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10 AI Courses for High School Students

If you are a high school student curious about pursuing a career in artificial intelligence (AI), consider signing up for a course to learn more about the field and its practical applications. Leading universities often host pre-college or high school programs in which such courses are offered, although you can also look for them on offline or online learning platforms.

AI is a thriving technological innovation with uses and applications in natural language processing, pattern recognition and prediction, speech recognition, analytics, and more. These uses can support numerous fields like technology, health and diagnostics, imaging, engineering, architecture, and marketing, to name a few. A course in AI will introduce you to these applications and equip you with the skills and knowledge necessary for usage in independent or university projects.

In addition, such a course will also strengthen your university applications and help you build your portfolio. While looking for such a course, make it a point to consider factors like the quality of the instructors/professors, timings of the course, involvement in practical and hands-on projects, reputation and credibility of the course, contents of the course, and extent of interaction, networking, and support offered. If you wish to take this up and want some options, here is a list of 10 AI courses for high school students.

Location: Virtual

Eligibility: High school students (or other learners) with prior programming experience in Python

Application Deadline: None. The course starts on April 22, 2024, but will be available to audit even after it ends.

Dates: 7 weeks (self-paced; 10-30 hours a week)

Cost: Free to audit (optional upgrade of $299 to receive a verified certificate)

Harvard University’s Introduction to Artificial Intelligence with Python is a free online course offered on edX. This course takes you through the concepts and algorithms of artificial intelligence and provides exposure to the technologies behind machine translation, game-playing engines, and handwriting recognition.

Theory is a major element of this course, but you will also get to work on hands-on and practical projects. Major concepts highlighted in this course include machine learning (ML), graph search algorithms, artificial intelligence principles, adversarial search, large language models, logical inference, probability theory, designing intelligent systems, Bayesian networks, constraint satisfaction, Markov models, and using AI in Python programs. By the end of the course, you will have a solid understanding of AI and ML that will allow them to design their own intelligent systems.

Students who paid for the upgrade will also receive a certificate in Computer Science for Artificial Intelligence.

Location: Virtual

Eligibility: High school students

Application Deadline: Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

Dates: 10 weeks (summer session) | 18 weeks (semester session) 12 weeks (trimester session)

Michigan Virtual is a nonprofit that provides online courses in various subjects at affordable rates. Its Introduction to Artificial Intelligence course provides students with foundational-level knowledge of AI to learn about its components, concepts, applications, uses, and impacts on society. Concepts emphasized in this program include machine learning, neural networks, algorithms, perception and intelligence, current uses and problems, ethics, AI and jobs, and more.

The course features online lessons and activities, engagement with a certified online instructor and peers, discussions, online assessments, projects, and more. Students can access academic support and request feedback from instructors. You will also receive a final score.

Location: Columbia University, New York, NY

Eligibility: Domestic and international high school students with programming experience

Application Deadline: April 25, 2024

Dates: June 24, 2024 - July 12, 2024

Cost: $6,100 (commuter) | $12,154 (residential). Financial aid is not available.

Columbia University, as part of its pre-college program, offers a course called Introduction to AI: Search Algorithms. This course is designed for students who already have strong programming experience and can use object-oriented programming and recursion to solve problems. Note that this is a highly competitive and selective course with a maximum of 24 students accepted to ensure more interaction and collaboration.

Concepts and topics covered in this course include the history and progress of artificial intelligence, optimization and probabilistic strategies, and problems like N-Queens, Knapsack, Post correspondence, and Chess. The course aims to equip you with sufficient skills to create and build functional programs using Java and Python. Additionally, using the skills and knowledge attained through this course, you are expected to carry out and complete assignments and projects.

Location: UCLA, Los Angeles, CA (commuter program)

Eligibility: Students in 10th-12th grade in spring 2024

Application Deadline: June 1, 2024

Dates: July 1, 2024 - July 19, 2024

Cost: $3,020 (financial aid available)

UCLA’s Computer Science Summer Institute on Generative AI is a program that highlights the CS97 Introduction to Generative AI course. Students who wish to take this course must enroll in the summer institute. The course focuses on natural language processing (NLP) and aims to cover topics like statistical and neural-network learning algorithms, lexical semantics, language models, and current NLP tasks and competitions. Lectures, assignments, individual and group projects, homework, presentations, and exams are all part of the course. Once completed, you will receive a letter grade.

In addition to learning about NLP and generative AI, lab tours, seminars, social activities, and lab sessions are also included in the program.

Location: Virtual

Eligibility: High school students in grades 10-11 at the time of application and a beginning proficiency in Python

Application Deadline: Applications usually close in March.

Dates: June 17, 2024 - June 28, 2024 | July 08, 2024 - July 19, 2024

Cost: $3,050 (financial aid available)

Stanford University’s course on AI is on the roster for its Pre-Collegiate Summer Institute. The course takes selected students through a detailed understanding of what AI is and how intelligent systems are trained to deliver and perform required tasks efficiently and accurately. Supervised and unsupervised learning and reinforcement learning algorithms are part of the course curriculum. Students are taught to examine algorithms and their biases and ways of reducing these biases.

