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10 Free Summer Programs for High School Students in NYC (New York City)

If you’re a high schooler in NYC, thinking about exploring a subject of interest, learning a new skill, or planning your college applications – consider doing a summer program! Often, these pre-college summer programs can come with a cost that isn’t always feasible. So, we’ve curated a list of 10 free summer programs in NYC that you can consider as a high school student!

Summer programs can give you the opportunity to dive into a subject beyond the standard school curriculum, develop knowledge and skills that will be useful to you in the future, get a glimpse of college life, and form connections that will last long after the summer is over! Free or fully-funded programs are also competitive, and often offered by prestigious organizations. Securing a place in such a program demonstrates to colleges and employers that you’re dedicated to the subject and motivated to work hard. These programs could also expose you to potential career paths and help you figure out if it’s the right fit for you, as you’ll gain practical insight into the field before committing to it as your college major!

In this blog, we’ve covered 10 free summer programs in New York for high school students, across various fields, from STEM to the arts, business to medicine. 

Location: NYU campus, New York City, NY

Application Deadline: March 1, 2024

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.

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

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

This program offers a comprehensive summer experience and is ideal for students interested in engineering and its various subsets. ARISE is structured with an interdisciplinary curriculum, covering subjects and courses across chemical engineering, robotics, computer science, bio- and molecular engineering, machine learning, anthropology, biology, aerospace engineering, and AI.

During this program, you can expect to develop skills in various STEM disciplines through hands-on work in research labs. You will also attend classroom learning sessions, workshops (on ethics, lab safety, and data collection), and college admissions prep sessions. A standout feature of this program is the mentorship opportunities – students will be guided by NYU’s research faculty, learning in a collaborative environment, and working on innovative research projects that contribute to advancements in their chosen STEM fields. At the end of the program, you will present your findings at a colloquium. The 2024 cohort will accept 76-80 students.

Location: Multiple locations in the country (including several in NY) + week-long residential Student Leaders Summit in Washington, D.C.

Application Deadline: Applications open in October and typically close in January.

Program Dates:  8-week summer internship, including an all-expenses-covered week-long Student Leadership Summit in Washington, DC. Dates vary by location, but the internship usually begins shortly after the school year ends.

Eligibility: Current high school juniors and seniors are eligible to apply. See all eligibility criteria here.

Stipend: It is a paid internship, but no information is available on the exact amount. The trip to Washington DC is covered by the bank!

Bank of America selects about 300 driven high school students from over 100 diverse communities for this is a prestigious, competitive program. It aims to encourage students’ community-mindedness, offering opportunities and training to those passionate about positively impacting their communities. Once selected, you will be placed at a local nonprofit organization near you, where you will learn about the various aspects of running such an organization, engage in community service projects, and develop a deeper understanding of social issues, you will simultaneously work on skills that will aid in your future academics and career, such as leadership and community skills.

You will engage in real-world projects and assignments related to financial analysis and community leadership, applying classroom knowledge to practical situations. The internship includes a week-long Student Leadership Summit held in Washington, DC. The travel, food, and stay will be covered by the bank. You will get to network with and learn from professionals during this summit!

Location: New York City

Application Deadline: Applications typically close in January.

Program Dates: May - August

Eligibility: NYC public high school students are eligible to apply.

If you’re interested in the dynamic field of law, consider this program! Conducted by the New York City Bar, the program aims to match keen and motivated high school students in the city with legal employers. The employers include law firms, corporations, non-profit organizations, and government agencies. The internship offers you practical training, panel discussions, and networking events to help you prepare for a career in law. During the program, your duties may include assisting paralegals, filing paperwork, maintaining records, and organizing documents. 

In addition to the on-the-job experience, you will also receive exposure to the legal profession through development programs offered by your legal employers as part of the internship program.

Location: New York University, NY

Application Deadline: Applications for 2024 are closed. They are usually close around April 

Program Dates: July 15, 2024 - August 9, 2024 

Eligibility: Students who are NYC residents and currently enrolled in 9th, 10th, or 11th grade 

Stipend: No stipend offered.

If you’re curious about computer science and/or cyber security but haven’t explored the subjects much, then this program is the perfect place to get started. Here, you will get to learn about a range of topics, like digital forensics, cryptography, steganography, and privacy, from the top-notch NYU faculty and graduates. The program’s curriculum is carefully curated to include both developing theoretical knowledge and practical skills in the field of coding. 

