25 Summer Programs at UCLA for High Schoolers

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Most high schoolers (and parents!) think that a part-time job is the best way for teenagers to spend their summers. However, summer programs for high school students provide benefits that students can’t get from a traditional part-time job.

 

Summer programs are a way for high school students to develop their interests and learn more about college and careers. Plus, participating in a summer program strengthen a student’s application by demonstrating that they spent their summer in an enriching way.

 

Top schools like UCLA know how valuable summer programs for high school students are, and that’s why we’ve dedicated an entire post to the programs available at UCLA. You’ll find that there are many programs specializing in arts and entertainment, since they can take advantages of the resources and opportunities in Los Angeles. We’re giving parents a quick look at the UCLA summer programs to help you figure out which program will work for your student.

Why Summer Programs Benefit High Schoolers

 

Summer programs for high school students are about more than having fun (although there’s plenty of that too!). One of the main benefits of summer program is that they allow high school students to specialize in an area of interest without the distraction of other schoolwork or school drama. They give students an inside look into an industry 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 at colleges and universities, which provide an additional bonus of helping students get a feel for what it’s like to be on a college campus. Not only that, these programs often share hard-to-find resources with high school students in preparation for college admissions, such as specialized learning communities or even scholarships.

 

There’s also no need to have to choose between working over the summer and doing a summer program. Many summer programs are short, which allow students to balance work and family obligations while pursuing their interests.

 

One of our top recommendations for helping students get into their dream school is to connect with students who have been admitted. By attending a program at UCLA, high school students will get to connect with current UCLA students and get the inside scoop about what it’s really like to get in and attend. Summer programs can also lead to personal growth, which could be the springboard for a strong college essay.

Summer Programs at UCLA

 

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

 

The summer programs at UCLA come in two main varieties: Summer Institutes and Blueprint Signature Summer Programs. Summer Institutes are hosted by UCLA itself and provide challenging college-level experiences within a discipline. Blueprint Signature Summer Programs also allow students to specialize while being a little more flexible, such as allowing students to choose if they want to participate in a one-week or two-week course.

 

Both of these program provide exciting opportunities for students to learn about what they like most, so we encourage you to look for one that best suits your student’s interest.

 

1. Acting and Performance Summer Institute

 

Students participate in performance training classes, learn movement-based techniques, and star in a final performance project. They also have field trips and guest workshops during this 3-week program.

 

  • Grades: 9th, 10th, & 11th
  • Cost: $6,700
  • Essay prompts: How do you plan to impact the world through your storytelling? (500 words)
  • Additional Requirements: Applicants must submit a video of a 1- 1½ minute monologue or improvised scene. Prompts are provided.

 

2. Applications of Nanoscience Summer Institute

 

If your student has a strong background in chemistry, you may want to encourage them to learn the basics of pursuing a scientific research project during this 2-week program. They will take part in hands-on experiments combined with rigorous scientific methodology.

 

  • Grades: 9th, 10th, & 11th
  • Cost: $2500
  • Essay Prompts:
    • What interests you in science (or technology) and how will participation in this program help you achieve your academic and personal goals? (250 words)
    • How did you hear about nanoscience and nanotechnology and what is your current understanding of this topic? (125 words)

 

3. Art Summer Institute

 

During this 2- or 4-week program, Students may choose to specialize in drawing, painting, photography, or sculpture. They’ll refine their talents through a combination of focused studio work, artist lectures, field trips, and a final exhibition.

 

  • Grades: 9th, 10th, & 11th
  • Cost: $4,000
  • Additional Requirements: Upload four examples of your original and recent artwork in JPEG format (width greater than 500 pixels, length lesser than 1024 pixels at 72 dpi).

 

4. Camera Acting Summer Institute

 

Students delve into the theory and practice of on-camera acting during this 2- or 4-week program. Students will learn techniques for appearing on film, preparing for auditions, and attend field trips and guest lectures.

 

  • Grades: 9th, 10th, & 11th
  • Cost: $4366
  • Essay Prompts: How do you plan to impact the world through your storytelling? (500 words)
  • Additional Requirements: Applicants must submit a video of a 1- 1½ minute monologue or improvised scene. Prompts are provided.

 

5. Dance/Performing Arts Summer Institute

 

This 9-day residential program allows students to explore world arts and cultures through dance during. Students will train intensively during the day to prepare for their self-created performance at the end of the institute.