By the end of this course, you will develop programming proficiency in Python and will also learn to apply mathematical concepts like optimization, statistics, calculus, and linear algebra. Overall, using machine learning algorithms and techniques, you will learn how to develop safe, accurate, and ethical AI systems to resolve real-world problems.

Location: Brown University, Providence, RI

Eligibility: High school students with knowledge of math (algebra or pre-calculus) recommended

Application Deadline: May 10, 2024

Dates: July 8, 2024 - July 26, 2024 (3 weeks)

Cost: $5,682 (commuter) | $7,452 (residential). Scholarships are available.

Brown University’s Introduction to Machine Learning and AI with Python is a course offered as part of its pre-college program. The course teaches big data analytics and machine learning techniques, including the study of big data technologies and the scaling-up of machine learning techniques for industrial uses. The course emphasizes algorithm theory and practice, allowing for proficiency in the development of algorithms for specific issues.

The course includes studio classes in which you will participate in lectures and associated activities. These comprise discussions, videos, guided readings, exercises, analysis and application of concepts, observation and collaboration, and project work. You will also learn various concepts through computer programming.

Brown’s pre-college program is selective and rigorous, with course cohorts being small in size.

Location: Virtual

Eligibility: Advanced high school students (grades 10-12) who have taken algebra 2 and calculus 1 (recommended)

Application Deadline: Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

Dates: June 10, 2024 - June 14, 2024

Cost: $250

Purdue University’s Intelligent Imagining Lab (i2Lab) is a great option for students interested in programming and mathematics. While prior knowledge of some mathematical concepts is required, this course does not require prior programming knowledge as it teaches it from scratch. This 5-day course offers intensive study, with topics covered including an introduction to machine learning, the basics of Python, linear regression and fitting data in a line, minimizing functions to fit data, neural networks, pattern recognition, and image processing.

By the end of this program, you will be able to use Python for basic scientific computing, understand the function of statistics, optimization, and linear algebra in ML, and use simple language to explain line fitting, classification, and feature extraction.

You will receive instruction from highly qualified faculty, research scientists, PhD students, and advanced undergraduate students.

Location: University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA

Eligibility: Rising sophomores to rising seniors in high school who are at least 15 years old and have a minimum 3.0 GPA

Application Deadline: Applications typically close in April.

Dates: July 7, 2024 - July 27, 2024

Cost: $8,500. Financial aid is not available.

The Engineering Summer Academy at Penn (ESAP) is a prestigious and competitive program for high school students. You will learn from accomplished engineers, professors, and researchers and will attend classes with an instructor-to-student ratio of 1:19.

One of the course offerings of this program includes artificial intelligence, in which students with a solid mathematical background and basic knowledge of chatGPT are selected. The course will take you through the field of AI, with a focus on generative AI and neural networks. The course combines theoretical coursework of AI principles with practical generative tools and equips students with the necessary mathematical concepts behind AI and ML.

The course ends with a final project in which you will use the learned knowledge and techniques to create AI applications. The program further includes tours, activities, and social events.

Location: Virtual

Eligibility: U.S. high school students

Application Deadline: Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

Dates: September 2024 - April 2025 

Cost: Not mentioned. Scholarships are available.

The Coding School (TCS) is an international nonprofit focused on providing education and skill-building opportunities to students at various stages. One of its course offerings includes an introductory course on AI that spans 2 semesters and is taught virtually by a Harvard instructor. The course features 1.5-hour lectures, 1-hour lab sessions with teaching assistants, homework or projects, talks from experts, regional meet-ups, and other networking and learning activities.

You will learn key concepts like Python, data science, ML algorithms, reinforcement learning, natural language processing (NLP), deep learning, and data visualizations. You will also receive mentorship from experts and learn about the ethics and responsible use of AI. You will also work on real-world problems and create a capstone project by the end of this course.

If you’re looking to build a project/research paper in the field of AI & ML, consider applying to Veritas AI! 

Veritas AI is founded by Harvard graduate students. Through the programs, you get a chance to work 1-1 with mentors from universities like Harvard, Stanford, MIT, and more to create unique, personalized projects. In the past year, we had over 1000 students learn AI & ML with us. You can apply here!

One other option - the Lumiere Research Scholar Program

If you’re interested in pursuing research in fields like AI or related fields, you could also consider applying to one of the Lumiere Research Scholar Programs, selective online high school programs for students founded with researchers at Harvard and Oxford. Last year, we had over 4000 students apply for 500 spots in the program! You can find the application form here.

Also check out the Lumiere Research Inclusion Foundation, a non-profit research program for talented, low-income students. Last year, we had 150 students on full need-based financial aid!

Stephen is one of the founders of Lumiere and a Harvard College graduate. He founded Lumiere as a PhD student at Harvard Business School. Lumiere is a selective research program where students work 1-1 with a research mentor to develop an independent research paper.

Image Source: Harvard seal



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