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4 Summer Programs in Maine for High Schoolers

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If you’re wondering what’s the best way for you to spend the summer, consider a pre-college summer program. Ranging in length from a few days to several weeks, these programs allow high schoolers to expand their skill sets while meeting and interacting with other students who share their interests. 


While some summer programs are highly competitive, requiring letters of recommendation and application essays, others are open to all students of a certain age or grade level. So, how do you choose the right program? Read on to learn about the benefits of summer programs, along with four of the best options available in the state of Maine.


Why Summer Programs Benefit High Schoolers


One of the best reasons to consider a pre-college program is that it allows you to get a feel for university life. Many summer programs involve students living in dorms and attending rigorous college-style classes. This is a great opportunity for students who have never lived away from home to get accustomed to the experience.


Staying at a college over the summer can also help you narrow down your school lists by developing preferences about what you like. Living in a city might help you determine the type of campus environment you are looking for. You can also get a sense for whether the subject you’re studying over the summer is one you’d want to pursue as a major or career. 


So which pre-college program is right for you? Here are four exciting programs offered by schools in Maine:


1. Upward Bound Summer Program


Location: Bowdoin College

Application deadline: Rolling admissions

Cost: Free 


For students who are first-generation, low-income, or attend one of the designated high schools in Maine, Upward Bound provides an amazing opportunity to get a college experience and further themselves academically. Over the course of six weeks, students take courses in a laboratory science, writing and literature, math, and a foreign language. There are also many opportunities to help students navigate the college process like special Senior Seminars, SAT prep classes, trips to local colleges in the New England area, a college fair, and a variety of workshops.


2. Self-made Engineering Leaders of the Future


Dates: June 26-29

Location: University of Maine

Application deadline: Rolling

Cost: Free


Renewable energy exploration is the goal of this four-day program at the University of Maine. A women’s only course, the program exposes participants to forest bioproducts research while letting them participate in projects and attend field trips in the area. As a bonus, this STEM program is free to students who qualify.


3. Maine College of Art Pre-College


Dates: July 9-30

Location: Maine College of Art and Design

Application deadline: Rolling until program fills up

Cost: In-person: $3,900-$4,350 / Online: $3,000


If you have a talent for the arts, this pre-college program may be the perfect choice for you.  Offered by the Maine College of Art, this three-week program lets rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors customize their experiences by choosing two majors from the following list of options: 

  • Animation
  • Ceramics
  • Comics + Graphic Novels
  • Fashion + Textile Design
  • Metalsmithing + Jewelry Design
  • Music Composition + Collaboration
  • Painting
  • Photography
  • Printmaking
  • Woodworking + Furniture Design


4. Putney Pre-College Program


Dates: Session 1: June 26-July 8 / Session 2: July 10-22

Location: Colby College

Application deadline: Rolling until it fills up

Cost: $4,890 ($3,890 if you attend both sessions)


If you are looking for a summer program that comes close to a true college experience, the Putney program at Colby College is a great option. Students spend their mornings and afternoons participating in seminars that cover topics like Business and Entrepreneurship, Forensic Science, and Farm to Table. During the evenings, students can participate in elective workshops and evening activities designed to build a community. At the end of the program, students get to present a final project they have developed over the course of their two weeks.


How Do Summer Programs Impact Your College Chances?


Most selective colleges and universities evaluate extracurriculars according to four tiers. Tier 1 encompasses activities that are the most prestigious and specialized, while Tier 4 represents those that are the most common.


While most summer programs usually fall into Tiers 3 or 4, there are some highly prestigious ones, particularly those that are free and very selective, that fall into higher tiers.


If you’re wondering how your summer program of choice and other activities will affect your chances of admission to your dream school, try our chancing engine. This free tool takes into account factors like grades, test scores, and extracurriculars to estimate your odds of acceptance to hundreds of colleges and universities. Plus, you’ll get tips on how to boost your profile!

Short Bio
A graduate of the Master of Professional Writing program at USC, April Maguire taught freshman composition while earning her degree. Over the years, she has worked as a writer, editor, tutor, and content manager. Currently, she operates a freelance writing business and lives in Los Angeles with her husband and their three rowdy cats.