Research is becoming one of the most important ways for high school students to spend their time during the summer. Often considered a tier 1 or tier 2 extracurricular, using College Vine’s ranking system, research experience is a distinctive advantage in the college admission process, and has become an important activity on college applications. A research project has an even higher impact for high school students if the program that they attend is selective, or the research they do is published or reaches a broader audience.
In this post, we outline 25 summer research programs besides Lumiere that high school students can apply to this summer. Some of these are free and some of them charge tuition.
25 High School Summer Research Opportunities in 2023:
RSI is generally considered the most selective research program for high school students in STEM. This program, hosted at MIT, accepts about 80 students each year. In the program, students work with a Boston-based researcher on an independent project. At the end of the program, students then present their research to the broader community in a conference style. In 2019, there were about 1600 applicants for 80 spots or around a 5% acceptance rate for the program.
Conducted from June 27th to July 29th this year, the Simons Summer Research Program gives high school students the opportunity to undertake hands-on research in a variety of disciplines, ranging from science and math to engineering. Students can join research teams, collaborate with faculty members, learn about laboratory equipment and methodologies, and get to fully experience life at a research university. Students must be 16+ to be eligible for application, and obtain 2 letters of recommendation. The program has an acceptance rate of about 8%. Students receive a stipend for their participation.
A program for students interested in computer science and related fields, Spark SIP offers students the opportunity to learn from and connect with prominent industry professionals, while undertaking research in real-world settings through the internship program. The program requires a student to be able to work full-time (30-40 hours per work) for 8-12 weeks throughout the summer to be eligible to participate. The program offers a maximum stipend of $500.
RISE is a 6-week non-credit program for academically motivated rising seniors who are interested in scientific research. There are 2 RISE tracks available to students: Internship and Practicum. The RISE Internship track gives students the opportunity to conduct research projects with faculty mentors. Internship students will conduct research for 40 hours per week under the guidance of a faculty member, postdoctoral fellow, or graduate student mentor and will perform research in their chosen discipline to acquire valuable technical and analytical skills. The RISE Practicum track gives students the opportunity to conduct group research in computational neurobiology. Practicum students conduct collaborative research in a university setting under the guidance of a Boston University instructor.
Cost: $8,558 (residential); $5,570 (commuter)
This program combines college-level workshops and lab research in subjects such as civil and urban engineering, mechanical and electrical engineering, and robotics. It is open to high school sophomores and juniors. Students can get supervision from graduate or postdoctoral students at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering over the course of seven weeks. Students will also receive presentation and public speaking training from ARISE's partners at Irondale Ensemble Project, and will present their research findings to NYU faculty and graduate students, ARISE peers, other academic experts, family members, and friends at the program's concluding colloquium. A stipend of at least $750 is provided to each participant.
This long-running program, which began in 1996, allows San Francisco students from underrepresented populations in STEM professions to learn about science and sustainability while also receiving mentorship, building professional skills, and more – all while being compensated for their efforts. Throughout the program, students also participate in seminars and conferences.
This summer program selects 25 students to work on research, individually with a UCSD faculty researcher, in Chemistry, Biochemistry, Biology, or Nanotechnology. Students receive access to laboratories on campus. The program is available to rising sophomore, junior, and senior students. The program lasts 6 weeks.
8. Secondary Student Training Program (SSTP) (University of Iowa)
Designed for advanced students in their sophomore and junior years, this program is highly selective, and offers students the chance to conduct research in a wide list of fields ranging from Biochemistry to Religious Studies. Participants are placed under the guidance of a faculty mentor, and get to work in the laboratories of the University of Iowa campus. The length of the program is 5 weeks. Applications for this program close on February 18th.
The Clark Scholars Program is a 6 week long comprehensive research program, giving students the opportunity to conduct research in practically every field, from accounting to dance to philosophy and everything in between. One-on-one research with academics, as well as weekly seminars, discussions, and field visits, are all part of the curriculum. With just 12 students selected each year, the Clark Scholars Program is very competitive. Applicants must be 17+ by the program start date. The program offers a stipend of $750. The application for this year closes on February 16th.
PROMYS offers a 6 week long program for mathematically gifted students. The curriculum emphasizes exploration and discovery. Students in this program, which is open to all high school students above the age of 14, attend lectures, advanced seminars, conduct mathematical research, and work on problem sets alone or in groups. Each year, about 80 applications are accepted. The application deadline for PROMYS this year is March 15th.
Cost: $5,150 (financial aid is available for families earning under $60,000 per year)
This program is for rising high school juniors and seniors. Students are offered research experience in areas of various STEM fields, such as cancer immunology, pharmacogenomics of anticancer agents, physics, biophysics, bioengineering, and electrical engineering. Those accepted into the program are matched with another student and a teacher from the field of their choice. The program is 6 weeks long, with a required time commitment of 30-35 hours per week.
SSP is a research-based, intensive program that has been running since 1959 and is administered and maintained by alumni. Students participate in classroom work, lab sessions, guest lectures, and field trips in one of three available programs: Astrophysics, Biochemistry, or Genomics. Admission to SSP, which is open to current sophomores and juniors, is competitive, with a 10% acceptance rate.
