Best Summer Program For High School Students in 2023

Research has shown that children between the ages of 7 and 16 spend 78.3% of their lives in the four walls of a classroom. With this, parents get comfortable shipping their kids to school daily.

During school breaks, it deviates from what they already know their everyday life to look like. These breaks are perfect for letting your child enjoy the sunshine, the pool, and popsicles.

But alongside the idyllic visions of summer is the urgent need to ensure your child is productive.

Is it the summer break, and are you looking for the best summer programs for high school students?

This article breaks down all you need to know about the best summer programs for high school students, the requirements, how to find the best ones, the cost, and many more. 

Check Out: 21 Free Summer Programs for High School Students in 2023

What is a Summer Program for High School Students?

A summer program for a high school student is a program that is taken mainly during the summer break of every academic session.

Schools, organizations, and other times, private companies mainly sponsor it. During the summer vacation, courses, usually lasting one to eight weeks, are provided.

You would engage in full-time intensive classes related to a chosen subject and have the option to attend extracurricular activities designed to encourage socialization and stimulate cultural awareness.

In a summer program as a high school student, you would be expected to either revise a subject studied during the previous academic year or explore a known issue, or discover a new interest.

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Importance of a Summer Program for High School Students

You should consider a summer program as a high school student for various reasons. The reasons that quickly come to mind are-

Increased self-confidence

By opting for a summer program, you should know it would go a long way toward increasing your self-confidence, especially in the long run. Just going alone would prove that you are a capable, self-reliant individual.

Research shows that students from lower-income families have higher chances of successfully enrolling in a highly-rated university after taking an international summer school course.

Develop New Skills

There are a variety of summer programs available. Each summer program has its aim and objectives.

These could include gaining a new skill or learning a new language. You can also get developmental benefits, and advancement of speaking and writing skills, amongst others.

Tend to your specific educational needs.

There are various things that your high school would not teach you, which could pick up in a summer program.

If you opt for an academic summer program, it is an opportunity for you to lean toward your educational needs and have them duly sorted.

Summer programs provide plenty of options that will satisfy your thirst for knowledge. Even if you don’t know what you want to learn, browsing an extensive list of summer courses might inspire you to try out new study opportunities.

Understand Independent Learning

Usually, in high school, the deadlines and swamp of school work would make you cram.

The teachers mostly need more time to explain your educational level calmly.

A summer school meets these complex needs by emphasizing skill development and stimulating curiosity, creativity, and self-reliance. This would ensure you reach your full potential.

Visit a Famous International City

Most summer programs would take you away from your parents, and out of the area you live.

Depending on your chosen summer program, you may visit places like Paris, Rotterdam, Athens, London, Madrid, and Shanghai.

You would also discover impressive architecture, excellent galleries, and museums, taste great food and enjoy the nightlife in a highly enriching experience.

It is one of the core reasons for summer programs for high school students.

Improve your Grades

One of the most obvious reasons for attending a summer program is to increase your exam outcomes.

The extra study hours will help strengthen your knowledge of a subject. Innovative and effective learning methods may give you new ideas about how to approach learning.

Gain practical skills, such as writing a critical essay or applying practical techniques to ensure successful exam results.

Make New Friends

If you are an introvert who finds it difficult to make new friends, a summer program for high school students is a sure bet.

You could start long-lasting relationships by interacting with your classmates and participating in social events.

Even shyer students will have an easier time opening up, thanks to the friendly atmosphere, the shared interests of the participants, the small study groups and the acceptance of diversity.

Have lots of fun

Summer programs can also be a very entertaining experience.

You would get to meet many people, see many places, have new experiences, take pictures, make memories and most of all, have fun.

You may get to study a subject and get hands-on experience beyond what their high school offers. This is great because you would be able to think ahead and do things your peers can’t do.

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You would get a firsthand feel for what staying in a place with your parents feels like, which may make transitioning to college easier when the time comes.

You would get exposure to a variety of environment. This would mostly help you in the long run in deciding what you like and what you don’t

How Much Does Summer Program Costs?

The quality of a summer program is usually not graded according to the cost. A summer program could be cheap and still give you the best of experiences.

However, most of these programs will carry a cost, and some will be quite expensive.

Summer programs usually have provisions for feeding, accommodation, travel expenses, field trips, accessories, and any other requirement the particular summer program requires.

You should consider your budget and how much you will spend. Basically, most summer programs for high school students’ costs between $250- $800.

How to Get a Summer Program for High School Students?

For the best options, start looking into summer programs during the winter before you want to attend. Many programs have March deadlines and a few spaces.

Others have application materials that require planning. The steps to take in getting a summer program for high school students are-

Step 1: Decide what your goal is

If you want to visit unknown places, earn credit for when you go for college, develop a new skill, make new friends, or want to have fun.

In deciding what your goal is, it would help you narrow your search.

Step 2: Research Summer Programs Online

You could also find some through your high school counsellor. Look out for one which has all the qualities you are interested in.

Step 3: Acquire About the Application Requirements

Find out the application requirements for the programs you are interested in.

