You’ve probably guessed it by now - there are many ways to enhance your activity list and enrich yourself in high school. Summer is an especially great time to do this because you have more time to immerse yourself in an experience.
Summer camps are hosted by universities and independent organizations. They often have a dedicated theme or subject area and provide you with an immersive learning experience in the company of peers. We’ve kept a mix of options for you to choose from!
Let's take you through 10 great summer camps for high-school students, ranging from academics to athletics!
With an acceptance rate well below 10%, SUMaC is one of the most prestigious and engaging summer camps in the country. Each year, this camp hosts 40 mathematically gifted (and 64 for their online cohort) high-school students for a rigorous 3-week camp.
Students discuss and work on advanced mathematical concepts, and engage in academically rigorous classes, and sessions.
The 2023 SuMaC covers two main topics - Abstract Algebra & Number Theory, and Algebraic Topology. Abstract Algebra will introduce you to concepts such as limitations of straight-edge and compass constructions, classification of patterns in two dimensions, error-correcting codes, cryptography, and an analysis of symmetry in structures. Algebraic Topology is a growing field of mathematical research and will explore multiple methods of analyzing topological properties of shapes using algebraic concepts.
While you do not produce an independent research paper of your own in this program, you are made familiar with significant (pre-existing) research areas in math.
Location: Offered virtually and on-campus
Fee/ stipend: Tuition Fee - $3,200. Residence Fee - $8,250. Financial aid is available.
Application deadline: Applications close on March 10, 2023
Program dates: Session 1 (Online) - June 19 – July 10, 2023; Session 2(Online) - July 17 – August 4, 2023; Session 1 (Residential) - June 25 – July 21, 2023
Eligibility: Open to any high school sophomore and junior, including international applicants
Pro tip: If you are looking for a more welcoming math program, you can try Stanford’s other summer offerings (even within mathematics) such as the Stanford Pre-Collegiate Summer Institutes.
Veritas AI has a range of AI programs for ambitious high school students, starting from close-group, collaborative learning to customized project pathways with 1:1 mentorship. The programs have been designed and run by Harvard graduate students & alumni.
In the AI Scholars program, students work with PhDs from top institutions to learn the fundamentals of Python and key concepts in AI and ML. You are expected to put in 25 hours over 2 weeks during summer break, and develop a basic foundation in Python, learn the basics of AI tech, learn more about Neural Networks, Deep Learning, NLP & Language Processing, and Sentiment Analysis.
In the AI Fellowship, students create a novel AI project independently with the support of a mentor over 12-15 weeks. Examples of past projects can be found here.
Fee/ stipend: Fee - $1,490 for the AI Scholars program (The 10-week bootcamp). $4,200 for the AI Fellowship (the 12-15 week 1-1 mentorship). $4,700 for both. Need-based financial aid is available.
Application deadline: Program runs in cohorts throughout the year - applications for the Winter Cohort close on November 27, 2022.
Program dates: Rolling. Applications for the summer are between February and May.
Program selectivity: Open enrollment (AI Scholars program), Moderate (AI Fellowship)
Eligibility: Applicants must be ambitious, high school and can be anywhere in the world. For the AI Scholars program, no previous experience is required - applicants need to show a keen interest in AI. For the AI Fellowship program, applicants will either need to complete the AI Scholars program or have had past experience with AI concepts or Python.
The Rosetta Institute of Biomedical Sciences is an independently funded institute that focuses on research, organizes biomedical camps, and offers scientific editing services.
Open to high-school and middle-school students, Rosetta Institute offers several summer workshops on various subjects in the field of biomedicine, such as molecular immunology, medicinal chemistry, introduction to cellular and molecular medicine, molecular biology of aging, medical bioinformatics, emerging pathogenic viruses, and biomedical research.
