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Summer Programs at the University of Colorado Boulder for High Schoolers

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The University of Colorado Boulder (CU Boulder) is not just a prestigious university; it’s also the setting for some terrific summer programs for high school students. Not only does the city of Boulder offer a wide array of activities such as hiking and enjoying nature, but the programs give you a rigorous yet rewarding pre-college experience. You’ll discover what college life is like at CU Boulder during unchaperoned programs and, in some cases, will even be able to earn college credit to jump-start your education.


What can you gain from a summer program at CU Boulder, and what are your options? Find out why you should participate in a summer program at CU Boulder and discover the right niche for you.


Why Summer Programs Benefit High Schoolers


Colleges want to see you spend your summers doing something meaningful and furthering your goals. Some students pursue internships, part-time work, volunteer opportunities, or other activities. While these activities enable you to explore your interests and even potentially earn wages, summer programs are unique in that they also give you a taste of college life.


In a summer program, students can experience campus life firsthand by living in a dorm, taking college-level courses, and engaging with faculty in their field of interest. You’ll make connections with peers, pursue your passions in a new environment, and have access to the host college’s unique resources and facilities. Not only will you enjoy the freedom you’ll experience as a college student, but you’ll also get a head start on facing the rigors and challenges of college-level work.


Summer Programs at University of Colorado Boulder for High Schoolers


CU Boulder offers a variety of credit and noncredit pre-college programs for students looking to get a deep dive on an academic area of their choice. These programs vary in cost and length and many offer both residential and commuter options.


(Note: prices are approximated and vary based on whether the student is a residential or commuter participant.)


Summer Science Program | Astrophysics


Delve into the world of astronomy, physics, mathematics, and scientific programming. Through this program, you’ll have the exciting opportunity to perform astronomical work and observations in teams. Students will learn about the celestial coordinate system and create “observing proposals,” before going on nightly “observing runs.” Final observations are submitted to the Minor Planet Center of the International Astronomical Union.


  • Area of specialization: General Science
  • Grade: 10th-11th
  • Program cost: $7,150
  • Financial aid/scholarships available: Yes
  • Application deadline: 3/1/19
  • Essay topic: What topic in science or math do you currently find most interesting and why? When and how did you become aware of it? How have you explored it?


Ready to apply? You can find the application here.


CU Boulder STEM Academies


Deep dive into different topics within science, engineering, technology and mathematics during this two-week noncredit intensive. Each of the CU Boulder STEM Academies encourages students to perform hands-on laboratory and field work in the curriculum option of their choice.


Learn more about the Academies here, and apply via the application.


(Note: financial aid/scholarship information is not available for this particular program.)


  • Grade: 9th-11th
  • Program cost: $7,889
  • Application deadline: 2/15/19 (priority); rolling


The Academies include:


Aerospace Aeronautics and Astronomy

Area of specialization: Astronomy


Explore Engineering

Area of specialization: Engineering


Introduction to Data Science

Area of specialization: Math


Maker Technologies

Area of specialization: Engineering


Medical Sciences & Research

Area of specialization: Medicine



Area of specialization: Life Sciences/Biology


Neuroscience: Inside the Brain

Area of specialization: Life Sciences/Biology


Programming and Robotics

Area of specialization: Computer Science


STEM Research Experience


Explore the research process by working directly with CU faculty and graduate students over the course of this four-week program. You’ll also have the option of participating in a weekly Research Methods course to build your skills.


  • Area of specialization: STEM
  • Grade: 9th-11th
  • Program cost: $7,799
  • Application deadline: 2/15/19 (priority); rolling


Ready to apply? You can find the application here.


Summer Music Academy


Band, orchestra, and piano students will receive world-class instruction by faculty members, graduate students, and guest conductors and artists. Students are placed in either the wind ensemble or string orchestra in this one-week program. They will also have the opportunity to participate in electives aimed at preparing them for college-level music degree programs.


Area of specialization: Music

Grade: 9th-11th

Program cost: $775

Financial aid/scholarship available: Yes

Application deadline: 5/10/19


Ready to apply? You can find the application here.


(Note: As part of the application process, students are required to submit materials including an excerpt of their music attesting to tone quality and technical ability.)


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Short Bio
Laura Berlinsky-Schine is a freelance writer and editor based in Brooklyn with her demigod/lab mix Hercules. She specializes in education, technology and career development. She also writes satire and humor, which has appeared in Slackjaw, Points in Case, Little Old Lady Comedy, Jane Austen’s Wastebasket, and Funny-ish. View her work and get in touch at: www.lauraberlinskyschine.com.