15 Summer Programs in Ohio for High Schoolers

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Summer might not be here quite yet, but with the sun coming out and the school year rounding the corner into fourth quarter, you might be starting to think about summer plans for your high schooler. Summertime can be a great opportunity to try something new, explore an interest, or even get a head start on the school year ahead. For those looking to accomplish all three, CollegeVine recommends taking a look at summer programs.


Summer programs, or pre-college summer programs, offer structure to the summer months and allow students a glimpse of what it’s like to attend college. Topics range from STEM to theatre, with no shortage of options for your student, no matter where their interests lie.


How Do Summer Programs Benefit High School Students?


While there are many benefits to summer programs, arguably one of the most valuable aspects is the opportunity it provides for students to demonstrate interest beyond the classroom. College admissions officers love to see students who show the initiative to pursue activities outside of school. Even if your student is a freshman in high school, it’s never too soon to think about the activities list they’ll present on college applications, and summer programs can be a valuable bolster.


In addition, summer programs tend to offer small and intimate settings in which each participant gets ample facetime with the instructor. This means the chance to ask questions, accelerate learning, and even investigate a potential major. Many students have actually credited summer programs with helping them choose their future major.


Finally, summer programs offer students an environment in which they can forge lasting bonds with students who share their passions. For all you know, the peers your student meets might one day be college classmates or company co-workers! At the very least, though, they’ll be friendly faces to call new friends.


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


15 Summer Programs in Ohio for High Schoolers


1. Reynolds Young Writers Workshop


Hosted by Denison University, the Reynolds Young Writers Workshop offers a great opportunity for students who want to advance their writing in an intimate setting. Each day consists of a morning and afternoon workshop, with groups not exceeding 12 students. Attendees will have the opportunity to work with visiting writers and core faculty in a setting conducive to one-on-one instruction. Beyond the workshops, students forge connections with peer writers while engaging in a variety of recreational activities, from hiking a bio-reserve to bowling and volleyball.


Specialty: Writing

Grades: 10th – 11th Graders

Cost: $1,300

Deadline: March 9th, 2019

Required Essay: Submit a creative writing sample (up to 10 pages of fiction, poetry, or nonfiction)


2. Emerging Writers Workshop


Throughout this program, students will work on crafting short pieces across multiple genres, which they will then get to share with other students and faculty. Workshops will emphasize how to give and receive constructive criticism and how to approach the revision process. At the end of the program, students will have the opportunity to invite their friends and family to a public reading of their work.


Specialty: Writing

Grades: 9th – 11th Graders

Cost: $375

Deadline: June 1st, 2019

Required Essay: Attach a creative writing sample with your registration. You may include a short piece in its entirety or an excerpt from a longer work, provided you remain within the 500-word limit. The sample should be prose fiction or nonfiction; no poetry samples will be accepted.


3. A.C.E. Academy


A.C.E., short for Aeronautics Careers Education, will introduce 25 students to a broad range of careers offered in the field of aeronautics and aerospace engineering. Attendees will be granted clearance to facilities rarely open to the public, including a tour of the Cleveland Hopkins Air Traffic Control Tower and Radar Center. Students will also get to build and launch their own rocket in Kent State University’s engineering lab, as well as fly a single engine Cessna with the help of a flight instructor.


Specialty: Engineering

Grades: 9th – 11th Graders

Cost: $225

Deadline: May 8th, 2019


4. Malone Academic Summer Camps


Malone University hosts this academic summer camp for students looking to explore a field of interest with industry professionals. A variety of subjects is offered, including creative writing, cybersecurity, theatre, worship music, and zoo/wildlife biology. No matter which subject the student chooses, they will get hands-on experience in the form of workshops and field trips, with the chance to meet and be mentored by established professionals.


