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10 Awesome Residential Summer Programs for High School Students

If you are a high school student looking for an academically enriching summer, or a glimpse into college life, we’ve got you covered. This blog features 10 of the best residential summer programs for high school students. 

These programs offer a combination of academics and extracurricular activities. With opportunities for hands-on learning beyond your school curriculum, a platform to engage with like-minded peers and network with experienced professionals, these programs will allow you to explore subjects of your interest. It’s also a smart way to learn a little more about potential college majors you’re considering, and to decide whether they’re a right fit for you. Not to mention, academic programs like these enhance your college applications too!

Let’s dive into 10 awesome residential summer programs for high school students!

Location: This program offers online, commuter and residential options. The in-person program will be conducted at Harvard University, Cambridge, MA.

Eligibility: Students who- will graduate from high school and enter college in 2024, 2025, or 2026;- are at least 16 years old by June 22, 2024, and will not turn 19 years old before July 31, 2024, can apply.

Application Deadline: 

- January 10, 2024 (early application and priority financial aid deadline)

- February 14, 2024 (regular application and international student application deadline) - April 10, 2024 (late application deadline)

Program Dates: Students can choose to attend the 4-week or 7-week option.

4-week option: July 14, 2024 - August 9, 2024 (residential only)

7-week option: June 22, 2024 - August 10, 2024 (residential, commuter, or online)

Fee: $75 application fee +

4-week residential: $7,700 (4-credits)

7-week residential: $14,250 (8-credits)

Financial Assistance: Some financial aid is offered.

This is an intensive pre-college program, offering students the opportunity to earn college credit, while taking a thorough deep dive into subjects of their choosing. There are over 200 courses to choose from – spanning STEM, humanities, political science, law, and more. 

You will attend classes with university undergraduates – which can make for an interesting opportunity to get a deeper insight into Harvard and college at large.. This will be an academically rigorous experience and, if you pick your courses strategically (in line with your intended major), you can have something substantial to show for it – and get a headstart on your college education! Take a look at the full course catalog here

If you’re looking for a less intensive pre-college summer program at Harvard, take a look at this deep dive.

Location: Yale University, New Haven, CT

Eligibility: Students applying must be:

  • between 16 and 18 years old on July 21, 2024’

  • graduating in May or June 2024 or 2025 from the northern hemisphere and graduating in November or December 2024 or 2025 from the southern hemisphere;

  • a first-time YYGS participant; and fluent in English.

Application Deadline: January 10, 2024

Program Dates: 

Session 1: June 23, 2024 - July 5, 2024 | Session 2: July 7-19, 2024 | Session 3: July 21, 2024 - August 2, 2024

Fees: $6,500

Financial Assistance: Need-based financial aid is available.

Yale Young Global Scholars is an academic enrichment program that offers four programs, on campus, in the form of lectures, seminars, and a capstone project. It allows students to explore their subjects of interest while spending time with like-minded peers from over 150 countries. These courses are taught in a low-pressure, intimate learning environment, in small-sized lectures, and with a collaborative learning style.

The four tracks offered are: Innovation in Science, & Technology, Literature, Philosophy, & Culture, Politics, Law, & Economics and Solving Global Challenges. Each of these tracks have an open learning and collaborative approach. 

If you want an experience tailored to high school students, then YYGS is a great option. The program is created exclusively for high school students and because it has some selection process it is considered to be a generally good sign on college applications. 

Tip: YYGS also hosts very useful webinars on college admissions, tuition, academics, and more! You can either attend these sessions live or watch recordings. Check them out here. Also, for additional insight, look through our detailed review of Yale’s summer programs.

Location: MIT, Cambridge, MA.

Eligibility: High school juniors are eligible to apply. Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents.

Application Deadline: February 1, 2024

Program Dates: The program typically runs late June through early August (6 weeks).

Fees: Free

MITES Summer is a prestigious and competitive program, giving students a chance to dive into a number of STEM subjects. During the program, you will take one math course, one life sciences course, one physics course, one humanities course, and one project-based elective course. You will be placed into the math, life sciences, and physics courses based on their knowledge and skills. In the past, elective courses have included Engineering Design, Architecture, Machine Learning, Genomics, and Electronics. 

