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3 Summer Programs in Idaho for High Schoolers in 2024

What’s Covered:


Students in big cities like New York or San Francisco might have a broad variety of summer programs to choose from, but those located in more rural areas might worry they have none. Never fear though, in this post, we’ll give you the details on some great summer programs available in Idaho. While this might not be the first place that comes to mind when you think about strong summer program options, there are some great choices available for high school students at local universities here. 


Keep reading to learn more about them and how you can sign up for these valuable summer experiences!


Why Summer Programs Benefit High Schoolers


Summer programs are important, and not just for college admissions alone. Through summer programs, teens meet other students with the same interests while pursuing academic or extracurricular activities. They gain knowledge, real world experience, and insight into potential career paths. Additionally, summer programs often provide a first look at life on a college campus. At many summer programs, you may find a place where you can be yourself and explore interests that may otherwise be overlooked. 


Summer programs are also an important component of college admissions. In fact, some colleges specifically ask how applicants have spent their summers. What are these adcoms looking for? At the very least, they want to see productivity. Are applicants using their time to pursue an interest, give back to the community, or contribute financially? Are they seizing an opportunity to better themselves? 


Successful college applicants will be able to outline what they have done over summer break to become a better student, explore potential career interests, or contribute to the family or community in another way. Summer programs are an easy solution for the question regarding summer activities. 


Summer Programs in Idaho


1. High School Art Exhibitions


Dates: April 18 – May 12

Location: University of Idaho

Application Deadline: March 15

Cost: Free


The High School Art & Design Exhibition is held by the University of Idaho’s College of Art and Architecture. It has been revamped for 2024 to feature a digital exhibition of all submissions on campus. High school students in Idaho are welcome to attend this event, which gives them a chance to exhibit their artwork in a formal setting. The university’s galleries will invite selected pieces for actual exhibition, and the winners of the awards will receive gift baskets. Digital formats (2-D and 3-D media) with precise file and naming standards are required for submissions. 


The show is open from April 18, 2024, to May 12, 2024. Along with their entry, artists must include a brief statement about themselves. Selected artworks must arrive by April 12th for logistical reasons, and the institution will pay for shipping.


2. Summer Institute for Piano and Strings (SIPS)



  • Senior division: June 16-21
  • Junior division: June 17-21

Location: Idaho State University

Application Deadline: N/A

Cost: $175 to $505, and a non-refundable $50 deposit


This weeklong summer program for intermediate/advanced-level pianists and strings players provides the chance to rehearse, coach, perform chamber music, and perform in orchestra and choir. Students work with professional faculty members and camp counselors to bring their playing to the next level with daily sectionals, rehearsals, and master classes. Prices range upwards if students require room and board for the experience.


3. Summer Camp | Idaho Shakespeare Festival


Dates: Varies

Location: Idaho Shakespeare Festival

Application Deadline: N/A

Cost: Varies


The Idaho Shakespeare Festival offers high school students several exciting summer camp options. Admission to the High School Apprentice Company is by audition, and it’s an intensive program with over 200 hours of acting instruction and a chance to perform on the main stage. The goal of the 15–18-year-old Advanced Shakespeare Intensive and Advanced Musical Intensive is to create a shortened Shakespeare play and musical revue, respectively, which will be performed on the main stage. Furthermore, Camp Improv provides an opportunity to hone improvisational skills through a final performance after the session. 


For those who are interested in behind-the-scenes roles, there are also special opportunities in Stagecraft and Playwriting, which concentrate on the technical and creative aspects of theater. 


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. 


Lower-tier extracurricular activities don’t hold the same sway as 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 the rest of your profile.

Short Bio
Varun is a recent graduate from Arizona State University, Tempe, with a degree in Computer Science. He aims to share his knowledge of computer science, the IB Diploma Program, and all things college-related with high school students. In his free time, he can be found performing DJ sets or cooking!