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15 Summer Programs in New Jersey for High Schoolers

What’s Covered: 

 

With numerous colleges and universities‚ÄĒincluding renowned institutions like Princeton University‚ÄĒNew Jersey offers plenty of opportunities for high school students to learn and prepare for their post-secondary education. Summer programs are available across many towns and cities, as well as disciplines and industries.

 

How Summer Programs Benefit High Schoolers

 

Summer programs prepare students with the foundational skills they will need to succeed in college and their careers, offering a taste of college life while building skills in their chosen discipline and passion.

 

These programs often take place on college campuses, with residential participants living in dorms and commuter students attending courses and activities on campus. Not only do students gain independence, but they’ll also interact with like-minded peers who share similar interests. Colleges view summer programs favorably since they take note of applicants choosing to spend their summers furthering their learning outside of school.

 

Many programs even offer students college credit, giving them a head start on their curricula.

 

15 Summer Programs in New Jersey

 

1. Summer Pre-College Program

 

Choosing from a wide array of courses in technology, design, the arts, science, and more, students will experience a college atmosphere for a two- or four-week nonresidential program. Participants will also have the opportunity to earn up to 12 college credits.

 

Area of Specialization: General Academic

Affiliation: Fairleigh Dickinson University

Grades: 9th-11th graders

Cost: $775

Application Due: 7/15/22

 

2. Princeton Summer Journalism Program (PSJP)

 

 

During this residential program, high-achieving high schoolers from low-income backgrounds attend workshops and lectures led by reporters, editors, and program alumni from prestigious publications and media outlets such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Yorker, Politico, CNN, and others. They will also tour some of these facilities while covering events and participating in journalism projects in the Princeton area. All costs, including transportation to and from Princeton, are covered.

 

Area of Specialization: Journalism

Affiliation: Princeton University

Grades: 11 grade

Cost: Free

Application Due: 2/28/22

 

3. STEAM Academy | Navigation 

 

 

Students learn from top faculty who bring together STEM topics with art, design, culture, and humanities. While participating in STEAM-focused learning experiences students will participate in leadership training, career counseling, resume creation, and PSAT/SAT preparation.

 

Area of Specialization: STEM

Affiliation: Rowan University

Grades: 9th-11th graders

Cost: $1,325-$2,800

Application Due: 5/1/22

Apply 

 

4. STEAM Academy | Pathways

 

 

STEAM Academy participants may also choose to pursue the Pathways experience, taking STEAM-related courses, workshops, and conducting a research internship. Students who choose this option will also earn three college credits.

 

 

Area of Specialization: STEM

Affiliation: Rowan University

Grades: 9th-11th graders

Cost: $3,300-$3,625

Application Due: 5/1/22

 

5. Stevens IT Pre-College Programs | Business Explorer

 

 

Over the course of one week, students learn from School of Business professors, who guide them through business cases, exercises, and how to use technology in real business labs. Over the course of the week-long program participants will explore business fields such as marketing, finance, management, ethics, economics, and entrepreneurship.

 

Area of Specialization: Business/Finance

Affiliation: Stevens Institute of Technology

Grades: 9th-11th graders

Cost: $2,700

Application Due: Rolling

 

6. Stevens IT Pre-College Programs | Civil Engineering Design and Architecture

 

This unique New Jersey summer program provides an overview of the evaluation, design, and construction phases of infrastructure projects. It also addresses the increased challenges facing such projects due to hurdles like population growth, urbanization, and the need to work more safely and sustainably. 

 

Area of Specialization: Engineering

Affiliation: Stevens Institute of Technology

Grades: 9th-11th graders

Cost: $2,700

Application Due: Rolling

 

7. Stevens IT Pre-College Programs | Cybersecurity

 

Available at both beginner and advanced levels, this program explores the need for data security awareness across a range of industries. At the beginner level, students will gain a basic understanding of important cybersecurity principles. At the advanced level, students will learn how to hack and secure a system. (AP Computer Science or similar coursework is recommended for the advanced level.)

 

Area of Specialization: Computer Science

Affiliation: Stevens Institute of Technology

Grades: 9th-11th graders

Cost: $2,700

Application Due: Rolling

Apply Now

 

8. Stevens IT Pre-College Programs | ECOES (Exploring Career Options in Engineering and Sciences)

 

This two-week program enables students to get a taste of engineering disciplines including biomedical engineering, chemical engineering, civil engineering, robotics, and others while working with Stevens faculty.  

