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Top 15 Online Summer Camps for High School Students

In high school, it is important to look toward the future and begin thinking about what you may want to major in if you choose to go to college. One way to discover more about your true interests is to take part in summer programs. Perhaps you are thinking that in-person summer camp sounds daunting because you don’t want to give up your summer. For this reason, online summer camps can be the perfect route for you. Keep reading to learn more about online summer camps!

What is an online summer camp?

Summer programs offer high schoolers the opportunity to hone in on their craft or maybe even decide what their craft is. These programs sometimes help students decide if a certain career path is right or wrong for them as they consider what to major in at college. Online summer programs make gaining knowledge much easier because they can be more cost effective for high school students. Students can learn from the comfort of their own homes (or wherever they choose to do their learning from). 

Also see: Free Summer Programs for High School Students

Why we chose these programs

There are many worthwhile summer camps for high schoolers available, so think of this list as a starting point. We cannot compile every summer program into one list, but we chose the following programs because they have a positive history and offer students a range of financial options. We also chose a range of programs that could be of interest to a variety of students. Sometimes the best program for students takes place at their local high school, so make sure to check out all options!

Note about application deadlines and camp open and close dates

If available, we included the deadlines for applying and the opening and closing dates for the following summer art programs. If the application deadlines and camp dates are not available right now, make sure to check the website for updates. 

Writing summer camps

These programs are focused on students interested in pursuing a career in writing. This could include careers in editing, journalism, creative writing, screenwriting, and much more. 

1. Sarah Lawrence College Writers Week

Sarah Lawrence College Writers Week is a week-long workshop for high school students to hone in on their craft in writing. They offer an online and an in-person component, so that they can be more inclusive to people who do not have access to travel. This program also offers a theater element, so if a student is interested in both writing and theater (or writing for theater), this would be a great opportunity. Participants in these programs are guided through workshops each day led by writers, poets, and performance artists to give a unique perspective. Other instructors include that of the Sarah Lawrence staff, as well as some of their graduate students. This program application is now open. 

  • Eligibility: Students entering 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th grade (must be over the age of 14)
  • Cost: $825 (limited scholarships are available to Yonkers Public School students)
  • Application deadline: TBD
  • Camp dates:
    •  July Session (Virtual): July 15–July 19, 2024
    • August Session (On Campus): August 5–August 9, 2024

2. Polyphony Lit Summer Editing Apprenticeship

This apprenticeship is a great way for high school students to fully immerse themselves in the world of editing. This is a hands-on learning experience that could not otherwise be taught in a classroom setting. This course offers students the opportunity to connect online with a community of writers to help them develop their voice and their writing skills. Students will participate in live lectures, training modules, group discussions, and weekly assignments– all while responding to actual author submissions. 

  • Eligibility: Rising 9th-12th grade high school students
  • Cost: $449
  • Application deadline: Rolling deadline
  • Camp dates: June 23rd – July 27th, 2024

Science summer camps

These programs are focused on students interested in pursuing a career in the sciences. This could include

3. Wake Forest: Journey into the Heart of Medicine

Wake Forest University’s summer programs are built to help high school students dive into the field that they are interested in before heading into college. They offer many different summer programs, including online formats for students who cannot come to campus. Journey into the Heart of Medicine is one of those programs that is offered fully online. Students have the opportunity to learn about topics such as what it takes to be in medicine, social factors that contribute to heart disease, the anatomy of the heart, treating a patient, and more. This program offers benefits such as touring behind the scenes of a hospital setting, learning how all the departments of a hospital work together, gaining insights into the different kinds of training you can receive, and presenting a final project at the conclusion of the program. 

  • Eligibility: Students 13+
  • Cost: $1295 (need-based scholarships available to students exhibiting high potential who need assistance affording the associated cost)
  • Application deadline
    • Session 1: Sunday, February 25, 2024
    • Session 2: Sunday, April 28, 2024
    • Session 3: Sunday, June 2, 2024
  • Camp dates:
    • Session 1: March 3rd – March 31st, 2024
    • Session 2: May 5th – June 2nd, 2024
    • Session 3: June 9th – July 7th, 2024

4. Rice University ELITE Tech Summer Program

Students interested in participating in the Rice University ELITE Tech summer program will have the opportunity to attend a variety of sessions each day, each on topics of interest to them. They can choose from Learning Python to Solve Engineering Problems, Robotic Engineering, Data Science in Consumer Markets, and much more. Everything taught at these sessions are college level information that are tailored to high school students, and can help prepare students for a future in a STEM major or career. 