The program also includes social activities, events, lab tours, and admissions counseling for students to gain a deeper insight into the field and what to expect from a career in STEM fields. This program takes in around 80-100 students annually. Students will learn from experts and MITES alumni, while participating in immersive classes, workshops, recitations, and field visits. Students will receive a written evaluation at the end.

Location: University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA

Eligibility: Students in grades 9 to 11 are eligible.

Application Deadline: January 31, 2024 (Pre-college programs) | February 15, 2024 (Summer Academies)

Program Dates: July 2, 2024 - August 10, 2024 (Pre-college residential program) | July 6–27, 2024 (Summer Academies)

Fees: $5,500 (ASL and Deaf Culture Academy) | $9,700 (all other Summer Academies) | The pre-college program fees are per course unit.

Financial Assistance: Some scholarships are offered.

The Penn Arts and Science High School Programs offer 3 options: Summer Academies, Pre-College Programs and Penn Summer Prep. In this blog, we’ll cover the Summer Academies and the pre-college program’s residential option.

UPenn’s pre-college program is at par with the Ivy Leagues, offering an academically challenging curriculum to high school students. You can choose to attend two, three, or six week programs, which will be based on the number of course units you choose. This program offers the opportunity for students to engage with leading faculty and build intellectual connections. Penn’s summer program has partnered with Summer Discovery for over 10 years. Summer Discovery oversees all community-building aspects of the summer programming, including student supervision, student activities, and ensuring the health and safety of all students throughout while participating in Penn’s programs while the University of Pennsylvania manages all academic programming, including the application process, advising, and course enrollment.

UPenn’s Summer Academies are three-week intensive programs that allow students to do a deep dive into a specific subject. Covering science subjects like physics, chemistry, coding, and social subjects like justice and media, this program uses a combination of theory and application to train students in a field of study. Students can expect to get valuable insights into their subjects of interest through laboratory experiments, group investigations, and faculty lectures.

Location: This program is held across five UC campuses - UC Davis, UC Irvine, UC Los Angeles, UC San Diego, and UC Santa Cruz

Eligibility: Students in grades 9-12, who excel in mathematics/science, and are attending a California high school are eligible to apply.

Application deadline: February 9, 2024

Program dates: July 7, 2024 - August 2, 2024

Fee: $42 application fee + $5,007

Financial Assistance:  Need-based financial aid is available.

The California State Summer School for Mathematics and Science or COSMOS is a highly-regarded, intensive four-week summer residential pre-college program for high school students passionate about STEM. Established by the California Legislature in 1998, COSMOS aims to inspire the next generation of STEM leaders. As a student at COSMOS, you will work with researchers and scientists to explore advanced STEM topics, beyond what you might study in high school. Each of the UC campuses has its own specializations or subject “clusters”, giving you the freedom to choose the specific niche you wish to pursue. 

During the program, you will engage in intensive, hands-on coursework and research projects in various STEM disciplines, including biology, chemistry, physics, and engineering. You will identify and develop a research topic specific to your area of study for your final research project, for which you will have access to university resources including teaching laboratories and libraries. 

Location: University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA

Eligibility: Current high school juniors who- hold a 4.0 weighted GPA or above;- are enrolled in Algebra II, Trigonometry or above;- demonstrate financial need;- have taken Advanced Placement/International Baccalaureate courses, if offered; and- are actively enrolled in a high school curriculum within the U.S. or U.S. territories can apply.

Application Deadline: January 12, 2024

Program Dates: July 15, 2024 - August 3, 2024

Fees: Free.

The Bovard Scholars program is a pre-college program offered to high-achieving students from across the country to help them develop critical thinking skills, research aptitude, refinement of career goals, and assist them with college application prep. 

This residential program spans 3 weeks, and is known for its excellent student-to-staff ratio (3:1). You will be assigned a coach to guide you through application processes at different universities, competitive exam prep, as well as career guidance even after the program ends. The program also includes mixer events with industry leaders, group activities, scholarship databases, and goal-setting exercises.

