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10 Free Engineering Programs for High School Students

If you're contemplating a future in engineering, delving into the field during high school offers an excellent opportunity to assess your interest and identify your preferred engineering specialization. However, some of these programs can be costly, and inaccessible to underrepresented segments of the population. Hence, we’ve curated a list of 10 prestigious and free engineering programs for ambitious high school students across the U.S.

Participating in free engineering programs is a prestigious opportunity that sets students apart in college applications. Early exposure to STEM subjects, particularly engineering, showcases a proactive approach to learning and a genuine passion for the field. By engaging in hands-on experiences and mentorship from experts, students not only deepen their understanding but also demonstrate key attributes like curiosity and initiative sought by colleges. Such involvement not only enriches a student's academic profile but also lays a strong foundation for future success in STEM fields.

Note: Many of the programs mentioned below provide stipend as well. 

The Lumiere research program, founded by Harvard and Oxford PhDs, offers a unique opportunity for those interested in computer engineering. Through a one-on-one structure, students work closely with a PhD mentor on independent research projects. Lumiere emphasizes cross-disciplinary research, integrating computer science, mathematics, and engineering to address real-world challenges. Participants have the flexibility to choose their area of interest, whether in hardware design, software development, embedded systems, or artificial intelligence. Financial aid ensures accessibility for students from diverse backgrounds.

Note: 100% aid is offered for this program. 

Location: Virtual. 

Program Dates: 12 weeks in summer 2024. 

Application Deadline:  12th May, 2024

Eligibility: High school students

The internship programs offered by NASA's Office of STEM Engagement (OSTEM) present a distinctive opportunity for high school students to delve into leading-edge projects. These programs enable students to apply their passion for robotics to real-world challenges in the aerospace sector.

Engaging in NASA OSTEM provides an avenue for honing practical skills essential for a career in computer engineering. Interns undertake a variety of tasks such as software system design, algorithm optimization, and active involvement in robotics initiatives. The practical experience garnered through a NASA OSTEM internship not only fosters technical proficiency but also strengthens college applications. Admission officers highly value hands-on experiences and the fresh perspectives gained from collaborating with NASA engineers. This internship allows participants to showcase their dedication to robotics, distinguishing them in a competitive applicant pool.

Note: Stipend is also provided in this program. 

Location: NASA centers across the country. 

Program Dates: Spring session (Mid January - Early May), Summer session (Late May - August), Fall session (Late August - Mid December) 

Application Deadline:  May 26 (Fall), August 30 (Spring), October 20 (Summer)


  • Be a U.S. citizen

  • Have a cumulative 3.0 GPA (on a 4.0 scale)

  • Be a full-time student

  • Be a minimum of 16 years of age at the time of application 

With an acceptance rate below 3%, this competitive program admits only 12 high school students annually. Once selected, students join a cohort to conduct research across various fields, including engineering, under the guidance of top scholars. Alongside 1-on-1 mentorship, participants attend discussions, seminars, and field visits. The program offers practical research experience and knowledge building, facilitated by experienced faculty members. Research disciplines for the upcoming program will be updated on the website; past options included biology, physics, electrical and computer engineering, and chemistry.

Note: Students will receive a stipend of $750 on completion of the program.

Location: TexasTech University campus, Lubbock, TX. This is a residential program!

Program Dates: June 16, 2024 - August 1, 2024 (7 weeks) 

Application Deadline: February 15, 2024

Eligibility: Students who will be at least 17 years old by the program start date, are set to graduate in 2024 or 2025, and are U.S. citizens or permanent residents can apply.

RSI, hosted by the Center for Excellence in Education in partnership with MIT, is tailored for students with a fervent interest in technology and a drive for innovative research. Each year, RSI admits 100 high-achieving high school students who delve into on-campus coursework and off-campus research endeavors. Participants thrive in an intellectually stimulating environment, collaborating with peers worldwide and engaging in high-level scientific inquiry. Through hands-on projects and discussions with leading experts, students actively contribute to pushing the boundaries of technology. The program's commitment to academic excellence ensures that participants not only study technology but also conduct their own research projects under the guidance of experienced researchers. The final week culminates in presentations of their findings, both written and oral, showcasing their achievements.

Location: MIT campus, Cambridge

Program Dates: July - August (6 weeks)

Application Deadline: Applications for 2024 are closed. Please keep checking the program page for 2025 application dates.

Eligibility: Rising high school seniors are eligible to apply. It is recommended that PSAT Math Scores be at least 740 or higher and the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing Score be 700 or higher. ACT math scores should be at least 33 and verbal scores at least 34. 

The Beaver Works Summer Institute (BWSI) stands out as an ideal option for students eager to dive into a hands-on journey into robotics, autonomous systems, and mechanical engineering. Within BWSI, you'll delve into practical skills like designing, constructing, and programming robotic systems, all while gaining a deep understanding of computer engineering principles. The curriculum delves into cutting-edge technologies, engineering methodologies, and computer science techniques.

