Gianna Cifredo 8 min read Summer Activities, Tips for Parents

University of Southern California Summer Programs for High Schoolers

Many high schoolers (and parents!) think that a part-time job is the best way for teenagers to spend their summers. However, summer programs designed specifically for high school students can provide benefits that they can’t get from a traditional part-time job.

 

Summer programs are a great way for high school students to develop their interests and learn more about college and potential career paths. Plus, participating in a summer program can make a student’s application stronger by senior year. Many of these programs are short, usually one or two weeks, and can be done alongside part-time jobs or volunteer opportunities, so teenagers don’t have to choose one over the other.

 

The University of Southern California knows how valuable summer programs can be for high school students, and that’s why we’ve dedicated an entire post to the programs available at USC. You’ll find that many of these programs offer college credit in addition to the benefits we’ll outline below. We’re giving parents a quick look at the USC summer programs to help you figure out which program will work best given your student’s goals and interests.

Why Summer Programs Benefit High Schoolers

Summer programs for high school students are about more than having fun (although there’s plenty of that too!). One of the main benefits of summer program is that they allow high school students to specialize in an area of interest without the distraction of other schoolwork or constraints. They provide an inside look into an industry that most students wouldn’t be able to get in a traditional class setting, and expand students’ awareness of opportunities in that field.

 

Many summer programs are at colleges and universities, which provide an additional bonus of helping students get a feel for campus life. Not only that, these programs often provide high school students with hard-to-find resources which can be invaluable to them as they prepare to apply to college, such as specialized learning communities or even scholarships.

 

Again, there’s no need to choose between working over the summer and doing a summer program. Colleges like USC offer programs at a variety of lengths, so that you can choose the program that allows your student to balance work and family obligations while pursuing their interests.

 

College admissions officers care about students’ extracurricular activities and often consider them not only for admissions but for awarding merit scholarships. They want to see that students pursued their interests outside of the classroom and took advantage of any resources available to them. Summer programs are more interesting to admissions counselors than other types of extracurriculars because fewer students participate in them, and the experiences can be valuable material for an admission essay. This is especially true when the summer program is held at a top school like USC.

 

Perhaps the greatest advantage of attending a summer program at a college is the chance to connect with current students and faculty. One of our top recommendations for helping students get into their dream school is to connect with students who were successfully admitted to that school, and summer programs make that a much easier process for high school students. By attending a program at USC, high school students get to know current USC students and can get the inside scoop about what it’s really like to get in and attend.

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Summer Programs at University of Southern California

USC has two different options for summer programs: a 4-week credit program and a 2-week non-credit program. The more common one is the 4-week credit program, where students will earn an elective college credit. However, for students who need more flexibility, USC offers 2-week non-credit programs in some of their popular subjects.

 

All of these programs, credit or non-credit, can strengthen your student’s application and help them refine their career interests. We encourage you to choose the one that best suits your student’s goals.

 

These program costs are all approximate. There may be differences in cost based on whether a student stays on-campus or decides to commute, is a California resident or not, or if there are scholarships available.

 

Exploration of Architecture (4 Week Credit)

Students explore a career in architecture during this 4-week program. Students will take field trips to renowned architectural sites, learn the fundamentals of architecture, and get insight into what a compelling architecture portfolio entails. Learn more about the Exploration of Architecture Program.

  • Grades: 9th, 10th, & 11th
  • Cost: $8,832 for residential students; $6,252 for commuter students
  • Deadline: 4/26/19

 

Exploring Entrepreneurship (4 Week Credit)

Students delve into entrepreneurship during this 4-week program. Students will have the chance to hear from entrepreneurs, take field trips to meet with ventures and startup firms, and apply their skills to develop their own business. Learn more about the Exploring Entrepreneurship Program.

  • Grades: Rising 10th, 11th, & 12th
  • Cost: $8,832 for residential students; $6,252 for commuter students
  • Deadline: 4/26/19

 

Introduction to Business (4 Week Credit)

Students learn marketing, operations, and finance during this 4-week program. Students will get an overview of all the major departments in a business, including marketing, finance, ethics, and management. Learn more about the Introduction to Business Program.

  • Grades: 9th, 10th, & 11th
  • Cost: $8,832 for residential students; $6,252 for commuter students
  • Deadline: 4/26/19

 

3D Design and Prototyping (4 Week Credit)

Students explore prototyping technologies during this 4-week program. Students will learn the fundamentals of 3D design and apply their skills to create their own 3D prototypes. Learn more about the 3D Design and Prototyping Program.

  • Grades: 9th, 10th, & 11th
  • Cost: $8,832 for residential students; $6,252 for commuter students
  • Deadline: 4/26/19

 

Discover Engineering (4 Week Credit)

Students design, build, and test during hands-on activities in this 4-week program. Students will explore the different engineering disciplines through classroom activities and group projects. Learn more about the Discover Engineering Program.

