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10 Summer Programs for Middle School Students

If you’re considering building a solid profile for university it’s essential to work on your profile during high school, as well as the years before! Participation in clubs, volunteering, and summer programs during middle school can mold interests, guide future pursuits, and enhance competitiveness in college applications. 


So, we have curated a list of 10 summer programs for middle school students which presents a valuable chance to delve into a wide array of interests that may not be addressed in your standard school curriculum. Some of the programs mentioned below provide financial aid and scholarships as well. 


The Lumiere Junior Explorer Program is an 8-week program for middle school students to work one-on-one with a mentor to explore their academic interests and build a project they are passionate about. Our mentors are scholars from top research universities such as Harvard, MIT,  Stanford, Yale, Duke and LSE


During this program, spanning weeks 1 to 4, participants will delve into four distinct topics within their selected track. In weeks 5 to 6, the focus intensifies as participants embark on a deep dive into one specific topic area and finally, weeks 7 to 8 are dedicated to project implementation, with participants receiving guidance and support from their mentors as they bring their projects to life.


You can find the application form here. 


Location: Fully Virtual Dates: Multiple cohorts available each year, deadlines vary accordingly

Cost: $1990

Age requirements: Grade 6 - 8

Deadline: Rolling deadlines for each cohort. If you'd like to take a look at the cohorts + deadlines for 2024, you can refer to this page!


2. Veritas AI - AI Trailblazers and Junior Fellowship

Location: Virtual

Cost

  • AI Trailblazers - $1,790 

  • AI Junior Fellowship - $2,900 

Note. Need-based financial aid is available.

Application Deadline: February 25, 2024 (Winter Cohort). You can apply here!

Program Dates: 

  • AI Trailblazers - Runs for a total of 25 hours over 10 weekends 

  • AI Junior Fellowship - 12 weeks. The upcoming cohort for both starts on March 10, 2024.


Veritas AI is a virtual AI program for middle school and high school students founded and run by Harvard graduate students. Middle school students can pick from two options -  the first is the AI Trailblazers bootcamp. Through this program, you will learn the  fundamentals of artificial intelligence and machine learning, along with the basics of Python. You'll work on hands-on, real-world AI projects in areas like medicine, finance, autonomous vehicles, and more under the guidance of mentors from top universities. This is best suited for students who are beginners! 


If you have already gone through the bootcamp or have some experience with Python, the AI Junior Fellowship is a good option for you. You get to work 1-1 with a mentor to build out your own project or research paper over 12 weeks. This is a great way to work with AI at the intersection of various topics and showcase your passion. 


You can take a look at the program brochure here.


Over the course of two weeks, participants will delve into the intricacies of natural history and its interconnectedness with oceanography. They will receive an introduction to fundamental marine concepts and laboratory protocols. Engaging in hands-on activities, students will examine island geology, juxtapose salt marshes and bogs, establish a saltwater tank, and investigate the diversity and zonation patterns within tidal pools. A significant number of students who participate in an Intermediate session often choose to return for an Advanced session in subsequent years, particularly after completing at least one year of high school. A tentative program schedule can be found here.


Location: Seal Harbor, Maine

Dates: June 23 - July 5 and August 4-16, 2024

Cost: $3,200 for a two week session

Age requirements: Typically ages 12-15

Deadline: Rolling


Throughout the process of designing and executing a research project, students will acquire invaluable practical skills. They will have the opportunity to participate in laboratory tours and engage in various STEM activities. By the end of the week, students will showcase their findings to their peers through presentations. Additionally, participants will receive a certificate of completion from Scripps Research, recognizing their successful participation in the program.


To begin the application process for the Junior Scientist Training Program for your middle school child or children, the first step is to create a login using your personal information. After completing the login process, you'll have the opportunity to register your child and any additional middle school children through the provided link.


Location: La Jolla, California

Dates: TBD

Cost: $300

Age requirements: Rising 6-8th graders

Deadline: Rolling, registration ends on May 13th. 


