Summer Programs For Teens

More and more selective universities now carefully examine candidates’ high school summer activities. As a result, most selective institutions now have at least one pre-college summer program that allows high school students to see the campus, meet with teachers, and even enroll in classes. 

Looking at summer activities to broaden your child’s horizons and possibly give them an advantage in the college admissions process may be something you and your child are doing. This may be if you are preparing for summer vacation. 

Students who want to have an interesting summer experience outside of their hometown and improve their chances of getting into college should look into their options.

A Summer Program: What Is It?

Summer vacations can be a challenge for many parents of intelligent kids. You want to allow your child to experience the beach, the pool, and popsicles. But you have to balance the need to make sure your child is productive with the romantic idea of summer. This leaves you wondering what activities a smart or talented teen should do.

High school kids can attend classes at a college and experience college life over the summer. Most programs last between one and seven weeks. You can take classes on a wide range of topics, such as writing, leadership, business, engineering, and entrepreneurship.

Both residential and commuter alternatives are available through several summer programs. If they live near campus, students can commute from home or live in dormitories with their friends.

In addition, students can take lessons from university professors or visit academics, attend lectures by alums, and engage in social events. 

For high school students, several elite private universities, such as Stanford, Harvard, and Columbia, offer pre-college summer programs. While some summer pre-college programs are open enrollment, others require applicants to apply. 

Standardized exam scores, instructor references, and application essays are required for selected programs. 

For information about a program’s admission criteria, see its website. Some claim to combine your child’s prospects for a challenge with the best aspects of a teenage summer.

The Best Summer Programs for High School Teens

There are many benefits to enrolling your teen in one of the summer programs below. Your youngster could have the opportunity to learn about a topic or gain practical experience beyond what their high school offers. Your child will be able to experience college life firsthand, which can make the adjustment less difficult when the time comes.

Your kid will experience a particular campus and setting, giving them the knowledge they need to choose the school where they will excel. Your child may be able to obtain college credit or use a course to move up a level in high school or college.

Your youngster could become friends with a teacher who might be willing to suggest them for a college position.

High School Summer Programs at USC

The University of Southern California provides some of the best pre-college programs for individuals with the financial means to support their education. Two-week non-credit programs and four-week credit programs are also available to students. 

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Examples of courses are Exploring Entrepreneurship, Exploring Architecture, Exploring News Reporting in the Digital Age, and Introduction to Video Game Design. There is also a brand-new 4-week sports journalism course offered.

Anson L. Clark Scholars

Students in practically all academic fields, from accounting to dance to philosophy and everything in between, can apply to the Clark Scholars Program, an intensive research program that is accessible to anyone who is 17 years old or older. 

The course includes field visits, weekly lectures, discussions, and one-on-one research with teachers. Only 12 students are admitted into the highly exclusive Clark Scholars Program each year.

Summer Pre College Programs at Cornell University

The Pre-College Studies Program at Cornell University offers the thrill of attending college courses with esteemed professors on the Cornell campus for an “unforgettable summer.” 

You will enroll in one or more of Cornell’s demanding undergraduate courses after deciding on your program and collaborate closely with some of the university’s top teachers.

Seminars on Leadership at Notre Dame

Leadership Seminars are available to teens who are juniors in high school. These teens are considered to be talented leaders in their institution, neighborhood, or other social groups due to their academic contributions. 

One of three lectures is attended by students. Each year, around 120 students who typically finish in the top 10 percent of their class are admitted and are granted one college credit.

BU Programs for High School Students 

Boston University offers one of the top pre-college summer programs for high school students hoping to jumpstart their college careers. 

Programs like STEM in the City, Summer Challenge, Summerlab Biotechnology Program, Research in Science and Engineering (RISE) Internship/Practicum, Greater Boston Research Opportunities for Women (RISE), and more are examples. 

However, few financial assistance options are available, and they are only available to students from low-income or socioeconomic backgrounds.

The Early College Program

Students get the opportunity to study at one of the world’s most prestigious independent, accredited art schools with this program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. 

Students will learn in their chosen medium while pursuing their passion for art. Students will be forced to think critically and research while receiving college credit from outstanding lecturers.

Telluride Association Summer Seminars 

TASS conducts college-level academic seminars to help current high school sophomores and juniors improve critical reading and writing abilities and examine the concepts and practices of democratic community living. 

The program emphasizes group discussion, writing, reading, and self-governance, and TASS offers only two seminars. 

The highly exclusive TASP program has been replaced by TASS, which only accepted about 5% of candidates.

Business Summer Pre-College Program at Emory University

The Emory Pre-College Program offers sophomores and juniors who want to attend college an exciting preview of the curriculum and residence life at a top-tier national institution. 

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High school pupils get the opportunity to discuss subjects with teachers who are world-renowned authorities. There are both six-week credit courses and two-week non-credit courses offered.

Program in Mathematics for Young Scientists

For academically talented pupils, PROMYS is a curriculum that emphasizes the creative aspect of mathematics. This course is open to all high school students above the age of 14. Each year, about 80 applications are chosen, and 25 percent of them are returning students.

If you believe your child is mathematically challenged, you can also enroll them for this summer program to help them build their mathematical skills during their free time. This will eventually pay off when they rejoin school with a more comprehensive plan and knowledge on the subject. 

Pre-College Programs at Brown

For high school students, Brown University offers a variety of summer pre-college programs, such as Summer@Brown, Leadership Institute, and a Pre-Baccalaureate Program that enables participants to earn college credit before the start of the autumn semester.

Several “on-location” programs enable students to put their knowledge to the test in a particular region of the nation, such as environmental leadership programs in Alaska and the Florida Keys and abroad programs in Rome and Costa Rica. Online courses are also an option for students in grades 9 through 12.

Mathematics Program at Ross

For the course of the program, Ross students devote a great deal of their time to number theory and spend most of their days working on difficult problem sets. 

Ross seeks to provide people with a foundation for their mathematical investigations. Ross, open to all high school students, normally accepts around 20% of applications, or roughly 70 students each year.

Baruch Leadership Academy

A quick-paced program that lets students study in New York City is the Baruch Leadership Academy. Six programs and SAT prep classes are available to assist students in getting ready for college. Each curriculum is also customized for a certain job route, like business or medical.

Stanford University Mathematics Camp

For sophomores and juniors, SUMaC is a course that includes lectures, a guided research project, and group problem-solving. 

SUMaC students pick between two pure mathematics-focused course subjects, each of which delves into a particular area of mathematics from both a historical and modern research standpoint.


Your child may choose to spend the summer in a wilderness program, on service missions overseas, at an arts camp, or by taking part in a specific summer institute for a sport or extracurricular activity, such as robotics, debate, or an academic team.

But during the past several decades, the amount of academic-focused summer programs located on college campuses has grown significantly, which is good news for the brilliant generalist. 

These programs often try to simulate the college experience by having professors or visiting academics teach lectures and housing students in university residence halls. 

Programs can last from one to eight weeks and usually include lectures, networking opportunities, and socializing with other participants.