  • Grades: 9th, 10th, & 11th
  • Cost: $8,832 for residential students; $6,252 for commuter students
  • Deadline: 4/26/19

 

Introduction to Video Game Design (4 Week Credit)

Create your own video game through hands-on activities in this 4-week program. Students will create original games, playtest games in production, and learn about the technology used to design video games. Learn more about the Introduction to Video Game Design Program.

  • Grades: 9th, 10th, & 11th
  • Cost: $8,832 for residential students; $6,252 for commuter students
  • Deadline: 4/26/19

 

Technology Innovation Experience (4 Week Credit)

Students develop electronic and digital prototypes during hands-on activities in this 4-week program. This unique experience blends engineering and entrepreneurship to help students invent a valuable product. Learn more about the Technology Innovation Experience Program.

  • Grades: 9th, 10th, & 11th
  • Cost: $8,832 for residential students; $6,252 for commuter students
  • Deadline: 4/26/19

 

Global Health: Trends and Challenges (4 Week Credit)

Students discover approaches to preventing disease in diverse communities worldwide in this 4-week program. This program is perfect for students interested in medicine, public health, anthropology, international relations, international business, law and social justice. Learn more about the Global Health Trends and Challenges Program.

  • Grades: 9th, 10th, & 11th
  • Cost: $8,832 for residential students; $6,252 for commuter students
  • Deadline: 4/26/19

 

International Relations (4 Week Credit)

Students explore approaches to conflict resolution in this 4-week program. This program is perfect for students interested in diplomacy or understanding why conflicts emerge in the first place. Learn more about the International Relations Program.

  • Grades: 9th, 10th, & 11th
  • Cost: $8,832 for residential students; $6,252 for commuter students
  • Deadline: 4/26/19

 

News Reporting in the Digital Age (4 Week Credit)

Students write stories about real people and issues in Los Angeles in this 4-week program. They will get to explore online reporting, blogging, and multimedia technology. Learn more about the News Reporting in the Digital Age Program.

  • Grades: 9th, 10th, & 11th
  • Cost: $8,832 for residential students; $6,252 for commuter students
  • Deadline: 4/26/19

 

Sports Journalism: Multi-Platform Storytelling (4 Week Credit)

Students explore multi-platform sports journalism in this 4-week program. This program combines hands-on learning assignments with field trips and state-of-the-art in-studio production. Learn more about the Sports Journalism: Multi-Platform Storytelling Program.

  • Grades: 9th, 10th, & 11th
  • Cost: $8,832 for residential students; $6,252 for commuter students
  • Deadline: 4/26/19

 

The Brain: Introduction to Neuroscience (4 Week Credit)

Students explore normal brain development in this 4-week program. They’ll participate in labs to learn about how we think and express ourselves and develop a final course project. Learn more about The Brain: Introduction to Neuroscience Program.

  • Grades: 9th, 10th, & 11th
  • Cost: $8,832 for residential students; $6,252 for commuter students
  • Deadline: 4/26/19

 

Future Physicians (4 Week Credit)

Students get to shadow physicians in this 4-week program. Perfect for the student who wants to become a doctor, students will hear from a variety of medical professionals and even learn the basics of suturing. Learn more about the Future Physicians Program.

  • Grades: 11th (17 or older)
  • Cost: $8,832 for residential students; $6,252 for commuter students
  • Deadline: 4/26/19

 

My Mind & Me: Introduction to Mental Health (4 Week Credit)

Students explore the field of mental health in this 4-week program. They’ll review case studies, take a field trip to the Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine, and develop a final project with their peers. Learn more about the My Mind & Me: Introduction to Mental Health Program.

  • Grades: 9th, 10th, & 11th
  • Cost: $8,832 for residential students; $6,252 for commuter students
  • Deadline: 4/26/19

 

Psychological Science and Society (4 Week Credit)

Students delve into the fascinating world of psychology in this 4-week program. They’ll learn about meditation, take personality tests, and go on field trips to various shelters and labs. Learn more about the Psychological Science and Society Program.

  • Grades: 9th, 10th, & 11th
  • Cost: $8,832 for residential students; $6,252 for commuter students
  • Deadline: 4/26/19

 

Exploring Criminal Justice (4 Week Credit)

Students critically examine the criminal justice system in this 4-week program. They will meet with lawyers and activists, attend criminal court proceedings, and explore different career opportunities in criminal justice. Learn more about the  Exploring Criminal Justice Program.

