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17 Online Summer Programs for High Schoolers in 2023

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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 in 2023. 


These opportunities range from programs in math and economics to programs in film and writing. Unfortunately, many of them come with a larger sticker price, so you may also want to check out our list of free summer programs for high schoolers.


17 Remote Summer Programs for High Schoolers


1. Harvard Summer School’s Secondary School Program


Application deadline: The late deadline is April 26. Generally, the early deadline is in January and the regular deadline is in February.

Dates: June 20 – August 5, 2023

Cost: Between $3,600 (for 4 credits) and $7,200 (for 8 credits), and a $75 application fee


Harvard Summer School’s Secondary School Program is a 7-week program where students can take online classes in a variety of subjects taught by Harvard faculty. The program is remote, but you’ll still be able to get a taste of college academics while building connections with other students from around the country.


To be eligible, you must be graduating from high school and entering college between 2023 and 2025. You must also be at least 16 years old by June 17, 2023, and no older than 19 years old before July 31, 2023. There is no minimum GPA requirement, but the program requires your transcript and counselor report. Standardized test scores are optional.


2. Iowa Young Writers’ Studio


Application deadline: Application opens March 1, 2023 and closes April 17, 2023

Dates: June 11 – July 23, 2023

Cost: $475 per course


The Iowa Young Writers’ Studio, hosted by the University of Iowa, is a summer program for high school students interested in creative writing. The program provides students with the opportunity to study with graduates of one of the most renowned writing programs in the nation—the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.


Participants in this program choose a focus—poetry, creative writing, or fiction—and share their work, practice their craft, and improve their writing while working alongside other high school writers from across the U.S. To apply, students need to submit a statement of purpose, letter of recommendation, transcript, and parental permission form. All applicants must have a GPA of 3.0 or higher.


3. Economics for Leaders


Application deadline: Varies (Early deadline – February 8, 2023; Priority deadline – March 15, 2023; Final deadline – April 12, 2023)

Dates: Various weeklong sessions

  • June 12-16, 2023
  • June 19-23, 2023
  • July 3-7, 2023
  • July 24-28, 2023

Cost: $800 and a $25 application fee


The Foundation for Teaching Economics offers leadership seminars that teach economics at college campuses across the country to interested high school sophomores and juniors. Over the course of a week, students will learn fundamental economics concepts and economic reasoning skills, as well as leadership theory.


Students can apply online during the application window and must include a copy of their transcript, a letter of recommendation, and a personal statement.


4. LaunchX


Application deadline: 2024 deadline TBA

Dates: Usually from early July to early August

Cost: $5,980 and a $75 application fee that may be waived with proof of financial need


LaunchX is a program for high school students who want to learn how to design and develop a successful startup company. The program invites industry expert guest speakers to discuss the process and the logistics of beginning and maintaining a startup.


Although the program requires a transcript to apply, LaunchX admits applicants based on their initiatives and desire to learn, rather than just their GPA and test scores.


5. New York Film Academy Online Summer Camps


Application deadline: Vary depending on particular program

Dates: Vary depending on particular program (many begin in April, some in summer, some in fall 2023)

Cost: Vary depending on particular program


In NYFA’s online summer camps, students can learn about creation and performance in a medium of their choice—filmmaking, acting for film, or 3D animation. In these programs, students participate in live interactive instruction, group meetings, and practical, creative projects, all while learning about the exciting world of storytelling through film.


6. NYU Tisch Online High School Filmmakers Workshop


Application deadline: Scholarship applicants: May 1, 2023; Regular decision: May 12, 2023

Dates: July 9 – August 4, 2023

Cost: $7,266 and a $75 online application fee


Hosted by the famed NYU Tisch School of the Arts, the High School Filmmakers Workshop allows students to work together online with other emerging artists to create skill-building film projects. In one-on-one virtual meetings with experienced instructors, participants will learn to develop their writing, directing, shooting, and editing skills in order to produce a variety of short films.


Applicants must be current high school students with at least a 3.0 GPA. Applicants must submit a personal statement, creative resume, and transcript. Standardized test scores will not be reviewed.


7. NYU Tisch Online High School Screenwriters Workshop


Application deadline: Scholarship applicants: May 1, 2023; Regular decision: May 12, 2023

Dates: July 9 – August 4, 2023

Cost: $7,266 and a $75 online application fee


In this program, hosted by NYU Tisch School of the Arts, students will participate in intensive screenwriting exercises to learn the basic principles of writing for film and television. Students will have the opportunity to develop story ideas and characters while learning film language and script structure. There will also be workshops where students will analyze important works, as well as have a dialogue about each other’s works.


The application requirements are the same as those in the above program—a personal statement, creative resume, and transcript. Applicants must be current high school students with at least a 3.0 GPA.


8. High School Conservatory at The American Musical and Dramatic Academy


Application deadline: TBA

Dates: Various two-week sessions available between June and July

Cost: $2,415


Hosted by The American Musical and Dramatic Academy, the High School Summer Conservatory offers two-week virtual programs in three domains—Musical Theatre, Acting for Stage & Screen, and Dance Theatre. In each of these programs, students will participate in an immersive and rigorous exploration of their chosen domain. Besides learning essential fundamental skills from industry professionals, participants will produce tangible works.


9. Boston Architectural College Summer Academy for High School Students


Application deadline: June 1, 2023

Dates: July 5 – August 4, 2023

Cost: $1,500


In this program offered by Boston Architectural College, students will gain a deeper understanding of fields like architecture, interior design, and landscape design. Virtual participants will explore case study buildings, attend virtual site and professional firm visits, and receive kits to participate in hands-on design and building.


