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10 Online Summer Programs for Middle School Students

If you're looking to build a strong profile for university admissions, it's crucial to start shaping your profile during middle school and continue through high school. Involvement in clubs, volunteering, and online summer programs during these formative years can help develop interests, steer future aspirations, and boost competitiveness in college applications. However, it is not possible for everyone to attend in person programs. So, we've curated a list of 10 online summer programs specifically tailored for middle school students. These programs being virtual in nature can be attended from any location. 


These programs offer a valuable opportunity to explore a wide range of interests that may not be covered in your standard school curriculum. Additionally, some of the programs mentioned below are completely free. 


The Lumiere Junior Explorer Program is an 8-week program for middle school students to work one-on-one with a mentor to explore their academic interests and build a project they are passionate about. Our mentors are scholars from top research universities such as Harvard, MIT,  Stanford, Yale, Duke and LSE


During this program, spanning weeks 1 to 4, participants will delve into four distinct topics within their selected track. In weeks 5 to 6, the focus intensifies as participants embark on a deep dive into one specific topic area and finally, weeks 7 to 8 are dedicated to project implementation, with participants receiving guidance and support from their mentors as they bring their projects to life.


You can find the application form here. 


Location: Fully Virtual

Dates: March 11 for Spring cohort and June 3 for summer cohort.

Cost: $1990 (Financial Aid is available)

Eligibility: Grade 6 - 8

Deadline: February 18th for Spring 2024 cohort & May 12th for Summer cohort. 


Veritas AI stands is an online AI program tailored for middle and high school students, founded and run by graduates from Harvard University. For middle schoolers, there are two distinct paths available. The first is the AI Trailblazers boot camp, where participants delve into the basics of artificial intelligence and machine learning, alongside foundational Python skills. Engaging in practical AI projects spanning fields such as medicine, finance, and autonomous vehicles, students receive guidance from mentors from leading universities. This option is particularly suitable for beginners. This program runs for a total of 25 hours over 10 weekends. 


Alternatively, for those who have completed the boot camp or possess prior Python experience, the AI Junior Fellowship presents an enticing opportunity. Over a 12-week period, participants collaborate one-on-one with a mentor to develop their own project or research paper. This avenue offers a compelling platform to explore AI within the context of various disciplines, enabling students to exhibit their enthusiasm and skills. Find the application form here. 


For more detailed information about these programs, interested individuals are encouraged to review the provided program brochure.


Location: Virtual

Cost: AI Trailblazers - $1,790 and AI Junior Fellowship - $2,900. Need based financial aid is available

Program Dates: Upcoming Summer dates can be found here

Application Deadline: Upcoming summer deadlines - March 24, 2024 (early admission), April 21 (regular admission I), May 19 (regular admission II)

Eligibility: Middle school students


Berkeley's summer course in AI transforms young minds into proficient data scientists, equipping them with a deep comprehension of AI, machine learning (ML), and the essentials of big data science. The curriculum is meticulously crafted to cater to students aged 12-18, offering personalized one-on-one instruction. Additionally, there's a specialized track designed for junior Python coders aged 7-11.


During these programs, participants immerse themselves in Python coding intricacies that power AI while honing their skills in building ML models with real-world data. Whether beginners or advanced learners, students of all coding proficiencies are welcomed. Through collaborative small-group projects, attendees get to conceptualize and bring to life their own projects and models, making this course perfect for anyone looking to bolster their technical prowess.


Location: Virtual

Cost: $2,495, Limited scholarships are available

Program Dates: : Upcoming summer. Dates to be announced

Application Deadline: TBA

Eligibility: Middle school students aged 12-18 years 


This program encourages students to explore the core questions about what AI really is. This exploration opens up interesting philosophical discussions where artificial intelligence intersects with society, sparking conversations about the social and ethical impacts of modern technology.


Participants will investigate whether algorithms and machine learning, as seen in banking and legal systems, promote fairness or worsen existing inequalities. Additionally, there will be discussions about who is responsible when technology fails. These various topics will be tackled through readings, interactive discussions, and a variety of engaging activities and projects. Upon completion, participants will receive a certificate.


Location: Virtual

Cost: $3,050. Need-based financial aid is available

Program Dates: : Usually in June or July. Dates to be announced

Application Deadline: March 15, 2024 (based on previous year’s deadlines)

Eligibility: Middle school students from grade 8th


MIT's Responsible AI for Social Empowerment and Education (RAISE) offers valuable tutorials for AI beginners, including the Creativity and AI Workshop tailored for middle schoolers. This initiative aims to familiarize students with creative machine-learning methods, teaching them how to collaborate with AI in artistic endeavors.


