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15 Summer Programs in Texas for High Schoolers in 2023

What’s Covered:

 

You don’t mess with Texas is a popular saying in the Lone Star state and certainly holds a kernel of truth when talking about its summer programs for high schoolers. Offerings include everything from STEM-focused courses at some of the largest universities in the U.S. to hands-on, high-tech-focused courses at colleges that are among the most prestigious in the nation. 

 

Keep reading to learn about ten great high school summer programs in Texas.

 

10 Summer Programs in Texas for High Schoolers

 

1. McCombs Six-Day Experiences

 

Affiliate College: University of Texas at Austin  

Grades: 11 and 12 

Cost: Free

Deadline:

  • Priority deadline: January 31
  • Final deadline: April 1¬†

Application requirements:

  • Transcript¬†
  • Letter of recommendation¬†
  • Essay(s)
  • Resume (optional)¬†

 

This excellent six-day residential summer program gives rising high school juniors and seniors a glimpse at college life‚ÄĒliving on campus, interacting with faculty, and meeting like-minded peers. The program is aimed at outstanding African-American, Latino, Native American, and first-generation students, along with students who have overcome social or economic hardships. That said, all students are welcome to apply.

 

2.  High School Research Academy (HSRA) 

 

Affiliate College: University of Texas at Austin

Grades: 10, 11, and 12 

Cost: $3,500

Deadline: N/A

Application requirements: Essay

 

Participants in this science-based summer program will gain first-hand research experience working in the University of Texas at Austin’s College of Natural Sciences laboratories alongside its faculty and students. Research projects cover fields that include biochemistry, biology, environmental science, genetics, neuroscience, genome engineering, data analytics, and ecology. Participants are awarded course credit at the end of this five-week immersive non-residential experience.   

 

3. Advancing Into STEM

 

Affiliate College: Texas A&M University  

Grades: 9-12 

Cost: N/A

Deadline: N/A

Application requirements:

  • Essay¬†
  • Transcript or letter of recommendation¬†
  • Completed algebra 1 and biology and/or physics (recommended)¬†

 

The perfect summer program for high schoolers with an interest in STEM, participants in this week-long residential program tackle areas like discrete mathematics topics, statistics, coding, atmospheric science, rockets, and engineering design. They’ll also make time to prepare for standardized test preparation and to explore engineering design.  

 

4. Honors Camp  

 

Affiliate College: Texas A&M University 

Grades: 9-12 

Cost: N/A

Deadline: N/A

Application requirements:

  • Admissions test
  • Transcript¬†
  • Essay
  • Letter of recommendation¬†
  • Standardized test scores (PSAT, SAT, or ACT scores)
  • Completion of algebra II, pre-calculus (recommended), and physics (recommended)

 

Deep dive STEM topics like discrete mathematics, statistics, coding, atmospheric science, aerospace (rockets and drones), and engineering design while also preparing for standardized tests at this incredible two-week summer program. Participants are also given the opportunity to work alongside university researchers and their teams, giving them direct experience with the research process and a deeper understanding of what to expect from college STEM programs. This is a very competitive program‚ÄĒin 2021, its acceptance rate was just 31% and in 2020 its acceptance rate was a scant 18%.¬†

 

5. Aerospace & Aviation Academy

 

Affiliate College: Rice University 

Grades: 9-12 

Cost: $5,875-$6,395

Deadline: N/A

Application requirements: N/A

 

This summer program is aimed at students with their heads in the clouds. That is, those with an interest in aviation and aerospace. Over the program’s two weeks, participants stay on Rice University’s campus and experience a slice of college life while hearing from the school’s renowned faculty, government space scientists, representatives from NASA, and a former NASA astronaut. Another highlight of the program is the chance to design, prototype, revise, and launch a satellite that will collect information that participants will analyze.

 

6. Rice ELITE Tech Camp

 

Affiliate College: Rice University 

Grades: 8-11 

Cost: $595-$3,495

Deadline: N/A

Application requirements: N/A

 

These week-long summer camps are tailored to teach college-level engineering curriculum to high school students, while also improving college readiness and building leadership skills. Participants engage in a variety of STEM-based activities and learn to solve real-world problems through the engineering design process. Topics covered include machine learning, artificial intelligence, the internet of things, data science, 3D printing, deep learning, and data analytics. ELITE Tech Camps are offered in residential, commuter, and virtual formats.    

 

7. Schieffer Summer Journalism Camp

 

Affiliate College: Texas Christian University  

Grades: 9-12 

Cost: $2,000

Deadline: N/A

Application requirements: 

  • Essay¬†
  • Letter of recommendation¬†

 

This two-week residential program is designed to instill the fundamentals of digital reporting in its participants‚ÄĒlearning how to generate story ideas, develop them, and turn them into content for newscasts and websites. Over the course of the program, students will build their critical thinking and writing skills and meet professionals working in the Dallas/Fort Worth media to learn about careers in the field.¬†

 

8. TCU Neeley Analytics Academy

 

Affiliate College: Texas Christian University 

Grades: 11-12 

Cost: $1,500

Deadline: April 21

Application requirements:

  • Transcript¬†
  • Personal statement¬†
  • Teacher recommendation¬†

 

This great summer program helps participants understand how companies like Amazon know what they want to buy and why their social media features products they’re interested in purchasing. During this one-week residential experience, students will hone their data analytics and market research skills, and discover how businesses use those skills to improve profitability. Students will live on TCU’s campus and learn from its esteemed business school faculty, giving them valuable insight into college life.   