A standout feature of the program is the collaborative project, where you'll team up with fellow students to create autonomous drones, rovers, or other innovative robotic systems. This project culminates in a final presentation, offering participants a platform to showcase their hard work. BWSI caters perfectly to ambitious, imaginative high school students who are eager to broaden their horizons, tackle challenging projects, and nurture their passion for mechanical engineering within a supportive, intellectually stimulating environment. It's worth noting that admission to the Beaver Works Summer Institute is highly competitive and limited due to its selective nature.

Location: In-person at MIT and Virtual

Program Dates: July - August

Application Deadline:  March 31 

Eligibility: Rising High school seniors who attends school in the US

The MITES (Minority Introduction to Engineering and Science) Summer Program at MIT presents an exceptional opportunity for students with a fervent interest in mechanical engineering and STEM fields. This program holds particular value for underrepresented minority students aspiring to forge careers in engineering.

Throughout the program, participants engage in a rigorous curriculum spanning a broad spectrum of STEM disciplines, with a notable emphasis on computer engineering. By partaking in MITES, you'll acquire foundational knowledge, cultivate problem-solving prowess, and actively contribute to hands-on engineering projects. Often, the culmination of the program involves a capstone project that challenges you to apply acquired skills to real-world problems.

MITES caters to highly motivated, academically proficient students with a thirst for exploring the frontiers of mechanical engineering, especially within the esteemed environment of MIT. It's crucial to recognize that MITES is intensely competitive and academically demanding, which may pose challenges for some individuals. Moreover, given its focus on underrepresented minority students, the program may not suit everyone's aspirations equally.

Location: MIT 

Program Dates: 6 weeks - Late June to Early August

Application Deadline:  Feb 1, 2024

Eligibility: High school juniors; underrepresented, underserved, and first generation students are especially encouraged to apply.

SAMS provides an immersive STEM experience tailored for future computer engineers. The curriculum emphasizes coding, robotics, and design principles through hands-on projects and problem-solving tasks. Participants gain both theoretical knowledge and practical skills essential for the field. The program's group projects culminate in building working prototypes, showcasing engineering abilities. SAMS is competitive, with a challenging admissions process and a fast-paced curriculum that may be demanding. If you're ready for the challenge, applying to SAMS is worth considering!

Location: Carnegie Mellon University

Program Dates: Six weeks from June to August

Application Deadline: 1st March, 2024

Eligibility:High school juniors who are at least 16; Underrepresented and underserved students are especially encouraged to apply.

The Boston Leadership Institute Engineering Research Program is ideal for students passionate about computer engineering. It offers an opportunity to explore and enhance understanding in this field through hands-on research projects and experiments. Participants delve into advanced topics like computer design and thermodynamics, culminating in a final research project where solutions to engineering problems are presented. This program is perfect for those eager to delve into computer engineering and develop research and presentation skills.

Location: Boston

Program Dates: July 15 - August 2. 

Application Deadline: January

Eligibility: High school students

NYU's ARISE offers a comprehensive summer program catering to students interested in various engineering disciplines. Its interdisciplinary curriculum covers subjects like chemical engineering, robotics, computer science, and more. Through hands-on research in labs, workshops on ethics and data collection, and mentorship from NYU's faculty, students develop skills and engage in meaningful projects. The program culminates in a colloquium where students present their findings. The 2024 cohort will accept 76-80 students.

Note: Students will receive a stipend of at least $750.

Location: NYU campus, New York City, NY

Program Dates: June 3, 2024 - August 9, 2024 (10 weeks). The first 4 weeks will be remote after-school workshops, and the next 6 weeks will have in-person labs on weekdays. 

Application Deadline: March 1, 2024

Eligibility: Students residing in New York City, who will complete 10th or 11th grade in June 2024, are eligible to apply.

Kode With Klossy, initiated by model and entrepreneur Karlie Kloss, provides a fortnight-long summer camp designed to empower young women and non-binary individuals in high school by delving into the realms of coding and technology. The program offers four main tracks to choose from: web development, mobile app development, machine learning, and data science. The first two options are particularly well-suited for students with a passion for software engineering, covering aspects such as front-end development, UI/UX enhancement, and programming languages like JavaScript and HTML. Additionally, participants will gain hands-on experience with tools such as Xcode and Apple’s SwiftUI framework. However, prospective attendees are encouraged to review the details of each track to determine which aligns best with their interests.

Location: Virtual and in-person tracks available, with in-person camps taking place in several locations like Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, LA, NYC, Seattle, and more

Program Dates: Session 1 from June 3, 2024 – June 14, 2024, Session 2 from June 17, 2024 – June 28, 2024, Session 3 from July 8, 2024 – July 19, 2024, Session 4 from July 22, 2024 – August 2, 2024, Session 5 from August 5, 2024 – August 16, 2024

Application Deadline:  April 10, 2024

Eligibility: Girls, gender non-conforming and trans students who are between the ages of 13 - 18

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!

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: NASA logo


Eddy Smith
Eddy Smith
3 days ago

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