Additional coursework includes learning about software tools and techniques to detect and investigate cyber threats, the use of ciphers, coding skills, and more. The program will also touch base on understanding the behavioral science behind cyber attacks. Moreover, you will also participate in Irondale - a program that aims to develop communication and public speaking skills with the help of improv. 

For a detailed review of the program, tap check this out! 

Location: The Met Fifth Avenue, NY

Application Deadline: School-year Internship: October 28, 2023 | Summer Internship: March 31, 2023

Program Dates: Summer Internship: June 25, 2024 - August 12, 2024 | School-year Internship: January 14, 2024 - June 9, 2024

Eligibility: High school juniors and seniors based in and around New York City 

Stipend: $1,100

The Metropolitan Museum of Art invites high school students to apply for paid internships that will cover art, design, architecture, and creative expression. The Met offers two kinds of internships - one that goes on alongside your school year, and the other that runs exclusively in the summer.

The program invites a cohort of students to connect with art, museums, and creative professionals as they develop professional skills, network, and gain work experience. As a MET intern, you regularly interact with museum professionals, as well as experts in marketing, scientific research, social media, law, and educational programming. You also participate in Career Labs - sessions where you interact and learn from professionals about their work, and experiences, and receive advice. This is a highly valuable opportunity for students passionate not just about art, but related fields as well!

Location: New York University, NY

Application Deadline: Applications typically close in April 

Program Dates: Five weeks in the summer.

Eligibility: Students who are NYC residents and currently enrolled in 9th, 10th, or 11th grade and have basic physics and coding knowledge. 

Stipend: No stipend is offered

The ieSoSC Summer Program combines science, technology, and entrepreneurship to offer a program to high school students keen on shaping the trajectory of smart cities. You will gain hands-on experience in circuit deployment, sensor integration, coding, and more. On the entrepreneurial side, you will engage in product management, pitch presentations, and navigating parenting. The coursework is designed to provide you with holistic knowledge about these subjects. The program will conclude with a Shark Tank event, where you will conduct your final presentation in the form of a pitch to a panel of entrepreneurs. To complement your program, there will be improv workshops to boost communication, public speaking skills, and connections with fellow coursemates. 

Location: CUNY Brooklyn or CUNY York college campus, NY / Virtual

Application Deadline: The applications for spring 2024 cohorts will open soon, followed by the summer 2024 applications. Keep checking the apply page to find out the dates.

Program Dates: Spring 2024 (around 6 weeks) and Summer 2024 (around 10 days in July)

Eligibility: NYC juniors, seniors, and graduating seniors are eligible

Stipend: Students will receive a stipend, information on the exact amount is not available  

This program is perfect for students keen to explore the worlds of media and journalism. City Limits, NYC’s oldest non-profit investigative news agency, launched the City Limits Accountability Reporting Initiative for Youth (CLARIFY) in 2014 to empower the youth and train students in public service journalism. Interns are trained in the essential tenets of reporting and news writing. 

During this program, you will be trained in interviewing, investigating, ethics, photojournalism, reporting, and news writing. You will collaborate with your instructors to publish your work in City Limits. You will work with City Limits reporters and focus on local, relevant news stories. In Fall 2023, for instance, interns worked on a reporting project about Mayor Eric Adams’ work and progress in the area of housing. Read the previous articles by CLARIFY alums here! 

Location: Museum of Arts and Design (MAD), New York, NY

Application deadline: April 7, 2024 

Program Dates: July 9, 2024–August 16, 2024 (Artslife)

Eligibility: Rising high school sophomores and juniors in NYC can apply

Stipend: $16 an hour and an unlimited MetroCard for the duration of the internship (Artslife)

MAD offers Artslife, a paid art internship to high schoolers in New York City. The 6-week Artslife program offers a combination of art and design through leadership training, museum studies, and community engagement. Students will explore all kinds of careers in museum departments—Curatorial, Education, Development, Communications and Marketing, Visitor Services, Security, and Registrar. The first week of Artslife will be primarily focused on team bonding and an introduction to the museum. The next five weeks focus on collaborative projects (which could involve the creation of artwork and visits to other cultural institutions) with mentors, which include museum staff, local designers, and arts professionals. 

This is a great opportunity to build presentation and communication skills and work on getting career-ready. 