  • Eligibility: High school students
  • Cost: $695
  • Application deadline: Rolling deadline
  • Camp dates:
    • June 17th – 21st, 2024
    • June 24th – 28th, 2024
    • July 8th – 12th, 2024
    • July 15th – 19th, 2024

5. Marist Summer Pre-College Program: Cybersecurity

The Marist Summer Pre-College Program offers high school students the necessary skills to become an ethical hacker– teaching things from general online protection to how hackers get into bank accounts and identity theft. These are all things that will provide students a step up when entering college, and give them the ability to build their resume before leaving high school. Students will also have the opportunity to gain college credit from this program as well. 

  • Eligibility: Rising juniors and seniors
  • Cost: $1,500
  • Application deadline: Rolling admission
  • Camp dates: July 8th – 26th, 2024

Liberal Arts summer camps

These programs are focused on students interested in pursuing a career in liberal arts. This could include architecture, design, or studio art

6. UCLA Art Summer Institute Programs

The UCLA Art Summer Institute Programs are made up of different courses for high school students looking to hone their art skills. They have both virtual and in person sessions. Their virtual courses are painting, drawing, video art and experimental animation, and writing for artists. For those interested in majoring in studio art or or even film communications, this may be a great option for you!

  • Eligibility: High school students who are at least 15 years of age
  • Cost: $2,385 (Students in California may be eligible for the Summer Scholars Support scholarship which is need and merit based)
  • Application deadline: Rolling admission from February 15th to June 1st, 2024
  • Camp dates:
    • Session A (virtual): June 24th – July 6th, 2024
    • Session B (in-person mandatory housing): July 7th – July 20th, 2024
    • Session C (in-person commuter): July 22nd – August 2nd, 2024

7. Dartmouth College: Creativity, Innovation, and Design

The Introduction to Design Thinking summer course at Dartmouth College is an asynchronous program that helps to immerse high school students in an environment that will equip them with the skills to creatively tackle complicated problems in the real world. Students will have the opportunity to work with distinguished Dartmouth instructors from the comfort of wherever they choose to attend the workshop from. The information being taught in this course is straight from an actual course taught at Dartmouth, made easier to understand for novice learners, but still at a collegiate level. 

  • Eligibility: Rising high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors
  • Cost: $750
  • Application deadline: Rolling admission
  • Camp dates: 2024 dates available in Spring 2024
    • Session One: TBD around August 5th – 9th
    • Session Two: TBD around August 12th – 16th

8. Virtual Architecture Summer Camp Academy

The University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee’s School of Architecture and Urban Planning offers the Virtual Architecture Summer Camp Academy fully online in recent years in light of the pandemic. This is an opportunity for dedicated high school students with interest in the field of architecture to expand their knowledge and skill set on topics such as architecture, design, and 3D design technologies. Students will learn to utilize models, drawings, text, and verbal presentation to present their findings. 

  • Eligibility: 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th grade high school students, as well as recent high school graduates
  • Cost: $550
  • Application deadline: Until program is full
  • Camp dates: August 4th -10th, 2024

General Online Summer Programs

9. Georgetown University Online Pre-College Programs

The Georgetown University Online Pre-College Programs are a series of courses offered in a variety of course topics and fields of study, including psychology, medicine, law, international relations, surgery, cybersecurity, medical research, investing, entrepreneurship, journalism, international law, and U.S. politics and government. They are now offering Live+ sessions weekly for students who have signed up for one of these pre-college programs, which includes a live session once weekly on topics in medicine or law. 

  • Eligibility: Students 13+
  • Cost: $1,795 (need-based scholarships awarded to students exhibiting high potential and an inability to pay full tuition)
  • Application deadline: Rolling admissions
  • Camp dates: Multiple length courses available throughout the year

10. UC San Diego FUTURES Programs

The FUTURES Programs offered through UC San Diego are a variety of online summer courses dedicated to high schoolers identifying their passions and career goals. They offer a wide range of programs, including, but not limited to, Android Programming, AutoCAD, Business Management, Front End Web Development, Machine Learning, and Internship Programs. These programs are offered in an online and a live-online format. UC San Diego offers scholarships to students in financial need. 

