15 Summer Programs in Tennessee for High Schoolers

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If you’re wondering how your student is going to spend their summer, then summer programs may just be the answer you’re looking for. Summer programs help teenagers explore their passions, experience college firsthand, and learn new skills. They’re a great way to help your student develop in ways they can’t get from a traditional job or classroom experience.

 

Luckily, there are summer programs for just about every grade level and area of interest, so you’re bound to find something that suits your teen. We’ve rounded up 15 summer programs in Tennessee to help parents figure out which program might suit their student’s unique interests and goals.

 

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:

 

Inspire academic excellence. Many students experience a slump in academic interest over the summer, and it makes adjusting to the start of the school year a little more difficult. A summer program provides many enriching academic benefits, such as hands-on activities and project-based learning, without the same stress of completing homework or preparing for quizzes. Students can explore their interests in a fun environment and return to school excited to apply what they’ve learned over the summer.

 

Specialize in an area of interest. Many programs narrow their focus to cater to students with specific interests. Most of the time, these students may know what subjects they like in school or have an idea of a career they’d like to pursue. Summer programs allow students to deepdive into their interests, expanding their awareness of opportunities in a field by meeting current professionals or visiting local sites. Plus, they often learn the skills and technologies currently being used by that industry, so they can feel confident in their choice of major or career.

 

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 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.

 

Summer Programs in Tennessee

 

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 Tennessee resident or not, or if there are scholarships available.

 

1. Design Matters! Camp: Big Orange and Big Design

 

There is no previous design experience needed for this immersive design experience. Students will apply design skills to challenging activities, take field trips to draw inspiration and practice their design interpretation skills, and visit the innovative Fab Lab to see how college students study and explore design.

 

  • Affiliate College: The University of Tennessee—Knoxville
  • Grades: 9th, 10th, & 11th
  • Cost: $1,000

 

 

2. Accounting and Information Management Academy

 

This four-day immersive experience provides students with an introduction to accounting and the different careers available in accounting. They’ll meet with a diverse group of business professionals to get insight into the field and even receive some college prep.

 

  • Affiliate College: The University of Tennessee—Knoxville
  • Grades: 10th Only
  • Cost: $0
  • Deadline: March 31, 2019
  • Additional requirements: Underrepresented students, first-generation college students, students on free or reduced lunch

 

 

3. Business Education for Talented Students (BETS) Program

 

Students will learn about various fields within business during this 10-day residential program. They’ll meet with local business professionals and work in teams to prepare and present a project simulating a real business venture. They’ll also get to experience college firsthand and gain insight from faculty and students about college life.

 

  • Affiliate College: The University of Tennessee—Knoxville
  • Grades: 11th Only
  • Cost: $0
  • Deadline: March 31, 2019
  • Additional requirements: Underrepresented students, first-generation college students, students on free or reduced lunch

 

 

4. Vanderbilt Summer Academy | Agents of Change

 

As part of the Vanderbilt Summer Academy, students get to choose two courses during the two-week program to explore their passions. The Agents of Change course is perfect for any student interested in law or politics, as they’ll study rhetoric and apply analysis to modern political, social and economic issues. They’ll also practice public speaking in a supportive environment.

 

  • Affiliate College: Vanderbilt University
  • Grades: 9th & 10th only
  • Cost: $2,975
  • Deadline: Rolling

 

 

5. Vanderbilt Summer Academy | Astrophysics

 

If your student is fascinated by our galaxy and the universe beyond, then this is the course for them. In it, students will construct a research question and use computer models to test their hypotheses before gathering observational data to see how accurate the model predictions were.

 

  • Affiliate College: Vanderbilt University
  • Grades: 9th & 10th only
  • Cost: $2,975
  • Deadline: Rolling

 

 

6. Vanderbilt Summer Academy | The Avengers Meets The Hero with a Thousand Faces

 

Students interested in film and literature will love this course. They’ll learn about Joseph Campbell’s classic Hero’s Journey as a literary trope, explore how the Marvel storylines align and deviate from the Hero’s Journey, and walk away with a stronger appreciation for storytelling in general.

 

  • Affiliate College: Vanderbilt University
  • Grades: 9th & 10th only
  • Cost: $2,975
  • Deadline: Rolling

 

 

7. Vanderbilt Summer Academy | Computational Thinking, Programming, and Agent-Based Modeling

Rising juniors and seniors have the opportunity to immerse themselves for three weeks through Vanderbilt’s Summer Academy. No prior programming experience is required for this course; instead students will learn how to apply agent-based modeling to a variety of disciplines in the sciences, social sciences, and humanities, and they’ll work closely with instructors on a programming project they develop.