Specialty: General Academic

Grades: 10th – 11th Graders

Cost: $450

Deadline: May 24th, 2019


5. Summer High School Music Theatre CAMP


Is your student passionate about singing, acting, dancing, or performance in general? Muskingum University holds a week-long program geared toward honing musical performance talents. Activities will include movement classes, improvisation, mock auditions, vocal lessons, and more. At the end of the week, students will get to perform in front of a public audience in the university’s brand new theatre.


Specialty: Theatre

Grades: 9th – 11th Graders

Cost: $585

Deadline: April 29th, 2019

Required Component: Applicants must provide a video, DVD, or email of two songs


6. Summer Academic and Honors Institute


The Summer Academic and Honors Institute invites students who are passionate about STEM to Ohio Northern University for a week-long science intensive course. A total of 15 courses are offered, each one providing the opportunity for students to explore a potential career or major while interacting with ONU’s professors and guest speakers. Participants choose one course for each week they choose to attend and learn the process of scientific inquiry with regards to the chosen topic. At the program’s close, students receive a transferable college credit hour for each course completed.


Specialty: General Science

Grades: 9th – 11th Graders (Must be identified as “gifted” by a school district OR be able to obtain a written recommendation from your high school)

Cost: $495

Deadline: Registration open while space is available


*Ohio gifted identification criteria as described in Ohio Administrative Code 3301-51-15


7. Ross Mathematics Program


Ohio Dominican University hosts an annual summer intensive for students who are passionate about the world of mathematical discovery. Multiple levels of instruction are offered depending on how many times a student has participated, but first year participants must enroll in number theory. Throughout the course, attendees will consider new questions and learn how to justify answers using novel methods. Classes will fill about eight hours per week, but during unstructured time, participants are expected to continue working through their problems. Throughout the process, students will work closely with counselors who live in the dorms alongside the program participants, and provide feedback and assistance as needed.


Specialty: Math

Grades: 9th – 11th Graders

Cost: $5,000

Deadline: April 1st, 2019

Required Essays:

  1. What aspect of mathematics draws your interest and attention? Are you interested in math for its own sake, for the thrill of solving puzzling problems, or because math has many applications in other fields?
  2. What is an interesting mathematical problem you have worked on? Recall a problem that you spent some time thinking about. Carefully state the problem and describe the work you have done on it.
  3. When you work on hard math problems do you usually work alone? Or with a group of friends? (Reminder: when you work on the Ross Application Problems, please be sure to work by yourself.)
  4. Have you worked on some interesting mathematical projects? If so, what were the topics? For the project you enjoyed the most: How much time did you spend on it? Were you working alone, guided by a mentor, or as part of a team? What benefits do you feel you gained from doing that work?
  5. Have you recently participated in some math competitions? Which ones? Did you do well on them? How do your math contest experiences (both preparing for and participating in contests), compare with math courses you have taken in high school or in other venues?

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8. High School Media Workshop


Ohio University invites high school students to live on campus and learn from their faculty for three days of intensive media arts training. Students will have the chance to hone skills in music, video, animation and more, with unlimited access to Ohio University’s state-of-the-art facilities. When participants aren’t busy learning the art of media, they’re given time to explore campus and engage in activities hosted by the Living Learning Center.


Specialty: Music

Grades: 9th – 11th Graders

Cost: $425

Deadline: Not hosted in 2019, but may return in the future.


9. High School Journalism Workshop


Is your student thinking about a career in journalism? Ohio University will be hosting a group of students on its campus for three days in a program consisting of workshop sessions, newsroom activities, and discussions with visiting professionals. The workshop is overseen by faculty from OU’s Schools of Journalism and Visual Communication, providing ample time for students to ask questions and learn about the industry. At the end of the session, all stories produced by program attendees will be published on the program website.


Specialty: Journalism

Grades: 9th – 11th Graders

Cost: $300

Deadline: June 7th, 2019


10. 2019 Martin W. Essex School for the Gifted and Talented


No matter what your student is interested in studying, there’s a place for them at Otterbein University’s Essex School. Topics include arts, sciences, and humanities; the subjects are introduced to students through an array of seminars, workshops, and field trips. In past years, students have participated in workshops on sustainability, poetry, acting, and more. The diversity of subject matter provides an environment in which a student can explore multiple topics of interest in just four days.


