Updated: 23 March 2022
There are countless summer opportunities. (We use the term "summer" in accordance with the global north since most universities will reference summer as the time in between grades, in June, July, and August!) It can be hard narrowing down the wide-range of options available. Before choosing a program, students should reflect on their academic interests, extracurricular activities, and personal passions in order to steer them towards the "right" summer program for them. Getting on a college campus can be an added bonus, but is not absolutely necessary. Here are some questions to consider to help you narrow down the options:
- Do you have a skill, passion, or interest that you want to learn more about? (e.g. biology, genetics, gardening, game theory, knitting, scuba diving, women's rights, anything!)
- Do you want to try something new that you haven't had an opportunity to try yet? (e.g. theater, film, coding, Mandarin, horseback riding, creative writing, etc.)
- Where do you want to be for the summer? Where can you go to explore multiple interests? (e.g: improving your Italian and visiting college in Europe while attending a summer program in Florence)
- What kind of setting appeals to you? (e.g. learning inside a classroom, hiking through mountains, doing community service, working with younger students)
Above all else you should enjoy your summer, no matter the opportunity you choose to pursue. If you are doing what you love, then you will! Also consider programs that push you outside of your comfort zone by interacting with others different from your closest social circles, by engaging with material that challenges you, or by situating you in an unfamiliar environment. There is much to learn from these experiences! Also pay special attention to age requirements as many programs require students to be 16 years old or older to attend residential programs.
The Office of College Counseling can help by discussing possible opportunities and by assisting with proofreading essays/applications as well as producing letters of recommendation, transcripts, etc. Let us know how we can help!
Below is a list of programs in two categories: first are “vetted programs,” which are those that the Office of College Counseling has had positive experiences with students attending in the past; second are “unvetted programs,” which are ones with which we have no previous experience but that merit your attention. We do not officially endorse any particular programs.
- AFS-USA - With a network spanning 45+ countries and 70+ years of connecting lives across cultures, we have the scope and experience to offer authentic, immersive ways for young travelers to study abroad and live around the world. Our 150+ high school study abroad programs are led by locals in the communities you’ll join. AFS staff, volunteers, and host families will welcome you to a second home. To us, studying and living abroad is about becoming a global citizen. Over 100 years ago, the founders of AFS discovered the importance of intercultural exchange. Today, you can be part of their legacy and join the 500,000 alumni who proudly call themselves AFSers.
- Andover Summer - is widely recognized as one of the nation’s premier summer academic enrichment programs, helping students from across the United States and around the world to achieve ambitious educational goals. Phillips Academy’s flagship summer program, an intensive five week on-campus residential experience, is designed to prepare students for the rigors of the nation’s top high schools and colleges, as well as the challenge of leading and serving in this complex world.
- ARCC - For 40 years, ARCC has offered extraordinary summer programs for teens. ARCC offers 33 summer program options on five continents. Our summer travel programs for teens take place between June and August and last from two to four weeks. We work diligently to ensure the sense of discovery and adventure is genuine throughout all our summer programs. By traveling to locations rarely visited by outsiders, we are able to provide unique, immersive, and educational experiences for our students.
- Boston University Summer Journalism Academy - Students are challenged to step outside their comfort zone and experience life as a working journalist. In the past, our students spoke with policymakers, reported from a massive immigration march, and highlighted issues affecting teens during the pandemic. They learned how to interview strangers, ask probing questions, and assemble information in a concise story with a deadline.
- Culver Summer Academy - Founded in 1902, Culver Summer Schools and Camps is a fun- ﬁlled, naturally beautiful 1,800-acre setting where over 1,400 young people from around the world, ages 7-17, develop positive self-esteem through accomplishment and self discipline. It is a high challenge-high support environment for learning leadership skills that improve personal conﬁdence.
- International Leadership, Enrichment and Development Program (iLED) @ Notre Dame - iLED is a two-week high school curriculum taught by the faculty at the University of Notre Dame with a focus on international leadership. Students take courses at all colleges in different subjects. Students also enjoy many extracurricular opportunities that include a day trip to Chicago, Q&A sessions with Undergrad Admissions, panel discussion with ND undergrad, talent show, color run, etc.
- Outward Bound - Outward Bound USA is the leading provider of outdoor education programs that allow young people to explore their personal potential, since 1962. From expeditions in some of the most remote locations in the U.S. to programs in local schools and neighborhoods, young people nationwide are cultivating a passion for learning, and discovering greater success in school, work and life.
- Oxford Summer Courses - This is the gold standard for summer preparation for IB courses. This program offers pre-IB courses to boost confidence and ability ahead of beginning IB course work in specific subjects (summer before grade 11) as well as mid-IB revision courses for students trying to review difficult work from grade 11 or to prepare for the demands of grade 12 (summer before grade 12). They also offer revision courses for students sitting for re-tests. Most of their programming is online now.
- Prague Film School - Covering screenwriting, directing, camera, editing and sound, the four-week summer workshops at Prague Film School are designed to lead the student from story idea to finished short film. The first two weeks of the program are classroom-based – introducing the fundamentals of directing, screenwriting, editing, cinematography and sound while also prepping students for their end-of- workshop short film. Each student writes and directs his or her own short while also working on other student productions in various crew capacities. The third week, students shoot their films. The final week of the program, students edit their films, all of which are screened at a public cinema and reviewed by the faculty.
