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Top Pre-College Programs for High School Students
You’ve probably come across at least a few programs during your college search that invite students to come to campus for a week or two and experience college life. While those programs are great and can be very beneficial, some students want more. In this article, we’ll go through a list of programs for high schoolers that go beyond just the traditional summer programs you may be familiar with!
Before we jump in…
Before we jump in, we just want to make a quick note about the programs we’ve listed below. We aimed to choose programs that have no cost and may even include a stipend for you during the program or after. However, because these programs are paid for through donors and scholarships, they are slightly more competitive than some other pre college programs you may come across. Okay, now let’s jump in!
The US Senate Youth Program is a very prestigious program that invites two students from each state to participate in a week-long program in Washington, D.C. In order to participate in this program you’ll need to do some planning. All selected students need to have held elected positions in their school, or community and have a strong academic record.
Cost: This program has no cost and winners are awarded a $10,000 scholarship for their future undergraduate studies
Dates: March 2nd-9th, 2024
Deadline to apply: The deadline for the 2024 dates has passed, but applications are usually do in the beginning of December
The US Senate Page Program, which is different from the program mentioned above, is unlike any other program on this list! This program offers sessions that take place during the summer and during the fall or spring semesters. During this program students will still be full time students, as well as working pages in the US Senate. Students pay for room and board, but will also be paid a salary while they work as a page. This program is certainly worth looking into!
Cost: Students will need to pay monthly room and board. However, they also receive a salary while they work
Dates: Session dates vary based on the semester you choose
Deadline to apply: Deadlines vary by state, contact your senators office for more information
The National Park Service is a great way to spend your summer, a semester, or even just a few weeks of your time. The National Park Service offers tons of programs for students as young as 15 years old. These can be a great way to build up your college application and gain valuable experience in a field that interests you.
Cost: Varies, some positions are paid, some are not
Dates: Varies by program
Deadline to apply: Varies by program
This program is based at Boston University and invites students to study mathematics for six weeks. Students must be at least 14 years of age and have completed ninth grade in order to be eligible to participate. The application includes a problem set that students must solve, as well as transcripts, a letter of recommendation, and a short answer form.
Cost: $6,100 (For students whose families make less than $80,000 the program will be no cost)
Dates: June 30 – August 4, 2024
Deadline to apply: March 1, 2024
MITES is a program hosted by MIT to help students get acquainted with the STEM field. Participants gain a solid foundation that they can take into college. MIT offers three programs for students that all offer different levels of commitment. Students who are local can participate in MITES Saturdays, while others can complete in person summer long programs, or the MITES hybrid semester program. If STEM is an area of interest to you, this program should definitely be something you look into!
Cost: All programs come at no cost to students
Dates: Vary depending on the program you choose
Deadline to apply: Varies depending on the program you choose
The Asian American Journalists Association partners with American University in Washington D.C. to host JCamp. JCamp is a seven-day multicultural journalism training program for high school students. This week-long program is designed to give students real training by veteran journalists. Students recieve a real life view of what a career in journalism might look like. The application process requires several essays and a video which will be reviewed by several people, so be sure to take your time when it comes to applying.
Cost: No cost
Dates: August 3-9, 2024
Deadline to apply: March 1, 2024
The Anson L. Clark Scholars Program is a seven week research program at Texas Tech University for high school juniors and seniors. Students can conduct research in a variety of areas, including, but not limited to, nutritional sciences, neurobiology, and computer sciences.
Cost: No cost, students receive a $750 stipend upon completion of a successful research program
Dates: June 16 – August 1, 2024
Deadline to apply: February 15, 2024
At the Hk Maker Lab students go through a five week program taught by the Columbia University engineering faculty. Students must submit an application and then be invited to interview in order to participate in the program. Students who complete the Hk Marker Lab will be eligible for a paid internship the following summer.
Cost: No cost
Dates: July 8 – August 13, 2024
Deadline to apply: January 15, 2024 (Priority deadline), February 29, 2024 (Regular deadline)
The Stanford Institutes of Medicine Summer Research Program is an eight week program for high school juniors and seniors to perform real research with Stanford faculty. During this time students will get a first-hand look at how medical research is performed and what a career in research might look like. Students must be a US citizen that is at least 16 years or older. Depending on the area of research, students will receive a stipend between $500 and $1500 at the end of the summer.
Cost: No cost
Dates: June 10 – August 1, 2024
Deadline to apply: February 24, 2024
The Telluride Association Summer Seminar is a free six week program that focuses on teaching students about critical thinking and democratic community. During this program students will attend college level seminars that include lecturing, as well as discussion based learning. Outside of class you will get to live with and enjoy your community of peers through planning activities and community service projects. This year’s seminar is being hosted at the University of Michigan.
Cost: No cost
Dates: June 23 – August 3, 2024
Deadline to apply: January 3, 2024
Frequently asked questions about pre college programs for high school students
What summer programs look best for college?
Why are pre college programs important?
Are ivy league summer programs worth it?