Location: Genspace, Brooklyn, NY

Eligibility: Students 15 years or older by July 1, 2020, who attend a NYC public or charter school within 45 minutes of Genspace, can apply.

Application deadline: Applications typically open in the fall and close in February.

Program dates: Spring semester (February to May) | Summer semester (July to August). For exact dates take a look at the region-wise program information.

Stipend: $1,000

Genspace, a community biotech lab in New York City, offers this program for students keen to explore the world of biotechnology and genetic engineering. During this program, you will conduct research work across diverse topics such as DNA sequencing, genetic engineering, and bioinformatics. You will be guided by expert mentors and deepen your understanding of the intricate workings of life sciences. You will have access to top-notch laboratory facilities and technologies, encouraging you to develop essential laboratory techniques and analytical skills. A few research subjects that student interns covered in the past, as a part of this program, include the behaviors of biofilm, algal growth in relation to water purification, and Zebrafish liver cells as biosensors. 

What sets the Biorocket Program apart is its emphasis on practical learning, allowing students to conduct real experiments in a fully-equipped biotech laboratory. This program not only equips students with practical biotech skills but also fosters a deep passion for the field, instilling a sense of responsibility for the ethical and responsible use of biotechnology. 

Location: New York Historical Society, New York, NY

Application deadline:Program dates: October - June

Eligibility: High school students entering grades 10, 11, or 12 can apply. Applicants must live in and attend school in the New York City metro area (includes the five boroughs of New York City, as well as areas of New York State, Connecticut, and New Jersey). 

Stipend: Interns who attend a Title 1 School or are eligible for free or reduced lunch will be offered a stipend to participate. Unpaid internships will be provided for all other accepted students, with the option to receive community service hours or school credit. Participation in this program can be used to fulfill the extracurricular requirement for the NYSED Seal of Civic Readiness. 

The Student Historian internship program allows high school students to utilize New York Historical's resources to conduct research and showcase their scholarly work through innovative digital projects. During the program, you will participate in informative sessions with experts, gaining insight into the realm of museums, libraries, digital humanities, and history. You will also work closely with your peers to enhance their historical analysis, communication, and digital media abilities, fostering a collaborative mindest. Additionally, you will actively engage in hands-on activities that will deepen your grasp of American history and the digital humanities. 

Location: Attorney Offices in Manhattan 

Application Deadline: Applications for 2024 are closed. They usually open in January and close around March 

Program Dates: July 8th, 2024 - August 9th, 2024 (five weeks)

Eligibility: Students must be attending high school and enrolled in grades 10th-12th. Only students who live in or attend school in Manhattan will be considered. 

Stipend: Minimum wage per hour

If you are interested in learning about law and the criminal justice system, and you wish to gain practical experience, this is a great opportunity to consider! This rigorous five-week internship will give you a chance to work with some of the nation’s top prosecutors and get an inside view of the field while being mentored. As a part of the program, you will engage in discussions and workshops, participate in a mock trial, hone your professional skills, and more. This is a paid opportunity that will pay the minimum wage and provide you with hands-on experience in careers related to law and criminal justice-related fields. 

Location: Columbia University, NY 

Application Deadline: Applications for 2024 are closed. Their application for the 2025 cohort will most likely open in November 2024  

Program Dates:  4 weeks (July 8 - August 13, 2024) with a mandatory orientation during the last week of June

Eligibility:  Students who are in grades 10-11, attend a NYCDOE public or charter high school, and are interested in pursuing STEAM fields, can apply.

Stipend: There is no information available on this at the moment.  

The HK Maker Program, conducted in collaboration with Columbia University, is a great opportunity for students interested in biomedical sciences, innovation, and design. You will learn the principles of engineering, get hands-on practice in innovation and design tools, and work on collaborative projects involving digital media. This is an interdisciplinary learning experience that will equip you with skills integral to college and career preparation. The first three weeks of the program will be led by Columbia University faculty in your area of choice (biomedical engineering or innovation and design). On completing the course, you will form groups to use digital media, such as apps, to address a global health disparity in a novel and creative way. This program also gives you the opportunity to obtain paid internships in research labs or healthcare institutions upon completion

One other option – Lumiere Research Scholar Program

If you are interested in doing university-level research, then you could also consider applying to the Lumiere Research Scholar Program, a selective online high school program for students that I 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.

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: NYU


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