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10+ Summer Programs for High School Students in Colorado

As a high school student, you want to make the most of your summer break. And if you’re a student in Colorado, the Centennial State has a summer program for you.


Colorado offers a plethora of enriching summer programs that will keep you engaged, help you plan further studies, and allow you to discover new interests! From STEM adventures to humanities explorations and everything in between, Colorado has a diverse array of summer programs to suit every interest and aspiration.


For this article, we’ve hand-picked a selection of 10+ summer programs in Colorado across various fields of study and interests.


Note: Please keep in mind the following information is for 2023, though dates tend to be similar year on year.


Application deadline: March 3, 2023

Eligibility: Current high school juniors and exceptional sophomores, who will be at least 15 years old, but not yet 19, during program operation, are eligible to apply. There are additional subject-specific prerequisites based on the grade you’re in when you apply.

Program dates: June 18, 2023 - July 26, 2023

Location: University of Colorado, Boulder

Fee: Free.


This week-long program immerses high school students in the world of celestial exploration. You will delve into a variety of subjects, including stellar evolution, cosmology, and observational techniques. Engaging lectures, hands-on activities, and interactive discussions will fuel your intellectual curiosity and scientific discovery. The program comes with access to cutting-edge telescopes, advanced astronomical instruments, and state-of-the-art laboratories. Under faculty guidance, you stand to gain firsthand experience in astrophysical research, unraveling the mysteries of the universe.


This program has summer courses in Genomics and Biochemistry as well, hosted at different universities across the country.


Application deadline: March 1, 2023

Eligibility: Rising juniors and seniors majoring in Math, Science, or Engineering; and are residents of Colorado, are eligible to apply.

Program dates: There are three course options, all in June.

Location: Colorado School of Mines

Fee: Free. $50 confirmation fee.


This 5-day program offers the opportunity to explore various engineering disciplines while embracing multicultural experiences. Through hands-on projects, interactive workshops, and engaging lectures, you will dive into mechanical engineering, civil engineering, computer science, and more. You will also collaborate with faculty and industry professionals, gaining practical skills and insights into the engineering field.


Location: Virtual 

Application Date: May 21, 2024 for the summer cohort, and September 25, 2024 for the fall cohort 

Program Dates: 

  • Summer seminar - June 24, 2024 - September 2, 2024

  • Fall seminar - October 23, 2024 - February 19, 2025

  • Lab dates are flexible, but you must apply 4 weeks in advance.

Eligibility: High school students with good academic standing (>3.67/4.0 GPA) can apply. Most accepted students are 10th/11th graders! Only a couple of tracks require formal prerequisites, more details of which can be found here.


Horizon offers trimester-long research programs for high school students across subject areas such as data science, machine learning, political theory, biology, chemistry, neuroscience, psychology, and more! It is one of the very few research programs for high school students that offers a choice between quantitative and qualitative research! 


Once you select a particular subject track and type of research you’ll be paired with a professor or Ph.D. scholar (from a top university) who will mentor you throughout your research journey. You’ll work to create a 20-page, university-level research paper that you can send to prestigious journals for publication as a high school student. 


This program is a solid opportunity for you to pursue a research program in highly specialized fields, under the guidance of a top scholar. The program also provides a letter of recommendation for each student, as well as detailed project feedback that you can use to work on future projects and on college applications. Apply here!


Application deadline: May 15, 2023

Eligibility: Students who have completed 8th grade by the time the camp begins, and have not yet started college are eligible to apply. Students who have just completed 12th grade can apply as well.

Program dates: Varied dates for different subject-specific camps.

Location: University of Colorado Denver

Fee: Varied fees for different camps.

Financial Assistance: Significant need-based scholarships are available to students who apply before the priority deadline.


Indulge your creativity talents and immerse yourself in the world of arts and media at these camps. They provide experiences in various creative disciplines, including visual arts, music, film, theater, and more. Led by renowned faculty and industry professionals, you will engage in hands-on workshops, collaborative projects, and get a chance to showcase your talents through performance and exhibitions. The camps are conducted in a vibrant and supportive atmosphere, fostering creativity and personal growth.


Application deadline: March 13, 2023

Eligibility: Students must be entering their junior or senior year in the fall of 2023, be interested in learning more about a science-related career to apply.

Program dates: Dates yet to be announced, but it will be held from early June to July-end.

Location: Denver Museum of Nature & Science

Fee: A stipend + food vouchers to cover living costs


This internship offers the opportunity to delve into a variety of subjects, such as biology, geology, astronomy, and paleontology. Guided by experienced educators and museum professionals, you will participate in hands-on research, laboratory work, and field studies. The program follows a rigorous pedagogy that emphasizes inquiry-based learning, critical thinking, and scientific methodology. As an intern, you will collaborate with experts, contribute to ongoing research projects, and present your findings to the scientific community.


Application deadline: Applications are currently open. Selected students will be notified by June 1, 2023.

Eligibility: Open to all high school students in Colorado.

Program dates: July 17, 2023 - July 21, 2023

Location: Online/Hybrid.

Fee: Free.


This immersive program offers hands-on learning and engaging activities focused on the field of cybersecurity. You will explore subjects such as cryptography, network security, ethical hacking, and digital forensics through interactive workshops and simulations. Led by cybersecurity experts and faculty, the camp follows a dynamic teaching style that combines theory and practice, fostering critical thinking, problem-solving, and teamwork. It’s an opportunity to develop your practical skills in defending against cyber threats, understanding vulnerabilities, and securing digital systems.


