15 Summer Programs in Virginia for High Schoolers

Students and parents often think that “summer camps” are reserved for younger kids and that high schoolers are better off getting a summer job. However, there are numerous summer programs designed specifically for high school students that can give your teenager the opportunity to learn and grow in ways that a traditional part-time job cannot.

 

Summer programs are a way for high school students to develop their interests and learn more about college and career paths. Plus, participating in a summer program can strengthen a student’s application. By demonstrating interest in a specific subject through multiple avenues, students can reiterate their applications theme, or the overarching story of who they are and who they want to become. We’ve rounded up 15 summer programs in Virginia to help parents figure out which program might suit their student’s unique interests and goals.

 

Why Summer Programs Benefit High Schoolers

 

Summer programs for high school students are about more than just having fun (although there’s plenty of that too!). One of the main benefits of summer programs is that they allow students to specialize in an area of interest. These programs often give students an inside look into an industry or academic discipline that they wouldn’t be able to get in a traditional class setting, and expand students’ awareness of opportunities in that field.

 

Many summer programs are held at colleges and universities, which provides an additional bonus of helping students get a feel life on a college campus. These programs can often inform students of hard-to-find 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 the combination of fun social activities with stimulating intellectual endeavors firsthand.

 

College admissions officers care about students’ extracurricular activities and often consider them not only as part of the admissions process, but also when awarding merit scholarships. They want to see that students pursued their interests outside of the classroom and took advantage of the resources available to them. Summer programs can help them do just that. As a bonus, those that are selective and all-expenses-paid can be an impressive addition to a student’s resume. Furthermore, these experiences can be valuable material for a memorable admission essay.

 

That said, other types of summer activities, such as volunteering, interning, or part-time work, can also inspire a strong admissions essay. Rest assured, your teen doesn’t have to choose between these activities and a summer program: many summer programs span just a couple weeks, so students can balance these other obligations while still pursuing their interests. By diversifying their activities, students will be able to craft essays that draw upon a wealth of extracurricular experiences when it comes time to apply.

 

Perhaps the greatest advantage of attending a summer program at a college, however, is the chance 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.

15 Summer Programs in Virginia

 

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

 

1. Experiment and Explore: Summer Science Camp

Affiliate College: Hollins University

 

This one-week hands-on camp is perfect for the budding scientist! Students will work closely with two science faculty members as they explore biology, chemistry, and environmental science. They also get to hear from guest daily and work in labs to deepen their scientific understanding.

 

  • Grades: 9th, 10th, & 11th
  • Cost: For commuter campers, $400; for residential campers, $950.
  • Deadline: June 1, 2019
  • Additional requirements: Girls only

 

2. Hollins Theatre: Caught in the Act

Affiliate College: Hollins University

 

If your student has a knack for storytelling and performance, then this one-week camp is for them. Students will learn basic theatre and vocal performance skills, write their own scripts, practice improvisation, and perform in a showcase at the end of the week. They also have the opportunity to hear from guest speakers and visit graduate classes.

 

  • Grades: 9th, 10th, & 11th
  • Cost: For commuter campers, $400; for residential campers, $950.
  • Deadline: June 1, 2019
  • Additional requirements: Girls only

 

3. UVA Advance | COMM 2559: Business Communication

Affiliate College: University of Virginia

 

The UVA Advance program is a four-week program for high-achieving high school students looking to experience college firsthand. Students choose from one of four core course offerings, and the Business Communications course is perfect for students interested in entrepreneurship or working in the private sector. They’ll learn about the skills needed to persuade and hear about important trends in business, such as globalization.

 

  • Grades: 10th & 11th only
  • Cost: $5,576 (Non-Virginia resident: $12,112)
  • Deadline: Rolling
  • Application prompt: Write your own letter of recommendation. In 350 words, tell us about your ability to succeed in a rigorous, fast-paced undergraduate-level summer program and how you expect to contribute positively to the UVA Advance community.

 

4. UVA Advance | EVSC 2050: Introduction to Oceanography

Affiliate College: University of Virginia

 

Another of the core courses in the UVA Advance program, students will have the opportunity to learn about the world’s oceans and major marine environments. This course blends both science and politics as students learn about marine biology and marine policy, as well as the relationship between the two.

 

  • Grades: 10th & 11th only
  • Cost: $5,576 (Non-Virginia resident: $12,113)
  • Deadline: Rolling
  • Application prompt: Write your own letter of recommendation. In 350 words, tell us about your ability to succeed in a rigorous, fast-paced undergraduate-level summer program and how you expect to contribute positively to the UVA Advance community.

 

5. UVA Advance | PLIR 2500: Human Rights in a World of States – Origins, Effects, Prospects

Affiliate College: University of Virginia

 

This philosophically-driven course is ideal for students interested in history, politics, law, or the social sciences. Students will learn from an esteemed faculty member about how the concept of human rights originated and how human rights have impacted the quality of life for people around the world. Students will not only learn general theory, but also discuss specific case studies to enrich their learning.

 

  • Grades: 10th & 11th Only
  • Cost: $5,576 (Non-Virginia resident: $12,115)
  • Deadline: Rolling
  • Application prompt: Write your own letter of recommendation. In 350 words, tell us about your ability to succeed in a rigorous, fast-paced undergraduate-level summer program and how you expect to contribute positively to the UVA Advance community.

 

6. Pre-College Summer Intensive: School of the Arts

Affiliate College: Virginia Commonwealth University

 

Students have the option to explore the performing or fine arts in this intensive three-week program. Designed to help students prepare for college auditions or portfolio reviews, students take courses, have designated studio time, and learn about general college admissions in the evening, combined with social activities such as dance parties and trips to local museums.

