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10 Summer Programs in Rhode Island for High Schoolers

What’s Covered:


Spending summer on the beach is a tempting proposition for Rhode Island high schoolers. The state has the longest ratio of coastline to overall area and the moniker ‚Äúthe Ocean State.‚ÄĚ However, motivated college-bound students understand that summer is a valuable time for bolstering their profiles. Summer programs allow students to explore areas of interest, can make them more appealing to colleges, and help them gain a better understanding of possible future paths. Some Rhode Island summer programs even allow for plenty of time on the water.


10 Summer Programs in Rhode Island for High Schoolers


1. Residential Summer Immersive


Affiliate College: Rhode Island School of Design 

Grades: 11th and 12th 

Cost: $7,825-$10,850

Deadline: N/A

Application requirements: Short answer questions


Rising high school juniors and seniors will experience a college-level curriculum‚ÄĒincluding day-long studio classes, critiques, and projects‚ÄĒin this artsy summer program. Participants work with like-minded and creative peers who inspire and encourage them to push their artistic limits and produce their best work. By the end of this six-week-long program, students will have deepened their knowledge of art and design and bolstered their portfolios.¬†


2. Project Open Door Summer Studios 


Affiliate College: Rhode Island School of Design 

Grades: 9th-12th 

Cost: Free

Deadline: N/A


Artistic Rhode Island high school students will want to carve out some time for these free virtual studio programs provided by the Rhode Island School of Design. Sessions include:


  • Illustrating your favorite animal¬†
  • Landscape painting¬†
  • Fashion design¬†
  • Photo journaling¬†
  • Character design¬†


3. Brown Summer High School


Affiliate College: Brown University 

Grades: 9th-12th 

Cost: $250 

Deadline: N/A


Only between 150 and 200 motivated students from Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts are chosen to participate in this summer enrichment program at Brown University. Participants are encouraged to pursue the fields that interest them and courses are offered in English, math, science, and social studies. In addition to classes, participants take part in assemblies focused on college readiness. 

4. Jazz Camp at Newport


Affiliate College: Salve Regina, University of Rhode Island, and West Virginia University

Age: 14-18

Cost: $700-$1,200

Deadline: 6/10/22

Application requirements: Video audition for placement 


This musical summer program is sponsored by Salve Regina, the University of Rhode Island, and West Virginia University. Participants explore jazz theory and improvisation while playing in both small ensembles and big bands, and the program culminates with a final recording project. Students will receive a ticket to the renowned Newport Jazz Festival and have the chance to meet some of the artists performing at it. 

5. Linkages in International Business & Foreign Affairs Empowerment for Youth (LIFE) Program


Affiliate College: Bryant University 

Grades: 11th 

Cost: Free 

Deadline: N/A

Application requirements: Resident of Rhode Island 


The intent of this summer program is to strengthen the pool of young minority students interested in pursuing a career in international business or foreign affairs. This program is open to all students but is primarily aimed at Black/African American, Latino/a, Hispanic, Asian American, and Native American students. Topics covered in this program include:

  • Career planning
  • Geography
  • Foreign affairs
  • Multicultural relations
  • Team building
  • Time management


6. KidsEye Filmmaking Workshop


Affiliate College: The Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA) and the Rhode Island Film and Television Office

Ages: 13-17

Cost: $415

Deadline: N/A


Movie buffs will want to explore this film-focused summer program. Over the course of its five days, participants will write, shoot, edit, and screen a film as part of the annual Flickers’ Rhode Island International Film Festival (RIIFF). Along the way, participants will gain valuable insight into the creative industry and complete several short films to put in their portfolios. 

7. High School Summer Academy in Architecture


Affiliate College: Roger Williams University 

Grades: 11th and 12th 

Cost: $3,150-$5,500

Deadline: 6/30/22

Application requirements: Transcript and recommendation letter


This summer program provides participants with a better understanding of what it’s like to pursue architecture as a college major and a career. Over four weeks, students will participate in studio, seminar, and fieldwork, along with a variety of extracurricular activities. They will also explore topics such as basic architectural principles, digital drawing, modeling techniques, and contemporary practice while participating in team design projects. Students earn three college credits for completing this program. 


8. Marine Biology Camp


Affiliate College: Roger Williams University 

Ages: 14 and up 

Cost: $1,250 

Deadline: N/A

Application requirements: Completed at least one high school biology course


If your idea of a classroom is the coastline, this is the summer program for you. Participants get first-hand experience in the field, taking part in activities like exploring bay ecosystems by kayak, snorkeling along tidal pools, and viewing whales from a boat. Students also log lab time sampling plankton, studying the biology of shellfish and finish, and doing productivity studies. Enrollment is limited to just 18 students per session, ensuring they receive individual attention.  


9. Artificial Intelligence Camp


Affiliate College: University of Rhode Island

Grades: 9th-12th

Cost: $200

Deadline: N/A


Explore coding, robotics, and machine learning while gaining hands-on experience on projects like circuits, 3D modeling, and 3D printing at this awesome summer program. Over the course of this week-long program, participants will build a virtual environment and explore the virtual world they created. 


10. Ocean Science Exploration Camp


Affiliate College: University of Rhode Island 

Grades: 9th-12th 

Cost: $495

Deadline: N/A


During this week-long day camp, participants explore biological oceanography while taking part in a variety of hands-on activities, demonstrations, and field investigations. The theme of the camp changes annually. This year, students will learn about the ocean food chain‚ÄĒstarting with microscopic life and ending with large macroscopic predators like sharks. Participants will also visit the URI Graduate School of Oceanography Bay Campus‚Äôs labs, meet working scientists, and discover ocean careers.¬†


How do Summer Programs Impact Your College Chances?


The influence your participation in a summer program has on your odds of college admission varies depending on numerous factors, such as the prestige of the program and the weight a college places on extracurricular activities. One of the best ways to understand how colleges value summer programs are by using the four tiers of extracurricular activities.  


Tier-one and -two activities are the most valuable to college admissions. Top-tier summer programs are held in high esteem, very selective, and rarely seen by admissions officers. Activities in tiers three and four are more common, less attention-grabbing, and aren’t as impactful to admissions.


Although the significance of summer programs will vary from one to another, every summer program holds some value to college admissions. Attending a summer program demonstrates your initiative, ambition, and intellectual curiosity. Also, college preparation is integrated into the curriculum of many summer programs, allowing college-bound high schoolers to do everything from bolster artistic portfolios, hone audition performances, and build needed skills.

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.