Some programs require test scores or samples of creative work.

Best Summer Programs for High School Students

#1. Bank of America Student Leaders

For a long time, student leaders have been part of the ongoing commitment to youth employment and economic mobility. They help prepare a diverse pipeline of community-minded young students to be successful in the workforce through leadership training and work experience.

Annually, they connect more than 300 community-minded high school juniors and seniors from nearly 100 communities to employment, skills development and service in a single summer program.

They get first-hand experience in serving their communities through a paid eight-week internship with nonprofits like Boys and Girls Clubs of America and Habitat for Humanity.

#2. Boston University – Research in Science & Engineering (RISE)

If you’re passionate about the sciences and are a domestic student currently in your junior year of high school, this summer program for high school students promises a lot.

You will spend six weeks at BU conducting university laboratory research with some of the nation’s brightest scientific minds while advancing your STEM knowledge and skills.

Also, you will learn to tackle research projects under the mentorship of distinguished faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate students.

You may also choose from hands-on research opportunities in areas such as astronomy, biology, biomedical engineering, chemistry, computer science, electrical and computer engineering, mechanical engineering, medical laboratory research, neuroscience, physics, psychology, and public health.

#3. Telluride Association Summer Program (TASP)

TASP is for current high school juniors from all kinds of educational backgrounds who show intellectual curiosity and motivation, rather than prior knowledge of the seminar’s subject.

Each session is focused around an academic seminar and prioritizes group discussion, writing, reading, and self-governance. Highly selective, TASP admits around 5 percent of applicants.

This summer program for high school students lasts for a period of 6 weeks

#4. Anson l. Clark Scholars Program

The Clark Scholars Program is an in-depth research program open to students 17 years and older in nearly all disciplines, from accounting to dance to philosophy and everything in between.

Basically, the summer program features one-on-one research with faculty, as well as weekly seminars, discussion, and field trips.

The Clark Scholars Program is very competitive, with only 12 students accepted each year. This summer program for high school students is free with a $750 stipend. It lasts for 6 weeks.

#5. Yale Young Global Scholars (YYGS)

This summer program is an academic enrichment program for outstanding high school students worldwide.

Students from over 130 countries participate in one interdisciplinary, two-week session on the Yale campus each summer.

Three sessions are held each summer. Students can choose from one of four tracks: Innovations in Science & Technology, Literature, Philosophy, & Culture, Politics Law & Economics, and Solving Global Challenges.

This summer program is located in New Haven. This summer program for high school students lasts for 2 weeks

#6. Research Science Institute (RSI)

RSI pairs scientific coursework with a research internship to allow students to experience the entire research cycle from start to finish.

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Students work on individual research projects under the mentorship of veteran scientists and present their findings at the program’s conclusion.

RSI accepts 80 students each year. This summer program for high school students is located in Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA.

The beautiful thing about it is that it is entirely free of charge, and is for 6 weeks

#7. Minority Introduction to Engineering and Science (MITES)

MITES is for academically talented rising seniors often from underrepresented or underserved backgrounds who are interested in careers and advanced degrees in science and engineering.

Students take five courses as well as participate in admissions counseling sessions, lab tours, and social events.

This summer program for high school students is located in Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA. The summer program is free and the length is for 6 weeks

#8. Simons Summer Research Program

Simons is a hands-on research program in which students participate in an existing research group or lab and take on a project under the supervision of a faculty mentor.

You would also attend weekly faculty research talks and participate in special workshops, tours, and events. You must however be current juniors and must be nominated by their high school in order to apply.

Simons is highly selective, admitting around 8 percent of applicants. This summer program for high school students is located in Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY.

It costs $3,200 housing fee (no cost for commuters); a $1,000 stipend is received at the program’s completion, the length is 7 weeks

#9. Summer Academy for Math and Science (SAMS)

SAMS is for current sophomores and juniors from underrepresented backgrounds who wish to “develop mastery of critical concepts in higher-level collegiate math and science” while earning college credit.

SAMS includes classroom instruction, hands-on projects, and professional and academic development workshops.

This summer program for high school students is located in Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA, is free, and has its duration slated at 6 weeks.

#10. The Summer Science Program (SSP)

SSP is an immersive, research-based program that has been running since 1959 and is governed and operated by its alums.

They would require you to choose one of two programs, Astrophysics or Biochemistry, and participate in classroom work, lab sessions, guest lectures, and field trips.

This summer program for high school students is open to current sophomores and juniors; admission to SSP is competitive, with an acceptance rate of around 10 percent. It costs $7,150 (financial aid available).

#11. Program in Mathematics for Young Scientists (PROMYS)

PROMYS is a program for mathematically gifted students focusing on mathematics’s creative side.

This summer program for high school students is open to all high school students over 14 years old; students attend lectures, take advanced seminars, conduct research, and work on problem sets individually or in groups.

They accept around 80 applicants each year, a quarter of returning students. It costs $5,000 and has a duration of six weeks.

#12. Research in Science and Engineering Program (RISE)

RISE is a program for rising seniors that consists of two tracks- Practicum and Internship.

