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16 Summer Programs in New York for High Schoolers

What’s Covered:


Home to numerous college and universities, government institutions, theaters and performance venues, landmarks, and much more, New York is a place of opportunity.


For high school students, it can also be a vehicle for self-discovery. What better a place to explore your talents, interests, and prospective career and education paths? To that end, we’ve rounded up some of the best summer programs for high schoolers in New York State, focusing on disciplines across numerous fields from science to art.


Why Should You Attend a Summer Program?


As you look toward applying to and attending college, you’ll need to demonstrate that you’ve engaged in meaningful experiences and sought to develop intellectually and personally, even while on vacation. Often taking place on college and university campuses, summer programs give high schoolers a taste of college life while learning in an immersive environment alongside peers who, like them, are passionate about a topic or niche.


Students are usually taught by college faculty and industry professionals and sometimes have the opportunity to get a head start on earning college credit, all while building confidence and independence, important skills you will need as you start your college journey.


16 Summer Programs in New York


Note that costs are estimates and can vary due to factors such as commuter or residential status and more.


1. Adelphi Pre-College | Art and Technology


Host: Adelphi University
Grades: 9, 10, and 11
Dates: July 17 – August 12, 2022
Cost: $3,600
Application Deadline: Rolling admission


Examining their own identity, students will explore individual and collaborative creative processes. They will participate in lectures, labs, discussions, studio projects, and field trips to museums and other sites while using tools and processes including prototyping with electronics, 3D printing, Arduino, e-textiles, movie-making, and more.


2. Young Women’s Leadership Institute


Host: Barnard College
Grades: 9, 10, and 11
Dates: June 30 – July 21
Cost: $8,795
Application Deadline: February 11th 


Young women have the opportunity to explore the relationship between gender and leadership at one of the most prestigious liberal arts colleges in the country, Barnard College. Participants will focus on one of the following tracks: STEMinist, Writing and Literature, Political Science and Economics, Urban Studies and Architecture, Art History, Sociology and Gender Studies, or Dance. 


3. Yleana Summer Leadership Academy


Host: Colgate University
Grades: 11
Dates: Summer 2022
Cost: Free
Application Deadline: N/A


Underrepresented students in low SES urban areas, including Boston, Lynn/Salem/Peabody, NYC, Philadelphia, and Baltimore, have the opportunity to learn how to improve their SAT scores while building leadership through a “traditional camp model,” which includes hikes, games, campfires, and more. The residential Academy takes place at Colgate University in Hamilton.


4. Become a Better Writer


Host: Hofstra University
Grades: 9, 10, and 11
Dates: Jul 9, 2022 – Aug 13, 2022
Cost: $205
Application Deadline: N/A


In this one-week non-residential course at Hofstra University, students will learn basic writing skills and hone their own voice, applying these building blocks to SAT and college essay writing and other work. Along with exploring the revision process, developing theses and supporting paragraphs, and more, students will participate in writing games and group activities.


5. Musical Theatre Precollege Summer Intensive


Host: Marymount Manhattan College
Grades: 10 and 11
Intensive I June 26 – July 9, 2022 
Intensive II July 10 – July 23, 2022
Cost: $4,450
Application Deadline: Rolling


Learning from Marymount faculty and theater professionals, students who take part in this program at Marymount Manhattan College will explore the dance, voice, and acting process in New York City. These will develop fundamental skills and gain insight into the audition process, as well as attend Broadway shows and participate in activities. At the program’s end, they will perform their work in front of family and friends.


6. Summer Leadership Academy


Host: Mercy College
Grades: 11
Session 1: June 26 – July 2
Session 2: July 10 – July 16
Session 3: July 24 – July 30
Cost: $495
Application Deadline: Rolling


Students must be nominated to attend this week-long program focusing on building entrepreneurial and leadership skills. They will learn from Mercy College faculty and leaders from top companies in areas including career mindset, personal branding, careers in finance, accounting, marketing, and more. While the majority of the program takes place on the Dobbs Ferry campus, participants will also visit the Manhattan Campus and Fortune 500 companies.


7. Pace PreCollege Summer Immersion Program 


Host: Pace University
Grades: Rising 11 and 12
Dates: July 10–23
Cost: $3,400
Application Deadline: May 16


This two-week program features courses in business, theater arts, digital film productions, and psychology. Students will have an intensive educational campus on Pace University’s NYC campus while learning from faculty from around the world. 


