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10 Summer Programs in Kansas for High Schoolers

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Summertime is a wonderful opportunity to start a project, explore an interest, or get a head start on the coming school year. With summer programs, also known as pre-college summer programs, you can do all three. These programs offer a little more structure to the summer months and even provide high schoolers with the opportunity to explore a potential major or career. Topics range from STEM to theater to business management, with no shortage of options in between. No matter what your passions are, there’s a summer program out there to match it. 


How Do Summer Programs Benefit High School Students?


There are so many benefits to summer programs, but arguably one of the most valuable aspects is the snapshot they provide of the college experience. Many of them are organized by universities that host attendees in their dorms for the duration of the program. Living in a dorm, learning in a university classroom, and meeting new peers all provide insight into what you can expect at college. 


In addition, summer programs offer a great opportunity to explore a topic in more depth. Classes tend to be small and intimate, allowing for ample facetime with the instructor. You will have the opportunity to ask questions, explore interests, and even investigate potential majors. Many students leave summer programs with a better idea of what their major will be, or equally important, what it won’t be. 


These programs also offer a great opportunity to demonstrate interest beyond the classroom, a valuable boost to college applications down the road. College admissions officers like to see students who show the initiative to pursue activities outside of school. In addition, some of the more selective programs can make for an impressive addition to a student’s resume. 


Finally, summer programs offer the chance to forge lasting connections with students who share your passions. Some of these programs attract kids from all over the country, cultivating a space in which students of different backgrounds can learn from one another.


So, without further ado, read on to learn about fifteen summer programs offered in Kansas.


10 Summer Programs in Kansas


1. Summer Youth Enrichment Program


Dates: Various

Location: Johnson County Community College

Application deadline: Not stated

Cost: < $250


With the opportunity to select from classes on art, design, science, engineering, computers, languages and more, the Summer Youth Enrichment Program is a great opportunity for students of all disciplines. Attendees will be hosted by the Johnson County Community College and will enjoy an array of hands-on classes, labs and activities throughout this program, making it a great option for students interested in exploring a broad range of topics.


2. Summer Music Camp


Dates: June 12-16

Location: Kansas State University

Application deadline: Rolling basis

Cost: $450


If you love to play an instrument and want to spend a week with other like-minded students, you could attend Kansas State University’s Summer Music Camp. A typical day of camp consists of two group rehearsals, two sectionals, and recreation time at the Manhattan City Water Park or another nearby attraction. Students will work directly with some great musicians in Kansas and some KSU music students. There is both a residential option—where you live on campus in KSU dorms—and a day camp option.


3. Health Professions Summer Program


Dates: Session 1: July 10-15 / Session 2: July 24-29

Location: Kansas State University

Application deadline: Rolling basis

Cost: $600


Kansas State University’s Health Professions Summer Program is a great week-long opportunity for rising juniors and seniors who are interested in pursuing a career in medicine. During the program, you will explore a variety of human health-related professions, partake in hands-on activities and experiences, and meet Kansas State faculty, alumni, and current students in healthcare fields. Students also get to live on KSU’s campus and get to bond with other like-minded students. If you are interested in this program, don’t wait too long because only 20 spots are available each session and they fill up quickly!


4. Summer Venture in Business


Dates: Session 1: June 5-7 / Session 2: July 8-10

Location: University of Kansas

Application deadline: May 6

Cost: Free


The University of Kansas offers a three-day intensive program for rising tenth through twelfth graders interested in business who are underrepresented minorities or potential first-generation students. This free program both familiarizes students with business topics and principles, as well as college applications and tools for success in college. Students will hear multiple guest speakers in different business fields, while also getting to live in campus dorms and eat at the school’s dining halls.


