25 Recognizable College Prep Programs for High School Students

Saturday, December 16, 2023
College Prep Programs High School Students

If you are a high school student looking to step up in the academic field, these college prep programs are for you! 

College prep programs are opportunities for high school students to take advantage of their summer time off to explore their academic interests, get a taste of college life, and meet like-minded students worldwide. Many college prep programs for high school students take place on a college campus and focus on various subjects like journalism, entrepreneurship, or computer science to expand students’ understanding of their interests. Most programs range from 1-7 weeks long, and students either live on campus for that time period or they can commute to and from campus.

Getting into one of these pre-college summer programs can be a great addition to your resume, but be cautious when choosing a program because many out there take advantage of students and will select any student who applies. University admissions faculty know which programs are legitimate and which ones are just cash cows, so be selective and do your research when applying. To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of 25 recognizable college prep programs for high school students:


1. Bank of America Student Leaders

The Bank of America Student Leaders program is part of Bank of America’s ongoing commitment to youth employment and economic mobility. 225 juniors and seniors are selected each year to take part in a leadership summit in Washington D.C. They are awarded paid internships with local nonprofits like Boys & Girls Club or Habitat for Humanity where they learn first-hand about the needs of their community. This is a wonderful opportunity to step into the fascinating world of banking in the heart of DC. 

2. Carnegie Mellon Summer Academy for Math & Science

This is six week summer STEM program is designed specifically for for historically underrepresented minority groups interested in pursuing science and technology-related undergraduate majors. Students can choose from two different tracks: science and engineering or computer science. Rising juniors and seniors are encouraged to apply, though a limited number of juniors are accepted. 

3. Center for Excellence in Education - Research Science Institute (RSI)

In this fabulous, cost-free program is open to 80 hard-working, invested students. They are selected for the Research Institute at MIT every summer where they participate in a week of STEM intensives followed by a 5 week research internship. This all culminates at the end in written and oral presentations of their research findings. This impressive program provides students with a multi-faceted approach to the practical world of science and technology. 

4. Yale Young Global Scholars

This two week academic and leadership program at Yale combines lectures, seminars, and small-group discussions designed to challenge and inspire students in specialties, from applied science and engineering, to literature, philosophy, and culture. Yale is the one of the leading institutions around the world, and their prestigious programs believe that education is the key to a better future.

5. University of Pennsylvania – Leadership in the Business World

Are you a rising college student invested in business and feel that you have something to say? Come on over to Pennsylvania and check out what they have to offer. This month-long summer program is open to 80 rising high school seniors who want an introduction to an undergraduate business education. Here they will be given the opportunity to hone their leadership, teamwork, and communication skills. Students have opportunities to learn about leadership in 21st century organizations through a dynamic and rigorous mix of classes with professors and business leaders, company site visits, and team-building activities. It is a fantastic inside-out approach to the world of business and communication, with an emphasis on the power and purpose of leadership. 

6. University of Notre Dame - Leadership Seminars

Is the idea of leadership important to you? This 10-day program on Notre Dame's campus is for 90 academically talented students who show impressive leadership within their communities and focuses on topics like global issues, the environment, and the state of race in 21st century America. Students are eligible to receive one college credit upon completion of the program.

7. Texas Tech University – Clark Scholars

For rising juniors and seniors, this 7-week research program guides students through a hands-on practical research experience with experienced faculty and includes fun activities, weekly seminars and field trips.

8. Telluride Association Summer Program (TASP)

A cost-free six-week educational experience for high school juniors, TASP centers on an academic seminar that meets every weekday morning for three hours. In addition to the seminar, students participate in a public-speaking program, attend lectures by guest speakers, and hold other social and intellectual activities as a community. This engaging program is a great way to step out of your comfort zone and learn more about the importance of communication across a variety of platforms. 

9. Stanford University Mathematics Camp (SuMaC)

Are you driven by the wide world of mathematics? SuMaC leads participants on a journey in advanced mathematics through lectures, guided research, and group problem solving over three weeks. In an engaging and welcoming social environment centered on mathematics, the like-minded participants explore current lines of mathematical research, the historical development of important areas of mathematics, and applications across scientific disciplines.

10. Simons Summer Research Program

Simons summer research program is a 6-week program for rising seniors who will work with distinguished faculty mentors at Stony Brook University. Here they will learn laboratory techniques and tools, become part of active research teams, and experience life at a research university. It is a hands-on program with plenty of chances to explore things you have never seen before. 

11. Program in Mathematics for Young Scientists (PROMYS)

PROMYS is a six-week summer program at Boston University designed to encourage 80 strongly motivated high school students from around the country to explore in depth the creative world of mathematics in a supportive community of peers, counselors, research mathematicians, and visiting scientists.

12. Princeton University Summer Journalism Program

The world of journalism is fast-paced, cutting edge, and always on the forefront of the daily news. Thanks to this excellent Princeton summer program, students will learn the ins and outs of what’s it like to be front and center for it all. Every summer, 35-40 rising seniors from low-income backgrounds are selected for this ten day seminar on journalism. The program's goal is to diversify college and professional newsrooms by encouraging outstanding students from low-income backgrounds to pursue careers in journalism. All expenses, including students' travel costs to and from Princeton, are paid for by the program.

