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7 Summer Programs in Oregon for High Schoolers

What’s Covered:


As second semester rolls around, it’s only normal that many high school students begin to think about final exams, AP tests, and spring sports or other activities. However, while most students aren’t thinking about summer programs just yet,  now is the time to begin planning. In fact, many summer programs have registration deadlines early in the second semester.


For students in Oregon, there are many top choices for summer programs. In this post, we outline seven of our favorites here at CollegeVine. If you’re interested in attending a summer program in Oregon, don’t miss this post.


Why Should High Schoolers Attend Summer Programs?


Summer programs aren’t just a way to learn new skills and gain knowledge relevant to future career paths. They are also an important way to gain experience in a college setting. Students who attend summer programs often have the chance to take pre-college or college-level classes, participate in research on a college campus, eat in dining halls, and even live in college dorms. All of these experiences will provide you with insight into what college will be like what you might want in a college. In this way, summer programs can be an important source of information later during the college process.


There are numerous summer programs out there geared toward preparing you for future endeavors as both a college student and a professional. These programs vary in cost and length, so you can select a program that suits your interests while remaining compatible with your family’s budget and timeline. Furthermore, many programs offer financial aid for qualified students, so be sure to do your research and apply early to take advantage of these opportunities.


Seven Summer Programs in Oregon


1. Summer Experience in Science and Engineering for Youth


This program is designed to encourage traditionally underrepresented groups in the field of engineering, including minorities and girls. Participants in this residential program spend a week with a research group in the College of Engineering at Oregon State University, working closely with professors and undergrads as they tackle problems in fields such as computer science, biomedical engineering, and energy systems.  


  • Affiliate Organization: Oregon State University
  • Dates: July 17–27, 2022
  • Grades: 9th-11th
  • Cost: $250
  • Deadline: May 31, 2022


  • Essay prompts: In your best writing style, describe yourself and your family. Include information about your activities, hobbies, awards and a statement about why you want to attend the SESEY program (1-2 pages).


2. School of Arts and Communication Academy | Choir Camp


At this week-long choral training program, students can expect to receive expert coaching while participating in sight-reading clinics, intensive large group and sectional rehearsals, and ultimately will have the opportunity to perform with small ensembles and large choirs.


  • Affiliate Organization: Oregon State University
  • Dates: August 8–12, 2022
  • Grades: 9th-11th
  • Cost: $300 (before July 1)/$350 (after July 1)
  • Deadline: July 30, 2022


3. School of Arts and Communication Academy | JumpstART


JumpstART is a weeklong program for students with an interest in studio arts and a desire to  build their skills in this field. Students participate in an accelerated program led by teaching artists, and classes are supplemented with visiting artist lectures, workshops, and excursions.


  • Affiliate Organization: Oregon State University
  • Dates: June 27–July 1, 2022
  • Grades: 9th-12th
  • Cost: $400
  • Deadline: June 10, 2022


4. School of Arts and Communication Academy | Music Recording and Production Camp


In this weeklong camp, high school students gain experience using technology to make music. Students take classes in recording techniques, software operation, and listening skills, while exploring both the creative and technical sides of music production.


  • Affiliate Organization: Oregon State University
  • Dates: July 18–22 (virtual)/July 25–19, 2022 (in-person)
  • Grades: 9th-12th
  • Cost: $300 (virtual)/$400 (in-person)
  • Deadline: N/A


5. OSU Summer Veterinary Experience


The Oregon State University Veterinary Experience is for academically talented high school students interested in pursuing a career in veterinary medicine. Faculty, graduate students, and veterinary students serve as mentors for students who participate in research projects, as well as clinical activities in the veterinary teaching hospital and in off-campus settings.


  • Affiliate Organization: Oregon State University
  • Dates: August 7–12, 2022
  • Grades: 10th and 11th
  • Cost: $825
  • Deadline: April 15, 2022
  • Essay prompts: Why are you interested in attending the OSU Summer Veterinary Experience? Please describe your experiences and interests in animals and veterinary medicine.


6. OSU Chamber Music Workshop


This summer program is held over the course of one or two weeks and is designed for students who excel as string musicians and are interested in pursuing the field as a career or in higher education. Participants receive expert coaching, sight reading clinics, supervised practice sessions, master classes, and the opportunity to perform with small ensembles.


  • Affiliate Organization: Oregon State University
  • Dates: July 11–16/July 18–23, 2022
  • Grades: 9th-11th
  • Cost: $450 (one week)/$900 (2 weeks) + housing
  • Deadline: N/A


7. Ted R. Lilley CURE Program


CURE is a research internship program for Portland-area high school students who excel academically and come from socially or economically disadvantaged backgrounds. It is supported by the Knight Cancer Institute and the Center for Diversity and Inclusion. Students work with faculty members, while attending weekly seminars and presenting their work.


  • Affiliate Organization: Oregon Health + Science University
  • Dates: June 20–August 12, 2022
  • Grades: 10–12
  • Cost: Free. Students will earn a stipend and receive a bus pass.
  • Deadline: N/A


How Do Summer Programs Impact Your College Chances?


Attending a summer program can be a transformational experience for some students, providing them with invaluable insights into the fields they want to pursue and the experiences they hope to find in higher education. In the right program, students often grow not only in terms of knowledge and skill but also in terms of self-confidence and self-awareness.


Like other extracurriculars, most summer programs are evaluated according to the four tiers, with Tier 1 being the most impressive and rare and Tier 4 representing the most common and least impressive activities. While summer programs are usually Tier 3-4, some highly selective and low-cost activities will be in higher tiers.


To find out how the programs you’re considering will affect your chances of admission to hundreds of colleges across the country, try our chancing engine. This free tool will also give you 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.