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13 Summer Programs for High School Students in Houston

If you’re looking for enriching summer programs as a high school student in Houston, your search ends here. Houston offers a broad range of summer programs that will ignite your curiosity, broaden your horizons, and unlock new possibilities.


Participating in these programs can add an edge to your resume and your skillset - something you can demonstrate while applying to college for your undergraduate degree.


Take a look at these 12 summer programs in Houston for high school students (plus a bonus one!) designed to cater to a diverse range of subjects and interests.

Please keep in mind the following information is for 2023 and dates for the following years will be at a similar time period.


Application deadline: May 15, 2023

Eligibility: Sophomores and juniors who are residents of the Houston area

Program dates: Session 1 from June 12, 2023 – June 30, 2023, Session 2 from July 10, 2023 – July 28, 2023

Location: Rice University

Fee: Free


Standing for Precise Advanced Technologies and Health Systems for Underserved Populations, this program looks at digital circuitry, computer science, physics, and engineering research within the field of healthcare. The curriculum focuses on the practical applications of these fields in medicine and you will find yourself examining several devices like pulse oximeters, accelerometers, and GPS devices. The idea is to explore the intersection of digital design and medical treatment. However, consider the fact that this program accepts only 12 students and the application requires the involvement of a school representative.


Application deadline: Not specified

Eligibility: All high school students

Program dates: One week during June or July with various options available

Location: Rice University

Fee: $3,495 for residents and $1,495 for commuters


Organized by the university’s Rice Center for Engineering Leadership, this summer program is known as one of Houston’s top pre-college offerings. It focuses on engineering design and technology including course options like Python, C++, artificial intelligence, robotic engineering, data science, 3D modeling and more. The highlight of the curriculum is that you will apply learned concepts to solve real-world issues. Apart from academics, the program will also hone your leadership skills and college readiness.


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. 


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 

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: Not specified

Eligibility: All high school students

Program dates: Session 1 from June 8, 2023 – June 19, 2023, Session 2 from June 22 – July 3, 2023

Location: Rice University

Fee: $5,875-$6,395

Financial assistance: Partial scholarships are available, based on need and merit


This immersive program is ideal for students looking to pursue careers in aerospace and aviation. You can expect a significant amount of hands-on work as the program includes a workshop where you will build and launch a satellite. You will also attend flight ground school at the Lone Star Flight Museum and operate a flight simulator! Additionally, you will visit the Space Center Houston as well as hear from a former NASA astronaut.


Application deadline: February 3, 2023

Eligibility: Current seniors from Texas public, private or charter high schools, who will graduate school before the program. Students must also have been accepted into a college for the fall semester after the program

Program dates: June 5, 2023 – August 11, 2023

Location: MD Anderson Cancer Center

Stipend: $6,000


Only up to seven students are accepted per year in this renowned research program at MD Anderson Cancer Center. This is a prestigious program taking place at one of the country’s top cancer research centers. As a participant, you will get the opportunity to work on a research project in the field of biomedical sciences, under the guidance of a professional from the center. The process will include substantial hands-on work in labs coupled with seminars and activities such as poster competitions.


Application deadline: May 15, 2023

Eligibility: Rising juniors and seniors with a minimum GPA of 3.0

Program dates: 8 weeks, starting between June 1 and June 20

Location: University of Houston

Stipend: $2,000


If you’re looking to get some practical experience in a lab, then consider this paid internship that trains you in generating and analyzing research data. Focusing on infectious diseases and microbiology, the program includes hands-on work like biological sample processing, running PCR assays and plating bacteria onto plates. You will also work on a small, independent project and present your findings at the end of the internship. Keep in mind that this program only enrolls two students per cohort, making it highly selective!