  • Grades: 9th, 10th, & 11th
  • Cost: $8,832 for residential students; $6,252 for commuter students
  • Deadline: 4/26/19

 

Legal Reasoning and Argumentation (4 Week Credit)

Students participate in legal analysis and writing in this 4-week program. They’ll get an inside look into the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and learn how to prepare for law school. Learn more about the Legal Reasoning and Argumentation Program.

  • Grades: 9th, 10th, & 11th
  • Cost: $8,832 for residential students; $6,252 for commuter students
  • Deadline: 4/26/19

 

Acting Intensive (4 Week Credit)

Students build a strong foundation in acting during this 4-week program. They will learn in a conservatory-style environment from theatre professionals, attend professional theatre productions, and rehearse and perform workshop productions. Learn more about the Acting Intensive Program.

  • Grades: 9th, 10th, & 11th
  • Cost: $8,832 for residential students; $6,252 for commuter students
  • Deadline: 4/26/19

 

Comedy Performance (4 Week Credit)

Students work with comedy professionals in this 4-week program. They will participate in a conservatory-style environment with a strong emphasis on improv, sketch, standup, and industry-focused master classes. Learn more about the Comedy Performance Program.

  • Grades: 9th, 10th, & 11th
  • Cost: $8,832 for residential students; $6,252 for commuter students
  • Deadline: 4/26/19

 

Musical Theatre (4 Week Credit)

Students will enhance their ability to bring a story to life in this 4-week program. They’ll participate in acting, singing, and dance classes and take field trips to see professional theatre in Los Angeles. Learn more about the Musical Theatre Program.

  • Grades: 9th, 10th, & 11th
  • Cost: $8,832 for residential students; $6,252 for commuter students
  • Deadline: 4/26/19
  • Additional Requirements: An audition mp3 that includes two 32-bar musical theatre selections, one of which is an up-tempo song and the second a ballad

 

Creative Writing Workshop (4 Week Credit)

Students will experience the collaborative environment of a writing workshop. They will learn about the variety of creative writing formats, including poetry, short stories, and nonfiction, and even work on developing a compelling admissions essay. Learn more about the Creative Writing Workshop Program.

  • Grades: 9th, 10th, & 11th
  • Cost: $8,832 for residential students; $6,252 for commuter students
  • Deadline: 4/26/19

 

Ethics in the 21st Century: Business, Politics, & Technology (4 Week Credit)

Students explore pressing moral questions in this 4-week program. They will learn university-level argumentation and critical thinking, participate in respectful debates, and hear from leaders in business and technology. Learn more about the Ethics in the 21st Century: Business, Politics, & Technology Program.

  • Grades: 9th, 10th, & 11th
  • Cost: $8,832 for residential students; $6,252 for commuter students
  • Deadline: 4/26/19

 

Exploration of Architecture (2 Week Noncredit)

Students explore a career in architecture in this 2-week program. Students will learn the fundamentals of architecture and get insight into what a compelling architecture portfolio includes concurrently with the 4-week credit program. Learn more about the Exploration of Architecture 2-Week Program.

  • Grades: 9th, 10th, & 11th
  • Cost: $4,547 for residential students; $3,377 for commuter students
  • Deadline: 4/26/19

 

Kinesiology – Moving Minds and Bodies through Sports, Medicine, and Health (2 Week Noncredit)

Students receive an introduction to kinesiology and movement science in this 2-week program. They learn about career options in kinesiology, hear from experts in the field and participate in labs to deepen their understanding. Learn more about the Kinesiology 2-Week Program.

  • Grades: 9th, 10th, & 11th
  • Cost: $4,547 for residential students; $3,377 for commuter students
  • Deadline: 4/26/19

 

Wrapping it Up

As you can see, there are plenty of opportunities for students to learn more about different industries and experience college firsthand.

 

If your student missed a deadline, you can always plan for next summer. In the meantime, there are plenty of other activities that students can participate in over the summer to stay engaged, including getting involved in community organizations, volunteer service, and working. You can find more ideas for giving your student a productive summer in our post Summer Activities to Strengthen your College Applications.

 

For more guidance about extracurriculars, college applications, and how to choose activities that best suit your teen, download our free guide for 9th graders and our free guide for 10th graders. Our guides go in-depth about subjects ranging from academicschoosing coursesstandardized testsextracurricular activitiesand much more!

 

Check out some of our other posts about extracurriculars:

15 Medical Internships for High School Students

6 Pre-College Programs You can Join in High School

11 Summer Programs in Arizona for High Schoolers

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Gianna Cifredo
Blogger at CollegeVine
Short bio
Gianna Cifredo is a graduate of the University of Central Florida, where she majored in Philosophy. She has six years of higher education and test prep experience, and now works as a freelance writer specializing in education. She currently lives in Orlando, Florida and is a proud cat mom.