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15 High School Summer Engineering Programs

What’s Covered


High school summer engineering programs are a great opportunity for students interested in pursuing a career in the field. They allow students to live and learn in a college-like atmosphere, meet like-minded peers, interact with those working in the field, and gain valuable insight into life as an engineer. Participating in a high school engineering program will also look great on a college application—it shows admissions officers that you’re driven to learn more about the things that interest you.


Below are 15 high school engineering programs that will help put you on the path to a career as an engineer. 


15 High School Summer Engineering Programs 


1. Minority Introduction to Engineering and Science (MITES) 


MITES is a six-week residential program at MIT for academically talented rising high school seniors with an interest in science or engineering. During MITES, students build the skills necessary for success and explore careers in science and engineering. The program is focused on serving students from underrepresented and underserved communities and all educational, food, and boarding costs are covered by the program—the only cost to attendees is transportation to and from MIT. 


2. Summer Engineering Exploration Camp (SEE Camp)


Hosted by the Society of Women Engineers at the University of Michigan, SEE Camp is a one-week, co-ed, residential program for high school students entering grades 10-12 with an interest in engineering. Participants at SEE Camp will take part in design challenges along with gaining hands-on experience via a variety of engineering-focused activities. Over the course of the week, students will also participate in social and team-building activities, and learn more about the University of Michigan—meeting with staff, students, and taking a campus tour. 


3. Research in Science & Engineering (RISE)  


The RISE program at Boston University gives rising seniors a chance to conduct laboratory research under the guidance of BU faculty, post-doctoral fellows, and graduate students while working side by side with some of the nation’s best STEM students. A variety of research opportunities are available, including:


  • Engineering
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Computer Engineering 
  • Mechanical Engineering 


By the end of the program, students will have advanced their STEM skills, built a network of like-minded peers, and gained firsthand experience with college-level research.


4. Carnegie Mellon University Summer Academy for Math and Science (SAMS) 


SAMS is a no-cost opportunity for students from underrepresented communities to explore and improve their STEM knowledge at one of the nation’s top technical colleges. SAMS students will further their understanding of the STEM fields through a combination of classroom instruction and hands-on projects under the guidance of Carnegie Mellon’s acclaimed faculty and staff. Participants in SAMS will also have the chance to explore majors at Carnegie Mellon, interact with current students, and ultimately come away with a clearer picture of college life. 


5. California State Summer School for Mathematics and Science  (COSMOS)


COSMOS is a four-week program that aims to motivate the next generation’s most creative and talented future scientists, engineers, and mathematicians. The program builds a community of academically gifted students and allows them to work side by side with university faculty on topics that extend beyond the common high school curriculum. COSMOS is held at four University of California campuses:


  • UC Davis 
  • UC Irvine  
  • UC San Diego 
  • UC Santa Cruz 


COSMOS strives to motivate the most creative minds of the new generation of prospective scientists, engineers, and mathematicians who will become the future leaders for California, our nation, and the world. The program aims to create a community of students who participate in and contribute to an intensive academic experience delivered by distinguished educators and scholars.


6. ESTEEM/SER-Quest Summer Program


The ESTEEM (Engineering Science and Technology to Energize and Expand Young Minds) and the Summer Engineering Research (SER)-Quest is an intensive four-week for rising seniors at the University of Maryland’s A. James Clark School of Engineering and is sponsored by the Center for Minorities in Science and Engineering. 


The program is, in part, focused on helping academically strong high schoolers become competitive college applicants and attract them to attend the A. James Clark School of Engineering. At the ESTEEM/SER-Quest Summer Program, students will undertake an engineering-focused research project, develop a deeper understanding of engineering, and meet undergraduate and graduate students while gaining exposure to college-level research.  


7. National Student Leadership Conference (NSLC) on Engineering Summer Program


The NSLC summer high school engineering program provides students with the chance to explore engineering fields such as mechanical, civil, electrical, and biomedical engineering. The program is held on five of the nation’s most renowned campuses:


  • Duke University 
  • Johns Hopkins University 
  • University of California – Berkeley 
  • University of Texas – Austin 
  • Yale University 


In addition to building engineering skills and familiarizing themselves with working in a college-like atmosphere, NSLC on Engineering Summer Program attendees build leadership skills that will serve them in college and beyond. 