Cost: $7,450 (financial aid is available for families earning under $70,000 per year)
Students at SIMR collaborate with Stanford academics and researchers to conduct medical research. Students select one of eight study fields and are then allocated to a lab where they receive one-on-one mentorship. The program is open to current juniors and seniors, and is 8 weeks long. Each year, about 50 students are accepted. Students must be 16 years or older at the start of the program. Participants are given a minimum stipend of $500.
Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Human Oncology and Pathogenesis Program (HOPP) offers a Summer Student Program for students to conduct independent research projects, while participating in extracurricular activities, training, and other possibilities. Students are guided by a postdoctoral fellow, graduate student, or research technician during the 8 week program. Once the program concludes, students present their projects at a poster symposium. Applications for the 2023 program are open till January 6, 2023.
RIMS, which is hosted by the City University of New York’s Advanced Science Research Center (ASRC), allows students to conduct research in ASRC facilities. They also attend professional development workshops during the 8-week program. Students earn a stipend for their participation, and admission is very competitive.
The Jackson Laboratory Student Summer Program is a 10 week genetics and genomics research program for undergraduates and high school students who are 18 years old and have finished grade 12 at the time of enrollment (current seniors can apply). Only around 40 students, or about 3% of those who apply, are accepted each year. Students spend the summer engaged in an independent research project under the guidance of a mentor, with the goal of presenting their findings at the conclusion of the program. The program offers a stipend of $6000.
ISSYP is a summer program for current juniors and seniors who are interested in theoretical physics and want to pursue it in college. Students attend Perimeter Institute experts' talks on the newest theoretical physics issues, as well as short courses, keynote speeches, and mentorship sessions. ISSYP is a very competitive program that only accepts 30–40 students each year. While ISSYP used to be hosted at the Perimeter Institute in Waterloo, Ontario, it is now an entirely online program.
Offered by Carnegie Mellon University, SAMS is for current sophomores and juniors from underrepresented backgrounds who want to earn college credit while "developing mastery of fundamental ideas in higher-level collegiate math and science." Classroom training, hands-on research projects, and professional and academic development courses are all part of SAMS. The program is 6 weeks long. Students engage in a rigorous curriculum taught by Carnegie Mellon University faculty.
HS-SIP provides high school students with the opportunity to do full-time biomedical research at NIH facilities, working alongside world-renowned professionals. Applicants must be juniors or seniors at the time of application and 17 years old at the commencement of the program to be considered. HS-SIP is extremely competitive, with only around 15% of candidates being accepted. The program length is 8 weeks, and offers a stipend of $2080 per month.
The Fred Hutch Summer High School Internship is an 8 week-long, full-time internship for rising high school senior students. The program is specifically designed for students from underrepresented communities, who are interested in the field of biomedical science. Along with receiving hands-on training on laboratory safety techniques and skills in the Fred Hutch Training Labs, students also participate in research education seminars, attend professional development workshops, and receive mentorship from Fred Hutch research groups. Applications for 2023 will open on February 1st. Students receive a stipend for their participation.
This summer program takes place at the Rockefeller University and is a full-time in-person research program from June 27 - August 11 (tentatively). Students must be 16+ at time of application to be eligible and must be a current high school junior or senior. The program requires a letter of recommendation. Applications close early for this program (usually the fall of the summer before), so be sure to apply early!
The Coriell Institute is a leader in stem cell research and genetic discoveries. Select students are invited to participate in the four-week Summer Experience, which allows them to work with world-renowned scientists and researchers. Students attend staff lectures, conduct independent research, learn data analysis, attend a resume-building session, and present their findings in a final presentation. The program gives participants the opportunity to work in Coriell's Cytogenomics and Stem Cell labs while also receiving a $1,000 stipend. Before beginning the program, students must be 17 years old.
This STEM program selects a group of 50 students to the University of Maryland campus for a week-long summer program focusing on biomedical science research. Seminars and professional development sessions are available to students. Junior and senior students who have completed AP Biology and Chemistry curriculum before enrolling are eligible to participate in the program. Transcripts and a letter of reference from a scientific instructor are required, as well as a personal statement describing an event or person that sparked the student’s interest in science.
This 10-week program selects 100 students each year from a field of over 2000 applicants. Selected students are compensated for their time with a $4,000 stipend. Alongside attending seminars and laboratory sessions with the staff, students can create their own research biomedical projects under the recognized mentoring of the City of Hope facilitators. The curriculum ends in the completion of a research paper, which is then presented at the end of the program. Students must be 16 years old before their first day on campus and have completed chemistry and biology classes in high school before applying.
BioResearch Academy is a fully residential program that takes take place at Emmanuel College in Boston (July 5th - 18th). The program is designed for high school students who are interested in biological sciences. The program has been developed by Dr. Sam Kunes who has been on the faculty of Harvard University for 30 years where he teaches cell biology and neuroscience.
Cost: $5,500 (including housing, meals and other activities)
How to find research opportunities:
Consider applying to multiple research programs or reaching out to faculty members by cold-emailing/calling them for a research project. The key is to stay wide and open to a variety of areas.
Most research programs do not have a path to then publish your research. Publications can be a long and difficult process, but if it’s of interest, you can learn about the path to publication here.
25. Veritas AI - AI Fellowship
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.
$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
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 1500 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.