35 Top Academic and Summer Programs for High School Students

The transition from high school to college is a pivotal time for students, filled with opportunities to explore interests, develop new skills, and lay the groundwork for future academic and career paths.

Academic summer programs hosted by colleges and universities offer a unique platform for high school students to immerse themselves in collegiate-level studies, research, and creative exploration. These programs span a wide range of disciplines, including STEM, humanities, arts, leadership, and social justice, providing students with the chance to delve into their passions, engage with world-class faculty, and experience life on a college campus.

Whether students are looking to strengthen their academic foundations, explore new areas of interest, or gain hands-on experience in a field, these summer programs offer invaluable opportunities to enhance their education, build their resumes, and prepare for the challenges and opportunities of higher education.

Leadership and Social Justice

1. Leadership Institute – Brown University

The Brown Leadership Institute stands out for its focus on social justice and leadership. It offers students a unique blend of academic rigor and practical leadership training, emphasizing active listening, public speaking, and problem-solving skills. The program is designed for students who are passionate about making a difference in their communities and beyond, providing them with the tools to become effective advocates for social justice.

DetailFormatCostProgram DatesApplication Deadline(s)
Leadership Institute – Brown UniversityOnsite + OnlineOnsite: $5,498; Online: $5,314Onsite: June 23 – July 5, 2024; July 14 – July 26, 2024; Online: June 24 – July 29, 2024Friday, May 10, 2024

STEM and Research

2. Pre-College Program – Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon’s Pre-College Program offers a deep dive into STEM fields, allowing students to explore their academic interests through lab work, research seminars, and STEM workshops. It’s an opportunity for students to experience college-level coursework and research under the guidance of esteemed faculty.

3. Pre-College Students – University of Chicago

The University of Chicago’s summer research program is renowned for its rigorous academic courses and cutting-edge research opportunities. It’s designed for students eager to pursue intellectual passions beyond their high school curriculum, offering access to world-class facilities and faculty.

4. Cornell University – Summer Online Program

Cornell’s Summer Online Program allows high school students to experience Ivy League academics from anywhere in the world. The program offers a range of courses, including STEM subjects, taught by top faculty members. It’s an excellent opportunity for students to earn college credit and explore potential career paths.

5. Davidson Research Initiative

The Davidson Research Initiative provides a unique opportunity for students to engage in collaborative research projects over the summer. It’s designed for those interested in conducting independent or faculty-assisted research, offering stipends to support their work.

6. Summer Session – Duke University

Duke University’s Summer Session gives students the chance to earn college credit through a variety of courses across the arts and sciences. This program is particularly beneficial for students looking to deepen their understanding of STEM subjects in a collegiate environment.

7. Emory Summer College – Emory University

Emory Summer College offers a blend of for-credit and non-credit college-level courses in both online and on-campus formats. The program includes options for students interested in STEM fields, providing a glimpse into college residential life and academic rigor.

8. Research Science Institute (RSI)

RSI at MIT is one of the most prestigious summer research programs available to high school students. It combines coursework in STEM disciplines with the opportunity to conduct original research under the mentorship of leading scientists and engineers.

9. The Summer Science Program (SSP)

SSP is an immersive program where students work in teams to complete a hands-on research project in either astrophysics or biochemistry. It’s known for its challenging curriculum and for fostering a close-knit community of like-minded peers.

10. Program In Mathematics for Young Scientists (PROMYS)

PROMYS is a six-week summer program at Boston University focused on the deep exploration of mathematics. It’s designed for students who show a strong interest in mathematics and are eager to challenge themselves with complex mathematical concepts and problems.

11. Mathily

Mathily offers an intensive, residential summer program for students with a strong interest in mathematics. The curriculum focuses on discrete mathematics and includes topics chosen based on class interest and direction, promoting creative and enthusiastic learning.

12. Canada/USA Mathcamp

Mathcamp is an intensive 5-week program for mathematically talented high school students. It offers a unique environment where students can explore undergraduate and graduate-level topics in mathematics and engage in problem-solving activities.

