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12 Summer Programs in Maryland for High Schoolers

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Are you looking to participate in a meaningful experience, meet like-minded people, and learn something new this summer? Then a summer program might be just the ticket. Maryland is home to world-class institutions—including colleges, universities, and government departments—that offer plenty of experiences for high school students.


How Do Summer Programs Benefit High School Students?


There are many reasons why you should consider attending a summer program. For one, colleges appreciate that students have a choice of how to spend their summers and are opting to learn beyond the high school curriculum and challenge themselves by engaging in college-level work—sometimes even earning credit.


You can also explore the topics that interest them the most, from robotics to studio art, all while learning from faculty and professionals in your field of choice and working alongside like-minded peers who have similar interests and skills. Furthermore, whether they’re commuting or living on campus, high schoolers engage with real coursework and navigate the interdependence that characterizes life at university. With that in mind, let’s look at some of the best pre-college programs Maryland has to offer.


12 Summer Programs in Maryland


1. Science and Engineering Apprenticeship Program


Dates: Varies

Location: U.S. Army Research Laboratories

Application deadline: March 21

Cost: Free


For high schoolers passionate about STEM, the Army Educational Outreach Program is a great opportunity to work one-on-one with an experienced professional conducting research on a science or engineering topic. You will get to work with your mentor in real university or Army Research labs and have access to cutting-edge technologies to help develop solutions to some of the country’s pressing issues. Not only is this program free, but students who participate get a stipend for their work. Since this is a highly selective program, you will need to fill out an application, write an essay, and submit a letter of recommendation, so make sure you effectively manage your time to get everything done before the deadline.


2. Summer Enrichment Academy


Dates: Various

Location: University of Maryland Baltimore County

Application deadline: Rolling basis

Cost: $250-$495


University of Maryland Baltimore County offers week-long workshops and programs for high school students who want to explore an area they are passionate about or find a new passion. Available both in person and online, you could pick courses like Web Development, Bioterrorism Simulation, Mock Trial, Financial Literacy and Investment Strategy, Cybersecurity, and more. If you are interested, act fast since there are only 10-25 spots depending on the course and registration is on a first-come, first-served basis.


3. Summer Academy of Actuarial and Mathematical Sciences


Dates: June 20-July 29

Location: Morgan State University

Application deadline: April 1

Cost: Free


Morgan State University offers a rigorous six-week program for high schoolers who are interested in mathematics, actuarial science, and computer science. This is a highly selective and competitive program that requires an essay, two letters of recommendation, and an interview. However, students who are chosen get to spend six weeks taking classes across the three disciplines for free, with the added benefit of receiving a stipend for their work. There are also trips and programs for professional development throughout the summer, so you will be prepared for a future in one of these fields upon completion of the program.


4. Pre-college Studio Residency Program


Dates: June 25-July 9

Location: Maryland Institute College of Art

Application deadline: April 30

Cost: $2,810


Hosted by Maryland Institute College of Art, one of the country’s premier art institutes, rising juniors and seniors will learn from expert faculty and working artists as they earn college credit and build a portfolio for their college applications. They will also travel around Baltimore and to cities such as New York, Washington, D.C., or Philadelphia. In addition to the two-week program, there are also three-week and five-week options. Students who wish to apply will have to submit an application and a portfolio with six pieces of their work.


5. Summer Seminar


Dates: Session 1: June 4-9 / Session 2: June 11-16 / Session 3: June 18-23

Location: U.S. Naval Academy

Application deadline: March 31

Cost: $650


Are you an aspiring leader or military officer? If you are a rising senior seriously considering attending the Naval Academy for college, attending this program is not only a great chance to undergo academic, athletic, and professional training on campus, but you will have the opportunity to start working on your college application ahead of time. The Summer Seminar application serves as a preliminary application for the Academy. If you are a student with superior academic performance, athletic achievements, and physical fitness, you will also need to submit a 1000-character essay on why you are interested in attending.


6. Summer Science Academy 


Dates: Various

Location: McDaniel College

Application deadline: Not stated

Cost: $975


If you want to spend a week of your summer exploring a topic in science, McDaniel College’s Summer Science Academy could be a good opportunity for you. With eight different courses to choose from, you could study Marine Science to Astronomy and Space to Human Genetics during this program. For each course you enroll in, you will receive one credit from McDaniel that can be used at any college of your choice. Additionally, all students who attend the Summer Academy who have not already been accepted to McDaniel College will receive a guaranteed minimum scholarship of $40,000 if they attend McDaniel for college.


