College Prep & Career Impact Coaching

Summer Programs for High School Students

Two weeks before Christmas hardly seems the time to be making summer plans, but the snow falling outside my window this morning is a vivid reminder that it is never too early to dream about summertime. In fact, the holiday break provides students (and parents) with the perfect opportunity to research the incredible number of summer programs available on college campuses.

There is no shortage of opportunity for high school students to spend time on a college campus during the summer months. Over the past decade, colleges and universities throughout the country have increasingly made use of their vast facilities during the traditionally deserted summer months. Most of these programs are very profitable for those running them and will accept any student who shows interest and can pay the tuition. Too often they are simply expensive summer camps that may offer enrichment but do not deliver on the promises of exclusivity and college resume building. 

Even those programs that are held on an Ivy League Campus or use names similar to (but not affiliated with) National Honor Society, offer no benefit or differentiation when it comes to college application and acceptance. In fact, college admissions counselors generally view participation in these types of programs as evidence of means rather than evidence of special ability.

Fortunately there is a growing number of selective summer programs that are offered at no/low cost, admit high achieving high school students on the basis of merit only and will really stand out on a college application.

Obviously it is not necessary to attend a summer program to earn admission into any college or university. Often an internship, college course or even a summer job is more appropriate or necessary. Students seeking an on campus summer program experience would be very well served to explore a program that can help them to stand out rather than a very expensive glorified summer camp.

Below is a non-exhaustive list of merit based summer programs:

Bank of America Student Leaders

Boston University – Research in Science & Engineering (RISE)

Canada/USA Mathcamp

Carnegie Mellon – Summer Academy for Math + Science (SAMS)

Cronkite Institute for High School Journalism: Summer Journalism Institute

Foundation for Teaching Economics – Economics for Leaders (EFL)

Garcia Scholars – Stony Brook University

Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Camp

Hampshire College Summer Studies in Mathematics (HCSSIM)

Indiana University – Young Women’s Institute

Jackson Laboratory – Summer Student Program

JCamp - For Journalism students


Massachusetts Institute of Technology – Minority Introduction to Science and Engineering (MITES)

MathILy – Bryn Mawr College

MDI Biological Laboratory Summer Research Fellowship

Michigan Math and Science Scholars

Michigan State University – High School Honors Science, Math and Engineering Program (HSHSP)

MIT Research Science Institute

Monell Center Science Apprenticeship Program

National Institutes of Health – Summer Internship in Biomedical Research (SIP)

Ohio State University – Ross Mathematics Program

Princeton University – Summer Journalism Program

Program in Mathematics for Young Scientists (PROMYS)

Simons Summer Research Program

Stanford Institutes of Medicine Summer Research Program (SIMR)

Stanford University Mathematics Camp (SUMaC)

Telluride Association Summer Program (TASP)

Texas Tech University – Clark Scholars

University of Iowa – Secondary Student Training Program (SSTP)

University of Notre Dame – Leadership Seminars

University of Pennsylvania – Leadership in the Business World

U.S. Air Force Academy – Summer Seminar

U.S. Coast Guard Academy – Academy Introduction Mission (AIM)

U.S. Military Academy – Summer Leaders Experience

U.S. Naval Academy – Summer Seminar

Yale Young Global Scholars


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