13. Stanford University Mathematics Camp (SUMaC)

SUMaC provides students with an opportunity to delve into pure mathematics, offering two distinct academic tracks. Participants engage with Stanford faculty and graduate students, attending lectures and working on challenging mathematical problems.

14. Summer Science & Engineering Program – Smith College

Smith College’s Summer Science & Engineering Program is a unique opportunity for young women in high school to explore science, engineering, and mathematics in a supportive, female-centered environment. Participants engage in hands-on research projects, work closely with Smith faculty, and explore potential career paths in STEM fields. This program empowers students to pursue their passions and build confidence in their abilities.

DetailFormatCostProgram DatesApplication Deadline(s)
Pre-College Program – Carnegie Mellon UniversityOnsiteVaries by program ($6,000 – $10,000)June 22 – August 3, 2024March 1, 2024 for Domestic; February 1, 2024 for International
Pre-College Students – University of ChicagoOnsite and OnlineImmersion: $8,600; Other Programs VaryVarious dates in June and July 2024Early Action: January 18, 2024; Regular: March 5, 2024
Cornell University – Summer Online ProgramOnline$1,750 per creditJune 3rd, 2024 to August 6, 2024May 5, 2024
Davidson Research InitiativeOnline and In-Person$1000 for travel/supplies.N/AJanuary 17, 2024
Summer Session – Duke UniversityIn-personVaries by course ($700 – $3,635)July 1 – August 11, 2023June 17
Emory Summer College – Emory UniversityOnsite and OnlineVaries by program ($3,000 – $5,000)Various dates in June and July 2024Various deadlines in May and June 2024
Research Science Institute (RSI)OnsiteFreeJune 23 to August 3, 2024January for US citizens and March for international students
The Summer Science Program (SSP)Onsite$8,800Mid-late JuneFebruary 16, 2024
Program In Mathematics for Young Scientists (PROMYS)Onsite$6,100June 30 – August 10, 2024March 1, 2024 at 11:59 EST
MathilyOnsite$5,300June 30 – August 3, 2024Applications before April 30, 2024
Canada/USA MathcampOnsiteVaries, up to $5,000June 30 – August 4, 2024March 6, 2024
Stanford University Mathematics Camp (SUMaC)Onsite and OnlineOnline: $3,550; Residential: $8,250Session One: June 17 – July 5, 2024 (Online); June 23 – July 19, 2024 (Residential)February 1, 2024
Summer Science & Engineering Program – Smith CollegeOnsiteTuition: $4,745 (2 weeks), $8,082 (4 weeks)Session 1: July 6–19, 2024; Session 2: July 21–August 3, 2024May 2024

Arts and Humanities

15. RISD Pre-College – Rhode Island School of Design

RISD Pre-College provides students with a college-level curriculum in art and design, including studio classes and visits to the RISD Museum. It’s an opportunity for students to build their portfolios and explore their creative potential under the guidance of award-winning instructors.

16. Summer Writing Residency – University of Iowa

The Summer Writing Residency at the University of Iowa, home to the renowned Iowa Writers’ Workshop, offers students the chance to learn from world-class faculty in one of the premier writing communities. Participants engage in workshops, lectures, and public readings, honing their craft in a supportive environment.

DetailFormatCostProgram DatesApplication Deadline(s)
RISD Pre-College – Rhode Island School of DesignOnsiteResidential Program: $11,350; Commuter Program: $8,715June 29–August 3, 2024Scholarship Application Deadline: February 8, 2024
Summer Writing Residency – University of IowaOnline$2,200July 8–26, 2024Applications are reviewed in the order they are received; seats are limited. Apply now to secure your spot.

Business and Entrepreneurship

17. Jerome Fisher Program in Management & Technology Summer Institute (M&Tsi) – Wharton, University of Pennsylvania

M&Tsi provides a rigorous exploration of the integration between technology and business principles. Students work on developing a high-tech venture, receiving feedback from Penn faculty and seasoned entrepreneurs.

18. LaunchX – Online Entrepreneurship

LaunchX empowers high school students to become entrepreneurs, teaching them to collaborate, innovate, and build their own startups. This program is known for its global reach and emphasis on real-world business challenges.

