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10 Free AI Programs for High School Students

As a high school student, participating in free STEM programs isn't just a boost to your learning—it's a critical step in distinguishing yourself in college applications. These programs offer high school students a solid opportunity to explore complex subjects, engage in cutting-edge projects, and connect with professionals and peers who share their passions.


Diving into AI during your high school years can significantly enhance your profile. Free or fully funded programs often come with a badge of prestige—they're typically selective, offering top-notch education and resources without the financial burden. These experiences not only sharpen your technical skills but also provide you with a narrative of curiosity and commitment that is compelling to admissions committees.


10 Free AI Programs for High School Students

1. Veritas AI - AI Fellowship

Veritas AI focuses on providing high school students who are passionate about the field of AI with a suitable environment in which to explore their interests. The programs include collaborative learning, project development, and 1-on-1 mentorship. These programs are designed and run by Harvard graduate students and alumni, and you can expect a great, fulfilling educational experience. Students are expected to have a basic understanding of Python or are recommended to complete the AI scholars program before pursuing the fellowship. 


The AI Fellowship program will allow students to pursue their own independent AI research projects. Students work on their own individual research projects over a period of 12-15 weeks and can opt to combine AI with any other field of interest. In the past, students have worked on research papers in the fields of AI & medicine, AI & finance, AI & environmental science, AI & education, and more! You can find examples of previous projects here


Do note that there is a cost for this program. However, you can apply for need-based financial aid here!


Location: Virtual

Application deadline: On a rolling basis. The Summer Cohort Deadline is May 19, 2024. 

Program dates: Various according to the cohort

Eligibility: Ambitious high school students located anywhere in the world. AI Fellowship applicants should either have completed the AI Scholars program or exhibit past experience with AI concepts or Python.

Application Requirements: Online application form, answers to a few questions pertaining to the student's background & coding experience, math courses, and areas of interest. 


The AI4ALL Open Learning Program offers a unique opportunity for high school students worldwide to engage deeply with artificial intelligence through a self-paced, project-based learning model. The program is designed to be inclusive, aiming to introduce students, especially those from underrepresented groups, to AI and its potential for social impact. The curriculum aligns with various standards: NGSS Engineering, ISTE, Common Core ELA/Literacy, and CSTA standards.


Throughout the course, students work on projects that tackle real-world problems using AI, helping them understand both the technical aspects and the ethical implications of AI technologies. The program is largely independent in study, which is perfect for students who want to learn at their own pace. This guidance helps students learn the fundamentals and explore advanced concepts and their applications in various fields.


Location: Virtual

Application deadline: N/A

Program dates: Self-paced, typically completed in 3-6 months.

Eligibility: Open to all 

Application Requirements: Simply access the Open Learning modules online.


Harvard's College Program offers a course on Mathematical Elements of Data Science and Artificial Intelligence, which will reach into the mathematical aspects of modern data science algorithms in Python. Thus, this course is perfect for those seeking to understand how logic and mathematics are applied to teach computers how to perform tasks and improve continuously.


Alongside working with Harvard faculty and cohorts sized from 12 to 18 students, you, as a participant, will be gaining insights into the newest AI trends. The Mathematical Elements of Data Science and Artificial Intelligence course covers essential mathematical concepts and their application in AI and data science. This includes single-variable calculus, three-dimensional geometry, elementary statistics, and coding in Python. By participating in this program, you'll not only acquire valuable AI knowledge but also earn university credit for your academic achievements.


Do note that this is another paid program. However, they offer need-blind financial aid that you can apply for. 


Location: Harvard campus

Application deadline: Early applications are due mid-January. Regular applications are due mid-February.

Program dates

  • Summer 2024 Session I: June 23–July 5, 2024

  • Summer 2024 Session II: July 7–July 19, 2024

  • Summer 2024 Session III: July 21–August 2, 2024

Eligibility:

Rising juniors and seniors that are at least 16 years old and not older than 19 years old.

Application Requirements: Submission of an online application, unofficial high school transcript, standardized test scores (optional), responses to essay prompts, and two letters of recommendation. 


Carnegie Mellon University's AI Scholars program offers high school students an immersive experience in the field of artificial intelligence. The program, which is completely merit-based and grant-funded, emphasizes hands-on learning and real-world problem-solving within the domain of AI. With a selective cohort size of approximately 30 students, the program fosters a collaborative and intimate learning environment that encourages deep engagement and innovation.


During the three-week course, students are exposed to a rigorous curriculum that includes both theoretical components and practical AI projects. They have the opportunity to work on tailored projects under the guidance of CMU faculty and graduate students, which enhances their understanding and skills in AI. These courses offer hands-on experience with group projects, an in-depth introduction to ongoing research projects, and preparation for college academics and post-graduate studies, providing a comprehensive view of the AI landscape and its career possibilities.


Location: Carnegie Mellon Campus. 

Application deadline: Early March.

Program dates: June 22 - July 20, 2024.

Eligibility: High school juniors who are at least 16 years of age and U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or registered with DACA; no prior coding experience is required.

Application Requirements: Submission of an online application and supplemental materials, including application fee, counselor report, and transcripts.


The UCSD Research Experience for High School Students program, hosted by the San Diego Supercomputer Center, is an eight-week summer program that pairs students with faculty mentors to work on projects that span across various scientific disciplines, including but not limited to bioinformatics, machine learning, and data analytics. 


The curriculum includes training in advanced computational techniques and tools alongside workshops that focus on scientific communication skills to prepare students for a potential future in scientific research. Additionally, the program often features guest lectures from industry professionals and academia, providing students with a broader perspective of the opportunities and challenges in the field of computational sciences.