 

  • Affiliate College: Vanderbilt University
  • Grades: 10th & 11th only
  • Cost: $3,975
  • Deadline: Rolling

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8. Vanderbilt Summer Academy | Fantasy Fiction Writing

 

Students will explore short stories, poetry, and even beginning their own novel during this creative writing course. They’ll learn how fantasy authors like J.R.R. Tolkien and J.K. Rowling used their own life experiences to create otherworldly tales, and students will combine self-reflection and creativity to write their own masterpieces.

 

  • Affiliate College: Vanderbilt University
  • Grades: 9th & 10th only
  • Cost: $2,975
  • Deadline: Rolling

 

 

9. SOARing with Mathematics

 

Students with an interest in engineering, science, or math should apply for this hands-on four-day program. They’ll design models for parachutes, helicopters, and rockets and collect data to refine their models and respond to challenges. Students will also work alongside faculty to master the basic computer software to analyze their data.

 

  • Affiliate College: Austin Peay State University
  • Grades: 9th, 10th, & 11th
  • Cost: $0
  • Deadline: April 12, 2019
  • Additional requirements: Students must have completed Algebra 1 or Integrated Math 1 to participate.

10. Summer Winds Band Camp

 

If your student currently plays a woodwind, brass, or percussion instrument, they’re eligible to participate in this one-week musical intensive. Students will participate in ensemble rehearsals, chamber music sessions, and take master class lessons for their instrument. Master classes are taught by Belmont faculty, giving students the same personalized attention they would receive if they were a music major.

 

  • Affiliate College: Belmont University
  • Grades: 9th, 10th, & 11th
  • Cost: $675

 

 

11. String Crossings Camp

 

Students who play violin, viola, cello, or string bass have the opportunity to study several musical genres while they rehearse in orchestra and small ensembles of their choice. They’ll master improvisation techniques and spend time in a Nashville recording studio to get a feel for being a professional musician.

 

  • Affiliate College: Belmont University
  • Grades: 9th, 10th, & 11th
  • Cost: $1,150
  • Priority Deadline: April 8, 2019
  • Final Deadline: May 20, 2019

 

 

12. Summer Vocal Arts Intensive

 

Students will dive deep into vocal performance as both soloists and chorus members in this week-long intensive. They’ll participate in master classes and can choose a small ensemble in Chamber Choir, Jazz Choir, A Capella Choir, Pop/Rock Ensemble, or Musical Theatre. By the end of the week, students will master both classical and commercial singing styles.

 

  • Affiliate College: Belmont University
  • Grades: 9th, 10th, & 11th
  • Cost: $700
  • Additional requirements: 1 minute video audition

 

 

13. Belmont Piano Camp

 

This six-day residential program lets talented pianists specialize in either classical or jazz piano. In addition to group lessons and master classes, students will develop their sight reading skills, learn music theory, and practice their improvisational skills.

 

  • Affiliate College: Belmont University
  • Grades: 9th, 10th, & 11th
  • Cost: $750

 

 

14. ENGAGE Youth Theology Initiative

 

This week-long initiative introduces students to how they can combine the Christian religion with leadership to make the world a better place. Students will explore what racial justice and healing would look like, the interconnected history of the Church and the Civil Rights Movement, and how they can be a Christian leader for social good.

 

  • Affiliate College: Lipscomb University
  • Grades: 9th, 10th, & 11th
  • Cost: $500
  • Deadline: April 30, 2019

 

 

15. Advanced BisonBot Robotic Camp

 

If your student is interested in robotics and engineering, then this is the camp for them. In it, they’ll deepen their knowledge of mechanical and electrical principles and study different robot designs. Over the course of the week, they’ll use their skills to design their own robot, and on the last day they’ll compete with other campers’ robots head-to-head.

 

  • Affiliate College: Lipscomb University
  • Grades: 9th, 10th, & 11th
  • Cost: $500
  • Deadline: March 15, 2019
  • Additional requirements: Applicants must have some previous robot experience (previous attendance in a robotics camp, participation on the robotics team, etc.)

 

Wrapping It Up

 

With so many great opportunities at Tennessee schools, there’s bound to be a program that suits your student’s interests. Whether your student wants to explore their interests or refine their current skills, they can make the most of this summer through a summer program.

 

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 Early Advising Program helps students identify activities to refine their interests and strengthen their portfolios. Find out if our Early Advising Program is right for you!

 

Check out some of our other posts about extracurriculars:

 

15 Summer Programs in Georgia for High Schoolers

10 Summer Programs in Oklahoma for High Schoolers

11 Summer Programs in North Carolina for High Schoolers

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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.