DetailFormatCostProgram DatesApplication Deadline(s)
Jerome Fisher Program in Management & Technology Summer Institute (M&Tsi) – Wharton, University of PennsylvaniaOnsite$9,000 Onsite Program Fee; $100 Non-Refundable Application FeeJuly 7-27, 2024Early Action Deadline: February 1, 2024; Regular Admission Deadline: April 1, 2024
LaunchX – Online EntrepreneurshipOnline$6,500June 17th – July 19th, 2024Rolling Application. Apply before all spots are taken.

General Academic Enrichment

19. Pre-College – Northwestern University

Northwestern University’s Pre-College programs provide high school students with the opportunity to take college-level seminars and courses, offering insights into potential career paths and preparing them for the academic rigor of college.

20. Yale Summer Session for Pre-College Students – Yale University

Yale’s Summer Session offers high school students the chance to take college courses for credit, engage in the Yale Writer’s Workshop, and explore a wide range of academic interests in a prestigious university setting.

21. Summer Session – Stanford University

Stanford Summer Session combines academic coursework for college credit with a selection of extracurricular activities, offering students a taste of life on the Stanford campus and fostering a culture of innovation and academic excellence.

22. Pre-College – University of Notre Dame

Notre Dame’s Pre-College programs allow students to experience college-level study in a variety of academic fields, earn transferable college credit, and gain insights into university life and academics.

23. UCLA Pre College Summer Institutes – University of California at Los Angeles

UCLA’s Summer Institutes provide immersive study in specific subjects, incorporating real-world experience into their studies with hands-on projects, field visits, and guest lecturers.

24. Vanderbilt Summer Academy – Vanderbilt University

Vanderbilt Summer Academy offers academically advanced students a challenging curriculum and a community-driven residential experience, fostering success in product creation and innovation.

25. Telluride Association (Taos/Tass/Tasp)

Telluride Association offers programs in Critical Black Studies or Anti-Oppressive Studies, focusing on developing critical reading and writing skills and exploring the principles of democratic community living.

26. Summer Institute for The Gifted

SIG offers programs for gifted students in a wide range of subjects, emphasizing creative thinking across multiple disciplines and providing a stimulating environment for intellectual and personal growth.

27. Wesleyan Summer Gifted Program – West Virginia Wesleyan College

Wesleyan’s program offers courses in mathematics, physics, computer science, creative writing, history, and environmental science, aiming to increase verbal skills and foster in-depth academic exploration.

DetailFormatCostProgram DatesApplication Deadline(s)
Pre-College – Northwestern UniversityOnsite and OnlineVaries by programVarious dates in June and July 2024April 1, 2024
Yale Summer Session for Pre-College Students – Yale UniversityOnsite and OnlineVaries by courseSession A: May 27 – June 28, 2024; Session B: July 1 – August 2, 2024Online Courses: May 10, 2024 (Session A), June 14, 2024 (Session B); On Campus: April 1, 2024 (Session A), May 6, 2024 (Session B)
Summer Session – Stanford UniversityOnsiteCommuter Costs Start At $4,926; Residential Costs Start At $17,328June 22 – August 18, 2024January 16, 2024 by 9 p.m PST
Pre-College – University of Notre DameOnsiteEnrollment Fee: $300; Tuition/Room and Board Balance: $4,725Summer Scholars Session 1: June 8 – June 22, 2024; Session 2: June 29 – July 12, 2024February 20, 2024
UCLA Pre College Summer Institutes – University of California at Los AngelesOnsite and OnlineVaries by programVarious dates in June and July 2024Enrollment through the first week of the course (5 PM PDT)
Vanderbilt Summer Academy – Vanderbilt UniversityOnsiteVaries by programVarious dates in June and July 2024Rolling Admissions Continues if Spots Remain
Telluride Association (Taos/Tass/Tasp)OnsiteFreeJune 23 – August 3, 2024January 3, 2024
Summer Institute for The GiftedOnsiteVaries by location and formatVarious dates in June and July 2024February 1, 2024
Wesleyan Summer Gifted Program – West Virginia Wesleyan CollegeOnsite$1,500June 16 – June 29, 2024June 2, 2024

Specialized Academic Programs

These programs offer focused study and unique academic experiences in specific fields, providing students with opportunities to dive deep into subjects of interest, engage in hands-on projects, and work closely with experts in the field.

