Gianna Cifredo 7 min read 11th Grade, Summer Activities

15 Summer Programs at The University of Chicago for High Schoolers

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Students and parents often think that “summer camps” are reserved for younger kids and that high schoolers are better off spending their summers working. However, there are numerous summer programs designed specifically for high school students that can give your teenager the opportunity to learn and grow in ways that a traditional part-time job cannot.

 

Summer programs are a way for high school students to develop their interests and learn more about college and career paths. Plus, participating in a summer program can make a student’s application stronger by senior year; by demonstrating interest in a specific subject through specialized courses, students can enhance the theme of their application and show that they went the extra mile to develop their passion. We’ve rounded up 15 summer programs offered at the University of Chicago to help parents figure out which program might suit their student’s unique interests and goals.

Why Summer Programs Benefit High Schoolers

Summer programs for high school students are about more than just having fun (although there’s plenty of that too!). One of the main benefits of summer programs is that they allow students to specialize in an area of interest. These programs often give students an inside look into an industry or academic discipline that they wouldn’t be able to get in a traditional class setting, and expand students’ awareness of opportunities in that field.

 

Many summer programs are held at colleges and universities, which provides an additional bonus of helping students get a feel for what it’s like to live on a college campus. These programs can often inform students of hard-to-find resources, such as specialized learning communities or even scholarships. Not only that, but being on a college campus can inspire students about attending college in general, since they experience the combination of fun social activities with stimulating intellectual endeavors firsthand.

 

College admissions officers care about students’ extracurricular activities and often consider them not only as part of the admissions process, but also when awarding merit scholarships. They want to see that students pursued their interests outside of the classroom and took advantage of the resources available to them. Summer programs are often more interesting to admissions counselors because fewer students participate in them, and these experiences can be valuable material for a memorable admission essay.

 

That said, other types of summer activities, such as volunteering, interning, or part time work, can also be valuable material for an admissions essay. Rest assured, your teen doesn’t have to choose between these activities and a summer program: many summer programs are short, sometimes even as short as a day, so students can balance these other obligations while still pursuing their interests. By diversifying their activities, students will be able to craft essays that draw upon a wealth of extracurricular experiences when it comes time to apply.

 

Perhaps the greatest advantage of attending a summer program at a college, however, is the chance to connect with current students and faculty. One of our top recommendations for helping students get into their dream school is to connect with students who were successfully admitted to that school, and summer programs can facilitate that process for high school students. By attending a program at the University of Chicago, high school students can get to know current students and can get the inside scoop about campus life and the college community.

Summer Programs at The University of Chicago

The Summer Immersion programs at the University of Chicago are three-week courses designed specifically for high school students to give them a taste of what college is like. UChicago offers a variety of topics for students so that they can explore their academic and professional interests in a college environment. Students will also get to take advantage of all of the resources that Chicago itself has to offer through field trips and campus events.

 

Note: These program costs are all approximate. There may be differences in cost based on whether a student stays on-campus or decides to commute, is an Illinois resident or not, or if there are scholarships available.

 

UChicago Summer Scholars

Students selected for the inaugural Summer Scholars program will be able to take the two-week summer course “I, Too, Am America”: African American, Native American, Latinx, and Asian American Poetry and Poetics. Best of all, they will get to take it for free, and learn about the poetic traditions of minorities in the U.S. To deepen their learning, students will visit the Poetry Foundation and the University of Chicago Libraries Special Collection, as well as attend guest lectures.

  • Grades: 11th
  • Cost: $0
  • Deadline: February 27, 2019
  • Additional requirements: Black or African American students

 

UChicago Summer Immersion | Race in America: From the Colonial Era to the Present

If you have a student interested in history or politics, this class might be perfect for them. In it, students explore why many of America’s political, educational, and corporate institutions still use race when science has largely agreed that race is a social construct. They will work with primary source materials and engage in thoughtful discussions with their peers.

  • Grades: 9th, 10th, and 11th
  • Cost: $6,620
  • Deadline: May 1, 2019
  • Recommended: Students with above average critical reading skills will be successful in this course. 

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UChicago Summer Immersion | The Global Political Economy: Power, Inequality, and Globalization

For students who have an interest in economics, business, or social justice, this course explores how the ideas that have shaped the global economy contribute to inequality or promote democracy, and how power shapes these institutions. Through an interdisciplinary approach, students will learn about the current challenges facing the global economy and possible solutions for sustainability and equality.

  • Grades: 9th, 10th, and 11th
  • Cost: $6,620
  • Deadline: May 1, 2019

 

UChicago Summer Immersion | Gender, the Body, and American Culture

This course uses an interdisciplinary approach to explore issues regarding gender, how we value and treat the human body, and the ways that biology informs and is informed by culture. Students will come to understand how bodies and gender are impacted by race and class in America.

  • Grades: 9th, 10th, and 11th
  • Cost: $6,620
  • Deadline: May 1, 2019
  • Additional requirements: A or B in high school English, preferably advanced/AP.
  • Recommended: A critical thinking course pertaining to society and culture, such as history, philosophy, anthropology, geography, ethnic studies, psychology.

 

UChicago Summer Immersion | The Physics of Stars

Students will explore what makes stars “shine” and learn about the composition of stars and how we calculate their ages. They’ll also get to collect their own measurements of stars using robotic telescopes and put the theory of stellar structure to the test.

