Summer Math Programs for High School Students: Getting The Best ROI

Monday, January 29, 2018
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Preparing for careers in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) can be highly competitive. Many students interested in STEM careers want to continue their mathematics education over the summer, not only to earn valuable experience, but also to open up opportunities that can extend beyond high school.

Summer math programs for high school students can greatly strengthen your college applications, offer more difficult courses than your high school might offer, and even offer college-level credit. However, some summer math programs can get expensive. While some programs will simply take on any high school student willing to pay a high tuition, other math programs are merit-based and require application. However, application-based summer math programs for high school students often offer scholarships or even free tuition for students who are accepted to the programs.


What to Consider in Summer Math Programs?

When you’re looking at potential summer math programs in high school, think about certain factors that will make your experience the best return on investment for your future. Here are several questions to consider.

  • Does the organization or institution running this program have a good reputation?
  • Does the tuition price make sense for my family’s budget?
  • Will I be learning something I am sincerely interested in that will also help me add to my college applications and resume?
  • Is the location of this math program worth traveling to based on my home location?
  • Does this program align with my long-term goals?

Once you’ve asked yourself these questions and feel confident about the programs you have found, visit NSHSS’s page Scholarship Applications Tips & Advice to prepare yourself for any applications you might need to fill out for the programs you’ve chosen.


Do Your Research

Many prestigious colleges and universities offer summer math programs for high school students, but you’ll want to make sure you fully understand the program cost, requirements, timeline, and location information. Below are some resources you can use when conducting research on potential summer math programs for high school students.


American Mathematical Society Recommendations

The American Mathematical Society has a long list of potential summer mathematics programs for high school students, which can be found by visiting


MIT Recommendations

MIT does not offer a traditional-type open-enrollment summer program for high school students where any student can come to campus to take courses and live in the dorms. However, MIT has partner organizations that offer small, specialized programs on campus. These programs are great for students serious about their mathematics growth and want to build a robot or study the human genome over the summer. MIT provides a list of their partner programs and also provides a list of recommendations for programs that admit students on a merit basis and even offer the programs for free for students who are accepted. You can find the list of these programs by visiting


New York University STEP Pre-College Programs

For students looking for a scholarship, New York University (NYU) offers a tuition-free program called the Science and Technology Entry Program (STEP) which is state-funded and offered to talented and motivated African American, Hispanic/Latino, Alaskan Native or American Indian and economically disadvantaged White or Asian middle and high school students.

You can find out more information about NYU’s program by visiting


Most of All, Stay True to Yourself

While you might want to boost your resume for college applications, it’s also important to look for summer math programs that will serve you and your future goals and interests. It’s your summer break, so it’s great that you want to make the most of it, but remember the program you choose should also be fun for you and based on content you want to learn about! There are so many programs available to help you grow as a math student, so make sure you choose one that is right for you.