  • Eligibility: 9th – 12th grade students
  • Cost: $350 per course (scholarship opportunities are available for all Futures programs on a first-come, first-served basis)
  • Application deadline: Rolling admissions
  • Camp dates: Varies on each program

11. Columbia University Online Immersion Program

Columbia University’s Online Immersion Programs offer high school students a variety of courses on a number of topics that can help to prepare them for an Ivy League education, and get a foot in the door in their desired field of study. They offer two-week programs, including topics such as Neuroscience, Biology, Business, Writing, Engineering, Humanities, Law, and much more. They also offer one-week programs for students looking for something less lengthy, which includes a smaller range of topics, but still a great deal to choose from. This is a great opportunity to get to know distinguished Columbia faculty, and immerse yourself into a topic that interests you. 

  • Eligibility: Grades 8 through 12
  • Cost: Summer 2024 costs available in Spring 2024
    • Two-week course: $3,960
    • One-week course: $2,810
  • Application deadline: Rolling admissions
  • Camp dates:
    • Session A (2 weeks): July 1st – 12th, 2024
    • Session B (2 weeks): July 15th – 26th, 2024
    • Session C (1 week): August 5th – 9th, 2024

12. William and Mary Pre-College Online Program

William and Mary College offers a wide variety of programs for high school students to take part in. These are all online programs that make learning accessible to students all over the country, and they are offered throughout the year rather than just throughout the summer. The current courses that are available are law, medicine, psychology, and venture capital. Students will also complete a final project to demonstrate what they have learned, and they will receive a Certificate of Completion. You will also receive a mentor who can guide you through the duration of the program. 

  • Eligibility: Ages 13 and up
  • Cost: $1295 (need-based scholarships awarded to students exhibiting high potential and an inability to pay full tuition)
  • Application deadline: Rolling admissions
  • Camp dates: Dates throughout the year, depending on program

13. American University High School Summer Scholars

The High School Summer Scholars program is a great opportunity for high school students to get involved in their prospective field of study early on and take advantage of the discounted course fee to earn college credit. They offer more than 10 course options, ranging from a variety of different topics, including but not limited to data science, fundamentals of law, international diplomacy, and oceanography. Students can enroll in more than one course, but first must gain permission from the institution. All materials required for the course are available online at no extra cost. 

  • Eligibility: Rising sophomores, juniors and seniors with a GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • Cost: $965 per course
  • Application deadline: Rolling admissions
  • Camp dates: June 17th – July 26th, 2024, depending on program

14. University of Massachusetts Amherst Online Pre-College Programs

The Online Pre-College Programs at UMass Amherst are designed to give high school students a taste of college life at the University of Massachusetts. Students have the opportunity to indulge in college level academics, and be a part of a community of high school students from around the country who are trying to get ahead in their college years. These sessions meet both synchronous and asynchronous, and all materials can be accessed online. The Online Pre-College Programs offer courses such as 2D and 3D Watercolor Making in Architecture and Landscape Architecture, How Business Works, Sports Management and Leadership Academy, and much more. 

  • Eligibility: Rising high school sophomores through seniors
  • Cost: $1,865 (scholarships available for students in need of financial assistance)
  • Application deadline: Rolling admissions
  • Camp dates: July 15th – 26th, 2024

15. National History Academy Summer Sessions

The National History Academy Summer Sessions are a college preparatory experience for high school students. Each session lasts one week, and it is a comprehensive learning experience– students do not have to participate in all four weeks, they can select which topics interest them. Topics include the making of the U.S. constitution, The New York Constitutional Convention of 1846, the struggle over public education in early American history, and The Pecora Hearings. This is a great program for students interested in pursuing a career in history and/or history buffs. 

  • Eligibility: Rising 10th, 11th, 12th grade students and recent high school graduates
  • Cost: $95 per each one week session (scholarships for students who demonstrate financial need are available)
  • Application deadline: Rolling deadline
  • Camp dates: (2024 dates not yet available, dates shown are from 2023)
    • Week one: July 10th – 14th
    • Week two: July 17th – 21st
    • Week three: July 24th – 28th
    • Week four: July 31st – August 4th

Next Steps

Next Steps

  • Start reaching out to teachers and mentors for recommendation letters
  • Look through each application essay and start to formulate a list of ideas
  • Begin looking at financial aid options if necessary
  • Apply for more than one summer program if you can– even if you don’t go to all of them, it is great to have backups
  • Check back with us for more resources to help you continue your education, including our high school checklist, our guide on when to start applying to colleges, and how to improve your SAT score.
  • Submit your applications to each of the summer camps that interest you!
  • Apply for all the scholarships you qualify for while you are eligible and have a great summer!
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