If you are looking to make the most of your summer through an immersive academic experience that boosts your scholar profile for college, then consider online summer programs and online summer schools.
Why an online summer program?
The answer to this question will depend on what your priorities are. If it is learning from the comfort of your home and accommodating a flexible schedule and saving some added boarding, travel, and meal costs, then these are good options for you. If you are looking for a feel of campus life, then a residential or commuter program is probably best for you!
Note that attending a summer program by a university, such as Harvard for example, does not guarantee admission into the undergraduate program there. However, summer schools can serve as a bridge between high school and college, by providing you exposure to college-level academics, college life, and networking opportunities.
In this blog, we'll have some solid online summer program options for you. Some of these are in the format of an online school (with courses), and the others are research mentorship programs that are run online.
Virtual Summer Programs for High School Students
This is a level above the Pre-College program in terms of how much of a taste of college life it’ll give you. Compared to the two weeks, this is a seven-week session. It is available online and in in-person.
One big difference is that there are over 200 courses for students to choose from, for full college credit. Another differentiator is that these classes are also attended by university undergraduates - which can make for an interesting opportunity to get a deeper insight into Harvard and college at large. This will definitely be a more academically rigorous experience and, if you pick your courses strategically (in line with your intended major), you can have something substantial to show for it.
Here are some sample courses they offer:
Animal Transgenesis: A Laboratory Primer on Genetics
Problem-solving and Project Design
Connecting to the World Through Chemistry
Find the full course catalogue here.
Program Cost: $3,300–$13,200 + $75 non-refundable application fee (financial aid awards available)
Program Dates: 7 weeks, June 18 – August 6, 2022
Application Deadline: January 26 (early) // March 2 (regular) // May 1
College credit offered
If you are looking to do cutting-edge research in a field of your choice, then you should consider this option. Lumiere was founded by researchers at Harvard and Oxford. Hundreds of ambitious high school students do research in the field of engineering through the Lumiere Research Scholar Programs. Each student is paired with a top Ph.D. and works with their mentor 1-1 to produce a university-level research paper.
The programs are entirely virtual and vary in duration based on the student’s end goal with respect to how much of a deep dive they would prefer. You can choose from an array of STEM and non-STEM subjects, business, AI, and data science.
Also, check out the Lumiere Research Inclusion Foundation, a non-profit research program for talented, low-income students.
Four cohorts run throughout the year, namely the spring, summer, winter, and fall cohorts.
Applications are open throughout the year for the four cohorts. Currently, applications for the Summer Cohort close on May 14, 2023. Apply here!
Eligibility: High school students
You will get a taste of life as a journalist in this year-long course. You will participate in a range of activities, including attending online workshops and lectures with renowned journalists from all over the country.
Apart from the usual workshops and lectures, you will have access to a number of exciting opportunities such as visiting newsrooms, making a documentary, and working on the Princeton Summer Journal which is published at the end of the program. Fair warning - this is a highly selective program including a three-round application process and a final cohort of up to 40 students.
Heads up - this does have a short, in-person competence.
Program Cost: Free
Program Dates: Year-long
Application Deadline: February 27, 2023
Location: Online and in-person versions available throughout the year culminating in a 10-day residential program at the end of July
Eligibility: Students must be in the 11th grade, have a minimum GPA of 3.5, and must qualify for one of these socioeconomic conditions.
A pre-college program for students interested in the field of medicine and medical research, Georgetown University's summer course is spread across 1-week intensives, 2-week, and 4-week sessions, based on your pace of learning and availability.
In this pre-college program, you will be introduced to clinical research, ethics in research, delve into medical research in cancer, as well as writing a scientific article based on your research project. With guided projects, mentorship by top researchers, and career guidance this program is one you should apply to in 2023.
Note: The course also lets you work on a capstone research project of your choice, an excellent way to demonstrate your motivation, dedication, and relevant skills in your college application.
Program Cost: $1495, scholarships available
4-week program - February 5 - March 5, 2023
2-week program - January 22 - February 5, 2023
4-week program - January 8 - February 5, 2023
4-week program - January 1, 2023
2-week program - January 15, 2023
4-week program - January 29, 2023
Eligibility: Open to all high-school students
If you’re looking for research opportunities in your gap year that focus on a subject of your choice, you can apply to the Veritas AI program, a virtual AI program for high school students. Founded and run by Harvard graduates, Veritas AI teaches you about artificial intelligence, and machine learning and helps you produce a project that you can use as part of your portfolio and also while applying to college.
There are two major programs you can apply to and both are open to high school students looking to take a focused look at AI and ML -
The Veritas Scholars Program runs for a total of 25 hours during the Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter.
