What a combination! Both enrich your life and enhance your chances for college admission! Selective colleges evaluate your summer experiences, looking for students whose summer opportunities enriched their lives, who explored their potential college major, and who further developed their skills and passion. Such students rise above the rest of the applicant pool. With four summers to fill, in part, with these precollege summer programs, think about what you can accomplish!
We’ve got great suggestions to get your planning wheels turning. You may think that summer is months away – that you’ve got plenty of time to plan. And the pandemic might throw a monkey wrench into any summer program. Wrong! Research and apply NOW to summer programs that are meaningful, fun, and that improve your prospects for college admission. Because most programs pivoted to virtual in 2021, students enjoyed remarkable opportunities that enhanced their college applications.
Some programs suggested below have already indicated their plans to operate residentially or virtually in summer 2022; others will make that decision soon; some may even suspend programming for this coming summer or pivot from in-person to virtual depending on the pandemic. In any case, you have broad options − the best possible if you begin your research now ahead of procrastinators. FAIR WARNING: these programs tend to fill quickly. Many competitive ones have early winter deadlines.
Enrich Your Summer with a Summer Program
Here are just a few ways to enrich your summer, allow you to explore a potential major or career, deepen your academic interests, improve your athletic or arts-related skills, enhance the lives of others, and more (some are “pandemic-proof”):
- Study and live on a college campus for a week or two or three – or more
- Join a local or global community service project
- Get a job or an internship that foreshadows your college study focus
- Participate in a foreign-language immersion program
- Hone your debate skills in a specialized workshop
- Improve your athletic prowess at sports showcase camps
- Assist in a lab-based research project
- Take courses locally or virtually to improve your GPA, rank, curriculum
- Help out on a medical mission trip to an underserved area
- Create or add to your art portfolio for college admission
Some summer programs are highly competitive, like M.I.T.’s Research Science Institute for six rigorous weeks of advanced math, science, and engineering; or Bank of America’s Student Leaders Program which awards paid internships in non-profit organizations; or Scripps High School Student Summer Internship Program which provides hands-on biomedical research opportunities; or The Wharton School’s Leadership in the Business World for an introduction to a top-notch undergraduate business program for a select group of high school students; or the no-cost Telluride Association Summer Program for those who share a passion for studying history, politics, literature, art, and other intellectual and cultural in the context of Critical Black Studies or Anti-Oppressive Studies.
Other selective summer programs that target high achieving high school students include:
- Anson L. Clark Scholars Program @ Texas Tech University Honors College
- Awesome Math
- Beaver Works Summer Institute @ M.I.T. (virtual in 2022)
- Boston University − Research in Science & Engineering (RISE)
- Cal State Summer School for Math & Science (COSMOS)
- Canada/USA Mathcamp
- Carnegie Mellon − Summer Academy for Math + Science (SAMS)
- Center for Excellence in Education − Research Science Institute (RSI)
- Clark Scholar Program
- Engineering Summer Academy at Penn
- Foundation for Teaching Economics − Economics for Leaders (EFL)
- Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program
- Hampshire College Summer Studies in Mathematics (HCSSIM)
- High School Honors Science, Math and Engineering Program @ Michigan State University
- iD Tech Camps (M.I.T. Campus)
- Iowa Young Writer’s Studio
- International Summer School for Young Physicists (ISSYP)
- Jackson Laboratory – Summer Student Program
- JCamp (Asian American Journalists Association)
- Kenyon Review – The Young Writers Workshop
- LaunchX (Entrepreneurial/Innovation Summer Program) (online only)
- LLRISE: M.I.T. Lincoln Laboratory Radar Introduction for Student Engineers
- M.I.T. – Minority Introduction to Science and Engineering (MITES)
- MathILy – Bryn Mawr College
- MDI Biological Laboratory Summer Research Fellowship
- Michigan Math and Science Scholars
- Princeton University Summer Journalism Program
- Program in Mathematics for Young Scientists (PROMYS)
- Prove It! Math Academy
- Secondary Student Training Program @ University of Iowa (SSTP)
- Simons Research Program @ Stonybrook University
- Stanford Humanities Summer Program
- Stanford Institutes of Medicine Summer Research Program (SIMR)
- Stanford University Mathematics Camp (SuMaC)
- Student Science Training Program @ University of Florida (SSTP)
- Summer Internship in Biomedical Research for High School Students (SIP) @ NIH Office of Intramural Training & Education
- Summer Science Program (SSP)
- Texas State Mathworks Honors Summer Math Camp
- The Ross Mathematics Program
- University of California Santa Barbara Research Mentorship Program
- University of Notre Dame − Leadership Seminars
- Women’s Technology Program (WTP) @ M.I.T.
- Yale Young Global Scholars
There are programs that offer opportunities to almost any college-bound student who applies — and that can be just as personally rewarding as programs that have competitive admissions — such as Summer Discoveryy's enrichment and academic offerings on dozens of college campuses in the US, UK, and Singapore, as well as internships in major metropolitan areas around the globe. Summer Discovery has become the gateway for selective business programs at Wharton.Many top U.S. universities offer unique summer programs just for high-school students: a high-caliber course for credit or for the pure enjoyment of learning – complemented by a rich assortment of extracurricular activities. Additional programs are offered through state governors' schools. And if you’ve got a younger sibling who wants to get an early taste of a college future, check out the programs offered through Explo and SummerDiscovery at UCLA or Georgetown.
There’s something for everyone: visual and performing arts, sports journalism, aerospace engineering, fashion design, film-making, creative writing, graphic design, creative writing, social justice, career exploration, business, chemistry, sports management, Arabic, biology, government, law, medicine, math, public speaking, global studies… and the list goes on!No matter your interest, there’s probably a program for it – just Google what you’re looking for: typing “summer pre-college program” reveals a ton of offerings, many of which take the pandemic into account. But be careful about the true source of the summer opportunity you choose. There are organizations that want to make a fast buck by offering programs of little substance. In some cases, a student can actually receive an “invitation” as though receiving a special chance to participate in the extraordinary. Yes, there are some spectacular programs (Brown and Duke, for example), but not all such invitations are created equal.
Two very helpful search websites may point you in positive directions to invigorate your summer search process:
A summer program away from home isn’t essential for admission to a selective college. Competing athletically or working, volunteering, or taking a local or virtual college or high school course for credit can prove just as productive.
Brainstorm now about what you’d like to do this coming summer. You can make your future shine. Choose carefully – and have fun, too!
And, of course, you can always contact us for ideas.