Location: The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL

Eligibility: Current high school freshmen, sophomores, and juniors who are at least 14 years old can apply.

Application Deadline: March 5, 2024

Program dates: Session 1: June 17, 2024 - July 5, 2024 | Session 2: July 10-26, 2024

Fees: $8,600

Financial Assistance: Need-based financial assistance is available.

The Immersion programs are 3-week courses offered in a wide range of subjects, giving high school students the opportunity to explore their varied interests. There are dozens of courses that you can choose from in this program – ranging from biotechnology to philosophy, from political science to STEM, and more. As a student here, you’ll experience what it’s like to live on campus and take courses at the level of UChicago undergrads. You will also have access to all of the resources that Chicago itself has to offer through field trips and campus events.

The curriculum follows a hands-on learning approach. You will be guided by experienced faculty, professors, and mentors through workshops, research projects, and lectures. These courses are designed to provide in-depth knowledge into a subject of your choice. To search for courses based on your grade level and academic interest, check out the course finder.

You can also consider some of UChicago’s other summer programs!

Location: Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA

Eligibility: High school students above the age of 16, who are US citizens or permanent residents, can apply.

Application Deadline: March 1, 2024

Program Dates: June 22, 2024 - August 3, 2024

Fees: Free

Carnegie Mellon University offers a 6-week pre-college program for high school students passionate about STEM and research in related fields. As a SAMS student, you will be exposed to and taught essential skills in the field of STEM research before the program starts (virtually). Next, in-person, you will attend seminars, discussion sessions, lab sessions, and meetings, before attending the program's conclusion at the symposium in August. At the symposium, you will get a chance to present your work to faculty and peers.

The program is highly selective, with an acceptance of 110 students out of 16,000+ applicants. 

Location: Brown University, Providence, RI. There are virtual and commuter options too!

Eligibility: Students completing grades 9 to 12, aged 14-18 by June 2024, can apply.

Application Deadline: May 10, 2024

Program Dates: June 23, 2024 - July 26, 2024. Duration may vary with the course you pick.

Financial Assistance: Some scholarships are offered.

What’s unique about Brown’s pre-college programs is that you can choose to study on campus, online, or at a variety of unique domestic and international locations. With these programs you can have the college experience – without the pressure of grades. While there are many different summer programs to choose from, Brown’s Summer@Brown program offers 300 non-credit courses for high school students – ranging from Biological and Natural Sciences to Business, Economics, and Legal Studies, to Literature, Writing and Communications – this summer program has a course for you.

Tip: If you are seeking to earn college credit at Brown, check out Brown’s highly competitive Pre-Baccalaureate program

We’ve done a deep dive into the summer opportunities available at Brown, take a look!

Location: University of Maryland, Cornell University, and University of Michigan

Eligibility: Open to all high school sophomores and juniors. TASS also encourages applications from students of color and underrepresented ethnic groups to help promote diversity and support underrepresented communities in each year’s cohort.

Application Deadline: January 3, 2024

Program dates: June 23, 2024 - August 3, 2024

Fees: Free

This program is ideal for students interested in the field of humanities. Offered by the Telluride Association, a non-profit dedicated to fostering intellectual curiosity and social impact among young people, it welcomes a cohort of 40-70 students from across the world. TASS is one of the country’s most selective summer programs for high schoolers, with a 6-week schedule that covers creative thinking, problem-solving, community building, and academic enrichment. As a TASS participant, you will attend lectures, discussion sessions, and team-building activities, and work on group projects with other participants, guided by faculty members and teaching assistants. You will be expected to dedicate 3 hours of college-level classes a day. The two seminars currently offered are the Program in Critical Black Studies and the Program in Anti-Oppressive Studies. The program also exposes you to activities such as planning community service projects, and spending from a fixed program budget for the same.  

If you’d like to apply to a rigorous research program open to high schoolers, you may want to consider the Lumiere Research Scholar Program, a selective online high school program for students founded by 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 Ph.D. 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 University seal


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