 

Area of Specialization: STEM

Affiliation: Stevens Institute of Technology

Grades: 9th-11th graders

Cost: $4,200

Application Due: Rolling

 

9. Stevens IT Pre-College Programs | Engineering Bootcamp

 

 

In this one-week version of ECOES, students will participate in a crash course in engineering, exploring disciplines including civil engineering, electrical engineering, naval engineering, and mechanical engineering. Participants will also collaborate with their peers and work with faculty to design their own research projects.

 

Area of Specialization: Engineering

Affiliation: Stevens Institute of Technology

Grades: 9th-11th graders

Cost: $2,700

Application Due: Rolling

 

10. Composition Week

 

This summer program is aimed at aspiring young composers eager to explore the fundamentals of musical composition. Participants will cover topics like style and 20th-century music, as well as analyze works by major composers. The program culminates when students perform and record their newly composed pieces.  

 

Area of Specialization: Arts

Affiliation: Rider University

Grades: 9th-12th graders

Cost: $495

Application Due: 6/15/22

 

11. Game Design Academy

 

Participants in this summer program will learn the skills and tools needed to create and develop video games through hands-on study. At the end of the week-long program, students will have developed a pliable game that they can share with their family and friends. 

 

Area of Specialization: Game and Interactive Media 

Affiliation: Rider University

Grades: 9th-11th graders

Cost: $995

Application Due: 6/15/22

 

12. Musical Theatre Institute

 

Distinguished faculty with experience everywhere from Broadway to film to television lead participants in this summer program through conservatory-esque instruction in singing, acting, and dancing. Students will also learn techniques to ace auditions and college submissions. 

 

Area of Specialization: Theatre  

Affiliation: Rider University

Grades: 10th-12th graders

Cost: $1,950

Application Due: 6/15/22

 

13. Westminster High School Vocal Institute

 

This summer program allows students to experience college-level singing and musicianship training and participate in sessions focusing on singing technique, ear training, and improvisation. Elective courses in fields such as performance, conducting, composing, and voice science are available to participants‚ÄĒso is the opportunity for private lessons.¬†

 

Area of Specialization: Music 

Affiliation: Rider University

Grades: 9th-12th graders

Cost: $1,950

Application Due: 6/15/22

 

14. Solo Pianist Week 

 

Learn the artistic and practical aspects of solo piano performance in this musical summer program. Instruction includes techniques for dealing with performance anxiety, memorization, and tips for applying to/auditioning for colleges of music. The week concludes with a solo piano performance at a staged concert. 

 

Area of Specialization: Music 

Affiliation: Rider University

Grades: 9th-12th graders

Cost: $995

Application Due: 6/15/22

 

15. NJCU High School Summer Scholars

 

High-achieving rising juniors and seniors can get a head start on their college careers and earn credit through this New Jersey summer program for high schoolers. Course offerings include everything from art to politics to computer science. 

 

Area of Specialization: General Academic

Affiliation: New Jersey City University 

Grades: 11th and 12th graders

Cost: $598.58

Application Due: N/A

 

Looking for more programs in New Jersey? Check out our guide to summer programs at Rutgers University.

 

How do Summer Programs Impact Your College Chances?

 

Not all summer programs are created equal and some have more influence on college admissions than others. The best way to understand the impact activities outside of the classroom‚ÄĒlike summer programs‚ÄĒhave on college admissions is through the four tiers of extracurricular activities.¬†

 

Tiers 1 and 2 include the most prestigious, impressive, and rare extracurricular activities. The Princeton Summer Journalism Program is a good example of a summer program that falls into Tier 1‚ÄĒa maximum of just 40 students are selected to participate annually, making it super-selective, uncommon, and sure to improve college admissions odds.¬†

 

Conversely, participation in a summer program like the Westminster High School Vocal Institute is best categorized in Tier 3 or 4. Programs like this are less selective, more common, and less likely to hold significant weight to colleges. Participating in a program like the Westminster High School Vocal Institute might not grab the attention of admissions officers, but they are not without value. They show a student‚Äôs interest and passion, while also imparting skills‚ÄĒlike audition techniques‚ÄĒthat can bolster chances of admissions.¬†

 

CollegeVine can also help you determine the influence extracurricular activities have on your chances of college admission. 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.