Specialty: General Academic

Grades: 10th – 11th Graders

Cost: $650

Deadline: April 8th, 2019


11. Women in Engineering and Applied Science Summer Camp


Over the course of a week, attendees of the Women in Engineering and Applied Science Summer Camp will have the opportunity to complete projects alongside professional engineers within a variety of engineering departments at the University of Cincinnati. When students are not working on their projects, they will have the opportunity to go on fields trips to a variety of corporate engineering plants, such as General Electric. For students interested in engineering, this program is a great opportunity to learn more about the different fields they can go into.


Specialty: Engineering

Grades: 9th – 11th Graders (women only)

Cost: $250

Deadline: February 15th, 2019


12. Men in Engineering and Applied Science Summer Camp


For young men interested in engineering, the University of Cincinnati offers another camp analogous to the female version. Throughout the week-long program, attendees will delve into an engineering project with the help of professional engineers. By the end of the program, students will also gain exposure to the different engineering departments.


Specialty: Engineering

Grades: 9th – 11th Graders (men only)

Cost: $250

Deadline: February 15th, 2019


13. The Young Writers Workshop


Held at Kenyon College, the Young Writers Workshop is a two-week workshop for passionate writers to hone their skills. Workshop groups are limited to thirteen students and meet for five hours a day, ensuring that each student gets ample opportunity for one-on-one instruction and feedback. Workshops will employ prompts and exercises to get students exploring different genres of writing. Beyond workshops, the program includes public readings by guest poets, writers, and essayists, as well as access to the college’s recreational facilities.


Specialty: Writing

Grades: 9th – 11th Graders

Cost: $2,375

Deadline: March 1st, 2019

Required Essay: A brief (300-word) application essay


14. Ohio Business Week


The Ohio Business Week offers an exciting opportunity for students who are interested in business and entrepreneurship. Over the course of a week, participants will go through a simulated business startup, during which they will have to overcome various challenges as they arise. Each team is assigned an advisor with business expertise who they will work closely with throughout the week. Students leave this program with hands-on business experience and, according to past participants, tight bonds forged with team members.


Specialty: Business/Finance

Grades: 9th – 11th Graders

Cost: $449

Deadline: May 31st, 2019


15. FFA Camp Muskingum


Perfect for the outdoorsy high schooler, the FFA Camp sits at an intersection of the traditional camp experience and an educational academic opportunity. Activities will include campfires, a talent show, forestry lessons, and more. If your student is interested in conservation, wildlife, or the great outdoors, the week-long FFA Camp might be the program for them.


Specialty: General Science

Grades: 9th – 11th Graders

Cost: $375

Deadline: June 7th, 2019


How Can You Find The Best Summer Programs For Your Teen?


With so many summer program options available to your teen, we know it can be a little bit overwhelming trying to find the perfect one. So, we’ve broken the process into bite-size steps to help you get started.


  • Determine the scope of your search. Depending on what you and your child are comfortable with, your search can be as small as a single region, or as broad as worldwide. Either way, having a predetermined location for your search will help you and your child hone in on potential program matches.


  • Decide on your ideal price range. Summer programs offer a range of prices, with some free and others costing thousands of dollars. You don’t have to spend a fortune, but it’s best to go into the search knowing exactly what range you’re comfortable with.


  • Figure out which specialty appeals to your child the most. Most students do not yet know what major or career they’re aiming for, which is perfectly fine. However, the specialty you choose will ideally align with a topic that reflects your student’s passions and can potentially translate into a major.


After you have gone through the steps above, the next course of action is to consult a guidance counselor, trusted teacher, or mentor to help identify opportunities that fit what you’re looking for. These adults have the industry knowledge to ensure your teen finds the perfect program for the coming summer.


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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.

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