Do note that this program is only free for non-research projects. 


Location: Main UCSD campus

Application deadline: Mid-March.

Program dates: June 17 – August 9, 2024.

Eligibility: Students must be Southern California residents who have completed their most recent semester of high school and be in grade 10, 11 or 12 with a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0.

Application Requirements: Submission of an online application and cover letter.


Stemming from MIT’s Media Lab, the Day of AI is a free, annual program offering curriculum and practical experience for K-12 students to gain greater familiarity with artificial intelligence and its practical applications. Throughout the program, you’ll learn the basics of AI, its benefits and risks, and how to design and create with AI. 


The “High School CS” track is much more technical and ideal for students who are more familiar with coding, ranging from block-based programming languages to Python. Both will provide exposure to data science visualization, image classification, and data activism. If you’re looking for a low-pressure opportunity to study AI, then check it out!


Location: Virtual

Application deadline: NA

Program dates: Global event on May 13, 2024

Eligibility: N/A

Application Requirements: Online registration.


Have you wondered how you can improve society through AI? Sponsored by Technovation Families, this challenge asks you to consider exactly that: identify a problem in your community and devise a solution using AI technology. 


Before starting the challenge, students visit the Technovation Families program and take brief modules to learn about the applications of AI and machine learning in different contexts. This is a fantastic opportunity to learn about AI and apply your knowledge in a competitive environment. Furthermore, the program invites students to involve their families in these questions and devise a solution as a team.


Location: Virtual

Application deadline: Variable

Program dates: Variable

Eligibility: High school students 18 and under

Application Requirements: Online registration.


The MIT Beaver Works Summer Institute is a rigorous, four-week program that provides talented high school students with the opportunity to participate in a dynamic learning environment on the MIT campus, focusing on hands-on, project-based learning in cutting-edge technological fields.


Students enrolled in the MIT Beaver Works Summer Institute work closely with MIT faculty, researchers, and industry experts to design, build, and test projects that reflect real-world applications. For example, participants might develop autonomous vehicles, build drones, or program sophisticated computer systems. Alongside these projects, students also participate in workshops and lectures that enhance their understanding of the theoretical aspects of their work. 


Do note that this program is free for those whose families’ incomes are below $150,000.


Location: MIT Campus

Application deadline: March 2024

Program dates: July 8 - August 4, 2024

Program selectivity: Very high

Eligibility: All high school students

Application Requirements: Submission of nomination form and online registration.


Designed to make cutting-edge technologies accessible, NVIDIA Deep Learning Institute (DLI) courses range from introductory to expert levels, covering topics such as AI fundamentals, accelerated computing, and applied deep learning. The program is self-paced, allowing participants to explore at their own rhythm, anytime, anywhere, with just a computer and an internet connection.


The curriculum includes developing AI models for tasks like image classification, natural language processing, and autonomous machines. While the program primarily operates online, it supports learning through an array of resources, such as interactive labs powered by NVIDIA's advanced GPU technology. By demonstrating subject matter competency, you may also earn certificates to prove your hard work!


Location: Virtual

Application deadline: NA

Program dates: Self-paced

Eligibility: N/A

Application Requirements: None; simply check out the modules available on their website


Princeton AI4ALL is an exclusive three-week summer program designed to expose high school students, particularly those from underrepresented backgrounds, to the field of artificial intelligence and machine learning. The program selects a small cohort of approximately 30 students to ensure a personalized and intensive educational experience. 


Students in the Princeton AI4ALL program engage deeply with AI concepts by working on projects that solve real-world problems using AI tools and techniques. The curriculum not only focuses on the technical skills necessary for building AI systems but also emphasizes the social and ethical implications of AI technologies. 


Location: Princeton campus

Application deadline: Mid-March 2024

Program dates: July 14th - August 3rd, 2024

Eligibility

  • Students must be in 10th grade at the time of application and going into 11th grade in Fall 2024.

  • Live in the United States. Students who live and attend school abroad, including US citizens, will not be considered.

  • Meet at least one of the socioeconomic conditions below:

  • Combined household income does not exceed $60,000.

  • Your family income or circumstances qualify you to receive free or reduced-price lunch in your high school.

  • Your family income or circumstances qualify you to receive an SAT or ACT fee waiver.

Application Requirements: The application requires an academic transcript and the contact information of someone to write a letter of recommendation, alongside some short answer questions and questions about the applicant.


Our Thoughts

Exploring AI through these diverse programs offers students not only a jumpstart into a complex and promising field but also cultivates a broader understanding of its impacts on society. Engaging with expert mentors, participating in real-world projects, and accessing cutting-edge resources help demystify AI technology while encouraging ethical considerations and innovative thinking. For students looking to carve a niche in STEM and bolster their academic profiles, these opportunities are invaluable stepping stones that enhance both personal growth and professional prospects.


If you’re interested in engaging in different AI opportunities as a high schooler, you can look at our blogs on the 11 Best AI Camps or our blog on 8 Machine Learning Internships!



One other option – the Lumiere Research Scholar Program

If you are interested in doing university-level research in AI or other subjects, then you could also consider applying to the Lumiere Research Scholar Program, a selective online high school program 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.


Lydia is currently a junior at Harvard University, studying Molecular and Cellular Biology and Economics. In high school, she was the captain of her high school’s Academic Decathlon team and attended the Governor's School of Engineering and Technology. She aims to become a life sciences consultant after graduation.


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