7 Prestigious Summer Programs for High School Students


Summer is a great time to dive deep into your personal and academic interests. One way to further enrich yourself is through attending residential summer programs. Not only will you learn more about your field of interest (and yourself!) but you will also have great experiences for college applications and essays.

Of course, not all summer high school programs are the same, and there are many you can attend that are not very selective and end up costing you a lot of money. These are basically akin to summer camps or taking college classes in high school. (Not to say that more education is a bad thing!)

I decided to round up a list of 7 prestigious summer programs for high school students (i.e., highly selective organizations that pay expenses partially, mostly, or wholly). These programs are typically geared towards current juniors and seniors and STEM subjects.

1. Bank of America Student Leaders [mostly paid]

Bank of America connects you with a local nonprofit for an 8-week internship, which includes a leadership summit in Washington, D.C. The program is entirely organized and paid for by Bank of America. (Note: You won’t be working at Bank of America--you’ll intern with a nonprofit affiliate near you.)

Key documents to submit include a letter of recommendation and an optional resume. The deadline to apply is January 31, 2020. The program is restricted to current juniors and seniors.

2. Carnegie Mellon – Summer Academy for Math + Science (SAMS) [mostly paid]

Carnegie Mellon offers you classes, seminars, and workshops in advanced STEM topics. This is a residential program, so you live on campus for 6 weeks. Most of the expenses are paid, but you will have to spend your own money on supplies and recreation.

Key documents to submit include standardized test scores (e.g., SAT, ACT, or PSAT), 2 recommendation letters, and 2 essay responses. The priority deadline to apply is March 1, 2020. The program is restricted to current sophomores and juniors.

3. Jackson Laboratory – Summer Student Program [basically all paid]

The Jackson Laboratory offers you a 10-week residential program that focuses on genomics and genetics research in Bar Harbor, Maine. All expenses are paid, including travel and boarding.

Key documents to submit include 2 recommendation letters, list of research interests, and 3 short answer responses. The deadline is February 2, 2020. The program is restricted to current juniors and seniors.

4. Massachusetts Institute of Technology – Minority Introduction to Science and Engineering (MITES) [nearly all paid]

MIT offers you a 6-week residential program in which you take classes and seminars related to STEM. All expenses are paid, except traveling to and from MIT.

Key documents to submit include 3 recommendation letters and 5-6 short answer responses. The deadline is February 1, 2020. The program is restricted to current juniors.

5. National Institutes of Health – Summer Internship in Biomedical Research (SIP) [partially paid]

NIH connects you with leading biomedical research teams and you assist with current research projects. You are part of a research group for approximately 8 weeks. You are provided a research stipend, but you have to find and pay for your own housing within 40 miles of the NIH campus where you conduct research.

Key documents to submit include 2 letters of recommendation, a resume/curriculum vitae, and a cover letter. The deadline is February 1, 2020. The program is restricted to current juniors.

6. Stanford Institutes of Medicine Summer Research Program (SIMR) [partially paid]

Stanford offers you an 8-week residential program to perform medically-oriented research alongside members of Stanford’s science and medicine community. The program offers a stipend for research, but it does not pay for housing (or even directly offer housing). Consequently, Bay Area students are HIGHLY favored over non-local students.

Key documents to submit include 1 recommendation and 2 essays. The deadline is February 22, 2020. The program is restricted to current juniors and seniors.

7. Texas Tech University – Clark Scholars [mostly paid]

Texas Tech offers you a 7-week residential research program. The program offers a stipend in addition to paying for your meals and boarding. Your only expense is traveling to and from Texas Tech.

Key documents to submit include recommendation letters and 4 essays. The deadline is February 10, 2020. The program is restricted to current juniors and seniors.

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If one of these programs caught your attention, then it’s time to get to work! As you can tell, the deadlines are quickly approaching (late January and early/mid February)!

Planning on applying to a summer program? Need help with the application process, including the resume and essay responses? Don’t worry! We can review any application materials and assist you with presenting your best self to these prestigious institutions. It’s time to make the most of summer!

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