Application deadline: May 19, 2023

Eligibility: Rising sophomores, juniors and seniors who have a minimum GPA of 3.0 (the application looks at PSAT/SAT scores as well)

Program dates: June 20, 2023 – July 21, 2023

Location: University of Houston or Rice University, depending on course

Fee: Varies as per course, ranging from $750 - $1,250

Financial assistance: Need-based scholarships available


One of the few humanities options on this list, this program offers challenging courses that are close to college-level complexity. The options include art history, creative writing, film, architecture and politics, with each including a combination of lectures, field trips and hands-on work. Rising seniors who complete one Wonderworks course are then eligible to attend Admit One, a free virtual workshop on writing college essays.

Wonderworks is a non-profit organization that provides pre-college summer learning experiences in arts and humanities.


Application deadline: January 27, 2023

Eligibility: All high school students who are at least 16 years of age

Program dates: May 30, 2023 – August 4, 2023

Location: Various program locations across Houston, TX

Stipend: None


Organized by the hospital itself, this internship trains students in the field of translational research — a study that converts basic research results into practical applications in healthcare. As an intern, you will be assigned to a specific research project under the guidance of a mentor and will spend most of your time engaged in lab work. The program culminates in a scientific poster symposium where you can present your findings. Professional development sessions and networking opportunities will also be available.


Application deadline: NA

Eligibility: Students between the ages of 15 and 18

Program dates: A five-day program with rolling admissions.

Location: Space Center Houston

Fee: $679.95 – $779.95

Financial assistance: Scholarships available


In this program, you will get a unique education that looks at the intersection of STEM with space exploration. The curriculum is a highly interactive one that includes building a rocket, constructing a thermal heat shield, engineering a robotic rover, and cryogenics testing. Among other project-based activities, you will also get underwater astronaut training, participate in simulations, and tour the NASA Johnson Space Center. You can also expect a conversation with an actual NASA astronaut! Although, keep in mind that the center does not provide lodging.


Application deadline: April 3, 2023

Eligibility: Rising sophomores, juniors and seniors

Program dates: June 11, 2023 – June 14, 2023

Location: University of Houston

Fee: Free


On enrolment in this program, you will join a cohort of 40 students and learn about managing your personal finances. The coursework will take you through several topics like budgeting, money management, and goal settings under instruction from the university’s faculty. As a residential program, you will also have the opportunity to experience college life. This program is hosted by the C.T. Bauer College of Business and is completely free of cost.


Application deadline: March 20, 2023

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

Program dates: Session 1 from June 5, 2023 – June 16, 2023, Session 2 from June 20, 2023 – June 30, 2023, Session 3 from July 10, 2023 – July 21, 2023, Session 4 from July 24, 2023 – August 4, 2023, Session 5 from August 7, 2023 – August 18, 2023

Location: Houston (for safety reasons, specific location will be provided to accepted students)

Fee: Free


Aiming to increase diversity in STEAM fields, this program encourages students of underrepresented genders to take an interest in coding. During the two-week intensive program, you will work in one of four courses — web development, mobile apps, artificial intelligence and data science. You will engage in several hands-on activities like creating your own mobile app and training machine learning models. Apart from direct learning, you will also hear from other women in technology as guest speakers.

And for those of you who read this far, here is a bonus program!


Application deadline: October 20, 2022

Eligibility: Rising juniors who have access to the internet

Program dates: Virtual learning from November – February. The summer virtual component will be for one week in June and the two-day residential component will be in July

Location: Virtual and in-person components at NASA Johnson Space Center

Fee: Free


Unlike the others on this list, this NASA program for high schoolers is not just a summer course. It’s a year-long program but comes with some valuable experiences for those interested in aerospace. The first four months during the fall will involve online learning in space exploration, Earth science, technology and aeronautics. The coursework will include interactive lessons and design challenges.


High-achieving students will be invited to a five-day virtual summer experience where they will work in teams to design a mission to the moon or Mars (mentored by NASA professionals). On completion of the summer component, you will even receive a NASA letter offering a science elective credit! The top teams will be further invited to a two-day stay at NASA Johnson Space Center.

One other option – Lumiere Research Scholar Program

If you are interested in doing research as a high school student, 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 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 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: Rice University logo



1 Comment


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