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10 Online Summer Programs for High School Students

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Remote summer programs allow you to explore career paths and passions from the comfort of your home.


In this post, we’ve compiled a list of the best online summer programs for high school students. These opportunities range from programs in science, math, and computer programming to business and literature. Some programs are even free!


10 Remote Summer Programs for High Schoolers


1. Harvard College Secondary School Program

Dates: June 19 – August 6

Cost: $3,400-$6,800 depending on how many credits you take


Harvard’s Secondary School Program is a 7-week program where students can take online classes in a variety of subjects taught by Harvard faculty. While the program is remote, you’ll get the chance to connect with students from across the country and get a taste of college academics. To be eligible, you must be graduating and entering college between 2021-2023. You must be between the ages of 15 and 19. There is no minimum GPA requirement, but the program requires your transcript and counselor report. Standardized test scores are optional.


2. Facebook Summer Academy

Dates: June 21 – July 30

Cost: Free, students receive a $1500 stipend at the end of the program.


Facebook Summer Academy is a virtual six-week program for students who reside in East Palo Alto, Belle Haven, North Fair Oaks, Redwood City, or San Francisco (at either Mission High School or John O’Connell High School). During the program, students learn about coding, web development, and various careers in the tech industry. Applicants do not need to have previous work experience but are recommended to have extracurricular experience. Applicants must have a minimum 2.5 GPA and be sophomores in high school to apply. One letter of recommendation is required.


3. Kelley School of Business Young Women’s Institute

Dates: June 7-11

Cost: Free, admission is highly selective


The Kelley School of Business at Indiana University is a leading business school in the U.S. The Young Women’s Institute is a competitive program where young women from across the U.S. engage in case study workshops and learn more about various opportunities in business. Applicants must have above a 3.5 GPA, fill out an online application with short essays and provide a resume and transcript. 


4. IDTech Teen Academy  

Dates: June 14-25, June 28-July 9, July 12-23, July 26-August 6, August 9-20

Cost: $1,149 per session


IDTech provides different summer programs for students who already have some knowledge of coding and want to further their skills. There are three separate programsone is a hackathon for app development, the other is a Python and machine learning course, and there is also a C++ and AI course. Classes are guaranteed to be small, with the average size being 5 students.


5. Iowa Young Writers Studio

Dates: June 13-26 and July 11-24 or a 6-week program from June 13-July 27

Cost: $575


The Iowa Young Writers Studio, hosted by the University of Iowa, is a premier summer program for high schoolers interested in creative writing. Students have the option to choose from two programseither a summer program (2 weeks) or courses through the university (6-week program). For the 2-week program, the application requires a writing sample, statement of purpose, letter of recommendation, and transcript. For the 6-week program, a statement of purpose, letter of recommendation, and transcript are required. All applicants must have a GPA of above 3.0.

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6. Anson L. Clark Scholars Program at Texas Tech

Dates: June 21-August 4

Cost: Free, students receive a $500 meal card and $750 stipend at the end of the program


The Anson L. Clark Scholars program was designed to help further the academic interests of top students across the world. The 7-week program allows students to pursue research in any discipline of their choosing. Additionally, students listen to weekly seminars and participate in activities with the other scholars. Admission is extremely competitivethe average SAT score is typically within the 99th percentile.


7. The Summer Science Program

Dates: June 17-July 21 (biochemistry), June 20-July 24 (astrophysics)

Cost: $3,950, but there is also a generous scholarship program


The Summer Science Program is a competitive online experimental science program for high school students interested in biochemistry and astrophysics. Students engage in research and listen to faculty guest speakers about their chosen subject. Applicants must have taken certain classes in school in order to be eligible for the program. Test scores, transcripts, and an online application form are required for consideration.