8. Anson L. Clark Scholars Program


Although the Clark Scholar Program is not engineering specific, it is one of the most prestigious summer programs in the nation and delivers an unrivaled experience to the 12 students selected to participate every summer. The lucky few selected as Clark Scholars gather at Texas Tech University for an intensive seven-week research experience in their field while working hand in hand with faculty. The Anson L. Clark Scholars Program is free and many of those chosen to participate have used the program as a launchpad to make their college and career goals a reality.


9. CURIE Academy


CURIE Academy is a one-week residential program at Cornell University specifically for female rising juniors and seniors who excel in math and science to explore opportunities in engineering. CURIE Academy participants are encouraged to break the rules to:


  • Express creativity and explore passions
  • Push the limits of their imagination
  • Reward themselves for being great in math and science
  • Have a career in science, business, medicine, law, politics, natural resources, or in countless other fields
  • Work with people from various backgrounds and cultures
  • Make the world a better place to live


10. Applied Research Innovations in Science and Engineering (ARISE)


ARISE at NYU is an excellent chance for 10th and 11th graders in New York City with an interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) to gain research experience. During this free seven-week-long program, ARISE participants will have an authentic research experience—making practical, substantive contributions to the lab’s research objectives—while also engaging in a variety of activities to help prepare them for the college application process. Labs with research opportunities are in the following fields:


  • Anthropology
  • Biology
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
  • Civil and Urban Engineering
  • Computer Science and Engineering
  • Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering


11. Santa Clara University Summer Engineering Seminar (SES)


This special summer program for high school students is aimed at sophomores and juniors who are interested in exploring the field of engineering but haven’t been exposed to it over their high school careers. SES is a four-day program and three sessions are held over the summer. During the sessions, students gain exposure to multiple engineering disciplines, participate in workshops, work on projects, and learn about the academic expectations and nature of college.


12. My Introduction to Engineering (MITE)


The MITE summer program, hosted by the University of Texas – Austin, is a five-day camp where current high school juniors can discover more about the field of engineering. During camp, participants take part in hands-on activities and team projects, while also meeting and interacting with UT engineering students, faculty, staff, and alumni. Outstanding African American, Hispanic, Native American, and Native Hawaiian students, as well as those who have overcome social or economic hardship, are strongly encouraged to apply. 


13. Women in Engineering


The Milwaukee School of Engineering’s (MSOE) Women in Engineering summer program offers female students in grades 10 through 12 the chance to explore eight different engineering disciplines:


  • Architectural Engineering
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biomolecular Engineering
  • Civil Engineering
  • Computer Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Software Engineering


During the day, students participate in hands-on engineering projects led by MSOE faculty and female engineering students, and decompress with fun activities like interactive comedy shows and bowling in the evening. 


14. High School Summer STEM Research Program


The Grainger College of Engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign hosts a unique summer program for rising high school juniors and seniors in which participants are paired with another student and teacher from their school to form a team. The team participates in the research activities of established researchers in fields such as:


  • Cancer immunology
  • Pharmacogenomics of anticancer agents
  • Physics
  • Biophysics
  • Bioengineering
  • Electrical engineering


Through the program, students gain confidence in their abilities as scientists and engineers, develop college skills, and interact with people at every stage of the STEM path—such as faculty, post-doctoral researchers, graduate students, undergraduate students, and high school teachers. 


15. Office of Naval Research Science and Engineering Apprentice Program


The Science and Engineering Apprentice Program (SEAP) places talented high school STEM students as apprentices in one of the more than 25 participating Department of Defense (DoD) labs for eight weeks over the summer. Apprentices work closely with researchers and gain firsthand scientific and engineering experience while earning a stipend. The program aims to encourage students to pursue STEM careers and create interest in future employment with the DoD. 


How Much Do Summer Programs Impact Your College Chances?


Extracurricular activities play a considerable role in admissions at selective colleges, and taking part in a super-selective summer program like Anson L. Clark Scholars Program can give your odds of acceptance a huge boost. CollegeVine’s free chancing engine can add clarity to the college admissions process—including how schools view your activities outside of the classroom—using factors like GPA, test scores, and extracurriculars to estimate your odds of getting into hundreds of schools and to provide tips to improve your profile.


Short Bio
A graduate of Northeastern University with a degree in English, Tim Peck currently lives in Concord, New Hampshire, where he balances a freelance writing career with the needs of his two Australian Shepherds to play outside.