13. Ohio State University – Ross Mathematics Program

The Ross Mathematics Program is a six week program for students ages 15-18 with interests in mathematics and science. Students take a basic course in number theory and are immersed in a world of mathematical discovery. This course is open to anybody with a passion for theoretical analysis and the scientific approach to mathematics. 

14. Monell Center Science Apprenticeship Program

The Monell apprenticeship is a paid internship for high school and undergrad students in Philadelphia that provides students with hands-on research training, improves student learning in science, encourages critical thought and communication skills, and increases appreciation of the chemical senses.

15. Michigan State University – High School Honors Science, Math and Engineering Program (HSHSP)

A seven-week, intensive summer research program for rising seniors from across the United States who wish to gain more experience conducting research while living on the campus of a major research-intensive university.

16. Michigan Math and Science Scholars

They sat the mathematics is all around us, and that is exactly what the folks at Michigan University want to unpack. Open to any rising high school sophomore, junior, or senior, this program is designed to introduce high school students to current developments and research in the sciences and to encourage the next generation of researchers to develop and retain a love of mathematics and science.

17. MathILy – Bryn Mawr College

This five-week program for mathematically-talented high school students introduces them to new ideas to improve their problem-solving skills, learn advanced mathematics, and hone overall thinking skills. 

18. Massachusetts Institute of Technology – Minority Introduction to Science and Engineering (MITES)

This exciting, cost-free program takes place over six weeks and is open to residential academic enrichment program for rising high school seniors – many of whom come from underrepresented or underserved communities. This program is open to those who have a strong academic record and are interested in studying and exploring careers in science and engineering. Students take one calculus course, one life sciences course, one physics course, a humanities course and an elective course. This is an excellent way to beef up your resume for college as well as to get started on your college courses early. 

19. LaunchX

In this program, students interested in entrepreneurship spend four weeks building and launching an actual start-up, learning from industry experts, and working in a group of peer co-founders to build real products and solve business challenges. LaunchX has programs at Universities around the U.S. and admits students from all over the world.

20. JCamp

Media has become a type of currency in today’s world and its foothold in our lives has never been stronger. For those in high school—from freshman to juniors—this might be just the place for you. Those interested should have a strong passion for broadcasting, newspapers, magazines, photojournalism or online media to apply. The six-day training camp brings together culturally diverse students from across the nation to learn from veteran journalists and leading media executives. JCamp participants will receive hands-on training and produce multi-platform news packages for the program’s news site. In a sense, you get a firsthand, week-in-the-life look at the world of media from all sides. 

21. Jackson Laboratory – Summer Student Program

The Summer Student Program is designed for 48 undergraduate and high school students chosen from all over the U.S. who want to immerse themselves in genetics and genomics research. It emphasizes laboratory discovery, communication of knowledge, and professional growth. Students participate in an ongoing research program with the support of an experienced scientific mentor. They develop an independent project, implement their plan, analyze the data, and report the results. At the end of the summer, they present their findings to researchers, other students, and parents. The Summer Student Program is available at The Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine and The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine in Farmington, Connecticut.

22. Indiana University – Young Women’s Institute

The Young Women’s Institute is open to women finishing their junior year of high school (rising seniors). The students are selected from around the country to spend a week at Indiana University in Bloomington where they would participate in workshops with top Kelley School of Business faculty, interacting with Kelley alumni and current students, preparing a real-world business case project, building leadership and communication skills, and connecting with like-minded women interested in business. 

23. Hampshire College Summer Studies in Mathematics (HCSSIM)

HCSSiM is an intensive six-week encounter with college-level mathematics for talented and highly motivated high school students at Hampshire College in Massachusetts. Participants spend a major portion of each day actively engaged in doing mathematics (not simply learning the results of mathematics).

24. Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Camp

This 7-week program for 10th-11th grade girls is built for those who want to learn coding and get exposure to tech jobs. Each week of the program covers projects related to computer science, such as art, storytelling, robotics, video games, websites, and apps. You’ll also hear from guest speakers, participate in workshops, connect with female engineers and entrepreneurs, and go on on-site field trips. It is a multifaceted experience that offers a whole range of opportunities. 

25. Foundation for Teaching Economics - Economics for Leaders (EFL)

The overall goal of economics for leaders is to give promising students the skills to be more effective leaders and to teach them how to employ economic analysis when considering difficult public policy choices. EFL is a selective summer program for high school sophomores and juniors that teaches leaders how to integrate economics into the process of decision-making in a hands-on environment. It is an intensive program with a focus on the role of economics in our society with an emphasis on its impacts. 


These college preparatory programs were created for students such as yourselves. They are meant to provide a knowledge base and learning environment that specializes in the types of futures you can have. While the length and scope of each program may vary, the end result is to give you a glimpse into a world you have a passion for, and to expose you to things you can do moving forward. Keep them in mind as you make your decisions in these next few years.