Application deadline: No information available.

Eligibility: All students entering 9-12 grade in Fall 2023 can apply.

Program dates: June 5 - June 8 (tentatively)

Location: Anschutz Medical Campus, University of Colorado, Denver

Fee: $900

Financial Assistance: Scholarships available


This program will give you the unique opportunity to explore the interdisciplinary world of bioengineering. Through hands-on experiments, laboratory work, and interactive workshops, you will be exposed to subjects such as tissue engineering, biomaterials, and biomedical imaging. Led by renowned faculty and industry professionals, the program emphasizes problem-solving, critical thinking, and collaboration. Students gain practical skills, conduct research, and explore cutting-edge technologies in the field of bioengineering.


Application deadline: Mid-March

Eligibility: Students entering their sophomore, junior and senior year can apply. Recent high school graduates are also eligible to apply.

Program dates: June 12, 2023 - June 16, 2023

Location: University of Colorado Denver

Fee: $700. Includes all building materials and tools, and lunch and snacks.

Financial Assistance: Scholarships available


Explore the art and science of architecture through hands-on experiences and immersive learning in this dynamic program. You will engage with subjects like architectural design, urban planning, sustainable practices, and building technologies. With experienced faculty and experts from the field, the program follows a project-based approach, allowing you to take part in real-world design challenges, develop critical thinking skills, spatial awareness, and design principles.


Application deadline: Between February and March.

Eligibility: Incoming 7th-12th grade students are eligible to apply.

Program dates: June 5, 2023 - June 9, 2023

Location: Online / Colorado State University, Fort Collins campus

Fee: $75


This program is an exciting opportunity to explore your entrepreneurship and innovation potential. You will learn the fundamentals of developing a business idea, conducting market research, creating a business model, and pitching your concepts. The camp combines interactive workshops, guest lectures, and team projects to provide hands-on learning experiences. Students also receive mentorship and guidance from successful entrepreneurs, gaining valuable insights and practical skills.



Application deadline: No deadline. The applications open in January 2023, and there is a waitlist when the seats are filled.

Eligibility: High school students are eligible to apply.

Program dates: July 24, 2023 - July 28, 2023

Location: Lighthouse, 3844 York Street, Denver, Colorado

Fee: $520

Financial Assistance: Financial aid is available.


This program invites you to immerse yourself in the art of storytelling, poetry, and creative writing. Through a series of dynamic workshops, interactive discussions, and collaborative projects, you’ll learn about various writing genres and techniques. You will work with experienced writers and literary professionals, in a supportive and inspiring environment where young writers can hone their craft, express their unique voices, and connect with like-minded peers.


Application deadline: The registrations stay open until spots are full.

Eligibility: Students in the 10th and 11th grade, with a GPA of 3.2 or higher on a 4.0 scale, are eligible to apply.

Program dates: June 18, 2023 - June 25, 2023

Location: Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado

Fee: $1,170


If you’re passionate about politics and leadership, this program is for you - you will participate in a dynamic simulation of the legislative process. Participants assume the roles of lawmakers, lobbyists, and journalists, debating and crafting policies on critical issues. This week-long program combines interactive workshops, public speaking exercises, and group collaborations to enhance communication skills and civic engagement. Students gain firsthand knowledge of the democratic process, develop critical thinking abilities, and cultivate leadership qualities.



A few more programs to consider:


Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Programs for students passionate about computer science. The program is conducted online.


Ascend Scholarship Program at the Colorado Outward Bound School for students interested in exploring the outdoors.

Boettcher Foundation’s Scholarship Programs are promising programs for high school students, however they are year-long.


Additionally, you can also work on independent research in AI, through Veritas AI's Fellowship Program!


Veritas AI focuses on providing high school students who are passionate about the field of AI a suitable environment to explore their interests.


The programs include collaborative learning, project development, and 1-on-1 mentorship. These programs are designed and run by Harvard graduate students and alumni and you can expect a great, fulfilling educational experience. Students are expected to have a basic understanding of Python or are recommended to complete the AI scholars program before pursuing the fellowship. 


The AI Fellowship program will have students pursue their own independent AI research project. Students work on their own individual research projects over a period of 12-15 weeks and can opt to combine AI with any other field of interest. In the past, students have worked on research papers in the field of AI & medicine, AI & finance, AI & environmental science, AI & education, and more! You can find examples of previous projects here


Location: Virtual

Cost

  • $1,790 for the 10-week AI Scholars program

  • $4,900 for the 12-15 week AI Fellowship 

  • $4,700 for both

  • Need-based financial aid is available. You can apply here

Application deadline: On a rolling basis. Applications for fall cohort have closed September 3, 2023. 

Program dates: Various according to the cohort

Program selectivity: Moderately selective

Eligibility: Ambitious high school students located anywhere in the world. AI Fellowship applicants should either have completed the AI Scholars program or exhibit past experience with AI concepts or Python.

Application Requirements: Online application form, answers to a few questions pertaining to the students background & coding experience, math courses, and areas of interest. 


One other option – Lumiere Research Scholar Program

If you are passionate about research and would like to do it from the comfort of your home, you could also consider applying to the Lumiere Research Scholar Program, a selective online high school program for students I founded with researchers at Harvard and Oxford. Last year, we had over 2100 students apply for 500 spots in the program! You can find the application form 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: Colorado State University



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