15 Summer Programs in Pennsylvania for High Schoolers

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Summer camps aren’t just for younger kids anymore; it’s becoming increasingly common for colleges and nonprofit organizations to offer specialized programs that give high schoolers the opportunity to learn and grow.

 

Summer programs combine the fun of a camp with professional and academic insight. They help students develop their interests, experience college life, and learn more about career paths. Afterwards, students return to high school inspired to succeed.

 

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 summer programs:

 

Specialize in an area of interest. Since summer programs often explicitly specialize in a field like the arts or STEM, these experiences give students an inside look into a discipline that they wouldn’t be able to get in a traditional class setting, and expand students’ awareness of opportunities in these fields.

 

Experience college firsthand. Many summer programs are held at colleges and universities, and they let students stay on-campus and get the full taste of what college is like. Students might learn about valuable 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 fun social activities alongside stimulating intellectual endeavors.

 

Enhance your student’s application. College admissions officers consider students’ extracurricular activities not only as part of the admissions process, but also when awarding merit scholarships. While there are no strict requirements about the exact activities a student should pursue, admissions officers want to see that students pursued their interests outside of the classroom. Summer programs that specialize in an area of interest allow students to demonstrate their professional and academic interest in ways that high school classes and part-time jobs often can’t.

 

Meet current students and faculty. Perhaps the greatest advantage of attending a summer program at a college is the chance for your student 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 any of these college-based programs, high school students can get to know 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 draw upon a wealth of extracurricular experiences when it comes time to apply for college.

 

15 Summer Programs in Pennsylvania

 

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. Allegheny College Summer Academy

Affiliate College: Allegheny College

 

Students have the option to choose a one- or two-week pre-college experience at Allegheny College. The Summer Academy gives students the chance to explore their interests while earning college credit. A sample of past interdisciplinary courses taught by Allegheny faculty include: Making “Scents” of Chemistry, the Art and Science of Color, and Hellbenders and Crawdads: The Freshwater Ecology of Northwest Pennsylvania.

 

  • Grades: 10th & 11th only
  • Cost: $1,600
  • Deadline: May 1, 2019

 

2. Indiana Summer Honors Program

Affiliate College: Indiana University of Pennsylvania

 

This two-week residential program gives rising juniors and seniors firsthand experience of college life. Students will stay on-campus and meet their peer counselors who can share their college experience while they take classes in a variety of disciplines, such as anthropology, business, chemistry, English, or psychology.

 

  • Grades: 10th & 11th only
  • Cost: $400
  • Deadline: May 1, 2019
  • Application prompt: A goal for the Cook Honors College Summer Program will be to create a “Community of Scholars” among the participants. In any community, each member brings a unique set of characteristics. Discuss what your contribution would be to our “Community of Scholars” using specific examples.

 

3. Blueprint Lehigh University Pre-College Summer Program

Affiliate College: Lehigh University

 

Blueprint Signature Summer programs give students the opportunity to study some of the most popular college courses at select schools across the nation. Students can participate for 1-2 weeks, and can choose from courses in Business, Engineering, Forensic Science, Law, Medicine, and Psychology. Applications are open until the programs are filled!

 

  • Grades: 9th, 10th, & 11th
  • Cost: $2,699
  • Deadline: Rolling

 

4. Computers and Cyber Security Camp

Affiliate College: Pennsylvania State University

 

If your student loves working with computers or technology, then this camp will introduce them to the world of computer security and information assurance. The hands-on activities will teach students how to defend and protect information systems, and they’ll learn how to recover information using different techniques.

 

  • Grades: 9th, 10th, & 11th
  • Deadline: Rolling

 

5. Discovering Engineering

Affiliate College: Pennsylvania State University

 

Students will learn basic engineering concepts through the design and testing of projects and using different building materials to find solutions to problems. They’ll be introduced to the specifics of structural design, vehicle dynamics, and aerodynamics and rockets, and they’ll use RocSim software to validate the stability of their designs before they launch.

 

  • Grades: 9th, 10th, & 11th
  • Deadline: Rolling

 

6. Forensic Science Camp

Affiliate College: Pennsylvania State University

 

Does your student love watching crime shows and figuring out who the culprit is? The Forensic Science Camp will teach students the basic methods of collecting and analyzing data from a real crime scene. Students will practice their new skills on a simulated crime scene investigation, collecting DNA and performing experiments, to solve the case.

