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Pre-College Summer Programs for High School Students
When reviewing your application, admissions committees want to see that you have used your summers productively. From earning money at a summer job to participating in an internship, you will need to show that you have done something worthwhile.
If you want to get a taste of college life and learn something new, summer programs can be a great option. These programs often take place on college campuses, and many focus on specific areas of academic or professional interest, so you’ll find out what college is really like and participate in activities you enjoy—all while building up your resume for your applications. Below, we’ve put together a compilation of the top CollegeVine summer program guides to help you find a program that is right for you.
General Guides to Summer Programs
From highly selective, free programs to academic and pre-college camps, Effective Summer Activities offers plenty of ideas for summer programs for high school students.
If you want to participate in a summer program but are concerned about the cost, check out Affordable Academic Summer Programs for High School Students. This guide has plenty of ideas for free or cheap academic and specialty programs for high schoolers.
Niche or Interest-Specific Programs
Are you an aspiring actor? Check out Summer Programs for Prospective Theater Majors to hone your acting chops.
If you are thinking of becoming a business major, the Wharton School’s Leadership in the Business World is a great choice for rising high school seniors. This program is hosted by UPenn’s prestigious business school and gives you the opportunity to learn about the business world and connect with successful industry leaders.
Thinking of majoring in political science? There are many ways to expand your knowledge of poli sci, and How to Spend Your Summer as a Prospective Poli Sci Major gives you numerous ideas for activities to do over the summer, including summer programs.
Many top colleges with medical schools offer summer programs for high school students. Find some ideas in Summer Activities for the Future BS/MD Applicant.
Young artists can refine work on drawing, graphic design, sculpting, and other artistic endeavors in the high school summer program at the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). Read A Guide to the RISD Pre-College Program to learn more.
Gifted and high-achieving students may be interested in Governor’s School, available in 23 states. Governor’s School is a residential program that encourages a constructive learning environment for ambitious students to explore their potential in various disciplines. Check out our Guide to Governor’s School for more information.
While participating in a law program as a high school student probably won’t get you into law school, it may be a valuable addition to your undergraduate applications. We list several leadership and law summer programs in Summer Activity Ideas for the Hopeful Future Lawyer.
High school juniors who are interested in politics or leadership should check out the Senate Page Program, a selective U.S. Senate program that basically functions as an internship. Learn more from How to Apply to the Senate Page Program.
Is writing your calling? Creative Writing Opportunities for High School Students gives you plenty of ideas, including summer programs, for places to showcase your writing and sharpen your craft.
Writers may also be interested in journalism programs. Check out Extracurricular Activities for the Aspiring Journalist to find programs geared towards high school students interested in journalism.
Looking to major in Engineering? You’ll find plenty of ideas for boosting your resume, including summer programs, in How to Spend Your Summer as an Aspiring Engineer.
A highly selective leadership and government program, Girls and Boys State is one of the most respected summer programs in the country. Learn more through A Guide to Girls and Boys State.
Like Girls and Boys State, Girls and Boys Nation gives you an incomparable leadership experience. Learn about the program and its requirements through Girls and Boys Nation—An Extension of Girls and Boys State.
There are plenty of summer programs that introduce math whizzes to potential careers and applications for math skills. Check out How to Spend Your Summer as a Prospective Math Major (And Why Math is a Great Career Path) for some of our top picks.
How should you spend your summers leading up to college? How do you become a standout student? Check out the CollegeVine Mentorship Program. Our mentors drive significant personal and professional development for our freshmen, sophomores, and juniors. Combining mentorship with engaging content, insider strategies, and personalized analyses, our program provides students with the tools to succeed. As students learn from successful older peers, they develop confidence, autonomy, and critical thinking skills. The ultimate goal is for college admissions to just be the next step in series of successes driven by the student.