 

  • Grades: 9th, 10th, & 11th
  • Cost: $3,300
  • Deadline: Rolling

 

7. C-Tech² – Computers and Technology at Virginia Tech

Affiliate College: Virginia Tech

 

This immersive two-week program introduces students to all of the engineering options at Virginia Tech. Students work closely with faculty and graduate students pn interactive challenges while gaining insight about college admissions in general. Each participant also completes a design project that they present during a showcase on the final day.

 

  • Grades: 10th & 11th Only
  • Cost: $1,500
  • Deadline: March 22, 2019
  • Additional Requirements: Girl only
  • Application prompts (not to exceed 120 words each):
    • Describe your involvement in an organization or community group where you have a leadership role. How did you work with others toward a common goal? What obstacles did you encounter and how did you overcome them? What has this taught you?
    • Describe a situation where you or others were not treated fairly or things were working against you. What did you learn? Where did you go for help?
    • Outside of academics, what are you passionate about? Would you consider yourself an expert in this area? How do you pursue your passion or become an expert?
    • Where do you see yourself in 10 years? How will you get there? What challenges will you face? How do your goals compare with others in your high school? How does engineering align with your goals?

Build a Profile That Will Impress Admissions Officers

Our Early Advising Program helps students in 9th and 10th grade discover their passions and build strong academic and extracurricular profiles to succeed in high school.

 

8. Pre-College Summer Program in Early American History

Affiliate College: William & Mary

 

Students have the opportunity to earn college credit from this four-week academic course at William and Mary. They won’t just sit in a classroom all day; students will explore local museums, battlefields and archeological sites, and historic homes and even participate in an archeological dig, all while experiencing college life firsthand.

 

  • Grades: 10th & 11th Only
  • Cost: $4,200
  • Deadline: April 20, 2019
  • Application prompts: Reflect on one of the topics below (300 words):
    • Identify an event from history and explain its relevance to American history.
    • Identify a person from history and explain their relevance to American history.
    • Reflect on a personal connection you have with an aspect of, or person, related to American history.

 

9. Blueprint Signature Summer Programs

Affiliate College: University of Virginia

 

Blueprint Signature Summer programs give students the opportunity to study some of the most popular college courses at top schools like UVA. Students can choose to participate for 1 or 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: $2,799
  • Deadline: Rolling

 

10. iD Tech

Affiliate Colleges: William & Mary, University of Richmond, University of Virginia, Virginia Tech-Falls Church

 

iD Tech offers a variety of week-long technology-based programs for the inventive STEM students. Students can choose from one of four colleges in Virginia, and can learn skills like basic coding, game design, and robotics and explore topics like cybersecurity, AI, and machine learning.

 

  • Grades: 9th, 10th, & 11th
  • Cost: $899

 

11. Nursing Camp: The Evolving Role of the Nurse in Today’s Healthcare Delivery

Affiliate College: George Mason University

 

Students will learn basic nursing skills using same the training methods that nursing school students use. They will also explore the different roles that nurses can fill, including in research and community settings, and how nursing differs around the world.

 

  • Grades: 9th, 10th, & 11th
  • Cost: $300

 

12. Mathematics and Technology for Talented Youth

Affiliate College: George Mason University

 

Starting this year, this program has gone digital. To make the program more accessible, students all over the world can take an individually-paced course to enhance their skills in technology and math. Subjects include Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra 2 with Trigonometry, Pre-calculus, AP Calculus AB, AP Calculus BC, and AP Computer Science A.

 

  • Grades: 9th, 10th, & 11th
  • Cost: $0

 

13. Freddye T. Davy Honors College : A Plus (A+) Residential Program

Affiliate College: Hampton University

 

This week-long residential program’s theme is Take Flight: Soaring to New Heights. Students will have the chance to explore aviation as a science and career; they’ll also get to participate in many personal development exercises that will allow them to have a strong foundation for high school and college.

 

  • Grades: 9th, 10th, & 11th
  • Cost: $800
  • Deadline: May 15, 2019

 

14. Summer Honors Institute

Affiliate College: James Madison University

 

During this one-week college experience, students will be introduced to the Honors College at James Madison University. In the mornings, they will meet in an interdisciplinary class and then take classes in majors such as Mathematics, History, Astronomy, Political Science, Finance, Biotechnology, English, Computer Science, or Marketing. In the afternoons and evenings, students will go on fields trips to the Appalachian trail and historic sites.

 

  • Grades: 10th & 11th Only
  • Cost: $1,000
  • Deadline: May 15, 2019
  • Short answer prompts:
    • Describe the most interesting book you have read in the past year.
    • What current event or issue are you most interested in or passionate about, and why?
  • Essay prompts: You’ll select one of five essay prompts and respond in your own words. Each prompt consists of 1-3 quotes that serve to frame a particular issue, and essays should be no longer than 500 words. Find the full prompts here.

 

15. Kids College – Virginia Western

Affiliate College: Virginia Western

 

This program offers classes and opportunities for students as early as elementary school, and covers a wide variety of topics in science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (or STEAM). They can learn about robotics, web and app design, photography, and entrepreneurship.

 

  • Grades: 9th, 10th, & 11th
  • Cost: $139 to $199
  • Deadline: Rolling

Wrapping it Up

 

As you can see, there are plenty of opportunities for students to learn more about different industries and experience college firsthand. Whatever your teen’s interests may be, there is a program for them at one of Virginia’s great schools.

 

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.