7. Natural Resources Career Camp


Dates: July 24-30

Location: Maryland Department of Natural Resources and Allegany College of Maryland

Application deadline: Rolling basis

Cost: $125


Want to spend a week exploring the scenic forests of Garrett County while learning from industry professionals about careers in natural resources? This camp offered by the Department of Natural Resources and Allegany College of Maryland allows you to do just that. Over the course of the week, you will participate in hands-on experiences, learning about forestry, fishing, ecology, watershed management, and natural resource conservation. The Maryland Forestry Board covers tuition for in-state students, so you will only have to pay the $125 activity fee, but out-of-state students have to pay $450 for food and lodging. Students who attend the camp and complete an exam will earn two college credits from Allegany College of Maryland.


8. Girls Talk Math Camp


Dates: July 11-22

Location: University of Maryland

Application deadline: Not stated

Cost: $25


Girls Talk Math is running a two week summer day-camp on University of Maryland’s campus that empowers young girls in the field of mathematics. Through mini-lectures, fun activities, guest panels, and interviews with female mathematicians, students will get exposure to an engaging and fascinating side of math they rarely get to see in high school classrooms. At the end of the program, students will record and publish their own podcast about a female mathematician of their choosing.


9. Ag Discovery


Dates: July 10-19

Location: University of Maryland

Application deadline: March 31

Cost: Free


If you want to learn more about agriculture, food production, managing food supply, and managing wildlife conservation, UMD’s Ag Discovery program is a great place to do all of this and more. Learning from industry experts, you will explore agricultural science and how food, culture, and the environment all interact. This is a great program for anyone interested in careers in food production, ecological conservation, or veterinary science. Students will also earn three credit hours from the university for completing this program. 


10. AI4All


Dates: July 5-22

Location: University of Maryland

Application deadline: March 24

Cost: $600


For students who want to spend their summer learning about programming and artificial intelligence, University of Maryland offers AI4All. This three-week program allows rising sophomores through seniors to experience AI and its applications for solving problems facing the world through group projects, presentations from guest speakers, and industry field trips. Students live on campus and will get to meet like-minded peers and partake in fun social events when they aren’t in the class or working on their projects. 


11. Terp Young Scholars


Dates: July 11-29

Location: University of Maryland

Application deadline: May 1

Cost: $4,300


High schoolers who want to experience life as a University of Maryland student will love the Terp Young Scholars program. This academically-rigorous pre-college program allows you to pick a three credit UMD course—ranging from architecture to business to engineering—that you will focus on during your mornings. However, you will get more than just academics during this program. Terp Scholars partake in interactive afternoon, evening, and weekend activities that give them a glimpse into life as a UMD college student.


12. Summer at Hopkins


Dates: Session 1: June 27-July 8 / Session 2: July 11-22 / Session 3: July 25-August 8

Location: Johns Hopkins University

Application deadline: Not stated

Cost: $5,512


Academically-inclined students who want to study for two-weeks at one of the best universities in the country should consider Johns Hopkins’ pre-college program. This fast-paced program allows you to take real Hopkins courses with world-class professors. Students can choose to study anything from Introduction to Surgery to Storytelling for Film and Fiction. In addition to taking a college course for credit, students also get to live in JHU dorms and experience college life first-hand. 


How do Summer Programs Impact Your College Chances?


Some summer programs are more competitive than others, requiring letters of recommendation and standardized test scores, while other programs are open to all students within a particular grade level. Consequently, some summer programs are given more weight in college admissions than others.  


The four tiers of extracurricular activities are a good way to understand how colleges value activities outside of the classroom, like summer programs. The most impressive, prestigious, rare, and influential activities are placed in the top two tiers. Good examples of top-tier Maryland summer programs are the super-selective Science and Engineering Apprenticeship Program or Summer at Hopkins.


Lower-tier extracurricular activities don’t hold the same sway with admissions offices, however, they are often still valuable. Less-selective and esteemed programs still show off your interests to potential colleges while highlighting your desire to pursue your passions. Many field-specific activities also help build the skills you need to ace everything from the essays to interviews you’ll encounter in the college application process. 


Curious how the summer program you participated in affects your odds of college admission? CollegeVine can help! Our free chancing calculator uses a variety of factors including grades, test scores, and extracurriculars to estimate your odds of getting into hundreds of colleges and universities while also providing insight into how to improve your profile.

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.