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10 Summer Programs for High School Students in Pennsylvania

Finding a great summer opportunity can be difficult. There are a lot of options to choose from in Pennsylvania so we’ve compiled some great opportunities to help you decide!

The opportunities range from paid to free (some even provide a stipend). There is something here for everyone.

Not seeing something you like? You can also look at the opportunities we’ve curated in psychology research, medical research, biology research, and virtual research. You can also check out our research program – Lumiere – which had 2100 students apply this past year!

1. Wharton Global Youth Program

Application deadline: April 5, 2023

Eligibility: Students from grades 9 – 11, with a minimum 3.3 unweighted GPA,

Program dates: 2-week and 3-week programs available running between June and August

Location: The Wharton School, The University of Pennsylvania

Fee: $7,299 - $9,099

Financial aid: Several partial and full scholarships are available

The WGYP offers a number of different programs for high school students to explore business, leadership and prepare themselves for college. The 7 on-campus programs cover topics like product design, entrepreneurship, data science, and more. Leadership in the Business World is known to be highly selective while the Management & Technology Summer Institute offers college credit, both are well known programs. These are immersive experiences where you will learn from Wharton faculty and engage in a hands-on, interactive curriculum. WGYP features online courses too, as well as an Investment Competition that is free of cost.

2. UPenn Summer Academies

Application deadline: January 31 2023, after which applications are accepted on a rolling basis until May 1

Eligibility: Students with a minimum 3.3 GPA

Program dates: July 9, 2023 – July 29, 2023

Location: University of Pennsylvania

Fee: $5,500 for the ASL and Deaf Culture Academy, $9,700 for the rest

UPenn’s summer academies are three-week intensive programs that do a deep dive into a specific subject. Covering science subjects like physics, chemistry, coding, and social subjects like justice and media, this program uses a combination of theory and application to train students in a field of study. If you go to a School District of Philadelphia public or charter high school, you can apply for the Penn Summer Scholarship which gives you a chance to attend the academy free of cost!

3. Carnegie Mellon University’s Computer Science Scholars (CSS) Program

Application deadline: March 15, 2023

Eligibility: Rising high school juniors from underrepresented/underserved communities

Program dates: July 1, 2023 – July 28, 2023

Location: Carnegie Mellon University

Fee: Free

You can spend four weeks working under Carnegie Mellon University faculty and leading researchers through this residential program in computer science. Offering a comprehensive look at the subject, you will study algorithmic components, problem solving techniques, basic data structures and even attend a math course. Additionally, you will also network with industry leaders and work on a group project for the final presentation, while preparing for college life. The Pre-College AI Scholars and Summer Academy for Math and Science programs are other free programs you can consider, with the latter being one of the more prestigious programs in the country!

4. Lehigh University’s Summer Engineering Institute

Application deadline: To be announced

Eligibility: Rising juniors and seniors from underrepresented/underserved communities

Program dates: June 25, 2023 – July 8, 2023 for the residential program, July 10, 2023 – July 21, 2023 for the virtual program

Location: Lehigh University

Fee: Free

The SEI takes a lab-based, research-centric approach to STEM subjects, giving students significant practical experience. Topics are taken from a number of different disciplines, like 3D printing, robotics, nanoscience, bioengineering, environmental remediation and more. The curriculum includes lectures, team projects, and virtual field trips. Do keep in mind that students need to be nominated by their district to the Lehigh University School Study Council for this program.

5. Magee-Womens Research Institute (MWRI)’s High School Summer Internship Program

Application deadline: February 8, 2023

Eligibility: Current juniors and seniors who are at least 16 years of age

Program dates: Starting from June 26, 2023, students must complete 4 weeks or 160 hours of work.

Location: MWRI or Magee-Womens Hospital

Stipend: Hourly minimum wage

Ideal for those interested in biomedical research, this medical internship focuses on reproductive biology, women’s health, and infant health. During the four-week commuter program, you will work on an individual research project under the mentorship of MWRI staff and present it by the end of the program. It uses a hybrid format where students are allowed to do part of the internship from home. Less than 8% of applicants have been previously accepted to the program, making it highly selective!

