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10 Summer Programs in Alaska for High Schoolers

What’s Covered:

 

Summer weather doesn’t stick around in Alaska very long, but luckily the days are long in America’s last frontier. The city of Fairbanks—which is only about 100 miles south of the Arctic Circle—sees 72 straight days of light in the summertime! One way that college-bound students can take advantage of Alaska’s extra-long days is to participate in a summer program for high schoolers—learning something new, bolstering their extracurricular profile, and improving their college readiness.  

 

10 Summer Programs in Alaska for High Schoolers

 

1. Rural Alaska Honors Institute (RAHI)

 

RAHI provides rural Alaskan high schoolers with a crash course in college success. Participants spend six action-packed weeks sampling college life—from living in a dorm to earning up to 11 college credits—all while building friendships that will last a lifetime. 

 

Affiliate organization: University of Alaska – Fairbanks

Grades: 11th and 12th 

Cost: Free

Deadline: N/A

Additional requirements: 

  • Alaskan Native or Rural Alaskan
  • Minimum 3.0 GPA
  • Transcript
  • Two recommendation letters (one from your principal/counselor and one from a teacher)
  • Resume 
  • Three essays 

 

2. Summer Engineering Academies | 3D Printed Robotics: Programming  

 

Participants with an interest and some prior experience in robotics will want to explore this fun summer program. During this week-long course, students learn how to program robots to accomplish tasks like traveling along a set route, avoiding obstacles, and navigating a maze. At the end of the program, participants team up with another group to create and program a 3-D printed robot to accomplish assigned tasks.

 

Affiliate organization: University of Alaska – Anchorage 

Grades: 8th-12th 

Cost: $200 

Deadline: 4/22/22

Additional requirements: Some prior experience with robotics

 

3. Summer Engineering Academies | Advanced Coding 

 

This super-fun summer program is aimed at students with an interest in and some experience coding. Participants will work in p5js and javascript and learn object-oriented programming concepts and how to manipulate scenes and 3D objects while working in teams. At the end of the session, participants will demonstrate their projects.

 

Affiliate organization: University of Alaska – Anchorage 

Grades: 9th-12th 

Cost: $200 

Deadline: 4/22/22

Additional requirements: Some prior experience programming 

 

4. Summer Engineering Academies | Arduino Robotics 

 

During this week-long summer academy, participants explore what it takes to build and program a robot. Participants will learn about 3D modeling software and Arduino programming, which they’ll use to design, build, and control their robots. 

Affiliate organization: University of Alaska – Anchorage 

Grades: 9th-12th 

Cost: $200 

Deadline: 4/22/22

Additional requirements: Some prior experience with programming and robotics 

 

5. Summer Engineering Academies | Microsoft Minecraft Coding 

 

Learn to program in Python or block-based language within the universe of the popular video game Minecraft. Students will forge basic coding skills while tackling increasingly complex challenges as they explore the interaction of Minecraft and programming. 

 

Affiliate organization: University of Alaska – Anchorage 

Grades: 8th-12th 

Cost: $200 

Deadline: 4/22/22

 

6. Alaska Geographic | Teen Expeditions  

 

The intent of this program is to create a more diverse and welcoming outdoor community for Alaskans. Numerous trips are available—from hiking to backpacking to kayaking—and all essential outdoor gear is provided. In fact, participants don’t even need to have outdoor or camping experience to attend, however, they should have a good level of physical fitness and be prepared for Alaska’s unpredictable weather. 

 

Affiliate organization: Alaska Geographic 

Ages: 13-18

Cost: Free

Deadline: 3/7/22

 

7. Performing Arts Academies | Technical Academy

 

Students who love the theater but eschew the spotlight will love this three-week summer program that allows them to gain firsthand experience working backstage. Participants will work under the guidance of a professional stage manager and train in every area of technical theater, including running lights and sound. 

 

Affiliate organization: Training Better Artists (TBA) Theatre 

Ages: 13-18

Cost: $425

Deadline: N/A

 

8. Performing Arts Academies | Advanced Actors Academy

 

Experienced and serious student actors will love this intensive performance program that allows them to find their artistic voices and develop their creative talents. Participants in this three-week-long program are cast in a staged public performance. 

 

Affiliate organization: Training Better Artists (TBA) Theatre 

Ages: 13-18

Cost: $425

Deadline: N/A

 

9. Girls Who Code | Virtual Camp 

 

This summer program in Alaska is aimed at female high school students with an interest in cybersecurity. Over the course of the program’s four days, participants will bolster their coding skills and build a foundation for a future in tech. 

 

Affiliate organization: Girls Who Code

Ages: 13-18

Cost: Free

Deadline: N/A

Additional requirements: Female students with access to a computer and internet connection 

 

10. Alaska Business Week 

 

Business-minded Alaskan high schoolers will want to check out this intensive entrepreneurship experience. Participants learn the basics of business, leadership, and entrepreneurship while networking with like-minded peers, business leaders, company founders, and CEOs. During the week-long course, students will work as teams and participate in gamified business simulations. 

 

Affiliate organization: Alaska Business Week 

Grades: 9th-12th 

Cost: $195

Deadline: N/A

 

How do Summer Programs Impact Your College Chances?

 

The influence a summer program will have on your college chances depends on a variety of factors, such as the prestige of the course and the weight a particular college places on extracurricular activities like summer programs. While the impact of participation in a summer program varies, in general, it can only help your odds of college admission. 

 

The four tiers of extracurricular activities are a good guide for understanding how colleges view extracurriculars like summer programs. Tiers one and two are where the most selective and distinguished summer programs are placed. Participation in these programs is attention-grabbing—they’re impressive and it’s rare for college admissions officers to see them on an application—consequently, they have the most impact on admissions odds. 

 

Tier three and four extracurriculars are more common and don’t have the same value as higher-tier activities. While participation in lower-tier summer programs might not have a direct effect on your college odds, it does improve your college profile by demonstrating intellectual curiosity and a desire to learn about the world outside of the classroom. The curriculum of many summer programs also includes building college readiness—from vital soft skills to study habits to simply getting accustomed to living on campus. 

 

CollegeVine can help you determine the weight your participation in a summer program has on your odds of college admission. Our free chancing calculator uses a variety of factors including grades, standardized test scores, and extracurriculars—like summer programs—to estimate your chances of getting into hundreds of colleges and universities while also providing insight into how 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.