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8 Summer Opportunities at UChicago for High School Students

If you’re a high school student looking for a vibrant and quirky educational summer, chances are you’ll be looking at the University of Chicago, one of the best colleges in the U.S. This blog summarizes the summer opportunities they offer for high school students


The University of Chicago (UChicago) offers two umbrella summer programs. These are Pre-College Programs and Enrichment Programs.


UChicago’s Pre-college programs are full-fledged summer programs that involve the taking of a college-level course (online or on campus). These are paid programs that generally last around 3 weeks, but can range up to 8 weeks.


UChicago Enrichment programs are week-long, selective, scholarship-based programs that are usually free of charge. These programs often cater to specific categories of identified groups and interests - so go through the entire list to see if you are eligible.


In this guide, we’ll dive deeper into each and the options available.


University of Chicago Pre-college Programs


UChicago’s pre-college programs are three to eight-week programs that offer undergraduate-level courses, workshop discussions, research projects, and other hands-on activities to high school students. This program is designed to give you a taste of university life, and educational experiences that go beyond the realm of your high school curriculum. Whether you’re looking for creative writing workshops, preview courses in STEM fields, or exploring theories of economic policy, philosophy, and free expression, they have a spectrum of opportunities.


Note: All pre-college courses vary in subject areas, location (online, in-person, hybrid) as well as cost. Check out individual program links for specific requirements.


A list of Pre-College Programs:


UChicago’s Enrichment Programs


The Enrichment Programs at the University of Chicago are one-week courses for students that are generally free of charge. Most of these enrichment programs have been designed to tackle the diversity gap in academics. Whether it's leadership, civil discourse, or quantitative analysis of complex problems, all enrichment programs provide a window into the University of Chicago's unique culture of inquiry. My favorite part of enrichment programs is that they cover all costs of their programs, yes (even travel if you require), making them accessible to many around the world.


Note: While some of these programs are catered to serve specific groups of students, some are open to all. Make sure you check out individual program links for specific eligibility requirements!


A list of Enrichment Programs:


8 Summer Opportunities at UChicago for High School Students


From the two lists above, I have picked out 8 opportunities that cover a range of program structures, subject areas, scholarship access, and selectivity. Keep reading to learn more about the following programs!


From UChicago Pre-College Programs:



From UChicago’s Enrichment Programs:


Keep reading to learn more about the following programs!



The Immersion programs are less selective, three-week, residential courses that give high school students a glimpse into college education. This is essentially Uchicago’s baseline, in-person summer program offering for high school students. Most students will do this program.


There are dozens of possible courses that you could take in this program - we’ve listed a few below for the 2023 summer. s a student here, you’ll experience what it’s like to live on campus and take courses at the level of UChicago undergrads. You will also get to take advantage of all of the resources that Chicago itself has to offer through field trips and campus events.


Course examples (that I found most interesting):


To search for courses based on your grade level and academic interest, check out the course finder.


Cost, eligibility, and dates

  • Cost: $8,350

  • Eligibility: Current high school freshmen, sophomores, and juniors; at least 14 years old

  • Course dates:

    • Session 1: June 12 - June 29, 2023

    • Session 2: July 5 - July 21, 2023

  • Residential



This is an intensive four-week training program that aims to introduce students to a range of molecular biological techniques currently used in research laboratories. As a RIBS student, you will be spending most of your class time in labs, learning about lab techniques and life at the bench. At the end of the course, you will also get a chance to present your findings at a research forum.


Participants who successfully complete this course are regarded to have experience and confidence to work in a research laboratory – which can also be a great skill if you’re planning to be a STEM major in college.


Cost, eligibility, and dates

  • Cost: $13,600

  • Eligibility: Current high school sophomores and juniors. Students must complete one year of high school biology by the start of the program. This course is the most rigorous of the pre-college offerings in Biology, requiring that students have a demonstrated passion for science, with strong performances in high school biology, math, and chemistry (honors or advanced level preferred if available).

  • Course Dates: June 12 - July 7, 2023

  • Residential



The Summer Language Institute offers a six to eight-week, remote program to learn a new language or continue learning a language in classes with current UChicago students as well as visiting undergraduate and graduate students. This program can be beneficial for almost any pre-college student – since most degrees have foreign language requirements, the summer language institute could get you a head start, and in a (remote) college environment!


They offer a variety of languages including modern, and ancient languages, like Arabic, French, Japanese, Spanish, Korean, Chinese, German, American Sign Language, and Latin.


