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Duke University
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Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


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9 Summer Programs in Montana for High Schoolers in 2024

What’s Covered:


Summer programs are a fantastic opportunity to explore an existing area of interest or discover a new one, often while getting a sneak peek at college life and potentially even earning credit while you’re at it! If you’re from Montana and interested in music, journalism, paleontology, or anything in between, read on to find just the right summer program for you!


9 Summer Programs in Montana for High Schoolers


1. S.E.A. Change


Dates: June 10 – 15

Location: University of Montana

Admission Deadline: April 30

Cost: Free 


The Safe Empowered Accelerated (SEA) Change summer camp offered by the University of Montana is a week-long program dedicated to gender equality and empowerment. This completely free program allows students to stay on campus with all food and amenities provided while they learn how to empower women to make an impact in the world.


2. Summer History Institute


Dates: June 24 – 28

Location: University of Montana

Admission Deadline: May 1

Cost: Free


If you are a Montana student who loves history and doesn’t want to commit to a long summer program, this week-long day camp offered by the University of Montana would be a great option for you. Two UM history professors teach a class on “US Foreign History Relations with Latin America: Sources and Perspectives,” which focuses on comparing different accounts from different sources. Students will carry out hands-on research and gain important insights as well as important academic skills.


Although you don’t get to stay on campus, the program provides you many chances to experience college life with campus tours, guest speakers, and access to UM facilities.


3. Yellowstone Writing Project’s Rural Journalism Camp


Dates: TBD

Locations: Montana State University, Bozeman

Application Deadline: N/A

Cost: Free


This free program offered by Montana State University allows ninth through twelfth graders to explore journalism in theory and practice. Over the course of the week, students will learn about issues modern journalists face and then apply their knowledge to write about real events in the Bozeman community. If you want to participate, there are application questions you should be prepared to answer:


  1. Name two of the most important issues in your community, and explain why they matter.
  2. In your community, how do people your age make money? What are your own skills–on the job, perhaps, but also beyond at home, at school, or just in general?
  3. Please tell us where you get your news, and please be specific. Name the magazines, newspapers, radio and television networks, blogs, podcasts, etc. that you rely on.
  4. What do you think of the media? Why?
  5. Is your own community’s way of life represented well by the media? What are some of the important untold stories about your community that are being missed by big media outlets?
  6. In other words, what do you wish the rest of the world knew about your community and its way of life?


Finally, please photograph three significant locations in or around your town and explain why they are important. (One shot per location is fine, but include more if you like.)


4. UM Summer Exploration


Dates: Various times, 10 week or 5 week sessions available

Location: University of Montana

Application Deadline: April 15

Cost: $2,800


The University of Montana’s Summer Exploration gives rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors the opportunity to live on the UM campus for two weeks and experience college life. During the program, you will pick one class from the options of Montana Habitats, CSI Missoula, and Creating Your Own Narrative. At the end of your two weeks you will get two college credits from UM.


5. Schwanke Honors Institute


Dates: June 12 – 21

Location: University of Montana

Application Deadline: May 12

Cost: $2,500


In this prestigious program, students will live on the UM campus, learn in the classroom, and explore the UM campus and Missoula. For two weeks, students will get to experience university life and academics, not just at UM, but at UM’s Honors College. Students will choose between two environmentally themed courses, and will receive two college credits upon completion. 


6. Summer Music Camp



  • Session 1: June 16 – 22
  • Session 2: June 23 – 28
  • Session 3: July 21 – 26

Location: University of Montana, Bozeman

Application Deadline: N/A

Cost: $394 to $800, depending on instrument and length of program


With the option to choose between piano, band, strings, jazz, world music, and songwriting, students in Montana have plenty of opportunities to explore their musical abilities and interests at UM. Since 1952, this camp has been an option for musical Montanans, where students can play music with other students, meet guest experts, and get guidance from UM’s team of college counselors.


Though there is no application deadline, be aware that there is a deadline for turning in payments: June 5th. 


7. Youth Writing Camp


Dates: July 8 – 12

Location: Montana State University, Bozeman

Application Deadline: N/A

Cost: $300 to $850, depending on commuter/resident status and registration timing


This “unschooled” writing workshop offers a chance for youth and teenagers to develop their writing chops in a supportive environment with interested peers and licensed educators. the program includes games, activities, and writing for multiple different forms, from playwriting to short stories. Students have the option to live in MSU dorms or commute to camp each day. 


8. Dinosaur Camp


Dates: August 11 – 16

Location: Ekalala, Montana

Application Deadline: Rolling

Cost: $1,400


In this unique learning experience, students will participate in excavating and retrieving fossils for the Carter County Museum to put on permanent display. Campers will receive special tours of the museum, souvenirs to bring home, and will be listed as collectors in the official museum exhibit.


This unique 6-day experience is an excellent opportunity for Montana students passionate about archaeology, paleontology, or museum studies. 


9. Camp Explore the Universe


Dates: July 14 – 18

Location: Helena, Montana

Application Deadline: Rolling

Cost: $850


High school students interested in astronomy shouldn’t miss this opportunity to study the night sky from Montana’s largest observatory. During nightly “star parties,” students will observe stars, planets, and more, while during the day, they will learn about the objects they see at night. Alongside their classwork, students will participate in scavenger hunts, practice drawing objects, and play games. 


How Do Summer Programs Impact Your College Chances?


Some summer programs are more competitive than others, requiring letters of recommendation and standardized test scores, while other programs are open to all students within a particular grade level. Consequently, some summer programs are given more weight in college admissions than others.  


The four tiers of extracurricular activities are a good way to understand how colleges value activities outside of the classroom, like summer programs. The most impressive, prestigious, rare, and influential activities are placed in the top two tiers. A good example of a top-tier Montana summer program is the selective Yellowstone Writing Project’s Rural Journalism Camp. 


Lower-tier extracurricular activities don’t hold the same sway with admissions offices, however, they are often still valuable. Less-selective and esteemed programs still show off your interests to potential colleges while highlighting your desire to pursue your passions. Many field-specific activities also help build the skills you need to ace everything from the essays to interviews you’ll encounter in the college application process. 


Curious how the summer program you participated in affects your odds of college admission? CollegeVine can help! 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
After graduating from Wesleyan University, Francesca Jette is pursuing a Master's in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at George Washington University. She has been helping high school seniors with college essays for three years now.