- Northfield Mount Hermon Summer Session - It’s all about focus. You’ll choose one subject and dig into it with inspiring teachers, motivated peers, and small classes. You’ll make real progress. In fact, we think you’ll be amazed by what you can accomplish. Some courses cover a full academic year of content, so there are opportunities to earn credit and prepare to move to the next level.
- Schoolhouse - This program by Khan Academy connects student tutors with students looking for assistance. On one hand, students might consider registering to become a tutor through this program to provide support to others. On the other, students looking to make good use of their summer time to brush up on academic skills could benefit from attending sessions.
- Sewanee Pre-College Summer Programs - From the arts, to field-work, to creative writing, Sewanee's pre-college programs give high school students a taste of life on the Domain during one of the most beautiful times of the year.
- Summer Discovery - Summer Discovery is the world’s leading pre-college summer program provider for students grades 6-12. For over 56 years, we have welcomed students from around the world to our exciting high school pre-college and middle school summer enrichment programs. We offer over 300+ courses at prestigious universities and colleges in the US and UK. From courses in surfing the Pacific, to in-depth studies in science, business, medicine, and more - we prepare students for college and career success. And… our own Ms. Sayler previously worked summers at four different campuses over many years! Ask her about it!
- Understanding Ireland, Socially, Culturally & Economically (UISCE) - Pronounced “ish-KA,” this program engages students with cultural experiences in Ireland and Northern Ireland that cultivate leadership skills as well as a broader understanding of peace and conflict resolution. Mr. Neill serves on the advisory board for UISCE! Ask him about it!
- Yale Young Global Scholars - YYGS is an academic enrichment program for outstanding high school students from around the world. Each summer, students from over 150 countries (including all 50 U.S. states) participate in one interdisciplinary, two-week session online or at Yale’s historic campus. Immerse yourself in a global learning community at Yale University.
- Young Writers Summer Workshops @ Kenyon - The Young Writers Summer Residential Workshop is an intensive two-week workshop for intellectually curious, motivated high-school students who are eager to develop their creative and critical abilities with language—to become better, more productive writers and more insightful thinkers.
- Academic Camp. Academic Camp is a team of experienced professionals who are passionate about offering inspiring and challenging academic camps for adventurers, explorers and engagers aged 7-17.Our camps are accredited to guarantee quality, and enjoyable with an amazing mix of the academic with trips, sports and activities. You can study in the UK, Canada , Germany or Switzerland.
- Bocconi Summer School - You can choose between attending our Summer School on campus or online. You'll have a choice of 10 different labs for the on-campus edition or 6 labs for the online edition: select 2 subjects (all taught in English) to pursue your areas of interest or try out something new.
- Horizon Academic Research Program (HARP) works with highly motivated grade 10-12 students in creating university-level research projects and manuscripts and pairs students together with professors, research scientists, and PhDs who act as expert research advisors for each student. Students may choose from 350+ research specializations, spanning STEM, social sciences, and humanities. Students benefit from research for a variety of reasons: personal exploration, getting firsthand experience with a contemplated major, or profile-building for university applications. Students who write exceptionally strong manuscripts have the opportunity to pursue external publication and other forms of recognition to help them stand out in their future careers.
- Lumiere - Lumiere is a program where talented high school students work with world-class researchers on independent research projects. These projects can be in fields as varied as humanities, STEM, social sciences, AI, and business. We’ve had about 1500 students from 26 countries apply to the program. We have had students publish their research, submit to selective research competitions, and get into schools like MIT, Stanford, and Harvard.
- NOVA Summer School Lisbon - Based in Lisbon, one of the world's top cities, our Summer School welcomes students 16-19 years of age. Our summer course gives students from around the world a chance to bridge the gap between high school and their next step in life. During two weeks students will learn how to manage money, communicate effectively, navigate technology, build a business and other vital life skills.
- Silicon Valley Bootcamp - One week, 5 universes. An exciting immersion into the Silicon Valley lifestyle and business. A mind-opening program for high school students around the world. Technology, entrepreneurship and career advice from those who made incredible dreams come true. Guided tours of accelerators, technology companies, robotics, aerospace and the best universities in Silicon Valley.
- Summer Entrepreneurship Institute @ DePaul - For two weeks, students attend entrepreneurship workshops led by faculty in the Driehaus College of Business, in partnership with the Coleman Center of Entrepreneurship at DePaul University, and the Lesley H. and William L. Collins College of Professional Studies (CCPS) at St. John's University. Students will be encouraged to start a project from the beginning of formulating and designing a business idea, product or service using design thinking, and will work through the stages of ideation, market research, prototyping, costing and production to finalize the project. Workshops will alternate ideation/prototyping workshops with business analysis and planning for the realization of a project work culminating in a Microproject Competition to be judged by faculty from both Colleges and external experts. The program is designed following an entrepreneurial accelerator format including plenty of hands-on and practical sessions to simulate the typical stages of development of innovative ideas. The program features off-campus excursions including some of the most famous historical and cultural sites in Chicago and NYC. Students are safely housed in secure housing facilities and supervised 24/7 by program staff. See this flyer as well.
- USC Summer Programs. USC Summer Programs extends a tradition of excellence to outstanding high school students through a diverse offering of 4-week summer courses. Accepted students to the USC Summer Programs will balance academic and campus life, have access to USC faculty who are leaders in their fields and explore growing academic passions at the university level.
If you are a student/parent and have feedback about these or other programs not listed, please contact the OCC. Additionally, if you are interested in having your program listed here, please contact us at email@example.com.