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10 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 10 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.

1. Rice University’s PATHS-UP Young Scholars Digital Health Summer Program

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.

2. Rice ELITE Tech Camp

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.

3. Rice University Aerospace & Aviation Academy

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.

4. Carl B. & Florence E. King Foundation High School Summer Program

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.

5. University of Houston’s High School Summer Research Internship in Infectious Diseases

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!

6. Wonderworks Pre-College Summer Programs

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.

7. Houston Methodist’s Summer Internship Program for High Schoolers

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.

8. Space Center Houston’s Space Center U Program

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.

9. University of Houston’s EXPLORE Financial Empowerment Institute

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.

10. Kode With Klossy’s Summer Camp

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!

11. NASA Johnson Space Center’s High School Aerospace Scholars (HAS) 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

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