Cost, eligibility, and dates

  • Cost: $7,725

  • Eligibility: Current high school juniors and older

  • Course Dates: June 12 - August 4, 2023

  • Online



This program brings together a diverse group of outstanding high school students with an interest in STEM fields to learn about UChicago's research and academic opportunities. The course is a combination of a week-long virtual mathematics course, followed by a week on the UChicago campus! During this residential week, students can expect to hear lectures in molecular engineering, computer science, mathematics, and other fields; as well as expect some field trips to research facilities like the Argonne National Laboratory and the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.


Cost, eligibility, and dates

  • Cost: Free (full scholarship)

  • Eligibility: Applicants should be at least 15 years of age and be a current high school juniors enrolled in a high school in the United States.

  • Course dates: July 23 - July 28, 2023

  • Week 1 is online, and week 2 is residential


5. Voltage Scholars Program


The Voltage scholars program is a three-day, two-night accelerated program for high school students interested in economics. It introduces students to the concepts of macroeconomics and microeconomics and gives them the opportunity to learn about selective college admissions from UChicago admissions counselors. Another plus point of this program is that gives Voltage Scholars the opportunity to network with current college students since it is run alongside an undergraduate program!


Cost, eligibility, and dates

  • Cost: Free (full scholarship)

  • Eligibility: Applicants should be at least 14 years of age, currently in 10th grade, and enrolled in high school in the United States. Their goal is to recruit a diverse group of students from a broad range of backgrounds!

  • Course dates: June, 2023. Exact dates will be confirmed in soon!

  • Residential



This program is specifically for talented students who have a parent that works for the city, county, municipal, or state police or fire department in the United States. It is structured to provide these students with an opportunity to experience life at a major research university while engaging in interdisciplinary classes, college application workshops, and visiting research facilities. Participating students have previously had the opportunity to attend improv shows, baseball games, architecture boat tours, and eat at some of Chicago's most notable restaurants!


Cost, eligibility, and dates

  • Cost: Free (full scholarship)

  • Eligibility: Current high school sophomores or juniors enrolled in a high school in the United States, who are at least 15 years of age, and whose parents are active, full-time police officers or firefighters, are invited to apply.

  • Course dates: July 16 - July 21, 2023

  • Residential



This is a well-known program at UChicago that specifically helps students from rural/small-town schools to build skills in civic leadership and deliberation. This course dives deep into experiential learning activities focused on growing collaboration, teamwork, and problem-solving skills. As a student in this program, you will explore local opportunities for entrepreneurship by creating and pitching community-based business plans. Lastly, you will also get to learn about college admissions by pursuing workshops on admissions-related topics.


Cost, eligibility, and dates

  • Cost: Free (full scholarship)

  • Eligibility: Current high school freshmen, who are at least 14 years old, and who attend a rural or small-town high school* within the United States. Students of any citizenship who meet this criterion are eligible to apply.

  • Course dates: July 16 - July 21, 2023

  • Residential



This is a week-long enrichment program designed to prepare high school students for future careers in climate and energy policy. Through rigorous discussion-based classes, readings, lectures, and collaborative hands-on projects, you will learn about pressing current issues in climate and energy from leading faculty in the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC), the Becker Friedman Institute, and the Climate Impact Lab.



Cost, eligibility, and dates

  • Cost: Free (full scholarship)

  • Eligibility: Applicants should be at least 15 years of age and be a current high school juniors enrolled in a high school in the United States.

  • Course dates: July 2023. Exact dates will be confirmed in January 2023

  • Residential


Application Process


The application process for every program is slightly different, so make sure you double-check your application requirements. Other than that, all applicants must complete the Summer Session Application, which can be reviewed in the How To Apply section.


All Enrichment Programs share a single deadline of March 1, 2023; whereas the Pre-college Programs have multiple application dates and deadlines (see the following chart for details).


Now that you are armed with this information, here’s wishing you find yourself a great summer program for 2023. All the best!


One other option – Lumiere Research Scholar Program


If you are interested in a selective, individually customized research program, consider applying to the Lumiere Research Scholar Program, an online high school program for students founded by Harvard and Oxford researchers. The program pairs you with a full-time researcher to develop your own independent research project, in any discipline of your choice. Last year over 2100 students applied for 500 slots in the research program! You can find the application form here.


Looking for college programs beyond Chicago? Check out our other blogs on 15 Best Free Summer Programs for High School Students and 15 Virtual Research Opportunities for High School Students.

Dhvani (the-one-e) is a program manager at Lumiere, in addition to being an entrepreneur, dialogue facilitator, and boxer. She graduated from UC Davis where she studied design, psychology, and sustained dialogue. She has a passion for all things education, inclusion, and empowerment.


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