You will engage in discussion sessions, lectures, guided lab research, and critical thinking activities, all excellent pathways to an academic trajectory in biomedicine or related fields. The residential programs at one of the many affiliated campuses (University of California, Berkeley, University of California, Los Angeles, and University of California, San Diego) provide a great way to experience life as a college student in a safe, enriching environment!
Location: Offered virtually and on-campus
Fee/ stipend: Fee - <$500
Application deadline: Applications are considered on a rolling basis, you are encouraged to apply as soon as possible for a cohort of your choice (Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter)
offered in March, June, July, August, September, November, and December
Eligibility: Open to any student aged 12-18
If you're interested in exploring advanced math topics and developing problem-solving skills, MathCamp is the summer camp for you. MathCamp is a program developed by the Mathematics Foundation of America and is a non-profit organization that hosts annual MathCamps. A four-week program held in Champlain College, Burlington, VT, MathCamp lets you attend lectures and workshops on various topics - combinatorics, graph theory, and number theory, and work on math projects individually as well as in collaboration with fellow camp-goers. USA MathCamp also offers social activities and recreational opportunities for its students to make new friends and have fun. If you are a high-school junior or senior and have a strong foundation in math and a passion for problem-solving and analytical thinking, USA MathCamp should be on your summer to-do list.
Fee/ stipend: Fee - $5,000, financial aid available on a case-by-case basis.
Application deadline: Applications open on January 12, 2023, and close on March 9, 2023
Program Dates: July 2 to August 6, 2023
Eligibility: Open to any student aged 13-18
Ever wondered what it's like to learn about space exploration at NASA? The NASA Space Camp is one such opportunity that invites students passionate about a career in aerospace and Aero Tech for a 6-day camp in space exploration and training.
You are taken through astronaut training techniques, modules, simulations, and hands-on problem-solving activities with bright-minded peers. The NASA Space Academy also involves immersive activities such as simulated jet aircraft flying and participating in engineering challenges.
If you have aced this program, you might stand a chance to join the Advanced Space Academy Elite, which is an invite-only program for students!
Note: All U.S. residents that complete the program are awarded one credit by the University of Huntsville, Alabama, in freshman-level general science.
Location: U.S Space and Rocket Center, Huntsville, Alabama
Fee/ stipend: Fee - $1,699
Application deadline: Applications are open on a rolling basis, applications for the August 27 - September 1 cohort are currently open.
The program's summer cohort is a one-week program starting on May 28, 2023
Eligibility: Open to high school students aged 15-18
If you want a razor-sharp focus on understanding AI, then nothing beats the Stanford AI Lab! This 3-week program is co-organized by the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence (HAI), but with a new, updated curriculum developed by AI4ALL, a nonprofit organization dedicated to training the next generation of AI researchers.
Pro tip: A big goal of this AI program is to increase diversity in the field of AI - you are strongly encouraged to apply if you are from an underrepresented background!
Another great option is the Stanford Summer Sessions which also has computer science courses which are useful in building a solid foundation for more advanced programs in AI and ML (such as Programming Abstractions).
Location: Virtual, with the possibility of being on campus in 2023.
Fee/ stipend: Fee - $4,000. Financial aid is available.
Application deadline: To open in winter for 2023. Keep watching this space for updates.
Program dates: June 27, 2023 - July 15, 2023 (tentatively, based on previous year’s schedule)
Program selectivity: High
Eligibility: Open to current 9th-grade students (that is students who will be rising 10th graders during the summer) eager to explore the exciting field of AI and increase diversity in the field.
Here’s something for you if you’re looking to round off your profile with some more accomplishments in athletics. IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida offers a state-of-the-art summer program for athletes in high school. IMG Academy is known as a leading sports education organization that trains students across various sports such as Basketball, Football, Golf, Lacrosse, Soccer, and Tennis. Some of IMG’s notable alumni include Dwayne Bacon and Earl Clark. The Academy is equipped with world-class facilities, perfect for any budding athlete looking to hone their skills and work towards listing a strong extra-curricular achievement while drafting a college application. If you're looking to apply for a sports-based scholarship at any of your dream schools, this 2-week summer camp is sure to give you the boost you need.