Program Cost: $1490, need-based financial aid available
Priority admission: March 12 and April 16, 2023
Regular admission 1: May 14, 2023
Eligibility: Grade 8-12 students
Prerequisites: No prerequisites! Open to anyone with an interest in the field.
The AI Fellowship program runs for a total of 12-15 weeks and focuses on building an individualized AI project.
Program Cost: $4200
Program Dates for Fellowship and Scholars Program:
Both programs run in several cohorts, starting in May through August.
Priority admission: March 12 and April 16, 2023; and Regular admission 1: May 14, 2023
Eligibility: Open to all students in Grades 8-12
Available Fields: Pretty much every area according to their website and the experience of students. They have dozens of mentors across different fields and AI.
Prerequisites: Basic understanding of Python or completion of AI Scholars
Arizona State University offers free summer courses for eligible students, via ASU Prep Digital, the university’s online high school. For this program, ASU is partnering with Brookfield Engineering Science & Technology (BEST) Academy to provide free, online courses across a variety of disciplines.
Program Cost- Free of cost
Program Dates and Deadlines - Summer sessions start on July 1st, and you can enroll for the course of your choice by pre-registering with BEST Academy.
Eligibility - All high-school students from Riverview, Orange, San Diego, and Imperial Counties can apply for this program free of cost. Incoming high-school students can apply for courses too and receive corresponding school and college credits.
Course Overview - ASU offers 15 courses such as World Languages, Health & Wellness, Social Studies, Medical Sciences, and Communications. See the complete catalogue here.
Looking for a summer school that acts as the perfect bridge between high school maths and advanced maths (the type you’ll learn at college)? MathCamp’s Online Summer Program is a highly coveted one, with students learning advanced concepts in pure and applied maths spread over a 5-week program. You may find the fees of MathCamp a bit steep, but their financial aid model has helped hundreds of students from diverse backgrounds share their love for maths under the same roof, without any financial anxieties.
Program Cost- Free for all American and Canadian families with an income of less than $65,000. MathCamp offers financial aid worth $150,000 every year, which is very beneficial for international students and international visa holders.
Program Dates and Deadlines - Apart from your basic information, MathCamp requires you to send over a letter of motivation, solutions to a past MathCamp quiz, a letter stating your need for financial aid (if required), and two recommendation letters. For more details about the process, visit the MathCamp official website.
Eligibility - Middle-school and high-school students with a passion for maths and learning, aged 13-18.
Course Overview - Lectures, discussion sessions, projects, and workshops held by leading mathematicians.
Brown University offers multiple summer programs, but Summer@Brown is one of their more welcoming offerings for high-school students. As a Summer@Brown participant, you can choose from their catalogue of 300+ non-credit courses, engage in community activities, college-readiness workshops, and more! Brown University offers Summer@Brown Online, commuter options, off-campus programs, one-week courses, and seven-week courses.
We’ve done a deep dive into the summer opportunities available at Brown.
Residential Students (includes room and board): $6,124
Commuter Students: $4,330
Residential 1-week program -
June 25 to June 30
July 9 to July 14
July 16 to July 21
July 23 to July 28
You can find the complete 2023 schedule here.
Application Deadline: Apply by May 12, 2023.
Location: Virtual/Brown University Campus
Eligibility: Open to all high-school students
Pro tip: If you are seeking to earn college credit at Brown, check out Brown’s highly competitive Pre-Baccalaureate program. This program is open to rising high school seniors or recent high school graduates who are ready to tackle the rigors of credit-bearing undergraduate studies.
GirlsWhoCode aims to bring more women and non-binary individuals to the forefront of STEM-based research, especially in scholarly communities. Its Summer Immersion Program is one such effort at helping high-school students from Hispanic, Latinx, and other underrepresented groups engage with women in tech spaces.
Program Cost- Free of cost
Program Dates and Deadlines - Applications close in April 2023, while the program commences in July.
Course Overview - All program participants gain real-world experience and tech-based learning through extensive discussion sessions, Q&As, participation in projects and research, and mentoring sessions by women in tech.
Eligibility - Open to all female and non-binary students in high school.
Ladder Internship is a selective program equipping students with virtual internship experiences at startups and nonprofits around the world! The startups range across a variety of industries, and each student can select which field they would most love to deep dive into.
The startups are based all across the world, with the majority being in the United States, Asia and then Europe, and the UK. The fields include technology, machine learning and AI, finance, environmental science and sustainability, business and marketing, healthcare and medicine, media and journalism, and more. You can explore all the options here on their application form.
Cost: $1490 (Financial Aid Available)
Location: Remote! You can work from anywhere in the world.
Application deadline: April 16 and May 14
Program dates: 8 weeks, June to August
Eligibility: Students who can work for 10-20 hours/week, for 8-12 weeks. Open to high school students, undergraduates, and gap year students!
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: Mathcamp logo