Gianna Cifredo 10 min read 11th Grade, Summer Activities

15 Summer Programs at The University of Pennsylvania for High Schoolers

For high-achieving students, summer programs offer the perfect blend of fun and enrichment, especially when the summer program is held at a prestigious university like UPenn. Colleges and universities know that giving students first-hand experience on their campus is more likely to make them want to attend their school, and students can get a whole host of benefits of their own.

 

All of these summer programs give your teenager the opportunity to learn and grow in ways that a traditional part-time job cannot. By learning more about college and career paths and having the chance to interact directly with college students and faculty, summer programs help high school students make the most of their summer while still allowing time for traditional summer activities. We’ve rounded up 15 summer programs at the University of Pennsylvania to help parents figure out which program might suit their student’s unique interests and goals.

Why Summer Programs Benefit High Schoolers

As we said, summer programs for high school students are about more than just having fun (although there’s plenty of that too!). Here are some of the main benefits of attending summer programs:

 

Specialize in an area of interest. UPenn knows how valuable it is for students to explore a specific field or industry, and many of their programs are geared towards students with specific interests. 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 these fields. Even if your teen hasn’t settled on a prospective major or career path yet, participating in one of these unique programs can certainly help inform that decision for them.

 

Experience college firsthand. The opportunity to stay on-campus, although sometimes a bit more expensive, can be enough of a draw on its own. Even though students may have a sense of college rigor through AP and honors courses, nothing can compare to taking college-level courses in a college environment. Oftentimes, students can also learn about hard-to-find resources, such as specialized learning communities or even scholarships, directly from admissions counselors or student assistants, which can also give them a leg up when it comes to senior-year applications.

 

Enhance your student’s application. Speaking of applications, college admissions officers consider students’ extracurricular activities to see how a student will contribute to the college community. While there are no strict requirements about the exact activities a student should pursue, summer programs allow students to demonstrate their professional and academic interests in ways that high school classes and part-time jobs often can’t, and simultaneously show that students are ready to take on the exciting challenge of college.

 

Meet 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 for a selective school like UPenn, this may be one of the greatest advantages of attending a summer program there. By attending any of these programs, high school students can meet current students and can get the inside scoop about campus life and the college community.

 

If you’re worried that your student won’t have time to fulfill their other obligations, such as volunteering, interning, or part time work, then 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 week, so students can balance other obligations while participating in a summer program. By diversifying their activities, students will be able to impress college admissions officers with their developed passion and character.

Summer Programs at the University of Pennsylvania

If you’re looking for programs at other schools in Pennsylvania, we’ve dedicated a separate post for it. Check out 15 Summer Programs in Pennsylvania for High Schoolers.

 

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 a Pennsylvania resident or not, or if there are scholarships available.

 

1. Penn Summer Prep Program

This program is the perfect introduction to college for students who aren’t sure what they might want to major in or pursue professionally. Students can choose two academic modules in topics such as psychology, philosophy, computer science, the life sciences, and general college prep. They can even request a letter of recommendation from their module instructor, who is a UPenn faculty member, for their college applications.

 

  • Grades: 9th, 10th, & 11th
  • Cost: $4,429
  • Deadline: May 1, 2019

 

Application prompt: Describe your academic and personal goals and how these may be further achieved by studying at Penn during the summer.

 

2. Penn Summer Academies | Social Justice Research Academy

Students will develop their research and leadership skills in this three-week program. They’ll dive into historical movements such as the American revolution, suffrage, and civil rights, and explore present-day struggles such as environmentalism, LGBTQ rights, and Black Lives Matter. Students will attend a mix of class lectures and site visits around Philadelphia, and develop a research capstone project to synthesize their new insights.

 

  • Grades: 9th, 10th, & 11th
  • Cost: $8,449
  • Deadline: May 1, 2019

 

Application prompts:

 

  • Describe your academic and personal goals and how these may be further achieved by studying at Penn during the summer. Feel free to discuss the particular program to which you are applying as well as other aspects of studying at Penn during the summer.
  • Select a few of your non-academic or extracurricular experiences and explain how these activities supplement your academic and personal growth.
  • Non-native English speakers only: Describe your English educational background and experience.

 

3. Penn Summer Academies | Biomedical Research Academy

This hands-on academy combines both classroom lectures and lab experiments to introduce students to the cellular, molecular and genetic aspects of biology. Students will work in teams, just like science researchers do, to research a specific topic using primary scientific sources and develop a presentation on their findings to the other participants and instructors.

