Updated: January 16, 2023
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 the northern hemisphere, which is typically 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)
- Do you want to pursue fine or performing arts at the university level? If so, you may want to explore opportunities that will help with potential portfolio or audition requirements.
- Are you a talented athlete who may want to continue competing at the university level? There are athletic identification camps where university coaches offer instruction on skills development and begin recruiting students (please discuss with your college counselor if you think you may be interested).
It’s important to understand that no one experience listed above or below is better than any other. 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 enjoy the summer! 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, and/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! (The social-emotional counselors will be responsible for letters of recommendation for students in grades 9 and 10.)
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.
- Brown University Pre-College Programs - Brown Pre-College Programs are designed for high school students to explore the challenges and opportunities of the college experience. You’ll enjoy the excitement and responsibility that comes from balancing challenging academics and enriching social activities—without the pressure of formal grades.
- Carnegie Mellon University Pre-College Programs - The mission of the Carnegie Mellon University Pre-College Programs is to provide high school students with a life-changing immersive college experience both inside and outside of the classroom. Students have a chance to take college-level classes in over thirty different disciplines or participate in experiential programs from wide-ranging fields of study.
- Columbia University Summer Pre-College Programs - Columbia's Pre-College Programs can engage an area of interest, broaden horizons and help prepare students for applying to, and entering, college. Learn more and encourage your students to apply as early as possible. Courses frequently fill up before the application deadlines.
- 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.
- EHL Summer Academy - With opportunities in Switzerland, Singapore, and online, these pre-university summer courses are an ideal opportunity for students interested in business or hospitality industry or who are interested in EHL, the world’s premier hospitality business school. Whilst the focus of many sessions is hospitality, these unique courses are suitable for any student aged 14 – 19 (from 16 only for on-campus camps) with an interest in business, management, luxury, sustainability as well as culinary arts. See their poster here.
- HE+ - The HE+ website brings you exciting “supercurricular” resources created and written by Cambridge students and academics including challenging activities, engaging videos, reflective questions and much more. Our content is aimed at school-aged students looking to go beyond the school curriculum and discover their passion for a subject today. This is an amazing resource for students, and, while not explicitly a summer program, the HE+ website is one that students can and should access throughout the summer to explore academic interests!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Pre-College Summer Programs at Boston University - Explore this incredible array of outstanding programs:
- High School Honors is a six-week residential, commuter, or online program in which students take Boston University undergraduate courses and earn up to 8 transferable college credits. Students must be entering their junior or senior year of high school in fall 2023.
- RISE Internship/Practicum is a six-week, non-credit residential or commuter program in which students conduct scientific research in a university lab under the guidance of a faculty mentor. Students must be entering their senior year of high school in fall 2023.
- Academic Immersion (AIM) is a three-week, non-credit residential or commuter program for students to focus intensively on a single academic topic while experiencing life on a college campus. This summer we are offering three AIM tracks: Introduction to Experimental Psychology; Introduction to Medicine; and Creative Writing. Each track combines classroom work in the subject area with hands-on experiential learning activities. Students must be entering their junior or senior year of high school in fall 2023.
- Summer Challenge is a two-week residential or online program in which students take two non-credit seminars of their choice and experience college life. Students must be entering their sophomore, junior, or senior year of high school in fall 2023.
- Summer Preview is a one-week, non-credit residential or commuter program in which students explore one subject of interest while previewing the college experience. Students must be entering eighth grade or their freshman or sophomore year of high school in fall 2023.
- 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! (And be sure to explore their newest program, Career Accelerators!) Be sure to check out this program in particular:
- University of Pennsylvania Jerome Fisher Program in Management & Technology Summer Institute
- 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.
- ACU Rising Scholars - Rising Scholars is a unique, pre-college program that Abilene Christian University is offering to current high school freshmen, sophomores and juniors. This coming summer, ACU is providing multiple opportunities for high-performing students to earn one hour of college credit while developing academically, growing spiritually and forming lasting friendships with students from all over the U.S. We are offering sessions on campus in Abilene, Texas, in the mountains of New Mexico, and abroad in England, France and Germany. These courses, taught by some of ACU’s best faculty, cover a broad range of topics that include chemistry, physics, pre-law and photography. For more information and a complete list of courses and programs, please visit acu.edu/rising-scholars. If interested, apply as soon as possible. Space is limited, and applications will close January 15.
