8 Summer Programs in Minnesota for High Schoolers

Want to know how your profile compares to students with similar goals?

See how your profile stacks up to other students and what areas you need to improve in order to meet your college and future career goals. Get started in minutes with your 100% free CollegeVine account!

If your teen is on the college track, then you probably don’t need to be told that the admissions process is competitive at top schools. Still, there are ways of standing out from the crowd that can help your high schooler make important decisions about their future. Also known as pre-college programs, summer programs are intensive academic camps in which students can expand their skills in a given discipline while adding to their applicant profiles. Enrolling in these camps is a great way to show colleges you’re serious about a career in your chosen major.


At CollegeVine, we’re passionate about finding talented high schoolers the best Minnesota summer programs to help them achieve their goals. Here are eight great pre-college programs your teen may want to consider this summer:


Why Summer Programs Are Beneficial for High Schoolers


If you haven’t enrolled your high schooler in a summer program, you might be missing out on the chance to help them find positive role models to support them on their college journeys. Along with meeting peers who share their interest, teens have the chance to interact with tenured professors and current college students. Additionally, they can tour workplaces and interact with  industry professionals, gaining inspiration from their hard work and achievements. And who knows? Your teen may even find a mentor who can guide them on their academic journey and help them find a job after graduation.


Of course, summer programs aren’t just for students who have already chosen a career path. On the contrary, these programs can help teens identify potential fields of study and explore academic subjects that they might not have considered. After all, just because your teen doesn’t enjoy their high school algebra class doesn’t mean they aren’t destined for a career in STEM. Summer programs offer a unique opportunity to see what’s available prior to committing to a major.


Still trying to decide which pre-college program is right for you? Here are eight great options available in the state of Minnesota:


1. Minnesota Debate and Advocacy Workshop


Is your teen passionate about social justice issues? If so, consider enrolling them in Augsburg University’s Minnesota Debate and Advocacy Workshop (MDAW). During this course, students will develop their skills for research, argumentation, advocacy, and debate. Activities include seminars, labs, group discussions, and performances from guest speakers. Scholarships are available to those who qualify.


  • Affiliate Organization: Augsburg University
  • Grades: 9th, 10th, & 11th
  • Cost: $2,140
  • Deadline: 6/8/19


3. Summer Mathematics Institute


Students who are happiest with a graphing calculator in hand — and those who want to learn more about career in math — should consider Augsburg’s Summer Mathematics Institute. During this week-long residential program, students will explore the Theory of Equations while developing their talent for solving problems likely to appear on the MSHSML, AMC, AIME, and ARML tests. Interested candidates should complete Algebra II prior to applying and be passionate about studying higher-level math.


  • Affiliate Organization: Augsburg University
  • Grades: 9th, 10th, & 11th
  • Cost: $600
  • Deadline: Not stated


3. Scrubs Camp


If your teen sees a future is in the healthcare field, consider enrolling them in one of the Scrubs Camps, located at multiple colleges throughout the state of Minnesota. During this summer course, talented high schoolers will have the chance to learn from full-time professors and current college students. Additionally, they’ll be able to tour local healthcare facilities, networking with doctors and dentists. Along with exploring various healthcare careers, the program will offer tips on different educational pathways to success. Schedules vary based on the location and available resources.



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

Discover your chances at hundreds of schools

Our free chancing engine takes into account your history, background, test scores, and extracurricular activities to show you your real chances of admission—and how to improve them.


4. Summer Computer Science Institute


Aspiring computer scientists, programmers, or engineers may want to consider the Summer Computer Science Institute at Carleton College. During this three-week program, students will develop their skills through a combination of classroom instruction, lab activities, and guided research. Not only will students have the chance to learn from full-time faculty members, but they’ll also be able to interact with current college students in the computer science field. The program concludes with an SCSI Research Symposium in which students share the results of their research with peers.


  • Affiliate Organization: Carleton College
  • Grades: 10th & 11th Only
  • Cost: $3,250
  • Deadline: 3/22/19


5. Building Cultural Bridges Summer Camp


Of course, summer programs aren’t just for STEM students. At Concordia University’s Cultural Bridges program, students can develop their talent in a range of areas including science, literacy, music, dance, art, and sports. Over the course of two weeks, teens will interact with students from a variety of cultures and language groups. Additionally, they’ll have the chance to learn from university instructors, current students, and teachers in the local school district. As a bonus, the program provides students with both breakfast and lunch, so they don’t have to worry about getting hungry while learning about the world.


  • Affiliate Organization: Concordia College
  • Grades: 9th, 10th, & 11th
  • Cost: $200
  • Deadline: 6/15/19


6. Hamline Mock Trial


Mock trials are a crucial aspect of any legal education, so why not give your policy minded teen a head start with this mock trial camp? During the one-week Mock Trial program from Hamline University, students will work with a team of their peers to develop skills in critical thinking, communication, and oral presentation. As a bonus, they’ll get real-time feedback from local lawyers, judges, and other experts in the legal field. Scholarships are available on a first come, first served basis to students in need, so apply early for the best chance at securing one.


  • Affiliate Organization: Hamline University
  • Grades: 9th, 10th, & 11th
  • Cost: $750
  • Deadline: Not stated


7. MCAD’s Pre-College Summer Session


Artistically minded students will be drawn to this program from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Along with developing their skills in studio art, students will hone their understanding of design principles and practice their critical thinking during this two-week course. As a bonus, participants will have the chance to interact with and learn from professional artists working in a variety of mediums. To apply for the Pre-College Summer Session, submit a one-page essay explaining how the program will help you realize your goals, along with five to 10 digital images of your work. The best samples showcase both the student’s technical aptitude and their conceptual talent.


  • Affiliate Organization: Minneapolis College of Art and Design
  • Grades: 10th & 11th
  • Cost: $2,300
  • Deadline: Not stated


8. ThreeSixty Journalism


If your high school student is passionate about communicating via the written word, consider the ThreeSixty Journalism program, available at the University of St. Thomas. Applicants can choose to attend one-week, two-week, or three-week programs focused on the art of writing and reporting. Additionally, the program strives to help Minnesota students from diverse backgrounds tell stories specific to their lives and experiences. To apply, submit a reference, a non-fiction writing sample, and your response to the following essay question: Why do you want to participate in the ThreeSixty Journalism summer camp?


  • Affiliate Organization: University of St. Thomas
  • Grades: 9th, 10th, & 11th
  • Cost: $975
  • Deadline: Not stated


Interested in summer programs available through Macalester College? Check out our post on the topic for details.


Want access to expert college guidance — for free? When you create your free CollegeVine account, you will find out your real admissions chances, build a best-fit school list, learn how to improve your profile, and get your questions answered by experts and peers—all for free. Sign up for your CollegeVine account today to get a boost on your college journey.


Short Bio
A graduate of the Master of Professional Writing program at USC, April Maguire taught freshman composition while earning her degree. Over the years, she has worked as a writer, editor, tutor, and content manager. Currently, she operates a freelance writing business and lives in Los Angeles with her husband and their three rowdy cats.

Don't miss out on the best high school & college admissions resources!

Join thousands of students and parents getting exclusive high school, test prep, and college admissions information.