 

  • Grades: 9th, 10th, & 11th
  • Cost: $8,449
  • Deadline: May 1, 2019

 

Application prompts:

 

  • Describe your academic and personal goals and how these may be further achieved by studying at Penn during the summer. Feel free to discuss the particular program to which you are applying as well as other aspects of studying at Penn during the summer.
  • Select a few of your non-academic or extracurricular experiences and explain how these activities supplement your academic and personal growth.
  • Non-native English speakers only: Describe your English educational background and experience.

 

Additional requirements: One year of high school biology is required for application. One year of high school chemistry is strongly advised.

 

4. Penn Summer Academies | Chemistry Research Academy

Penn Chemistry is a leader in molecular research and instruction, and students will have the opportunity to enhance their understanding of chemistry by recreating recent experiments in chemistry and developing their own research project. They will get a behind-the-scenes look at some of the nation’s best chemistry research labs right on the UPenn campus, and learn lab techniques like spectroscropy and gas chromatography.

 

  • Grades: 9th, 10th, & 11th
  • Cost: $8,449
  • Deadline: May 1, 2019

 

Application prompts:

 

  • Describe your academic and personal goals and how these may be further achieved by studying at Penn during the summer. Feel free to discuss the particular program to which you are applying as well as other aspects of studying at Penn during the summer.
  • Select a few of your non-academic or extracurricular experiences and explain how these activities supplement your academic and personal growth.
  • Non-native English speakers only: Describe your English educational background and experience.

 

Additional requirements: One year of high school chemistry is required for the application.

 

5. Penn Summer Academies | Experimental Physics Academy

This three-week program combines learning advanced physical concepts with seeing physics in action. Students will get to specialize in topics including non-Newtonian fluids, radio astronomy, high-energy physics, alternative energies, cloud chambers, and quantum phenomena. They’ll visit an automotive museum to learn about inertia and mechanics and document the acceleration of roller coasters at a local theme park.  

 

  • Grades: 9th, 10th, & 11th
  • Cost: $8,449
  • Deadline: May 1, 2019

 

Application prompts:

 

  • Describe your academic and personal goals and how these may be further achieved by studying at Penn during the summer. Feel free to discuss the particular program to which you are applying as well as other aspects of studying at Penn during the summer.
  • Select a few of your non-academic or extracurricular experiences and explain how these activities supplement your academic and personal growth.
  • Non-native English speakers only: Describe your English educational background and experience.

 

6. Penn Summer Academies | Mathematics Academy

If your student loves math itself, then this academy is the perfect choice for them. They will have the chance to explore advanced mathematical topics that they don’t get to see in their high school classes, in areas including Discrete Math, Algebra and Number Theory, and Geometry and Topology. They’ll be introduced to the applications of math through demonstrations, and take trips to local math museums, such as the National Cryptologic Museum.

 

  • Grades: 9th, 10th, & 11th
  • Cost: $8,449
  • Deadline: May 1, 2019

 

Application prompts:

 

  • Describe your academic and personal goals and how these may be further achieved by studying at Penn during the summer. Feel free to discuss the particular program to which you are applying as well as other aspects of studying at Penn during the summer.
  • Select a few of your non-academic or extracurricular experiences and explain how these activities supplement your academic and personal growth.
  • Non-native English speakers only: Describe your English educational background and experience.

 

Additional requirements: One year of high school Algebra II/Trigonometry is required for application.

 

7. Penn Summer Academies | Neuroscience Research Academy

Students will explore the broad spectrum of neuroscience, ranging from the biological foundation of the brain to higher-order cognitive functions such as memory, emotion and morality. They’ll participate in hands-on experiments to learn valuable laboratory techniques, and tour Penn’s active research facilities.

 

  • Grades: 9th, 10th, & 11th
  • Cost: $8,449
  • Deadline: May 1, 2019

 

Application prompts:

 

  • Describe your academic and personal goals and how these may be further achieved by studying at Penn during the summer. Feel free to discuss the particular program to which you are applying as well as other aspects of studying at Penn during the summer.
  • Select a few of your non-academic or extracurricular experiences and explain how these activities supplement your academic and personal growth.
  • Non-native English speakers only: Describe your English educational background and experience.

 

Additional requirements: One year of high school biology and one year of high school chemistry are required for application. 

Build a Profile That Will Impress Admissions Officers

Our Early Advising Program helps students in 9th and 10th grade discover their passions and build strong academic and extracurricular profiles to succeed in high school.

8. Penn Young Scholars Program

If your student is interested in experiencing a true college-level class, look no further. In the Young Scholars Program, students will enroll in summer courses alongside Penn undergrads and receive the same rigor of coursework and academic evaluation as a true Penn student. They will take one or two summer courses and potentially earn college credit!

