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10 Free Business Programs for High School Students

Are you a high school student with an eye for business and a passion for learning? Exploring free business programs while still in high school can be a game-changer for your future. 

These programs, typically hosted by universities or business colleges, expose you to key business concepts such as entrepreneurship, marketing, finance, and leadership through a combination of lectures, interactive workshops, and team projects. Not only do they offer invaluable insights into the world of commerce, but they also provide hands-on experience, mentorship opportunities, and a chance to stand out on your college applications. Applying for these free business programs will demonstrate your initiative, dedication to personal growth, and a keen interest in pursuing a career in business.


In this blog, we cover 10 of the best free business programs for high school students. 


The Young Founders Lab is a real-world start-up bootcamp founded and run by Harvard entrepreneurs. In this program, you will work towards building a revenue-generating start-up that addresses a real-world problem. You will also have the opportunity to be mentored by established entrepreneurs and professionals from Google, Microsoft, and X.

Apart from building the start-up itself, you will also participate in interactive classes on business fundamentals and business ideations, workshops and skill-building sessions, case studies, panel discussions and more.

The program is an excellent opportunity to delve into the world of business in high school, and having a space to explore multiple theoretical as well as practical frameworks that lead to a successful business. You can check out the brochure for the program here.


Cost: The total cost to attend the 4-week program is $2900 (100% need-based financial aid available)

Location: This program is 100% virtual, with live, interactive workshops 

Eligibility: The program is currently open to all high school students

Program Dates: The 2024 edition of the program starts on June 5th and spans over 4-weeks.

Application Deadline: There are 3 application deadlines that you can choose between: 

  • Early Decision Deadline: March 17th, 2024

  • Regular Admission Deadline 1: April 14, 2024

  • Regular Admission Deadline 2: May 12th, 2024


You can access the application link here!


The Lumiere Research Scholar Program is a rigorous research program tailored for high school students. The program offers extensive 1-on-1 research opportunities for high school students, across a broad range of subject areas that you can explore as a high schooler. 


The program pairs high-school students with Ph.D. mentors to work 1-on-1 on an independent research project. At the end of the 12-week program, you’ll have developed an independent research paper! You can choose research topics from subjects such as business, economics, entrepreneurship, finance and more. You can find more details about the application here!


Application Deadline: Varying deadlines based on cohort. Main summer deadlines are March 15, April 15, and May 15

Duration: Options range from 12 weeks to 1 year.

Location: Remote — you can participate in this program from anywhere in the world!

Eligibility:

  • You must be currently enrolled in high school

  • Students must demonstrate a high level of academic achievement. (Note. students have an unweighted GPA of 3.3 out of 4)

  • No previous knowledge of your field of interest is required!

Program Dates: Summer cohort runs from June to August, Fall cohort from September to December, Winter cohort from December to February, Spring from March to June 


Ladder Internships is a selective start-up internship program for ambitious high school students! In the program, you work with a high-growth start-up on an internship. Start-ups that offer internships range across a variety of industries from tech/deep tech, AI/ML to health tech, marketing, journalism, consulting, and more. You can explore all the options here on their application form


Ladder’s start-ups are high-growth companies on average raising over a million dollars. Past founders have included YCombinator alums, founders raising over 30 million dollars, or founders who previously worked at Microsoft, Google, and Facebook. In the program, interns work closely with their managers and a Ladder Coach on real-world projects and present their work to the company. Here is the application form


Interns are offered one-on-one training in communication, time management and other such valuable skills and will also have the opportunity to attend group training sessions with other interns in their cohort. The virtual internship is usually 8 weeks long.


Cost: $1490 (100% financial aid available)

Location: Remote! You can work from anywhere in the world.

Eligibility: Students who can work for 10-20 hours/week, for 8-12 weeks. Open to high school students, undergraduates and gap year students!

Program dates: Multiple cohorts throughout the year

Application deadline: Deadlines vary depending on the cohort 

Target Submission Date: April 29, 2024


The Business Opportunities Summer Session (BOSS) at Penn State's University Park campus offers a great opportunity to high school students interested to get a head start. This two-week, residential program is specifically designed to introduce you to the rigors of college life and the fundamentals of business education through a series of college prep and business courses taught by Penn State faculty. 


During the program, you'll engage in a variety of classes and activities that cover key aspects of business. For example, you'll explore Management and Organization, learn about the intricacies of Supply Chain, and delve into Ethics and Social Responsibility. Additionally, you'll have the chance to develop your business writing and presentation skills, and enhance your business communication competencies. The program also includes a focus on Corporate Innovation and Entrepreneurship, providing you with a well-rounded understanding of what it takes to succeed in the business world.


Cost: Only a $50 registration fee for accepted students

Location: Penn State, Smeal College of Business, Pennsylvania

Eligibility: High school juniors residing in the U.S. or Puerto Rico interested in pursuing a business education in college

Program Dates: June 16-28, 2024

Application Deadline: March 22, 2024


At the Harvard Student Agencies Business Academy, high school students can explore entrepreneurship and business management through two week-long distinct academies. In the Business: Entrepreneurship Academy, you will learn the fundamentals of launching a business, extending your financial literacy, and diving deep into the startup ecosystem. Apart from hands-on experience, you will get the chance to enhance your analytical thinking, and ultimately present an innovative business idea in a startup pitch simulation to judges.


