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15 Competitive Summer Opportunities for High School Students

by Jocelyn Johnson, on Jul 16, 2019 12:00:00 PM

Check out the 2018 version of this post here!


Close your eyes and imagine what it’ll be like when summer comes. What will you be doing? Well, unless you want to be sitting on the couch for 12 weeks, the time is now to begin applying for summer programs. Here’s a list of 15 competitive summer opportunities waiting for your application, plus three bonus resources for your summer planning!

Pre-College Programs

Summer Fuel |

At Summer Fuel, “students are inspired by active, engaging curricula designed to help them think critically, explore new subjects and discover their passions.” Study at Oxford, Harvard, UC Berkeley, or U Mass Amherst. They also have several other summer opportunities available-- such as college admissions prep with SAT and ACT tutoring, language and cultural immersion, and social entrepreneurship programs.

JSA Summer Programs |

“Tomorrow's Leaders Start Here,” says JSA. Get prepared for the challenge of college life, engage in high-level political discourse, and interact with outstanding faculty with JSA. They offer summer programs at Georgetown, Princeton, Stanford, University of Virginia, UC Davis, Arizona State University, University of Texas, and UCLA. Scholarships are available.

Summer Study Programs |

Get a preview of college life with Summer Study, where you can take classes at Penn State University, Colorado State University, Fordham University, or The Sorbonne in Paris. There is even an option to earn college credit. What can you expect from their programs? “Leadership, experience, safety & summer fun," and according to Summer Study, "that’s only the beginning...”

Explo 360 at Yale University | 

Here’s what Explo says: “Come re-imagine who you want to be. At Explo at Yale, you'll discover who you are, where your passions lie, and what direction you want your life to travel. This is your moment to explore, discover, and reconnect with yourself, your dreams — and with the wider world.”

Stanford High School Summer College |

Be a Stanford student!  Get the full college experience through living on campus, taking classes taught by Stanford faculty, and take courses with current undergraduates. With over 145 courses available, you’re sure to find something that interests you. And you’ll earn college credit! Current Sophomores, Juniors, Seniors, or gap year students are eligible to apply.

Summer@Brown |

Are you an ambitious student, driven in your educational pursuits? Summer@Brown offers courses that are designed for students just like you who are  looking to experience college-level academics on an Ivy League campus. With Summer@Brown, you’ll learn from outstanding professors, while also learning how to balance rigorous academics and free time.

Columbia Summer Programs  |

 At Columbia’s Summer Programs for High School students, you can pursue courses in the following subjects: The Arts and Creative Writing, College Prep, Architecture and Urban Studies, STEM, Social Sciences and Humanities, Business and Economics, and Law and Conflict Resolution. One alum said, “These three weeks have given me a semester’s worth of knowledge and a lifetime’s worth of connections with incredible people from around the world.”

Georgetown Summer Programs |

 Be a Hoya this summer! Georgetown’s summer programs for high school students enable you to live on campus, attend classes side-by-side with undergraduate students and learn from distinguished faculty and prominent Washington area guest speakers. There are many opportunities to choose from!

University of Pennsylvania Summer Programs |

Penn offers high school students an array of summer opportunities from academics, enrichment and recreation—including anthropology, business, law, veterinary medicine and music—to more a dozen athletic sports camps. Check out their website for a list of all of the summer programs at the University of Pennsylvania and to get specific program applications.



The Princeton University Summer Journalism Program |

SJP’s goal is to diversify college and professional newsrooms by encouraging outstanding students from low-income backgrounds to pursue careers in journalism. All expenses, including students' travel costs to and from Princeton, are paid for by the program. Students who attend the program come from across the country. 

Summer High School Internships at the Met | 

11th or 12th grade students who attend high school in New York, New Jersey, or Connecticut are eligible to apply for this internship. You don't need prior experience or specific knowledge of art or art history to apply—just an interest in learning about museum careers and great works of art!

NYC Summer Youth Employment Program SYEP |

For high school students who live in the New York City area, SYEP has over 30 summer program and internship positions available with companies and organizations in your neighborhood. Check them out!

Discovery Internships | 

Discovery Internships provides over 1000 internship opportunities in Los Angeles, New York City, Boston, and London. They’ll provide you with an Internship Coordinator (IC), who will help you determine the best opportunities for your interests, skills, and goals and then secure your internship with a host organization. Discovery won’t just help you secure an internship placement, you’ll also get college credit, room, and board, and extracurricular activities.

NIH Summer Internship Program in Biomedical Research |

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) summer internship program provides high school students with the opportunity to spend eight weeks working at the NIH side-by-side with some of the leading scientists in the world, in an environment devoted exclusively to biomedical research. They are mainly located in Maryland but there are also positions available in North Carolina; Montana, Massachusetts, and Michigan.

Stanford University Research Internships |

Stanford's lab has a variety of paid and unpaid opportunities for high school students. One example is the RISE (Raising Interest in Science and Engineering) summer internship program an intensive 7-week summer program for local Bay Area students. Check out their entire list to see if you’re eligible for any of these opportunities.

+3 BONUS Resources:

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Topics:college admission