8. USC Annenberg Youth Academy for Media and Civic Engagement

Dates: June 16, July 7

Cost: Free


The USC Annenberg Youth Academy for Media and Civic Engagement is a free program for students from Los Angeles County, Orange County, San Bernardino County, Riverside County, and San Diego County. During the program, students will learn about the vast array of careers in communication and media and have guest lectures from distinguished faculty in the field. To apply, a transcript, resume, two essays, a letter of recommendation, and a headshot are required.  


9. Foundation for Teaching Economics Student Programs

Dates: Dates between June and August; program lasts 5 days

Cost: $700


The Foundation for Teaching Economics mission is to educate students about economic theories and how they apply in a real-world setting. The Foundation provides programs at universities across the country that are virtual or in-person. The program is competitive. Applicants must fill out an application, provide a letter of recommendation, transcript, personal statement and pay a $25 application fee.


10. LaunchX

Dates: June 28-July 30

Cost: $5,980, but generous scholarship are available


LaunchX is a program for high school students who want to learn how to design and develop a successful startup. The program invites guest speakers who have owned their own startups to discuss the process. Although the program requires a transcript, LaunchX admits applicants based on their initiatives and desire to learn rather than just their GPA and test scores.


How Impressive Are Summer Programs to Colleges?


Extracurricular activities such as summer programs are a great way to develop your interest in a particular field and meet like-minded students. College admissions value extracurriculars as they can demonstrate a student’s passion for a particular subject or field. 


In general, extracurricular activities can be broken down into 4 tiers. Tier 1 extracurriculars are the most impressive and rare whereas Tier 4 activities are more common. Below is a summary of the different tiers of extracurriculars. 


Tier 1: National achievements, such as attending a prestigious summer program, starting a volunteer organization.


Tier 2: State-level or major achievements, such as ranking #2 in the state for wrestling, making all-state orchestra, or being student body president.


Tier 3: More minor leadership positions, such as being secretary of the debate club, a class representative, or captain of the varsity soccer team.


Tier 4: Participatory activities, such as involvement in common school clubs without a leadership position or volunteering


Typically, summer programs fall into Tier 3 or 4, although selective, impactful programs can be considered to be Tier 1 or 2. The most impressive programs will be free and selective; programs that are expensive and open to everyone won’t boost your chances, even if they’re hosted by a top school. 


Be sure to check out how your summer plans will impact your chances of admission using our free chancing calculator! We’ll let you know how impressive your activities will appear to admissions officers and share tips on improving your application profile. The calculator will also let you know which schools are safeties, targets, and matches, and estimate your chances of acceptance.


Other Ways to Spend Your Summer


Attending a summer program isn’t the only way to learn and grow over the summer. We’ve compiled a list of other projects you can participate in that may be even more impressive than attending a summer program. 


1. Self-Driven Projects


You don’t necessarily have to participate in a formal program to learn something new. There are a variety of engaging activities that you can do on your own. This includes:


  • Create your own small business
  • Teach or tutor a class or subject
  • Learn a new language
  • Build a computer
  • Publish a book or start a blog
  • Start a YouTube channel
  • Create artwork for public spaces
  • Run a half marathon
  • Start a band
  • Raise money for a local political candidate 


Admissions officers love self-driven activities, as they demonstrate your initiative and passions.


2. Internships


High school internships can be a great way to differentiate yourself on your college application and develop a new interest. When you start your search, reflect on your interests and leverage your personal network to get your foot in the door. If you can’t think of any relevant connections you may have, check out websites such as Glassdoor, LinkedIn, or Indeed for opportunities. We also have a list of remote high school internships you can check out.


3. Jobs


As a high school student, it can be hard to find jobs, especially online, that pay well. However, many different options exist depending on your interests and skill set. For example, you could:


  • Become a freelance blogger on Fiverr
  • Design your own products on Redbubble
  • Teach an exercise class
  • Become a tutor
  • Provide customer service
  • Do voice-overs
  • Do a computer programming project
  • Sell your used items online

Short Bio
Juliette is a senior at Cornell University studying Industrial & Labor Relations. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, running, drinking coffee, and exploring different hiking trails in Ithaca.