This summer program conducts individual research projects in a university lab under the guidance of a mentor. At the same time, practicum students collaborate on group neurobiology research in a structured environment overseen by an instructor.

RISE is selective, accepting around 16 percent of applicants. It has its location at Boston University, Boston, MA.

#13. Ross Mathematics Program

Ross students focus intensely on one subject, number theory, for the entire program and spend most of their days working on challenging problem sets.

Ross aims to give its participants an initial step toward their mathematical research. Open to all high school students; Ross typically admits fewer than one-third of applicants, around 75 students each year.

This summer program for high school students is in The Ohio State University/Ohio Dominican University, Columbus, OH, and lasts six weeks.

#14. Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Programs

Girls Who Code is a summer program for sophomores and juniors who are inexperienced in computer science, identify as female or non-binary, and are uneducated in computer science.

You would be introduced to different areas of computer science, complete a final project in which you build your product, and participate in workshops and lectures.

They also gain exposure to the tech industry by connecting with female professionals. 

This summer program for high school students is located in tech companies across the United States.

#15. Perimeter Institute International Summer School for Young Physicists (issyp)

ISSYP is for current juniors and seniors interested in theoretical physics and intending to study physics in college.

This summer program for high school students allows you to participate in mini-courses, hands-on labs, and mentoring sessions and attend presentations by Perimeter Institute researchers on the latest theoretical physics topics.

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ISSYP is highly competitive, accepting 40 students each year- 20 from Canada and 20 from other countries. It costs $380 and is for two weeks.

#16. Bank of America Student Leaders Program

Student Leaders assign paid internships at local nonprofits to juniors and seniors interested in honing their community and business leadership skills.

They would also require you to attend a one-week Washington, D.C. summit where they meet with Congress members and participate in projects and workshops focused on societal engagement.

They chose around 225 students each year to participate. It is free with a paid internship and lasts eight weeks.

#17. Leadership in the Business World (lbw)

LBW offers current sophomores and juniors an introduction to business through classes with Wharton professors and visiting business leaders and visits to company offices, and team-building exercises.

A highlight of the program is the opportunity for participants to create and present their business plans to a group of venture capitalists and business professionals.

Approximately 160 students attend LBW each summer. It is located in the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, and costs $7,500.

#18. Economics for Leaders

Economics for Leaders teaches leaders to integrate economics into decision-making in a hands-on, experiential environment.

In this summer program for high school students, you can attend economics lectures, afternoons, and evenings in leadership workshops and exercises.

It is open to current sophomores and juniors; 30–40 students are accepted at each site. This summer program for high school students costs $1,800 for one week.

#19. Young Women’s Institute

The Young Women’s Institute offers young women an introduction to the business world through workshops taught by Kelley School of Business faculty, the opportunity to design their business case project, and presentations on business skills.

The Institute is open to rising seniors. It has its location in Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, and is for four days.

#20. LaunchX

LaunchX is an entrepreneurship program that supports students by launching an actual startup.

Students attend workshops, lectures, simulations, and panel discussions that help them locate a need in the market and create their own business to fill it.

LaunchX is open to all high school students and admits around 18 percent of applicants. This summer program for high school students costs $7,495 for four weeks.

#21. Princeton Summer Journalism Program (PSP)

PSJP is a program for talented current juniors from low-income households.

During PSJP, students attend workshops and lectures, tour leading news outlets, cover actual events, and conduct investigations to prepare for the creation of their newspaper, which is published on the last day of the program.

You would also benefit from college counseling with PSJP staff after they return home. PSJPS is competitive, accepting 40 students each year.

#22. Iowa Young Writers’ Studio

This summer program for high school students, you should expect to take a workshop and seminar in a single course of study, poetry, fiction, or a creative writing survey.

In addition to sharing their writing and receiving critiques from teachers and peers, they also attend readings and other literary events.

The Iowa Young Writers’ Studio is open to all students who have completed their sophomore year. This summer program is for two weeks.

#23. Kenyon Review Young Writers’ Workshop

Young Writers is a creative writing program for 16–18-year-olds in which students spend five hours per day in multi-genre workshops.

This summer program for high school students allows you to conference individually with their instructors, take genre-focused mini-workshops, and attend readings from visiting writers.

It costs $2,475 with financial aid available and is for two weeks.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes. Summer programs for high school students cost a lot. The price, however, depends on the summer program you have chosen.

Absolutely. A summer program allows you to breathe and feel many things for the first time. If you have the money, go for it.

As often as you like. Attending every summer until you graduate from high school also boosts your skills in the long run.

This is highly unlikely. You could attend from home or leave your parents’ house in most summer programs. 

If the summer program is merit-based, the school usually sponsors it. The parents support most other summer programs for high school students.

Yes. High school programs are not only well-constituted, but they are also safe and supervised.


Summer programs for high school students have recently become quite the thing.

Some are quite the opposite of bunk beds and mosquitoes, promising an intense, heads-down experience. Still, many promises to meld the best of a teenage summer with opportunities that can challenge your child and add texture to their Common App Essay and other college essays.


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