  • Grades: 9th, 10th, and 11th
  • Cost: $6,620
  • Deadline: May 1, 2019

 

UChicago Summer Immersion | Happiness in Western Thought, Art, and Culture

Is happiness the ultimate goal in life? Students will review definitions of happiness, from Ancient Greek and Roman scholars to modern literary texts, to uncover different views of what it means to be happy and how to achieve happiness. They’ll also consider how and if cultural context impacts “happiness,” and how different cultures and periods of time might have different ideas of happiness.

  • Grades: 9th, 10th, and 11th
  • Cost: $6,620
  • Deadline: May 1, 2019

 

UChicago Summer Immersion | The Psychology of Learning

If your student is thinking about majoring in Psychology, then this is the course for them. Learning is one of the things that sets humans apart from other species. Students will learn about different facets of modern learning and develop a formal college paper and presentation as part of the course.

  • Grades: 9th, 10th, and 11th
  • Cost: $6,620
  • Deadline: May 1, 2019

 

UChicago Summer Immersion | Imagining the Modern City

Students will explore sociological views of how modern cities have changed human society and explore literary and film presentations of the modern city in this course. They’ll also get to experience the city firsthand with several field trips around Chicago.

  • Grades: 9th, 10th, and 11th
  • Cost: $6,620
  • Deadline: May 1, 2019

 

UChicago Summer Immersion | Ethics: Or, How Should We Live Our Lives?

This philosophically-driven course encourages students to develop their critical thinking skills to answer some of life’s pressing questions, such as “How should we live? What does it mean to be happy or successful? Is morality objective or subjective?” Drawing upon philosophical texts and classroom debate, this course is perfect for students interested in law, politics, or philosophy.

  • Grades: 9th, 10th, and 11th
  • Cost: $6,620
  • Deadline: May 1, 2019

 

UChicago Summer Immersion | Biotechnology for the 21st Century

Perfect for future scientists, students will be introduced to topics in biotechnology through classroom lectures and hands-on experiments. They will also learn about careers in biotechnology and the ethics of this exciting industry.

  • Grades: 9th, 10th, and 11th
  • Cost: $6,620
  • Deadline: May 1, 2019
  • Additional requirements: Students must have successfully completed one year of biology.

 

UChicago Summer Immersion | Explorations in Neuroscience: Neurons, Behavior, and Beyond

Is your student fascinated by the human brain or by psychology? In this course, students will explore the mechanisms of the brain using primary data. They’ll also have the chance to recreate some of the groundbreaking experiments done in modern neuroscience research labs.

  • Grades: 9th, 10th, and 11th
  • Cost: $6,620
  • Deadline: May 1, 2019

 

UChicago Summer Immersion | Free Expression and Community Engagement: Principles and Practice of Civic Discourse

Students in this course will dive deep into issues around communication, public discourse, and persuasion. They’ll craft a persuasive case on an issue that matters to them through workshops and research, and they’ll learn how to navigate the multitude of persuasive messages they receive everyday.

  • Grades: 9th, 10th, and 11th
  • Cost: $6,620
  • Deadline: May 1, 2019

 

UChicago Summer Immersion | Collegiate Writing: Awakening into Consciousness

Replicating the intensive writing seminars that UChicago undergrads take, students will explore what it means to achieve true consciousness by crafting powerful essays. They’ll explore writing from the world’s ancient and modern thinkers as well as the ideas behind major art movements to inform their own view of higher, or truly awake, consciousness.

  • Grades: 9th, 10th, and 11th
  • Cost: $6,620
  • Deadline: May 1, 2019

 

UChicago Summer Immersion | Justice, the State, and the Individual

Another sessions that’s perfect for future lawyers or political science majors, this course explores the relations that individuals have with politics, the basis for political authority, and the nature of justice itself. Students will explore the relative strength of different forms of political organization and if and how political systems support human happiness.

  • Grades: 9th, 10th, and 11th
  • Cost: $6,620
  • Deadline: May 1, 2019

 

UChicago Summer Immersion | Contagion: Infectious Agents & Diseases

Students will learn how many of the world’s deadliest viruses and bacteria evolved and how antibiotic resistance poses a challenge to global health. They will also learn how we can predict when and where outbreaks might occur to prevent them from happening, and use state-of-the-art laboratories to explore DNA sequencing, viral and bacterial cultures, and CRISPR.

  • Grades: 9th, 10th, and 11th
  • Cost: $6,620
  • Deadline: May 1, 2019
  • Additional requirements: Students must have successfully completed one year of biology.

Wrapping it Up

As you can see, there are plenty of opportunities for students to learn more about different industries and experience college firsthand. Whatever your teen’s interests may be, there is a program for them, whether at UChicago or at another great school.

 

If your student missed a deadline or isn’t currently eligible for one of these programs, there are plenty of other activities that students can participate in over the summer to stay engaged. These include getting involved in community organizations, volunteer service, and working. You can find some ideas for activities in our post Summer Activities to Strengthen your College Applications.

 

It can be hard to find summer programs that will work for you and your student’s schedule and will keep your student engaged. That’s why CollegeVine’s Mentorship Program helps students identify activities to refine their interests and strengthen their portfolios. Find out if our Mentorship Program is right for you!

 

Check out some of our other posts about extracurriculars:

18 Summer Programs in Iowa for High Schoolers

25 Summer Programs for High Schoolers in Indiana

6 Pre-College Programs You Can Join in High School

 

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Gianna Cifredo
Blogger at CollegeVine
Short bio
Gianna Cifredo is a graduate of the University of Central Florida, where she majored in Philosophy. She has six years of higher education and test prep experience, and now works as a freelance writer specializing in education. She currently lives in Orlando, Florida and is a proud cat mom.