Summer Programs for High School Students

Sunday, January 28, 2024
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Summer break often makes us think of childhood joys - the pool, movies, sleepovers. But as you enter high school, you'll want to balance this carefree activity with things that help you move towards your education goals. That's where summer programs for high school students can come in. 

Summer programs for high school students can provide a one-of-a-kind learning experience. They offer a variety of benefits from earning college credit and gaining new perspectives to helping others - and often the chance to make new friends and have some fun along the way. 

But it can be difficult to find the right summer program to meet your needs and understand what the most competitive summer programs for high school students are. The National Society of High School Scholars has several handpicked partners that align with their mission of supporting young scholars to become tomorrow’s leaders.


UC Berkeley Summer Sessions

The University of California, Berkeley is one of California's top colleges. It features more than 130 academic departments and 80 interdisciplinary research units. The school also offers a range of Summer Special Programs, aimed at high school students of all grades.

Through this program, highly motivated rising students have the opportunity to take college-level courses alongside Berkeley students. Accepted students will experience college life at UC Berkeley, participate in activities, engage in exploration workshops, and have the opportunity to earn UC Berkeley credit.

The UC Berkeley high school summer program is available via residential, commuter, or virtual. This program is very highly regarded for its level of rigor and experience.

Yale Young Global Scholars

Yale Young Global Scholars (YYGS) is a teen summer program that takes place over the course of two weeks. During that time, students will engage academically and socially with peers around the world on Yale's Hartford campus.

The residential summer program is one of the best summer programs for teens across the globe. Students are put into academic interest groups such as humanities, social sciences, STEM, or a cross-disciplinary track for students with multiple interests. They then engage in breakout discussions, lectures, seminars, symposiums, a capstone project, and family time to develop bonds with others around the world. The YYGS experience is unlike any other.

YYGS serves more than 2,000 students from over 150 countries, all 50 U.S. states, and offers over $3 million in need-based financial aid. If you are looking for a residential teen summer program at an Ivy League university, YYGS should be at the top of your list.

Summer Science Academy 

For students interested in a STEM-focused option, Emory University offers a well-regarded science summer program for high school students in their Summer Science Academy. On Emory's Atlanta campus, 9th and 10th graders can explore biology, health care, medicine, and other STEM-fields in a hands-on environment. 

Participants have the chance to engage in cutting-edge research projects across various scientific disciplines, from biology and chemistry to neuroscience and physics. These projects are led by experienced faculty members who guide students through the scientific method, experimental design, and data analysis, empowering them to develop critical thinking skills and a deeper understanding of the scientific process. 

The program encourages collaboration and networking among students, creating a supportive community of like-minded individuals who share a passion for science. ESSA not only equips students with valuable scientific knowledge and skills but also instills in them a lifelong curiosity and appreciation for the sciences.

GTRI High School Summer Internship

The Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) High School Summer Internship program is a prestigious and immersive opportunity for high school students interested in exploring the world of technology, engineering, and research. Hosted by the Georgia Tech Research Institute, this internship program provides young talents with a unique chance to work alongside leading experts, scientists, and engineers at one of the nation's top research institutions.

One of the key highlights of the GTRI High School Summer Internship is its focus on real-world applications and problem-solving. During their time at GTRI, students engage in hands-on projects and research initiatives that tackle pressing challenges in various fields, such as cybersecurity, aerospace, robotics, and advanced manufacturing. Working in state-of-the-art laboratories and facilities, interns gain invaluable experience in conducting experiments, analyzing data, and developing innovative solutions. This hands-on approach not only hones their technical skills but also fosters creativity and critical thinking. This is also a paid summer program for high school students, which makes it even more appealing.

Final Thoughts

Searching for the best summer programs for high school students can be overwhelming. With a wide variety of options and opportunities, it’s hard to know which programs will be the right fit.


It’s a great idea for students to identify what they hope to gain from a teen summer program. Whether they are looking for an academic environment and college credit or adventure and helping others or a little bit of both, there is a great match. The NSHSS strives to help students and families achieve their goals and provide opportunities to make it happen. From millions of dollars in scholarships to helping find the best high school summer program, the NSHSS is there to help.