Participants dive into a range of hands-on activities, both digital and traditional, encouraging exploration in art creation with and without AI assistance. The curriculum focuses heavily on Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs), an AI platform capable of producing diverse forms of media like artwork and music. In contrast to other programs, RAISE operates as a structured curriculum, requiring students to seek additional guidance from their teachers or instructors. This setup is ideal for those who prefer self-paced learning opportunities.


Location: Virtual

Cost: Free

Program Dates: NA

Application Deadline: Varies

Eligibility: Middle school students


Coding with Kids provides computer programming classes for elementary and middle school students, offering evening classes, after-school enrichment classes, and camps. Their in-person coding camps offer a range of programming languages, including Roblox, Minecraft, Scratch, Python, C++, Java, and others, designed for students aged 5-18. These camps offer hands-on learning in a safe and enjoyable environment, fostering children's coding skills through creative projects and activities that encourage problem-solving.


Location: Virtual, In person

Dates: Monday - Friday during summers

Cost: $289 for online, $525 for in person full time

Eligibility: 5 to 18 years of age

Deadline: 31st May.


Codecademy's summer camps stand out as a beacon in the online coding education sphere, representing accessibility and inclusivity for learners at every level. Whether beginners take their first steps into coding or experienced professionals refining their skills, Codecademy's carefully curated courses address a wide range of educational requirements.


With real-time coding exercises, group projects, and a supportive community, students not only grasp coding principles but also actively shape their learning journey. Whether delving into the nuances of web development or unraveling the mysteries of data science, Codecademy's summer camps provide a robust foundation for ongoing learning and technological discovery.


Location: Virtual

Dates: Summer

Cost: None

Eligibility: Open to all.

Deadline: No specific deadline. 


Johns Hopkins CTY online courses cover diverse subjects like computer science, technology, and interdisciplinary fields. Offerings include "Arduino® Prototyping" for building electronic devices, "Bioethics in the Age of Pandemics" for ethical medical decision-making, "Coasters and Corkscrews" exploring physics in amusement parks, and "Color of Law" examining legal and societal issues. "Diagnosis: Be the Doctor" offers medical diagnostics experience, while "Disease Modeling" teaches mathematical modeling of infectious diseases. "Engineering Design" challenges students to solve real-world problems creatively.


Location: Fully Virtual

Dates: Varies by course

Cost: $1,325

Eligibility: Students in grades 3 - 8 (varies per course) can apply

Deadline: June 5, 2024 


Established in 1977, the National Computer Camp (NCC) stands as one of America’s longest-running computer camps. With options for either one-week or multi-week sessions, NCC caters to students of varying proficiency levels, aiming to enrich their computer literacy skills. The camp offers a diverse array of courses and activities, providing opportunities to delve into programming languages such as Python, JavaScript, C++, and Java. Participants can also explore web development through CSS, Web Design, and HTML 5, as well as refine their graphics abilities with OpenGL, Flash–Animation, and Photoshop.

For those keen on game design, NCC offers a spectrum from introductory 2D Game Design to advanced 3D Game Design, supplemented by hands-on experiences in Arduino Computer Lab and Minecraft Modding. Moreover, unique opportunities such as 3D Printing, Cryptography, and piloting the NCC Drone are also available for exploration.


Location: Fully Virtual

Dates: June 24-28, 2024

Cost:  $595 per week

Eligibility:  Students in grades 6-8 are all eligible to participate

Deadline: Applications are accepted on a rolling basis


The MehtA+ Machine Learning Bootcamp offers middle school students a comprehensive introduction to the world of data science. Led by engineers from MIT and Stanford, this virtual 6-week camp provides a university-level experience starting from foundational concepts and progressing to advanced topics in AI, machine learning, and deep learning.


Students gain crucial skills throughout the program, from grasping the mathematical underpinnings of various models to mastering the training of complex AI models from scratch. The camp concludes with collaborative interdisciplinary research projects, where students work in teams to address cutting-edge challenges in fields like medicine, economics, and linguistics. By presenting their research papers and posters at conferences, students get the chance to showcase their work to university professors and potentially publish in research journals.


The curriculum encompasses a wide array of subjects, including Python programming, machine learning libraries, ethical considerations, and research methodologies.


Location: Fully Virtual

Dates:  June 17th, 2024 to July 26th, 2024

Cost: $1,975

Eligibility:  8-12th grade students

Deadline: June 5, 2024


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: Lumiere logo


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