 

  • Grades: 9th, 10th, & 11th
  • Cost: $150+
  • Deadline: 4/1/19
  • Essay Prompts:
    • Describe your experience in dance. Please include the types of training, how long you’ve studied, and where. What are some of your favorite dance styles or forms and why?
    • Do you have any other experience in the performing arts (e.g., theater, spoken word, music). If yes, please explain.
    • Describe your current extracurricular activities, community involvement, or service to the community.
    • Describe a project or creative experience you have been involved in, within the past year, which has been particularly rewarding to you, discussing what you learned (or continue to learn) from it.
    • Describe any awards, honors, or distinctions you have received.

 

6. Design Media Arts Summer Institute

 

Do you have a student interested in the digital arts? Students create a design media arts portfolio during this 2-week program. Students will be introduced to and hone their skills for print, web, video, and game design.

 

  • Grades: 10th & 11th Only
  • Cost: $3,701

 

7. Digital Filmmaking Summer Institute

 

Students will immerse themselves in cinematic storytelling during this 2-week intensive program. They will use the latest technology and camera equipment to produce a short film, attend film screenings, and take a trip to a Hollywood studio.

 

  • Grades: 10th & 11th Only
  • Cost: $150+
  • Essay Prompts:
    • Why you would like to participate in the program, and what you expect to gain from the experience. (150-200 words)
    • What prior experience, if any, in digital filmmaking? Include both academic coursework and extracurricular activities. Previous experience in digital filmmaking is not a requirement.
    • Filmmaking requires creative collaboration at every stage. What qualifications do you have that make you a good collaborator?

 

8. Economics Summer Institute

 

This 3-week program offers students the opportunity to explore career options in economics. They will learn about factors that affect the United States and the world, and earn UCLA college credit.

 

  • Grades: 9th, 10th, & 11th
  • Cost: $4,881
  • Essay Prompts: Tell us what distinguishes you from your classmates and peers? What do you expect to gain from participating in the Economics Summer Institute, and what do you hope to accomplish during the program? (250 words)

 

9. Engineering Design Summer Institute

 

Is your student thinking about a career in engineering? Students choose an engineering discipline to focus on during this 3-week program. They have the option to learn about aerospace, mechanical, electrical, or chemical engineering.

 

  • Grades: 9th, 10th, & 11th
  • Cost: $5,181

 

10. Game Lab Summer Institute

 

Students have the opportunity to explore game development during this 2-week program. They’ll master the fundamentals of game design, create compelling characters, build game worlds, and learn programming and coding.

 

  • Grades: 9th, 10th, & 11th
  • Cost: $2,461

 

11. Immersive International Studies Summer Institute

 

During this 1-week program, students dive into international history. They have the option to learn about the French Revolution or Indian Independence through interactive games, roleplay, and research.

 

  • Grades: 9th, 10th, & 11th
  • Cost: $981

 

12. Mock Trial Summer Institute

 

Students boost their powers of persuasion during this 1-week program. Students will become more confident in their public speaking and learn about the legal profession.

 

  • Grades: 9th, 10th, & 11th
  • Cost: $2,131

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13. Model UN Summer Institute

 

Students enhance their public speaking skills during this 1-week program. This institute is perfect for students interested in law, international relations, public policy, government  and diplomacy.

 

  • Grades: 9th, 10th, & 11th
  • Cost: $2,081

 

14. Musical Theatre Summer Institute

 

Does your student love to bring stories to life? Students hone their musical theater skills during this 3-week intensive program. Students will participate in a conservatory-style program that encompasses acting, singing, dancing, guest workshops, and backstage operations.

 

  • Grades: 9th, 10th, & 11th
  • Cost: $7771
  • Essay Prompts: In 500 words or less, respond to the following prompt: How do you plan to impact the world through your storytelling?
  • Additional Requirements:
    • A video audition of 32 bars of a song that you enjoy and shows your range
    • A video audition of 1 minute – 1 ½ minutes contemporary monologue
    • A video audition of 30 seconds – 1 minute of dance from any genre

 

15. Nanoscale Microscopy Lab Summer Institute

 

Students explore nanoscience during this 1-week, hands-on program. They will master the skills needed for fluorescence microscopy, scanning probe microscopy, and electron microscopy.

 

  • Grades: 9th, 10th, & 11th
  • Cost: $2021
  • Essay Prompts:
    • In 250 words or less, please explain how an understanding of microscopy can help you in your future studies or career plan?
    • In 150 words or less, what do you know about nanoscience or the atomic/molecular scale?

