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6 Summer Programs at Harvard for High Schoolers

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There are many options for summer programs, but there are few as highly regarded as those offered by Ivy League schools. Summer programs at Ivy League colleges are a great way for your teen to make connections, learn new skills, and gain experience in a challenging and engaging academic environment.


Among the most prestigious summer programs in the country are those hosted by Harvard. These programs consistently provide a high-quality academic experience while introducing your teen to life on an Ivy League campus. In this post, we outline six of Harvard’s top summer programs. From day camp style week-long courses to fully residential summer-long programs, there is something to suit every interest and timeframe.


Want to learn what Harvard University will actually cost you based on your income? And how long your application to the school should take? Here’s what every student considering Harvard University needs to know.


Why Should Your Teen Enroll in a Summer Program?


Top colleges, including Harvard, are interested in how your teen spends their summers. In particular, admissions committees prefer to see students who have used summer as an opportunity to grow or give back. Students who pursue summer programs often gain important skills and knowledge, not to mention experience in an intensive learning environment with peers who share their interests.


Summer program aren’t just important for college admissions. They can also be an important contributor to your teen’s self-confidence and direction. Sometimes, teens aren’t able to pursue their interests in depth during the school year, or aren’t able to apply their skills and knowledge to the real world. Summer programs are a great avenue for pursuing interests at a deeper level. And doing so in the company of like-minded peers can highlight for your teen just how valid and fascinating their interests actually are.


Summer Programs at Harvard


*The program costs below are approximate and may vary depending on whether the student is commuting or living at the program, when the student applies, or if any additional fees are added in the process (i.e. application fees). It’s safest to view these prices as an estimate and not as an exact value.



1. Harvard Small Business Academy



Description: In this week-long day camp, students learn the fundamentals of business and develop the skills necessary to start their own businesses. The experience culminates in a business pitch competition at the end of the week. To account for differences in experience and skills, SBA provides two levels of programming: SBA Level I and SBA Level II.


Grades Eligible: 9-11


Cost: $800


Deadline: Priority application deadline of March 1, 2019. All applications must be received by May 3, 2019.


2. Harvard Summer Coding Academy




Description: Students learn the fundamentals of coding in this week-long day camp. They are given the knowledge and resources needed to design and create their own program. An extended option is also available, going further into the topics by focusing on dynamic websites and abstractions of code.


Grades Eligible: 9-11


Cost: $800


Deadline: Priority application deadline of March 1, 2019. All applications must be received by May 3, 2019.


3. Harvard Summer Politics Academy


Description: A week-long day program on the Harvard campus, the Summer Politics Academy introduces students to key concepts related to politics, government and international relations. Content is taught through a combination of classes, workshops, and hands-on application experience through a week-long project that builds up to the final SPA Summit.


Grades Eligible: 9-11


Cost: $800


Deadline: Priority application deadline of March 1, 2019. All applications must be received by May 3, 2019.

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4. Summer Institutes in Global Leadership


Description: Local and international students are brought together for a week-long Model UN camp based at Harvard University and the Belmont Day School. Students will “think critically about the problems facing our world, use diplomacy and compromise as tools, and form policy proposals.” Each week has a different focus, so students are encouraged to attend more than one session.


Grades Eligible: 9-11


Cost: $700


Deadline: Varies; registration usually opens in the beginning of the calendar year for late June through early August programs.


5. Harvard University Pre-College Program


Description: This program is meant to give students a taste of college life. Students live at Harvard, pursue stimulating co-curricular activities outside the classroom, and enroll in challenging courses such as physics, law, writing, philosophy, and a dozen other subjects. Each session lasts two weeks and students can choose to enroll in one to three sessions.


Grades Eligible: 10th and 11th only


Cost: $4775


Deadline: Priority application deadline of February 1, 2019. Regular applications due by March 15, 2019. Late applications accepted until May 15, 2019, as space allows.


6. Harvard University Secondary School Program


Description: Students enroll in their choice of more than 200 summer classes, earn college credit, and connect with people from all over the world during this seven-week long program. Attendees can expect to gain experience in college academics, campus life, and the admissions process through an exclusive college fair, college counseling sessions, and workshops.


Grades Eligible: 10th and 11th only


Cost: $12,730 for 8-credit residential program. Prices range from $3,340–$6,680 for online or commuter students


Deadline: May 6, 2019.


How Can You Find The Best Summer Programs For Your Teen?


Talk to your teen about their interests to help guide summer program choices. The ideal summer program is one that aligns with a possible future college major or career, but at the very least it should be a genuine reflection of what your teen is interested in.


Your student can also consult their guidance counselor, trusted teachers, or mentors to learn about other enriching opportunities. These adults or older peers often have the resources, connections, or experience to help your teen find the best program for them.


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Kate Sundquist
Senior Blogger

Short Bio
Kate Koch-Sundquist is a graduate of Pomona College where she studied sociology, psychology, and writing before going on to receive an M.Ed. from Lesley University. After a few forays into living abroad and afloat (sometimes at the same time), she now makes her home north of Boston where she works as a content writer and, with her husband, raises two young sons who both inspire her and challenge her on a daily basis.