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15 Summer Programs in Pennsylvania for High Schoolers

What’s Covered:

 

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, learn more about career paths, and inspire them to succeed.

 

15 Summer Programs in Pennsylvania

 

1. Allegheny College Summer Academy

 

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 includes making “Scents” of Chemistry, the Art and Science of Color, and Hellbenders and Crawdads: The Freshwater Ecology of Northwest Pennsylvania.

 

Affiliate College: Allegheny College

Grades: 10th, 11th, and 12th 

Cost: N/A

Deadline: N/A

Application requirements: 

  • Transcript
  • Personal statement 
  • Letter of recommendation 

 

2. Indiana Summer Honors Program

 

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 Political Science, Mathematics, History, Social Psychology, and Molecular Biology. 

 

Affiliate College: Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Grades: 11th and 12th

Cost: $400

Deadline: 5/1/22

Application requirements: 

  • Letter of recommendation  
  • Essay

 

3. Lehigh Summer Engineering Institute

 

This two-week residential program’s intent is to give talented rising high school juniors and seniors—many from underrepresented groups and future first-generation college students—the opportunity to gain firsthand experience in STEM. Working with Lehigh faculty and students, participants will gain insight into the world of science and technology while getting a glimpse of college life. 

 

Affiliate College: Lehigh University

Grades: 11th and 12th

Cost: Free

Deadline: N/A

 

4. Computers and Cyber Security Camp

 

If you love working with computers or technology, then you’ll love this program. Participants will learn about computer security and information assurance. Through hands-on activities, participants gain an understanding of how to defend and protect information systems and how to recover information using different techniques.

 

Affiliate College: Pennsylvania State University

Grades: 9th-12th

Cost: $300

Deadline: N/A

 

5. Discovering Engineering

 

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

 

Affiliate College: Pennsylvania State University

Grades: 9th-12th

Cost: N/A

Deadline: N/A

 

6. Emagination Tech Summer Camp

 

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.

 

Affiliate College: Rosemont College

Ages: 8-17

Cost: $1,695-$3,249

Deadline: N/A

 

7. Temple Summer Academy

 

This challenging four-week program allows participants to experience the academics, energy, and culture of Temple University while also earning college credit. Two courses are available: Youth Cultures (EDUC 0817) and Mathematical Patterns (MATH 0824). Courses are designed as workshops with the aim of providing an interactive experience and serving as an example of the academic rigor required by undergraduates.   

 

Affiliate College: Temple University

Grades: 11th and 12th 

Cost: $2,300-$2,625

Deadline: 5/13/22

Application requirements: 

  • Transcript
  • PSAT/SAT/ACT scores or writing sample
  • Personal statement 
  • Recommendation 

 

8. Tyler School Summer Studios 

 

Aspiring artists will love these two-week, hands-on visual art workshops exploring a variety of visual art and design subjects. Students can expect to explore new media, pursue their artistic interests, and build technical skills while gaining a better understanding of the degree and career pathways in the creative fields. They will also work in an atmosphere that encourages them to express their creativity while gaining experience with college-level work. 

 

Affiliate College: Temple University

Grades: 9th-12th

Cost: $900-$2,700

Deadline: 6/22/22

 

9. Tyler School of Architecture Institute

 

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

 

Affiliate College: Temple University

Grades: 10th, 11th, and 12th

Cost: $1,000

Deadline: N/A

 

10. Tyler School Environmental Design Institute 

 

This summer program in Pennsylvania provides participants with the skills and knowledge needed to create places that are ecologically sound, socially equitable, and resilient while also addressing the challenges of climate change. Additionally, participants will explore career paths in fields like landscape architecture and horticulture. 

 

Affiliate College: Temple University

Grades: 10th, 11th, and 12th

Cost: $1,000

Deadline: N/A

 

11. Tyler School Portfolio Bootcamp 

 

This summer program is designed as an intensive portfolio preparation class. Participants will work on observational drawing—often the most important feature an admissions counselor considers when reviewing a portfolio—while gaining an understanding of image presentation and how to build a portfolio that highlights their artistic strengths. 

 

Affiliate College: Temple University

Grades: 11th, and 12th

Cost: $900-$2,700

Deadline: N/A

 

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

 

This three-week intensive art program exposes participants to a wide variety of college-level art and design courses. Participants will get feedback from instructors, build their portfolios, and show their work at the end of the program. Rising seniors can also opt to have their work evaluated for the upcoming admissions cycle.

 

Affiliate College: University of the Arts

Grades: 10th, 11th, and 12th

Cost: $3,550-$4,940

Deadline: N/A

Application requirements:

  • Essay 
  • Portfolio  

 

13. UArts Pre-College Summer Institute | Creative Writing

 

Those dreaming of a future writing will want to explore this three-week program that helps them to find their unique voice as they explore fiction, poetry, and other genres. Participants will 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.

 

Affiliate College: University of the Arts

Grades: 10th, 11th, and 12th

Cost: $3,550-$4,940

Deadline: N/A

Application requirements:

  • Essay 
  • Writing sample 

 

14. UArts Pre-College Summer Institute | Dance

 

Rising seniors have the chance to audition directly for the University of Arts upon completing the institute, and all participants can earn three 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.

 

Affiliate College: University of the Arts

Grades: 10th, 11th, and 12th

Cost: $2,550-$3,940

Deadline: N/A

Application requirements: Video audition 

 

15. UArts Pre-College Summer Institute | Music

 

This two-week program allows musicians and vocalists the opportunity to explore new techniques and expand their repertoire while working with master-level musicians. The program is open to students in the following performance areas: 

  • Bass (upright or electric)
  • Drums
  • Vibraphone
  • Voice
  • Guitar
  • Piano
  • All woodwind and brass instruments


Participants will leave this program with improved confidence as a musician, a bolstered network of peers and professional musicians, and a richer understanding of a variety of musical styles. 

 

Affiliate College: University of the Arts

Grades: 10th, 11th, and 12th

Cost: $2,350-$3,320

Deadline: N/A

Application requirements: Video audition

 

How do Summer Programs Impact Your College Chances?

 

Participating in a summer program can have varying degrees of influence on your chances of admission to college. For example, some summer programs are more impressive to colleges than others, and some colleges value participation in extracurricular activities—like summer programs—more than others. 

 

The four tiers of extracurricular activities present a good guideline for understanding how colleges view attending a summer program. Tier-one and tier-two extracurriculars represent the most prestigious, rare, and influential summer programs. Admissions officials don’t come across these activities often—and when they do, they’re impressed. 

 

Tier-three and -four activities are more common, less attention-grabbing, and carry a lower degree of weight than those of the higher tiers. That said, participation in lower-tier summer programs still holds value, as many of these programs are designed to prepare participants for college—whether it’s building foundational academic skills, providing a sample of college life, or, more specifically, bolstering a portfolio or honing audition skills. 

 

CollegeVine can help you determine the influence extracurricular activities have on your chances of college admission. Our free chancing calculator uses a variety of factors including grades, test scores, and extracurriculars to estimate your odds of getting into hundreds of colleges and universities while also providing insight into how to improve your profile.


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.