Location: In-person, at the IMG Academy
Fee/ stipend: Fees - $2879/week
Program Dates: July 24 - August 13, 2023 (tentative)
Eligibility: High-school athletes up to 18 years of age
8. Sea Camp
Sea Camp Association is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to marine science education. Amongst its many programs, SeaCamp is a marine science summer camp designed for high school students who are interested in marine biology, oceanography, and marine conservation. The camp takes place in San Diego and offers multiple hands-on activities and field trips related to the study of the ocean and marine life. As a sea camper, you will have the opportunity to snorkel or scuba dive, conduct marine biology research projects, learn about ocean conservation efforts, and participate in beach cleanups. One of the best programs that offers experiential education, SeaCamp also has advanced camps that you can attend after successfully completing the introductory camp.
Location: Offline, at SEA CAMP San Diego, Mission Bay
Fee/ stipend: Fees - $1495 for SEACAMP I, scholarships offered
Program Dates: 3 cohorts in 2023 - June 10 - 15, July 1 - 6, July 15 - 20.
Application Deadline: May 15, 2023
Eligibility: Open to Grades 7-12
A six-day program focused on honing students’ journalistic skills, and building diversity in the field, JCamp is an extremely prestigious program for anyone looking to make a difference through powerful journalism. As part of the program, you, along with 25-30 other participants, will receive training and guidance to create multi-platform news packages for JCamp Live. As part of a multicultural cohort, you will take part in field trips, discussion sessions, hands-on training and workshops. The curriculum for JCamp is based on principles such as
Strong Ethics in Journalism Practice
The Importance of Diversity in the Newsroom
The Fundamentals of Leadership
The Value of Cross-Cultural Communication Skills, and
The Value of Networking
You will also engage in talks and lectures by industry leaders, and some of JCamps past speakers have included Hoda Kotb, Bob Schieffer, and Bill Whitaker.
Over 75% of JCamp’s participants have gone on to pursue a career in journalism, and some of their notable alumni include Terrell Brown,Taylor Turner, Jessica Carballo, and Ben Bartenstein.
Location: Location changes each year. In 2022, it was hosted at University of Southern California
Fee/ stipend: Free of cost, all costs are covered by AAJA
Program Dates: July 15-21, 2023 (tentative)
Application Deadline: March 31, 2023
Eligibility: Open to freshmen, sophomores, and juniors with a strong interest in broadcasting, photojournalism, online media, and newspapers.
Although this opportunity is based in Canada, we’ve included it because it’s fully virtual and a solid program.
The Perimeter Institute’s highly selective annual summer program offers 20 high school juniors and seniors an opportunity to attend keynote sessions on current physics mysteries and mini-courses on modern physics, which include independent work and hands-on tasks. Students also have the opportunity to connect with like-minded peers and experienced physicists in the field. This opportunity is based in Canada, so US students will apply as international students.
Cost: $250 (CAD), financial aid available
Application Deadline: March 16, 2023
Program dates: July 17-28, 2023
Passion for and strong ability in physics and mathematics as reflected in high school course grades and extracurricular activities
Intention to pursue physics at the university level in the future
At the time of application, they are in the final two years of secondary school
Completion of Grade 11 physics or equivalent for international students
If you’re looking for more prestigious summer opportunities for high schoolers, check out the Research Science Institute (RSI) program offered by MIT, as well as the MIT Minority Introduction to Engineering and Science (MITES) program.
One great way to spend your summer is to work on a university-level research paper. Lumiere Research Scholar Program is a selective online high school program for students that I founded with researchers at Harvard and Oxford. In the program, you work 1-1 with a researcher to develop your own research project. Last year, we had over 2100 students apply for 500 spots in the program! You can find the application form here.
Also check out the Lumiere 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 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.