- Babson Summer Study for High School Students - The Online Babson Summer Study (July 7 - July 28, 2023) will help high school students cultivate core career skills and a sharp entrepreneurial mindset for overcoming challenges in any setting, in any role while earning 4-college credits from Babson College, the top-ranked college for entrepreneurship. Babson Summer Study is designed for rising high school juniors and seniors to help them cultivate core career skills and a sharp entrepreneurial mindset for overcoming challenges in any setting, in any role. Students will participate in interactive online sessions with Babson faculty, world renown entrepreneurship experts, and Babson students while designing a social impact solution with peers from around the world. They will also learn how to apply Babson's Entrepreneurial Thought & Action® framework for solving problems, and develop the leadership competencies needed to address real-world problems. Additionally, through Summer Study, students will:
- Learn how to assess their abilities and passions to determine which ones they want to strengthen
- Learn about the U. N. Global Goals and how they connect to challenges in their own communities
- Develop prototypes of their solutions, deliver a Rocket Pitch, and evaluate the feasibility of their team's social impact solution
- Berkeley Changemaker Summer 2023 Pre-College Program (select Pre-College at the top of the screen) - The Berkeley Changemaker pre-college track offers international and domestic high school students the opportunity to live on campus and enjoy the summer at Berkeley. The program draws from, and builds on, elements that make UC Berkeley unique, including a singular history for leading inclusively and an agency for making society better. Our curriculum, centered on critical thinking, communication, and collaboration, activates our students’ passions and helps them to develop a sharper sense of who they want to be and how to make that happen. The goal of the Berkeley Changemaker pre-college experience is to inspire students to think more entrepreneurially and critically to impact positive change, no matter where their aspirations may lead them! In addition to a sound curriculum, students will also have the opportunity to participate in social activities, scavenger hunts and local excursions while building an amazing network of friends and colleagues from around the world.
- 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.
- Georgetown University Pre-College Online Program - At Georgetown, we believe that you’re more than a mind. You’re an individual with unique talents, dreams, and passions. Our long-held Jesuit tradition of cura personalis means "care for the whole person," and our goal in creating these new online courses is to provide a holistic experience for you. As an individual with unique talents, dreams and passions, you deserve the opportunity to develop and refine what makes you you. If you are intrigued by a certain subject and would like to explore it in-depth before college, here is your chance. Georgetown University now offers pre-college online courses for high school students ages 13 and older. Each features dynamic video lessons by renowned Georgetown faculty and access to mentors. The program is available year-round, and the online format enables you to study anywhere, anytime, at your own pace. New this summer are two exciting courses:
- Medicine: An Inside Look at Treating Patients: Explore treatment plans for three cases: a kidney transplant, vascular disease, and cancer. Students will review the techniques of both integrative and complementary medicine and design a healthcare team for a patient scenario.
- Journalism and Media in the Digital Age: Delves into the fast-paced world of journalism. Students will learn the fundamentals of the field—from recognizing the elements of an accurate, compelling, and fair story to key ethics and laws. They’ll explore the various news platforms—print, digital, social media, video—and craft their own news story on the platform of their choice to demonstrate their knowledge.
- Glion & Les Roches Summer Programs in Hospitality. Our Summer Experience courses are designed to introduce you to the essence of hospitality. From getting hands on in the kitchen, to learning how to put an event together and expanding your knowledge of the luxury hospitality business, you’ll take part in interactive workshops, industry field trips and extracurricular activities. Our courses attract students from all over the world, so you’ll meet people from diverse backgrounds and make lifelong friends, while having an unforgettable summer. Be sure to explore both institution’s offerings and opportunities!
- 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.
- Iacocca Global Entrepreneurship Intensive (IGEI) @ Lehigh - IGEI offers students an intensive summer experience where international and U.S. high school students come together in a collaborative digital environment for learning opportunities, workshops, and design labs, which will strengthen their skills in leadership, entrepreneurial design thinking, and global citizenship. The activities include: A real consulting team project to solve a challenge for an international client; College-level workshops with Lehigh faculty, global entrepreneurs, and expert professionals; A “deep dive” into a chosen focus area of Sustainability, Population Health, or Product Design; A personal strengths-based leadership assessment and coaching workshop; Cultural exchange, virtual tours, and fun activities with your virtual roommate, fellow IGEIers from around the world, and Lehigh University student mentors.The IGEI program runs from June 27 - July 22, with both synchronous and asynchronous activities occurring each weekday.