 

16. Nanoscience Lab Summer Institute

 

If your student has a strong background in chemistry, encourage them to apply for this 5-day program. They will survey diverse topics in nanoscience, such as bio-toxicity, supercapacitors, and photolithography.

 

  • Grades: 9th, 10th, & 11th
  • Cost: $2221
  • Essay Prompts:
    • What interests you in science (or technology) and how will participation in this program help you achieve your academic and personal goals? (250 words)
    • How did you hear about nanoscience and nanotechnology and what is your current understanding of this topic? (125 words).

 

17. Sci/Art Lab + Studio Summer Institute

 

Is your student equally interested in science and the fine arts? Students challenge traditional perspectives on art and science during this 2-week program. Students will draw connections between cutting edge scientific research and popular culture and contemporary arts.

 

  • Grades: 10th & 11th Only
  • Cost: $4,021
  • Essay Prompts: One 500-word essay, you can pick from one of the following prompts:
    • Choose a favorite sci-fi movie or book and tell us what ideas you find exciting
    • If you plan to pursue the sciences as a major in college, tell us about your art or music interests
    • If you plan to pursue the arts as a major in college, tell us about your interest in science and technology

 

18. Teen ArchStudio Summer Institute

 

During this 2- or 3-week program, students hone their architecture skills. Students will be mentored by current UCLA Architecture students, faculty and alumni for an inside look at the undergraduate design studio experience.

 

  • Grades: 9th, 10th, & 11th
  • Cost: $3,851
  • Essay Prompts:
    • Why do you wish to pursue design?
    • What does Design / Architecture mean to you?
    • What have you ever designed?
    • If you could change one thing in your neighborhood through design, what would it be and how would you rethink it?

 

19. Writing Summer Institute

 

Students will refine their writing skills in this 3-week program. They will learn about effective written communication, master the timed essay, and gain insight into college admissions essays.

 

  • Grades: 10th & 11th Only
  • Cost: $1046

 

20. Blueprint Signature Summer Programs—Engineering

 

If the 3-week engineering program is too time-intensive for you, then this is the perfect solution! Students have the opportunity to learn about the engineering profession during this 1- or 2-week program. They will explore different engineering disciplines and the latest in engineering technology.

 

  • Grades: 9th, 10th, & 11th
  • Cost: $3,299
  • Deadline: Rolling

 

21. Blueprint Signature Summer Programs—Medicine

 

During this 1- or 2-week program, students have the opportunity to learn about the medical profession. They’ll learn first aid and CPR, tour local hospitals and hear from medical experts in a variety of fields.

 

  • Grades: 9th, 10th, & 11th
  • Cost: $3,299
  • Deadline: Rolling

 

22. Blueprint Signature Summer Programs—Business

 

Students have the opportunity to learn about the business profession during this 1- or 2-week program. They will learn what it takes to be an entrepreneur, marketing strategies, and the importance of developing relationships.

 

  • Grades: 9th, 10th, & 11th
  • Cost: $3,299
  • Deadline: Rolling

 

23. Blueprint Signature Summer Programs—Film Studies

 

Is your student interested in film and entertainment? Students will take advantage of Los Angeles’ resources and opportunities during this 1- or 2-week program. They’ll master skills such as script writing, developing story arcs, and filming and editing shorts.

 

  • Grades: 9th, 10th, & 11th
  • Cost: $3,299
  • Deadline: Rolling

 

24. Blueprint Signature Summer Programs—Forensic Science

 

Give your students the chance to see what it’s really like to work at a crime scene investigation. Students have the opportunity to learn about the forensic science profession during this 1- or 2-week program. This hands-on course gives students real insight into criminology methods and allows them to solve cases.

 

  • Grades: 9th, 10th, & 11th
  • Cost: $3,299
  • Deadline: Rolling

 

25. Blueprint Signature Summer Programs—Psychology

 

Is your student fascinated by the brain and the way we think? Students have the opportunity to learn about the psychology profession during this 1- or 2-week program. Students will explore behavioral science and current theories and advances that challenge the way we think about ourselves.

 

  • Grades: 9th, 10th, & 11th
  • Cost: $3,299
  • 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.

 

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 sometimes be hard to find summer programs that work for you and your student’s schedule, and that your student is interested in. That’s why CollegeVine’s Mentorship Program helps students identify activities to refine their interests and strengthen their profiles. 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.