Northwestern University's Center for Talent Development (CTD) provides a wide array of both in-person and online programs catering to diverse interests and needs. Students have the chance to enhance their leadership abilities through immersive experiences like the Summer Leadership Intensive held at Northwestern's campus. Alternatively, they can opt for online summer programs that offer academic acceleration while providing flexibility. Moreover, some courses may even grant high school credit, adding to their academic achievements. With such a range of options available, students can tailor their educational journey to their individual aspirations and goals. 


Most programs offer need-based financial aid to eligible applicants. Applications are evaluated on a first-come, first-served basis. Families are strongly encouraged to apply early, as the funds allocated for financial aid are limited and may be depleted before the program's financial aid application deadline. Applying early maximizes the chance of receiving financial assistance.


Location: Evanston, IL and online

Dates: Varies

Cost: Varies depending upon the course. Additional details can be found here.

Age requirements: Varies, but available for students in grades 6-8

Deadline: Rolling


This onsite debate camp provides students with the opportunity to acquire essential debate skills. Participants will learn foundational techniques such as crafting responses to arguments, evaluating evidence, honing public speaking abilities, and enhancing research literacy skills. Students with prior debate experience from Atlanta Urban Debate League (AUDL) middle school tournaments are eligible to enroll in the advanced skills camps, where they can further refine their abilities in a more challenging setting. Schedule and curriculum can be found here


Location: Atlanta, GA (Emory University)

Dates: July 8-12, July 15-19

Cost: N/A

Age requirements: Rising 6th-8th grade

Deadline: Rolling


In this comprehensive four-week program, students will immerse themselves in a diverse range of enriching opportunities spanning engineering/technology, and exploratory studies. Alongside these subjects, participants will also delve into the creation of mobile applications focusing on health science.


In addition to core academic content, thematic programming covering topics from engineering/technology to health and healthy bodies is included to meet extracurricular educational needs. Furthermore, students participate in inquiry-based activities designed to reinforce program curriculum and connect it to real-life applications. 


Note: all materials (application and supplemental) must be received by the application closing date by 5 pm. 


Location: Atlanta, GA (Morehouse University)

Dates: June 3-28

Cost: $800

Age requirements: Rising 5-8th graders

Deadline: Rolling


 Summer Discovery stands out as a premier provider of summer academic and experiential travel programs, offering students the chance to embark on exciting adventures, forge enduring friendships, and foster both confidence and a sense of community. It provides pre-college summer academic programs designed to offer students a variety of enriching experiences. With a selection of over 50 courses, participants are guaranteed to discover subjects aligned with their interests. Options range from courses like "Speak Out, The Art of Persuasion" to "Fantasy Football, By The Numbers" and "The Science Behind Crime Solving," among others. Start your application here.  


Note:  Not all courses are available at both campuses, so prospective students should verify course availability before registering.


Location: Georgetown University or UCLA

Dates: Varies, courses are typically 2-3 weeks in length

Cost: Varies

Age requirements: Rising 6-8th graders

Deadline: Rolling


The program is dedicated to empowering students with essential skills such as coding from a young age. Through hands-on experimentation, participants will cultivate creativity while working on their STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) projects. For students unable to attend the on-site location, online alternatives are also offered, ensuring accessibility and flexibility in learning.


Location: Atlanta, GA (Georgia Tech) and online

Dates: April 19th.

Cost: $225-450

Age requirements: K-12

Deadline: Students are accepted on a rolling basis


This program aims at fostering higher college attendance rates and encouraging participation in STEM fields. While the topics for summer 2024 are still pending confirmation, the offerings from the previous year in 2023 provide a glimpse into the diverse array of subjects available. Options included the Wild About Wildlife Camp, Making with Microcontrollers, Engineering Camps, ActivityBots Camp, and Flying Robots Camp. Certain programs incorporated field trips and hands-on learning experiences to enrich students' educational journeys.


Location: Corvallis, OR (Oregon State University)

Dates: TBA

Cost: $90-300

Age requirements: Rising 6-8th graders

Deadline: Registration opens in late February


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: Northwestern University Center for Talent Development (CTD) logo

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