- 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.
- Northeastern University’s Accelerate Pre-College Programs - Northeastern University’s Accelerate Pre-College residential Boston and Oakland campus programs are taught by our internationally acclaimed faculty, allowing students to gain extensive, hands-on, experiential education in subjects including engineering, health sciences, ethics & emerging technologies, entrepreneurship, and more. Accelerate Pre-College Programs combine innovative content, experiential learning, and a world-class environment—giving talented high school students a true Northeastern experience.
- 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. Students can choose from a wide range of thematic weeks across Media & Social Issues, Scientific & Technological Evolution, Life Sciences & Health, Entrepreneurship & Business.
- Oxford Royale Academy - Students about to embark on their academic career are searching for the opportunity to experience life at the world's top universities. Oxford Royale summer school students live, dine and study in some of the best-known and most well-respected universities in the world. From the spires and quadrangles of Oxford to the cobbled streets of Cambridge, the cosmopolitan buzz of London and the academic aura of Yale, it's a dream come true to study in such prestigious locations.
- Parsons Paris Summer Program - Summer is a perfect time for motivated high school students to start thinking about college. Parsons Paris’ application period for summer is now open. Our online pre-college programs help students ages 13 and older explore their interests. Through participating in our courses, students can find out if their interests could lead to a college major or even a career. Parsons is a global leader in fashion industry education. Our aim is to help students develop a signature voice in this evolving field while learning methods for bringing beautiful, responsibly made, and relevant work to light.
- Parsons Summer Intensive Studies - Get ready for summer at Parsons! Preview all Summer Intensive Studies courses now on our website. Whether you're a high school student, college student, budding or experienced creative professional, or entrepreneur, you’ll benefit from our popular hands-on intensives at the #1-ranked design school in the U.S. Find out how you can learn with us and earn credit next summer!
- Rhodes College Summer Writing Institute - The Summer Writing Institute at Rhodes College takes place annually for two weeks during June and is a residential academic program committed to developing the critical thinking and writing skills of high school students. Within the college′s liberal arts environment, students sharpen their reading and analytical skills and learn strategies for writing creatively and critically. At the end of the session, students receive a grade for their work and class participation, earn two college credits (transferable to most colleges and universities), and will complete a portfolio of college-level writing.
- Scripps Howard Emerging Journalists Program at Elon - For students curious about what it means to be a journalist, reporting and producing news that informs communities, the Scripps Howard Emerging Journalists Program at Elon University provides the ideal platform to explore their media interests. Thanks to financial support from the Scripps Howard Fund, Elon’s School of Communications established a free, educational initiative to inspire high school students to embark on journalism careers. The goal is to engage hundreds of high school students from around the country, providing hands-on journalism experience. Through the program’s virtual Exposure component, students will participate in four interactive learning sessions and build foundational journalism skills. The second phase of the program, Immersion, brings high school juniors to Elon for a summer on-campus residential learning workshop. Additionally, students who complete the Immersion program will be assigned two mentors — an Elon communications student and a professional journalist — to help identify, report and produce multimedia stories during their senior year of high school.
- 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.
- UW–Madison Badger Precollege - Badger Precollege offers a suite of residential, commuter and online programs designed to inspire high school students — in subjects ranging from art and psychology to forensics and computer science. In addition to an engaging academic challenge, Badger Precollege helps students prepare for college success, experience life as a Badger and meet new friends — all from the top-ranked UW–Madison. Need-based scholarships are available for most programs.
- Wharton Global Youth Program - The Wharton Global Youth Program mobilizes the extensive opportunities of the Wharton academic community to educate and inspire pre-collegiate students to explore business practices, analyze the world’s complex challenges, and take the first steps in becoming leaders who will transform the global economy.
- Worcester Polytechnic Institution Pre-College Summer Programs - WPI offers three different, outstanding summer offerings: Frontiers (Grades 10,11 & 12); Launch (Grades 9, 10, & 11); and College Credit Jumpstart (Grades 11 & 12). Click to learn more about each!
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.