 

  • Grades: 9th, 10th, & 11th
  • Deadline: Rolling

 

7. Veterinary Science Camp

Affiliate College: Pennsylvania State University

 

This is the perfect camp for any animal lover or those considering a veterinary career. Students will learn about how biology, chemistry, and anatomy inform veterinary science. The will also practice doing clinical work such as ultrasounds and injections, and take trips to a local veterinary clinic and dairy farm to experience the everyday life of vets.

 

  • Grades: 9th, 10th, & 11th
  • Deadline: Rolling

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8. Emagination Tech Summer Camp

Affiliate College: Rosemont College

 

This two-week technology-based camp allows students to specialize in an industry by choosing specific classes and taking advantage of the resources available at Rosemont College. Students can select from Digital Art & Media, Coding, Engineering, or Game Design classes, along with recreational electives like swimming, field games, indoor games, or Dungeons and Dragons.

 

  • Grades: 9th and 10th Only
  • Cost: $2,945

 

9. Temple Summer Academy

Affiliate College: Temple University

 

This rigorous 4-week program has three tracks for students to choose from: the Summer Owls Leadership Experience (SOLE), Visual Studies Academy, and Business Design Academy. As part of SOLE, students complete a ropes course and take trips to professional settings to practice their networking skills. Students in the Business Design Academy will work in teams to devise innovative solutions to real-world problems.

 

  • Grades: 10th & 11th only
  • Cost: $4,595
  • Deadline: May 9, 2019

 

10. Tyler School of Art Visual Studies Academy

Affiliate College: Temple University

 

As part of the Temple Summer Academy, the Visual Studies Academy combines morning academic coursework with afternoon studio workshops. Students have the opportunity to earn college credit as they create original pieces of art using the resources available at the Tyler School.

 

  • Grades: 11th only
  • Cost: $4,595
  • Deadline: May 9, 2019

 

11. Tyler School of Architecture Institute

Affiliate College: Temple University

 

Philadelphia’s historic setting provides the perfect backdrop for the Architecture Institute. This program gives students an introduction to architecture as degree and as a career. Alongside Temple’s faculty, students will develop their design skills, visit sites, and create models of their designs.

 

  • Grades: 9th, 10th, & 11th
  • Cost: $950
  • Deadline: Rolling

 

12. UArts Pre-College Summer Institute | Art, Media & Design

Affiliate College: University of the Arts

 

Students not only will develop a portfolio during this four-week program, but rising seniors can also opt to have their work evaluated for the upcoming admissions cycle. Students can take courses in Animation, Digital Filmmaking, Graphic Design, Illustration, Oil Painting, Photography, or Installation + Public Art.

 

  • Grades: 9th, 10th, & 11th
  • Cost: $5,418
  • Deadline: Rolling
  • 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. UArts Pre-College Summer Institute | Creative Writing

Affiliate College: University of the Arts

 

If your student loves to write, then this program will allow your students to find their unique voice as they explore creative nonfiction, fiction, poetry, and scriptwriting over the course of four weeks. They’ll meet published authors and professional editors who will provide them with insight and feedback on their work, and they’ll participate in weekly workshops with their peers.

 

  • Grades: 9th, 10th, & 11th
  • Cost: $5,418
  • Deadline: Rolling
  • 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)

 

14. UArts Pre-College Summer Institute | Dance

Affiliate College: University of the Arts

 

Rising seniors have the chance to audition directly for the University of Arts upon completing the institute, and all participants can earn 3 college credits. Students will learn about dance as an art form, a major, and a career and expand their dance skills across genres. They have the chance to meet renowned choreographers and perform in a public showcase at the end of this three-week program.

 

  • Grades: 9th, 10th, & 11th
  • Cost: $3,345
  • Deadline: Rolling
  • Additional requirements: Audition digitally via YouTube or Vimeo link—Audition should include up to five minutes of a technical demonstration at the barre or center. Audition should also include a two-minute solo piece.

 

15. UArts Pre-College Summer Institute | Jazz

Affiliate College: University of the Arts

 

This two-week program allows musicians and vocalists the opportunity to explore new techniques and expand their repertoire using jazz as a framework. Participants will explore historical jazz scenes in Philadelphia, participate in ensembles and jam sessions, and attend special concerts.

 

  • Grades: 9th, 10th, & 11th
  • Cost: $2,900
  • Deadline: Rolling
  • Additional requirements: Audition—A prepared 1-2 minute piece that demonstrates a range of technical and improvisational abilities + a sight reading exercise.

 

Wrapping it Up

 

Whether your student loves the arts or wants to experience what college is like and explore their options, chances are there is a program at one of Pennsylvania’s great schools for them. Not only that, but many of the programs above offer the additional perk of giving students college credit, which can help them save tuition money or take more advanced courses once they begin college.

 

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!

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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.