At the completion of the program, students will have developed a digital and physical portfolio suitable for design school applications.


10. The AFSF Build San Francisco Summer Design Institute


Application deadline: TBA

Dates: June 12-30, 2023 or July 10-28, 2023

Cost: $3,000


This summer program offered by the Architectural Foundation of San Francisco provides high school students with many tools and skills that will help them succeed in the world of architectural design. Students will receive one-to-one professional feedback and guidance from architects and engineers, as well as instruction in computer-aided design tools—including SketchUp and the Autodesk family of modeling software.


11. Stanford University Mathematics Camp (SUMaC)


Application deadline: 2024 deadline TBA

Dates: one session usually offered from mid-June to early July; second session from mid-July to early August

Cost: $3,550


In a three-week virtual experience, SUMaC participants immerse themselves in advanced mathematics through activities such as lectures, guided research, and group problem-solving. Students engage in daily problem sets, work with teaching assistant Stanford students, and attend virtual guest lectures from mathematicians and others who use mathematics in their respective fields.


12. Global Leadership Adventures


Application deadline: Rolling admissions until May 15th, 2023

Dates: Vary depending on particular program

Cost: $600 deposit and $100 application fee, tuition varies


Designed for students aged 14-18, Global Leadership Adventures teaches students how to become global leaders through international cultural travel and immersion in a foreign country of their choosing. In each of GLA’s programs, students develop leadership skills through language-learning and volunteering.


13. Tufts Leadership for Social Change


Application deadline: May 15, 2023

Dates: July 30 – August 11, 2023

Cost: $3,800


Open to rising juniors or seniors, or recent high school graduates, the Tufts Leadership for Social Change pre-college program helps students develop their leadership skills. Participants will discuss issues including educational inequities, environmental justice, public policy, and more. They will also develop change-making skills, resiliency strategies, and civic knowledge to build connections, work collaboratively, and emerge as agents of change who can inspire others.


14. The Adroit Journal Summer Mentorship Program


Application deadline: March 12, 2023

Dates: June 19 – July 31, 2023

Cost: $450


The Adroit Journal Summer Mentorship Program, hosted by The Adroit Journal, gives high school students the opportunity to work with experienced writers and to explore the creative writing process of drafting, redrafting, and editing. Instead of traditional class instruction, the program offers flexible, individualized correspondence to students interested in poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, or memoir.


15. Sarah Lawrence College Writers’ Week


Application deadline: TBA

Dates: July 10-14, 2023

Cost: $825 and a $100 application fee


During Sarah Lawrence College Writers’ Week, participants will explore the creative process in workshops led by experienced Sarah Lawrence faculty and alumni. This program celebrates the risk and adventure that is part of the creative process. It offers students the opportunity to meet in small groups with workshop leaders. Writers’ Week also includes faculty and student readings and a celebration of student work on the final day of the program.


16. Boston University Summer Journalism Academy


Application deadline: May 5, 2023

Dates: Vary depending on particular program (all programs are between June and July)

Cost: $1,450 ($1,250 until March 3)


In BU’s Summer Journalism Academy, high school students will have the opportunity to develop their writing skills and learn journalism from real working journalists and reporters. Each lesson is bolstered by practical, real-world application and actual reporting assignments that will help participants learn what a news reporter’s life is like. Students can choose between two domains—News Reporting and Writing, and Photojournalism.


17. Columbia Scholastic Press Association Summer Journalism Workshop


Application deadline: TBA

Dates: Various weeklong sessions

  • July 10-14, 2023
  • July 17-21, 2023
  • July 24-28, 2023

Cost: TBA


Hosted by the Columbia Scholastic Press Association at Columbia University, this program unites high school students interested in developing their journalistic skills. During the program, students develop interviewing and reporting skills. Students can choose to study content focused on one of several available skill sets—writing, editing, management, and advanced design.


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 because they can demonstrate a student’s passion for a particular subject or field.


Generally, there are four tiers of extracurricular activities that colleges think about when reviewing applicants’ activities. Tier 1 extracurriculars are the most impressive and rare whereas Tier 4 activities are more common and less prestigious. Below is a small summary of the different tiers of extracurriculars.


Tier 1: National achievements, such as attending a very prestigious summer program or winning a renowned national science fair.


Tier 2: State-level or major achievements, such as ranking #2 in wrestling in your state, making an 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 volunteer work or involvement in common school clubs without a leadership position.


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


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 is a variety of engaging activities that you can do on your own. These activities include:


  • Creating your own small business
  • Teaching or tutoring a class or subject
  • Learning a new language
  • Building a computer
  • Publishing a book or starting a blog
  • Starting a YouTube channel
  • Creating artwork for public spaces
  • Running a half marathon
  • Starting a band
  • Raising money for a local political candidate 


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


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 online or privately
  • Provide customer service
  • Do voice-overs
  • Do a computer programming project
  • Sell your used items online


Whatever you decide to do with your summer, 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 your activities will factor into your admission chances, and we’ll share tips on improving your admissions profile.


Based on your profile, the calculator will let you know which of the schools you choose are safeties, targets, and matches, and will also estimate your chances of acceptance into those schools.

Nick Vidal
Blog Writer

Short Bio
A graduate of NYU, Nick majored in psychology and minored in data science. He lives in New York, where he enjoys writing essays and music.