5. Young Writers’ Workshop


Dates: June 27-July 1

Location: Kansas State University

Application deadline: May 15

Cost: Free


For rising freshmen and sophomores who are passionate about writing, you should consider this week-long workshop that will ignite your creativity. Students will have the opportunity to meet with published authors of various genres, including playwrights and graphic novelists, as well as create their own original works. The program is completely free, but there are only 15 spots available. Students who wish to attend have to submit an application and include a 150 word essay about their interest in the program.


Check out  our pre-college summer programs guide to learn about even more programs and select one that’s right for you.


6. EXCITE Summer Workshop


Dates: June 8-10

Location: Kansas State University

Application deadline: May 13

Cost: $290


Kansas State University is committed to making STEM fields more gender inclusive through their three-day EXCITE Summer Workshop. This program is available to high school students of all genders who are interested in pursuing STEM or pre-health professions. Students get to live in KSU dorms, eat in the residence halls, and participate in fun evening activities when they aren’t doing hands-on exploration in labs and classrooms during the day.


7. Investigative Summer STEM Program


Dates: June 19-24

Location: Newman University

Application deadline: June 5

Cost: $385


This program offered by Newman University offers students the opportunity to conduct hands-on research on a STEM topic of their choosing while getting to experience college life. With the help of experienced faculty, you will set up experiments, collect data, and present your findings. Supplemental programming includes day trips and guest lecturers. The goal of the program is to engage more young people in STEM, but you do not have to be committed to a career in STEM to apply and be accepted. 


8. Project Discovery


Dates: Session 1: July 10-15 / Session 2: July 17-22

Location: Kansas University

Application deadline: Rolling basis

Cost: $750 


If you love engineering or want to learn more about it, Project Discovery is a great option for you. Kansas University allows high school students to live on campus for a week and work with KU faculty to develop and complete a hands-on engineering project in the university’s state-of-the-art labs. Students can choose which course they want to focus on from the following options:

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Bioengineering
  • Chemical and Petroleum Engineering
  • Civil/Architectural Engineering
  • Computer Science
  • Electrical/Computer Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering


9. Pre-College Art Lab


Dates: July 17-29

Location: Kansas City Art Institute

Application deadline: Rolling basis

Cost: $2,300


For high schoolers with an artistic side, the Kansas City Art Institute’s Pre-College Art Lab is a great opportunity for them to live on campus and work alongside brilliant faculty. Students pick one major studio from the four available options (Animation, Illustration, Painting, and Sculpture) to focus on during the two-week program. During the weekends students partake in workshops and get to explore the Kansas City art scene.


10. WSU Engineering Summer Camps


Dates: Various

Location: Wichita State University

Application deadline: Rolling basis

Cost: $20-$200


Do you love to build things? Want to spend a week engineering a drone or programming a robot? If so, you might like Wichita State University’s Engineering Summer Camps. Throughout the months of June and July there are multiple different camps for you to choose from ranging in cost from $20 to $200. Some exciting options include AI/Machine Learning, Engineering an Amusement Park, Solar Energy, Cyber Forensics, Biomedical Engineering, and more. There are some programs that are free of cost, but there are scholarships available for all programs if needed.


How Do Summer Programs Impact Your College Chances?


Most selective colleges and universities evaluate extracurriculars according to four tiers. Tier 1 encompasses activities that are the most prestigious and specialized, while Tier 4 represents those that are the most common.


While most summer programs usually fall into Tiers 3 or 4, there are some highly prestigious ones, particularly those that are free and very selective like Kansas State’s Young Writer’s Workshop, that fall into higher tiers.


If you’re wondering how your summer program of choice and other activities will affect your chances of admission to your dream school, try our chancing engine. This free tool takes into account factors like grades, test scores, and extracurriculars to estimate your odds of acceptance to hundreds of colleges and universities. Plus, you’ll get tips on how to boost your profile!

Short Bio
Rebecca Weinstein is an undergraduate student at Stanford University, where she plans to study English with an emphasis in creative writing. When she is not studying at college, she lives in Morris County, New Jersey with her two dogs and three cats.