In the Business: Management and Strategy Academy, you will tackle corporate challenges, from improving profitability to achieving market penetration with new products. Acting as consultants, you will learn to analyze business data, devise solutions to major firm problems, and delve into mergers, acquisitions, pricing strategies, and financial statements. This program aims to enhance your problem-solving skills, provide insights into managing a firm's logistical and operational components, and teach you to interpret corporate financial documents for better understanding a firm’s market performance.


Cost: $1600 (99% need-based financial aid available)

Location: Harvard University Campus, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Eligibility: Grade 9th-12th high school students. Students must be 14+ at the time of the program to attend.

Program Dates: Week-long sessions between June and August

Application Deadline: Rolling applications


The Michigan Ross Summer Business Academy is a two-week pre-college program designed for highly motivated high school students from diverse backgrounds who wish to explore a career in business. During this program, you will be given a thorough introduction on how companies function, the problem-solving strategies of leaders, and the life of a business student at Michigan Ross. You will also get the opportunity to truly understand the essence of business, offering insights into business operations, potential career paths, and an authentic college experience by collaborating with a group of high-achieving peers. Moreover, you will have the chance to engage with Ross faculty, corporate partners, and industry professionals, enriching your understanding and broadening your network. The theme of leadership with purpose is emphasized, prompting students to reflect on the significance of ethical business leadership.


Cost: $5000 (Full and partial need-based scholarships available)

Location: Stephen M. Ross School of Business, University of Michigan, Michigan 

Eligibility: Current rising high school seniors. Preference will be given to U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Students must maintain a minimum, cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher.

Program Dates: June 14 - 28, 2024

Application Deadline: Applications for the 2025 Summer Business Academy will open in November 2024


Babson Summer Study is a three-week intensive online program for high school students wherein you will cultivate an entrepreneurial mindset and get a broad understanding of  leadership, marketing, finance, and business communication. Through a focus on understanding the United Nations Global Goals, you will gain the confidence to tackle real-world issues, seize opportunities, and make a difference, all while earning 4 college credits from Babson.


The program boasts a global network, allowing you to connect with a diverse cohort of students passionate about entrepreneurship and innovation. The entrepreneurial ecosystem at Babson will allow you to hear from leaders within Babson’s entrepreneurial network, engage with faculty, alumni, and students through panels and presentations, and participate in both live and asynchronous academic coursework. The course schedule includes live sessions lasting approximately 3 hours daily, with an expectation of up to 5 additional hours each day for out-of-class assignments. 


Cost: $6295 + $95 application fee (Full and partial need-based scholarships available)

Location: Online

Eligibility: Rising high school juniors and seniors. All applicants must be age 16 or older by the start of the program.

Program Dates: July 8 - 29, 2024

Application Deadline: Rolling applications


The KeyBank Business Leadership Program, at the University of Colorado Boulder, is a week-long fully-funded program designed for high school students who identify as underrepresented, diverse, students of color and/or first generation, and who are interested in gaining new perspectives on issues related to business and diversity. The program is designed to offer a high-impact learning experience through a case study. 


During the program, you will not only gain hands-on experience competing in a case challenge set to solve real-world business problems, but will also be tasked with working in teams to create and implement a marketing campaign for the program’s corporate partners. The team that creates the best solution will win a $1000 scholarship to the University of Colorado Leeds School of Business.


Cost: Free!

Location: Leeds School of Business, University of Colorado Boulder, Colorado

Eligibility: Current high school juniors entering their senior year. Priority consideration for Colorado Residents and students enrolled in a Colorado High School.

Program Dates: June 23 - 29, 2024

Application Deadline: Applications open in December and close in April


The Summer Venture in Business is a week-long pre-college program housed at the University of Kansas (KU) School of Business for high school students. The aim of this program is to acquaint the students with aspects of the college experience in and out of the classroom. It will serve as a pathway for students to connect with the academic support and chances available at KU. Along with learning about business, the program will equip the participants with the knowledge and tools required to apply to college, succeed, and thrive in their future careers. All students that are accepted into the Summer Venture in Business program receive a scholarship that covers program costs (housing, dining, program materials, etc.).


Cost: Free!

Location: University of Kansas, Kansas

Eligibility: Rising grade 10th - 12th underrepresented students and/or potential first-generation college students. Students from the state of Kansas and the Greater Kansas City area will be given preference.

Program Dates:

  • First session: June 9–14, 2024

  • Second session: July 14–19, 2024

Application Deadline: April 28, 2024


If you will be a rising high school sophomore, junior, or senior in the summer of 2024 and are curious about how business, language, and culture connect, then this two-week program is perfect for you! Hosted by the Indiana University Center for International Business Education and Research, this immersive experience aims to teach students firsthand why ‘business is global.’ Throughout the program, you will learn about the cultures and communication styles of the featured foreign languages. You will also gain fundamental knowledge of business practices in both the United States and the specified regions through an intensive curriculum. These sessions will cover essential business terminology, offer insights into how businesses operate, and illustrate how global events influence international business. 


Weekdays will be structured into two-day segments, each dedicated to exploring the languages and cultures featured in the program. Mornings will kick off with both a business and language session. In the afternoons, activities will be hands-on and engaging, covering regional cultures, political landscapes, and business environments. These sessions will feature group discussions, career insights, and cultural activities tailored to specific regions. You will also collaborate on a team project to be presented on the program's last day.


Cost: $1900 (Full need-based scholarships available)

Location: Kelley School of Business, Indiana University, Indiana

Eligibility: Rising high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors

Program Dates: June 23 - July 6, 2024

Application Deadline: April 14, 2024



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.



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