.
The Summer Program is a free four-week day camp; mainly for Chicago Public School students (select suburban and private school students are admitted) from 7th to 12th grade.
Students attend daily seminars given by University professors and solve mathematics problems based on these seminars. Topics include number theory, theory of field extensions, geometry and probability. Students also learn computer skills.
Tuition is free for those accepted.
Learn more about the University of Chicago - The Young Scholars Program
University of New Hampshire Upward Bound Summer Program
University of New Hampshire Upward Bound Summer Program was created to help 114 students from 114 students attending Farmington, Somersworth, Spaulding, Manchester Central, Memorial, and West High Schools achieve their goal of higher education. The program is a free, federally funded, college preparatory program.
During their six-week summer residential program, students live on the campus of the University of New Hampshire and take academic courses, participate in enriching activities, receive tutoring as well as attend career workshops, college visits and help through navigating the college application process and financial aid system.
Learn more about the University of New Hampshire Upward Bound Summer Program
University of Pennsylvania Programs for High School Students
Penn's summer programs combine rigorous classroom and lab work with a wide range of social activities, trips and tours. Opportunities are available for those wishing to live on campus or commute.
Penn's summer programs for high school students provide a college-level experience that eases the transition from high school to college.
Learn more about University of Pennsylvania Programs for High School Students
Tulane University Emerging Scholars
Environmental Health Sciences Summer Research Academy
Tulane University's accepts 11th and 12th graders to participate in a summer research academy which is focused on environmental health issues in the region of Southeast Louisiana.
Students are mainly recruited from local areas including: Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, and Jefferson parish public/charter/magnet high schools.
The program is funded as a result of the BP medical settlement, GRHOP.
Learn more about Tulane University Emerging Scholars Environmental Health Sciences Summer Research Academy
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.
Students will be able to step in the shoes of an environmental scientist, lab chemist, computer scientist, and roboticist. LAUNCH
is offered as both a day and overnight program.
The program runs from June 22-26 -- residential participants move in June 21 -- and the cost is $895 for commuters and $1,295 for residential students.
Learn more about Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) – Launch Program
Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) – Frontiers Program
There are regular pre-college summer programs, and then there’s Frontiers
It’s a residential, on-campus summer program for high school students entering their junior and senior years, Frontiers is celebrating more than 30 years of challenging participants 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.
participants will be utilizing state-of-the-art technology and facilities, and enjoy added activities such as evening workshops, field trips, movies, live performances, and sports tournaments. Throughout each session, participants will focus most of their time in a Major Course and some of their time in a Minor Course.
Learn from WPI professors and graduate students while using experimental, analytical, and computer technology.
The program has two sessions: Session I: July 5 - 17, 2020 and Session II: July 19 - 31, 2020. The cost varies based on how many sessions a student participates in; $3,095 for one of the sessions or $5,295 for both sessions.
Learn more about Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) – Frontiers Program
Young Entrepreneurs Business Week
Young Entrepreneurs Business Week (YEBW) hosts high school students on a college campus over the summer in Oregon in an immersive professional setting to help distinguish them when they’re applying for colleges and careers.
YEBW aims to “educate and inspire the next generation of business leaders” and “encourage young people to explore business through hands-on experiential learning. Students run their own mock companies and develop original product ideas into business plans—with guidance and coaching from real entrepreneurs, executives and educators.
Beyond business, students participate in interactive activities, teambuilding exercises, inspiring seminars and more events designed to inspire professional growth and skills they can leverage for life.”
During each program, students stay and study on campus with us for one whole week; registration includes meals, lodging and more. Tuition is $1,495 for Oregon students and out-of-state residents. This cost covers room, board and curriculum materials for the full week.
The week-long programs are available in July and August at four college campuses: OSU-Cascades, University of Portland, Oregon State University and the University of Oregon. Students may complete multiple programs per summer.
Learn more about Young Entrepreneurs Business Week