8. Pratt Institute Pre-college Summer Program


Host: Pratt Institute
Grades: 9, 10, and 11
Dates: July 5 – July 29, 2022
Cost: $4,285
Application Deadline: March 3


Young artists will participate in college courses modeled after Pratt’s undergraduate offerings, taught by faculty and industry professionals, with the opportunity to earn four college credits. Students will also attend events throughout New York City and showcase their work in gallery spaces on campus.


9. Summer@Rensselaer


Host: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Grades: 9, 10, and 11
Dates: July 11- July 22
Cost: $1,200
Application Deadline: March 31


RPI hosts a number of prestigious summer programs, including the Architecture Career Discovery Program, taught exclusively online this year. The two-week course exposes students to the fundamentals of a high-quality undergraduate architecture program. Students are immersive in a rigorous creative process, where they will learn about topics like 2D drawing and image editing and 3D modeling. The course will only be offered online. 


10. Summer Science Research Program


Host: Rockefeller University
Grades: 11 and 12
Dates: June 27 – August 11
Cost: free
Application Deadline: January 1


Under the mentorship of leading scientists, high schoolers will conduct hands-on research in one of the top biomedical research facilities in the world. Students will participate in real lab experiments while learning about research techniques, scientific literature, important skills, and more. Stipends are available. 


11. School of Visual Arts Pre-College Program


Host: School of Visual Arts
Grades: 9, 10, and 11
Dates: July 11 – July 29
Cost: $3,000
Application Deadline: N/A


SVA’s Pre-College Program is taught by the top faculty from the college’s undergraduate degree programs. Young artists will explore topics such as Animation, Advertising, Cartooning, Painting, Photography. Upon successful program completion, they will receive three college credits.


12. Skidmore College


Host: Skidmore College
Grades: 10 and 11
Dates: July 5 – August 5
Cost: $2,805
Application Deadline: April 1


Modeled after real college-level courses, these programs, compressed into five weeks, challenges students in areas like Human Genetics, Psychological Science, Writing, and more. At Skidmore College, students get a head start on college life, learning alongside other exceptional students from around the world.


13. Stony Brook | Garcia Research Scholar Program


Host: Stony Brook University
Grades: at least 16 years old
Dates: Summer 2022
Cost: $3,000
Application Deadline: N/A


Talented high schoolers will be immersed in an intensive experience, conducting independent research with guidance from Garcia Center faculty, staff, and students, while also receiving formal instruction. Participants will have the option of continuing their work through the Mentor Program during the academic year, working on research with a faculty mentor.


14. Syracuse Summer College


Host: Stony Brook University
Grades: 9, 10, and 11
Dates: Dates vary by program
Cost: Cost varies by program
Application Deadline: May 1


For up to six weeks, students will participate in noncredit and credit-bearing programs across subjects such as forensic science, coding, writing, art, and more. Options are available for residential, commuter, and online students. Hybrid offerings are also available.


15. Parsons Summer Intensive Studies


Host: The New School
Grades: 10 and 11
Session 1- June 13, 2022 – July 1, 2022
Session 2 – July 11, 2022 – July 29, 2022
Cost: $4,250
Application Deadline: N/A


This art and design program will prepare students for college-level work in studio art and earn them three college credits. They will choose from courses such as graphic design, product design, illustration, printmaking, and more. Students will also develop portfolio pieces for their college applications.


16. Rochester Intensive Studies | Business Bootcamp


Host: University of Rochester
Grades: high school 
Dates: Summer 2022
Cost: varies by program
Application Deadline: varies by program


Students will discover and test business tools that will help them build important leadership skills across areas like innovation management, marketing, design thinking, product development, and more. Through projects, fields trips, activities, and more, they will explore their own ideas and apply their learning to real-world scenarios. Full-day, half-day, residential, and commuter options are available.


How Do Summer Programs Impact Your College Chances?


Extracurricular activities are typically evaluated according to four tiers, with Tier 1 indicating those that are the most exceptional, and Tier 4 indicating those that are the most common and least impressive. While summer programs are usually considered Tier 3-4 activities, some particularly selective (and free or low cost) programs can be in higher tiers. 


How do particular summer programs affect your chances of admission? Our chancing engine will estimate your true odds of acceptance to hundreds of colleges across the country. You’ll also receive free tips on how to improve your profile!

Short Bio
Laura Berlinsky-Schine is a freelance writer and editor based in Brooklyn with her demigod/lab mix Hercules. She specializes in education, technology and career development. She also writes satire and humor, which has appeared in Slackjaw, Points in Case, Little Old Lady Comedy, Jane Austen’s Wastebasket, and Funny-ish. View her work and get in touch at: www.lauraberlinskyschine.com.