6. Penn State University Park’s Business Opportunities Summer Session (BOSS)

Application deadline: March 31, 2023

Eligibility: Students entering 12th grade who have a strong interest in business

Program dates: June 18 2023 – June 30, 2023

Location: Penn State University Park

Fee: Only a $50 registration fee is required, all the other costs are covered

Financial assistance: Aid is available for those who cannot afford the registration fee

Listed on Forbes as an innovative business program, BOSS is a two-week program hosted by Smeal School of Business at Penn State. The program teaches students the fundamentals of business while also preparing them for college life. You will live on the college campus and attend sessions on everything from accounting to business writing, proper etiquette and professional dress code. In the end, you will even have the opportunity to present a business you developed through the program!

Another great program in the same field is Drexel University’s Camp Business, which has a comprehensive curriculum on the basics of business.

7. Penn State Harrisburg’s STEM Summer Enrichment Program

Application deadline: February 17, 2023

Eligibility: Students in 10th and 11th grade

Program dates: June 12, 2023 – June 23, 2023

Location: Penn State Harrisburg

Fee: Free

Penn State Harrisburg offers this free, two-week STEM program for high schoolers to get a taste of hands-on work in the field. You will visit labs and other facilities, take part in experiments, attend discipline-specific workshops and learn how to give scientific oral presentations. The curriculum covers a number of topics from subjects like mathematics, chemistry, electrical engineering, biology and more.

8. Foundation for Free Enterprise Education’s Pennsylvania Free Enterprise Week (PFEW)

Application deadline: Applications accepted on a first-come, first-served basis

Eligibility: Students who have completed sophomore/junior year in June of the same year

Program dates: Four one-week sessions available during the month of July

Location: Lycoming College or Pennsylvania College of Technology

Fee: Participants will be sponsored by a local business/organization and only need to pay a $295 registration fee

Financial assistance: Available for the registration fee

The Foundation for Free Enterprise Education, a non-profit organization, hosts this week-long residential program where you will get to run a business! In teams of 16, accompanied by an adult mentor, you will take charge of an underperforming manufacturing company and compete with other teams to get the highest return on equity. Handling all departments from marketing and finance to HR, this residential program offers great practical experience.

9. Pennsylvania Governor's School for the Sciences (PGSS)

Application deadline: January 31, 2023

Eligibility: Current high school juniors who are residents of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and have a record of high academic achievement and an interest in mathematics and the sciences

Program dates: July 2, 2023 – August 5, 2023

Location: Carnegie Mellon University

Fee: Free, students only need to cover transportation costs

A highly competitive program to get into, the PGSS provides advanced academic study and research opportunities to gifted high school students. You will study five core courses (usually topics in mathematics, computer science, physics, chemistry, and biology), four elective courses, and one lab course. The curriculum also includes a team project that results in a formal scientific paper that could be published in the PGSS journal! Over the five weeks, you will also attend guest lectures, make important connections and learn using the sophisticated technology at Carnegie Mellon University.

10. Fallingwater Institue’s High School Residencies

Application deadline: Rolling applications

Eligibility: Open to all high school students

Program dates: Session 1 from June 26, 2023 - June 30, 2023, Session 2 from July 10, 2023 - July 14, 2023, Session 3 from July 31, 2023 - August 4, 2023, Session 4 from July 24, 2023 – July 28, 2023

Location: Fallingwater, Pennsylvania

Fee: $1,200

Financial assistance: Limited full and partial need-based scholarships available

Fallingwater Institute's high school residencies offer students the opportunity to live and study art and architecture on Frank Lloyd Wright’s famous Fallingwater property. The immersive, studio-based experience will give you the opportunity to work on drawing and design, explore Frank Lloyd Wright’s ideas and look into the intersection of design and nature. Apart from two studio sessions, the other two focus on portfolio prep and biophilic design respectively.

Here’s one more program as a bonus for those of you who read till the very last entry:

Center for Talented Youth’s Programs

Application deadline: May 19, 2023

Eligibility: Open to students from grades 2 to 12, specifics change with each course

Program dates: Session 1 from June 25, 2023 – July 14, 2023, Session 2 from July 16, 2023 – August 4, 2023

Location: Franklin and Marshall College and Ursinus College

Fee: In between $2,999 and $6,199, depending on the course

Financial assistance: Limited financial aid is available

The CTY is a non-profit that provides educational programs to train students in more advanced and challenging subjects in-depth. The courses offered at the two Pennsylvania campuses cover a range of subjects including astrophysics, cryptology, robotics, engineering, writing, philosophy and more. The program develops students’ skills and talents through assignments, lab work, creative projects and by allowing them to share a classroom with similarly exceptional peers.

One other option – Lumiere Research Scholar Program

If you are passionate about research, 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 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: Wharton's Global Youth Program logo

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