 

9. TCU Band Camp 

 

Affiliate College: Texas Christian University 

Grades: 9-12 

Cost: $325-$525

Deadline: N/A

Application requirements: N/A

 

TCU Band Camp offers a few interesting tracks for high school musicians, including: 

 

  • Music and leadership: combines paying in large ensembles and masterclasses with leadership training¬†¬†
  • Color guard: focused on all aspects of color guard, from technique to performance skills¬†
  • Drum major: build drum major-specific skills like conducting and vocal commands while also containing a leadership component¬†

 

These summer camps leave participants prepared for success in marching band, concert band, solo, and chamber music. The camp is open to residential and commuter students. 

 

10. Story Lines

 

Affiliate College: University of Houston 

Grades: 10, 11, and 12 

Cost: $750

Deadline: May 19

Application requirements:

  • Transcript¬†
  • Test scores

 

Participants in this course dig into what makes a captivating story as they explore the content and meanings of short stories and films. Similar to a college seminar, students will gain a better understanding of what makes fiction work‚ÄĒfrom a creative writer‚Äôs point of view‚ÄĒwhether on the page or on the screen. This summer program also seeks to inspire participants to pick up their pens and create!¬†¬†

 

11. From The Ground Up

 

Affiliate College: University of Houston 

Grades: 10, 11, and 12 

Cost: $1,250

Deadline: May 19

Application requirements:

  • Transcript¬†
  • Test scores

 

This summer program is aimed at high schoolers with an interest in architecture‚ÄĒproviding insight into the pursuit of architecture in college and building a lifetime appreciation of the field. Participants will learn about architectural history and study some of the world‚Äôs most interesting buildings from past to present, as well as visit a local architect‚Äôs office and buildings of special interest. Participants will also work on their own design projects and leave the program with a bolstered portfolio.¬†

 

12. Closer Looks

 

Affiliate College: University of Houston 

Grades: 10, 11, and 12 

Cost: $750

Deadline: May 19

Application requirements:

  • Transcript¬†
  • Test scores

 

This summer program is ideal for art lovers and appropriate for students who have taken (or plan to take) AP Art History. Participants will explore all types of works of art and cover works from the dawn of civilization to today. Don’t expect to just stare at slides in this course; rather, participants visit numerous local galleries and museums, including:

 

  • The Menil Collection
  • The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
  • The Kimbell Art Museum
  • The Amon Carter Museum of American Art
  • The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth
  • The Blanton Museum of Art
  • The Harry Ransom Center of the University of Texas

 

Art historians and curators will guide students‚ÄĒsharing their knowledge and enthusiasm, and ultimately cultivating the next generation of art lovers.¬†

 

13. Arete: An Introduction to the Classics

 

Affiliate College: University of Dallas

Grades: 11 and 12 

Cost: $1,695

Deadline: March 1 

Application requirements: N/A

 

This two-week residential program allows high schoolers to sample what college life is like while learning about some of the most essential texts of western civilization, such as Sophocles‚Äô Oedipus Rex, Plato‚Äôs Republic, and Shakespeare‚Äôs Henry V. The course helps students develop valuable reading and writing skills‚ÄĒproviding a foundation for college success‚ÄĒand participants can earn three hours of college credit upon successful completion of the class.¬†¬†

 

14. Summer Art Academy

 

Affiliate College: University of Dallas

Grades: 7-12 

Cost: $425

Deadline: March 1 

Application requirements: N/A

 

This week-long non-residential program immerses students in the process of making art. During the course, participants work in a variety of mediums‚ÄĒincluding ceramics, printmaking, and drawing‚ÄĒunder the tutelage of University professors from the Art Department and staff experienced working with burgeoning young artists. The program culminates with an art exhibit and reception highlighting students‚Äô work.¬†

 

15. Anson L. Clark Scholars Program

 

Affiliate College: Texas Tech University 

Grades: 11 and 12 

Cost: Free

Deadline: February 15

Application requirements: 

  • Transcript
  • Essays
  • Standardized test scores
  • Three recommendations¬†

 

This extremely competitive seven-week summer research program selects just 12 talented high school juniors and seniors to participate. Participants conduct research under the mentorship of experienced faculty in fields including: 

 

  • Biology
  • Cell and Molecular Biology
  • Chemistry & Biochemistry
  • Computer Science
  • Economics/Business/Finance/Marketing
  • Electrical Engineering & Computer Engineering
  • History¬†
  • Microbiology
  • Physics

 

In addition to research, students also take part in social activities and seminars. The program is free‚ÄĒtuition, on-campus meals, room and board, and weekend activities/programming are all provided at no cost‚ÄĒand participants receive a $750 tax-free stipend at its conclusion.

 

How do Summer Programs Impact Your College Chances?

 

The benefit of participating in a summer program varies depending on a multitude of factors, such as the standing of the program itself and the value individual colleges place on extracurricular activities like summer programs. 

 

The four tiers of extracurricular activities provide good guidance for understanding how colleges view your participation in summer programs. Tier-one and -two activities have the most influence on your chances of college admissions, as these activities are rare, impressive, and attention-grabbing. 

 

Tier-three and -four activities are more common, less esteemed, and have less weight on college admissions. Lower-tiered extracurriculars still provide a benefit to participants, however. For example, they demonstrate your motivation for self-improvement and desire to explore fields of interest. Many summer programs also have a college readiness component, which can give you a leg up on other college applicants. 

 

Are you interested to learn what colleges think of your participation in a summer program? CollegeVine can help! 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.