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Top 10 Summer Programs 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. But, taking part in in-person summer camps may sound daunting because you don’t want to give up your summer. For this reason, online summer camps can be the perfect route for you. 

What is a high school 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. Summer programs can be beneficial in your freshman and sophomore years of high school to develop interests. During junior and senior years, attending a summer program can be a positive thing to add to a college resume.

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. Don’t forget to check out local offerings as well. 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. 

Top summer camps for high school students

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 application is now open.

  • Eligibility: Students entering 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th grade (must be over the age of 14)
  • Cost:
    • On-campus session: $1,225, includes lunch (limited scholarships are available to Yonkers Public School students)
    • Virtual: $825
  • Application deadline: TBD
  • Camp dates:
    •  July Session (Virtual): July 10–July 14, 2023
    • August Session (On Campus): August 7–August 11, 2023
  • Location: Bronxville, New York or virtual

2. Indiana University Kelley Women’s Leadership Institute

The Kelley Women’s Leadership Institute program introduces young women to business career opportunities through workshops taught by Kelley School of Business faculty at Indiana University. Areas of study include international business, entrepreneurship, finance, and more. The program is open to female students finishing their junior year of high school (rising seniors). The application for the current high school seniors program is set to open on June 14th, 2023. This program is funded by the Kelley School of Business, but students are expected to cover their own transportation, housing, and personal expenses. 

  • Eligibility: Must be a rising senior in high school with a GPA of 3.5 or higher on a 4.0 scale
  • Cost: Free
  • Application deadline: August, 23rd, 2023
  • Camp dates: October 6th, 2023
  • Location: Bloomington, Indiana

3. Ohio Pre-College Summer Arts Programs

The Pre-College Summer Arts Programs at Ohio University are a series of summer workshops that provide opportunities for high school students to get on campus and dive into their passions in the arts. These workshops include, but are not limited to, dance, music, art and design, film, theater, and much more. Each workshop is a week long and includes a residential stay on campus, can be a great opportunity to meet other students in your prospective major, and can be a great resume building experience. 

  • Eligibility: Students aged 14-18 (must be 16+ to enroll in the dance program)
  • Cost: Varies depending on program, between $375-$675, with a meal plan at an additional cost (financial aid or merit scholarships available to those who qualify)
  • Application deadline: Rolling enrollment
  • Camp dates: Varies depending on program
    • June 4th – 17th, 2023
    • June 25th – July 1st, 2023
  • Location: Athens, Ohio

4. Georgia Tech Pre-College Design Program

The Georgia Tech Pre-College Design Program is a two-week in-person program for students to build skills needed for careers in the field of design. The Building Construction program exists to show that there can be more to a degree in construction than just construction sites– it can teach skills in emerging technologies, project management, and provide career opportunities outside of the field. They also offer full and partial program scholarships to students with financial need. 

  • Eligibility: Rising high school juniors and seniors
  • Cost: $2,500 and a deposit of $250 (full and partial scholarships are available)
  • Application deadline: Until program is full
  • Camp dates: July 9th – July 21st, 2023
  • Location: Atlanta, Georgia

5. 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: $475
  • Application deadline: Until program is full
  • Camp dates: July 30th – August 4th, 2023
  • Location: Online

6. Rensselaer Summer Architecture Career Discovery Program

At the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute high school two week architectural program, rising high school juniors and seniors have the opportunity to participate in an immersive learning experience to expose students to what a high level collegiate architectural program looks like. Students can choose between the in-person or online two-week program. The first week of the camp focuses on studio work, where students will participate in lectures, presentations and projects, whereas the second week of the program is all about utilizing the computer as a design tool. 

  • Eligibility: Rising high school juniors and seniors
  • Cost: $1,300
  • Application deadline: Rolling applications on a first come first serve basis
  • Camp dates:
    • In-Person program: July 10-21, 2023
    • Online Program: July 24-August 4, 2023
  • Location: Troy, New York or virtual

7. Drexel University Entrepreneurship Summer Institutes

The Drexel University Entrepreneurship Summer Institutes are a great opportunity for students who are interested in learning more about how to create entrepreneurial solutions to the world’s problems. Students will have the chance to get hands-on in the field and hear from important leaders in the field. The finale of this camp is a pitch project presentation where students can present their work to their family and friends at the conclusion of the week. 

  • Eligibility: Rising high school juniors and seniors
  • Cost: $500
  • Application deadline: June 18th, 2023
  • Camp dates: July 17th – 21st, 2023
  • Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

8. University of Colorado Boulder Video Production Camp

The Video Production Camp at CU teaches students professional skills in video production, from documentary pre-production, production, and post production, to story development and camera operation. Students have the opportunity to create a documentary during the duration of the camp with professional scientists who will help them through this hands-on-work. This is not a residential program, so students are encouraged to pack a backpack with the things they will need throughout each day. 

  • Eligibility: Students up to 12th grade
  • Cost: $625
  • Application deadline: Online registration closes on June 30th, 2023
  • Camp dates: July 10th – 14th, 2023
  • Location: Boulder, Colorado

9. Wake Forest Health and Wellbeing Institute

For many students interested in going into the field of public health, it can be difficult to find opportunities to get involved in the field in high school. However, Wake Forest offers an immersive experience for students to experience being on campus while learning about topics such as nutrition, movement, mindfulness, and the public health career field. Students will also be able to tour the grounds of the campus, hear from multiple panels of both students and experts, and attend occupational and financial workshops.

  • Eligibility: Current 9th – 12th grade high school students
  • Cost: $2,800 (Need-based scholarships are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis)
  • Application deadline: Rolling deadline
  • Camp dates:
    • Session 1: June 18th – 23rd, 2023
    • Session 2: July 9th – 14th, 2023
  • Location: Winston-Salem, North Carolina

10. Dartmouth College: Creativity, Innovation, and Design

The Introduction to Design Thinking summer course at Dartmouth College is an online, 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 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. The material is made easier to understand for novice learners, but still is at a collegiate level. 

  • Eligibility: Rising high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors
  • Cost: $750 (a small number of scholarships are available)
  • Application deadline: Rolling admission
  • Camp dates:
    • Session One: August 7th – 10th, 2023
    • Session Two: August 14th – 17th, 2023
  • Location: Virtual

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