 

  • Grades: 10th and 11th Only
  • Cost: $4,392/c.u.
  • Deadline: May 1, 2019

 

Application prompts:

 

  • Describe your recent educational history (past 3-4 years) and background and address whether your transcripts accurately reflect your academic ability. Feel free to describe non-academic or extra-curricular experiences that strengthen your application, such as volunteer work, employment, sports teams, high school clubs and travel.
  • Briefly, describe your academic and personal goals and how these may be furthered by study in the Young Scholars Program at Penn. Feel free to discuss a specific academic topic you enjoy studying and explain.

 

9. Summer at Penn | Architecture

Give your student the opportunity to develop their portfolio as they learn about design from Penn’s esteemed faculty. Students will learn about architectural concepts, visit Philadelphia’s inspiring architectural sites and tour the Guggenheim museum, create models of their designs, and exhibit their work at the end of the four-week program.

 

  • Grades: 9th, 10th, & 11th
  • Cost: $6,875
  • Deadline: Rolling

 

10. Summer at Penn | Art

Students will choose from two sets of studios to refine their artistic skills and develop an admissions-worthy portfolio. They can major in Animation Production, Drawing and Painting, or New Media, and take an elective in Digital Photography, Figure Drawing, Graphic Design, or Sculpture and Ceramics. All of their work will then be professional photographed and exhibited in the fine arts gallery on-campus.

 

  • Grades: 9th, 10th, & 11th
  • Cost: $6,550
  • Deadline: Rolling

 

11. KWHS Global Young Leaders Academy

With five two-week sessions to choose from, this entrepreneurial leadership academy gives students a taste of accounting, management, and marketing. They’ll work in teams to develop a business plan that they’ll share, meet with local startups to gain insight into creating your own business, and attend an interactive college admissions workshop.

 

  • Grades: 9th, 10th & 11th
  • Cost: $5,115
  • Deadline: Rolling

 

Application prompts:

 

  • By definition, entrepreneurship is launching and running a new business. It is often both exciting and risky. What does entrepreneurship mean to you? Have you or someone you know started a business? If not, have you read about entrepreneurs who inspire you? Be sure to use examples to illustrate your answer. (200 words)
  • Describe a problem you’ve solved or a problem you would like to solve. Why was or is solving that problem important to you? (200 words)
  • How would your friends and teachers describe you? What experiences have you had with people who are different than you in some way?

 

Additional requirements: Students must be at least 15 years of age upon start date of the program.

 

12. Leadership in the Business World

This selective business program is for rising seniors who are serious about using business to create change in society. Students have the opportunity to attend lectures from Penn faculty and guest speakers, develop their communication and team-building skills, and visit local business enterprises. They will also work in teams to develop a business plan that will be evaluated by venture capitalists and business professionals.

 

  • Grades: 11th only
  • Cost: $7,995
  • Deadline: February 1, 2019

 

Application prompt: Submit a written statement expressing why you want to attend the program and what you hope to gain from the experience. (300 words)

 

13. Management & Technology Summer Institute

Students can earn college credit upon completion of this summer program that blends business and engineering. They will learn about resources available at Penn, attend lectures where they explore concepts related to technological entrepreneurship, and use their newly-acquired knowledge to build a prototype and develop a market plan for an innovative product of their own design.

 

  • Grades: 10th & 11th only
  • Cost: $7,000
  • Deadline: February 22, 2019

 

Application prompt: Write an essay in which you describe a problem you solved using technical and/or business creativity and skills. (500 words)

 

14. Penn Law Pre-College Summer Academy

If your student is thinking about attending law school after college, then you may want to encourage them to apply for this program. This three-week program introduces basic law concepts such as contracts, torts, constitutional and criminal law, and allows students to specialize in a legal area of their choice: either Business and Entrepreneurship Law or Human Rights and Legal Advocacy.

 

  • Grades: 10th & 11th only
  • Cost: $7,999
  • Deadline: Rolling

 

15. Penn Medicine Summer Program from High School Students

For your future doctors, this summer program introduces students to some of the routine medical procedures using the same simulated scenarios medical students use. They’ll learn techniques such as suturing, drawing blood, IVs, dissections and minimally invasive surgical techniques, and have the chance to observe a live surgery.

 

  • Grades: 10th & 11th only
  • Cost: $7,995
  • Deadline: March 8, 2019

Wrapping it Up

UPenn summer programs run the gamut of experiences. Whether your teen knows exactly what they want to study or wants to explore their options, there’s a program that caters to their interests. No matter which program they choose, they are sure to get unique insight into what it’s really like to get in and attend an Ivy League 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:

15 Summer Programs at Brown University for High Schoolers

15 Summer Programs at The University of Chicago for High Schoolers

15 Summer Programs at Johns Hopkins University for High Schoolers

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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.