top summer programs
Although summer break seems pretty far off, students who plan to use their summers wisely need to start planning for the best summer programs for high school students now. Moreover, summer offers a lot of unique opportunities for college-bound students to explore their options, familiarize themselves with college life, and boost their college applications. However, while application deadlines for many programs have already passed, many prestigious programs are still accepting applications, including the ones we’ve listed below.

Top Summer Programs for High School Students

Leadership Initiatives

Leadership Initiatives partners with outstanding high school students to gain real-world experience, explore future careers, and develop critical skills to create the next generation of leaders worldwide. Summer internships impact the lives of students and the individuals they are partnered with. Start an internship with a business in the developing world, work with an attorney on an impending court case of national importance, develop anti-terrorism security strategies, or partner with a doctor to diagnose patients in sub-Saharan Africa.

West Point’s Summer Leaders Experience

A week-long immersion in academic, military, and social life ideal for those students considering applying to West Point, the Summer Leaders Experience program is highly competitive. Applications are open to high school juniors.

Brown University’s Pre-College Summer Programs

Brown University offers a wide variety of programs, including both online and on-campus courses in many subject areas. Additionally, other Brown programs provide both domestic and international travel opportunities. Although some programs are open to students in 10th grade and below, most are limited to juniors.

Columbia University’s Summer Programs for High School Students

Columbia University offers domestic and international immersion programs that are ideal for exceptional high school students seeking intensive summer programs. Additionally, the university offers the opportunity for students to take credit-bearing classes alongside undergraduate students.

Cornell University’s Summer College

Cornell offers programs ranging from three to six weeks in length in a wide variety of subject areas. These programs offer college credit, and many of them are open to high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors.

Washington University in St. Louis’s Summer Experiences

Washington University in St. Louis offers summer experiences for middle and high school students. The High School Scholars Program offers college credit while the High School Institutes and the Middle School Challenge programs do not.

University of Southern California’s Summer Programs

USC offers non-credit-bearing 2-week classes and credit-bearing 4-week programs in a wide variety of subject areas. Many class options are already full, so be sure to apply soon.

Harvard University’s Secondary School Program

Harvard offers highly competitive 7-week programs that can be taken online or on-campus. These programs offer college credit and the opportunity to experience life as a Harvard student.

Carnegie Mellon University’s Summer Pre-College

Open to rising juniors and seniors, Carnegie Mellon’s pre-college programs offer programs in the arts and credit-bearing Advanced Placement/Early Admission courses.

SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design) Pre-College Summer Programs

SCAD offers weeklong seminars for rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors and the opportunity for rising seniors to enroll in two college courses while experiencing life as a SCAD student.

Marist Summer Institutes

This program is geared toward rising juniors and seniors. Students earn college credits in one of several academic areas. Marist offers programs in New York and Italy.

PROMYS (Program in Mathematics for Young Scientists)

Boston University offers this six-week residential program for gifted high school math students who want to explore the creative side of math.

University of Chicago’s Summer Programs for High School Students

The University of Chicago offers several 3- and 4-week immersion programs open only to high school students. These programs are offered at the University of Chicago campus and at campuses in Beijing, Bengaluru, and Hong Kong. The University of Chicago also offers the opportunity to enroll in summer courses or to explore partnership programs.

George Washington University’s Pre-College Program

GWU offers credit-bearing college intensive programs for rising juniors and seniors and noncredit immersive programs for rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors. They are available in a wide variety of subject areas, ranging from the arts to STEM.

Barnard College

Barnard offers 1- to 4-week programs in a wide variety of program areas ranging from entrepreneurship to dance, allowing students to experience life in New York City.

Smith College

Students who enroll in these intensive learning programs not only get an invaluable immersive learning experience but also get a faculty recommendation to bolster their college applications.

What Summer Program Is Right For Me?

If you’re having trouble figuring out which program will best fit your needs, C2 can help. Get a free college admissions planning consultation with a certified expert today!