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5 Summer Programs in Maine for High Schoolers

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If you’re wondering what’s the best way for your teen 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 for your teen? Read on to learn about the benefits of summer programs, along with six 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 high schoolers 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 idea.


Staying at a college over the summer can also help students narrow down their school lists by developing their preferences. If the program is located in the city, for example, the experience can help students decide whether or not they enjoy being in an urban environment. And, of course, high schoolers can get a sense for whether the subject they’re studying in a summer program is one they’d like to pursue as a career.


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


1. Summer Field Institute


Passionate about preserving the Earth for future generations? This two-week program enables teens to learn about the relationship humans have with their environment. Students will experience learning opportunities both inside and outside the classroom while getting a feel for local wildlife. Space is limited, with admission granted on a first-come, first-served basis, so apply early to guarantee a spot.


  • Affiliate Organization: College of the Atlantic
  • Grades: Rising 11th and 12th grade students
  • Cost: $3,750
  • Deadline: 5/15/22


2. Maine College of Art Pre-College


If your teen has a talent for the arts, this pre-college program may be the perfect choice. Offered by the Maine College of Art, this three-week program lets students 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, and Woodworking + Furniture Design. It’s a great opportunity to explore new mediums while developing skills in old favorites.


  • Affiliate Organization: Maine College of Art
  • Grade: 10th, 11th, 12th
  • Cost: $3,500
  • Deadline: 2/1/22 


3. Consider Engineering Summer Program


Students with a passion for math and science will likely appreciate this four-day program offered three times during the month of July. Designed for future engineers, this on-campus camp lets teens work alongside fellow engineering students and engineers, along with members of the University of Maine faculty.


  • Affiliate Organization: University of Maine
  • Grades: 11th Only
  • Cost: Free
  • Deadline: 4/15/22


4. Sustainable Energy Leaders of the Future


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.


  • Affiliate Organization: Hanover College
  • Grades: 10th & 11th-grade Women Only
  • Cost: Free
  • Deadline: 1/14/22


5. Early College Creative Writing Program


Young creatives can benefit from this two-week college program focused on reading and writing poetry. During the course, participants will have the chance to improve their own writing skills while learning from fellow students and instructors. To apply, submit two letters of recommendation along with a 200-word essay detailing how the UNE Early College Program would help you achieve your future plans.


  • Affiliate Organization: University of New England
  • Grades: 10th & 11th Only
  • Cost: $1,380 (Plus a $25 application fee)
  • Deadline: 5/1/22


Whether your teen needs help locating summer programs or choosing the right extracurriculars to enhance their college profile, CollegeVine can help. With our Mentorship Program, students are paired with mentors from top colleges around the country. We provide one-on-one support to guide students on their high school journeys and prepare them for what comes next.


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 are usually considered Tiers 3-4, 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.