28. North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics (NCSSM)- Summer Accelerator

NCSSM’s Summer Accelerator offers a blend of online and on-campus courses in advanced topics, allowing students to explore college-level material in STEM and humanities while engaging in research and hands-on activities.

29. Honors Summer Math Camp: Mathworks – Texas State University

This program is designed for students with a strong interest in mathematics, offering an immersive experience that includes coursework, problem-solving, and the opportunity to conduct original research projects.

30. The Anson L. Clark Scholars Program – Texas Tech University

The Clark Scholars Program provides an intensive seven-week summer research experience across various academic disciplines, offering students the chance to work on independent research projects under the mentorship of university faculty.

31. Secondary Student Training Program – University of Iowa

This program offers high school students the opportunity to conduct independent research under the guidance of university faculty, providing a hands-on experience in a research-intensive environment.

32. Prove It! Math Academy

Focused on mathematical proof and problem-solving, this program bridges the gap between high school mathematics and college-level mathematical thinking, emphasizing creativity and rigorous reasoning.

33. Summer Immersion – Columbia University

Columbia’s Summer Immersion program offers high school students the chance to explore academic interests in a variety of subjects, from STEM to the arts, in a prestigious university setting.

34. Awesomemath Summer Program

Aimed at gifted math students, this program focuses on problem-solving and preparation for math competitions, offering a challenging curriculum designed to stretch students’ mathematical abilities.

35. Expand Your Mind – Minnesota Institute for Talented Youth

This program offers a range of courses for gifted students, encouraging creative problem-solving and exploration of advanced concepts in subjects from math and science to writing and technology.

DetailFormatCostProgram DatesApplication Deadline(s)
NCSSM- Summer AcceleratorOnsite and Online$695-$1,925Various dates in June and July 2024Applications are received until all spots are filled
Honors Summer Math Camp: MathworksOnsite$6,000June 16 – July 27, 2024Early Action: February 28; Rolling admissions
The Anson L. Clark Scholars ProgramOnsiteFree; $750 stipend upon completionJune 16, 2024, to August 1, 2024February 15, 2024, at 11:59 PM CST
Secondary Student Training Program – University of IowaOnsite$7,500June 19 – July 26, 2024February 16, 2024 (11:59 pm CST)
Prove It! Math AcademyOnsiteProgram not offered in 2024N/AN/A
Summer Immersion – Columbia UniversityOnline2 Week Courses: $3,960.00; 1 Week Course: $2,810Session A: July 1–July 12, 2024; Session B: July 15–July 26, 2024; Session C: August 5–August 9, 2024April 1, 2024
Awesomemath Summer ProgramOnline$1,075 – $1,375 depending on registration periodSession 1: June 10-June 28, 2024; Session 2: July 01-July 19, 2024; Session 3: July 22-August 9, 2024Early: January 18, 2024; Late Round 2: May 28, 2024
Expand Your Mind – Minnesota Institute for Talented YouthOnsiteCommuter: $855; Residential: $2,150Session A: June 17 – 28, 2024; Session B: July 8 – 19, 2024Rolling admissions until classes are full

The array of academic summer programs available to high school students is both impressive and essential in helping them prepare for the next steps in their educational journeys. By participating in these programs, students not only gain insight into college life and academic expectations but also have the opportunity to explore their interests in depth, develop critical thinking and research skills, and connect with peers and faculty who share their passions.

These experiences are invaluable, providing students with a clearer vision of their future academic and career paths, and equipping them with the knowledge, skills, and confidence to pursue their goals. As students navigate their high school years, these summer programs stand out as key opportunities for growth, exploration, and preparation for the exciting challenges of college and beyond.

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