2020 Free Summer Programs for High School Students

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It’s never too early to get a jump on those summer plans and get cracking on applications for competitive summer programs. There are quite a few to choose from if your student is looking for amazing opportunities that will give them a taste of college life. Many of the programs below are free or offer full scholarships. In some cases, there will be application fees but some can waived or also covered with a scholarship. This page will be updated with more opportunities so be sure to check back!

Annenberg Youth Academy for Media and Civic Engagement

The Annenberg Youth Academy for Media and Civic Engagement is a four-week summer intensive academy for 26 talented high school students from the communities surrounding the USC University Park and Health Science Campuses. Students are exposed to the equivalent of first-year college-level courses and develop a rich conceptual understanding and practice of the necessary role that media communications and journalism play in fashioning civic-minded thought leaders and innovators. The program is non-residential and runs June 15, 2020 – July 10, 2020 (no class on July 3 due to Independence Day), from 9 AM – 4 PM. The program includes:

  • Free breakfast and lunch daily
  • One TAP card with a $50 value (if needed)
  • Educational field trips
  • College advising and college essay preparation from the USC College Advising Corps.

Applications will be available November 18, 2019.

The Anson L. Clark Scholar Program

The Program at Texas Tech University offers an intensive seven-week summer research to help the high school juniors and seniors have a hands-on practical research experience with outstanding and experienced faculty. Students will receive a $750 tax-free stipend and room and board. Students must be 17 years of age by the program start date. NO EXCEPTIONS. The program runs from June 22 – Aug 6, 2020.

Applications open January 10, 2020 and close February 10, 2020.

Bank of America Student Leaders

High school juniors and seniors will participate in an eight-week paid internship at a local nonprofit organization where students will learn first-hand about the needs of their community and the critical role nonprofits play. In addition, students will learn valuable civic, social and business leadership skills. Each Student Leader will attend the Student Leaders Summit held in Washington, D.C. where they will learn how government, business and the nonprofit sector work together to address critical community needs. Students should be able to participate in an 8-week paid internship at a local nonprofit organization and work 35 hours a week and be available to attend a week-long Student Leaders Summit in Washington, DC, July 13 – July 18, 2020. (All expenses paid. This week is part of the 8-week experience.

Deadline to apply is January 31, 2020.

Business Opportunities Summer Session (BOSS) @ Penn State

BOSS is a two-week residential program for high school students interested in pursuing a business education in college. It’s an opportunity for these students to take college prep and business fundamentals courses taught by Penn State faculty. Participants will also get a glimpse of what college life is like by living in residence halls during their two-week stay on Penn State’s University Park campus. The cost is $50 and a scholarships are available. The program runs June 14, 2020 – June 26, 2020.

Deadline to apply is March 31, 2020.

Carnegie Mellon University Summer Academy for Math and Science (SAMS)

SAMS offers a six-week program that allows students to develop deeper understanding in areas such as mathematics, biology, physics and computer programming via traditional classroom instruction, hands-on projects and engagement activities. The program runs from June 27, 2020 – August 8, 2020. The application will be available in November.

Cornell University Curie Academy

Curie Academy is a one-week residential program for high school girls who excel in math and science. Rising seniors (class of 2020) who are African/Black American, Latino, Native American/Alaska Native, or Pacific Islander and/or first generation college students meeting the requirements below will automatically be considered for a full tuition waiver for the 2020 CURIE Academy. They will start accepting applications in December.

Deadline to apply is March 2, 2020.

Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program

The Summer Immersion Program is a free​ ​7-week introductory computer science ​program ​for​ ​10th-11th grade girls going into their junior or senior year of high school. During the 7-week program, participants​ ​learn​ about ​computer science,​ ​and gain​ ​exposure​ ​to​ ​tech​ ​jobs. The programs takes place in a variety of locations across the country.

The early application deadline is February 14 and the application closes on March 13.

Ignite, LA

The Ignite LA Student Science Awards offers a fully-funded, scientific research expedition for 12 – 14 days during the summer. Students will conduct a variety of field and laboratory research activities, collecting data on some of the world’s most pressing environmental and sustainability issues.

Deadline to apply is December 4, 2019.

Minority Introduction to Engineering and Science (MITES)

This six-week program provides students with the opportunity to live on MIT’s campus while they are taking five courses (physics, calculus, life science, humanities and a STEM elective), each with homework assignments and exams. During the program, students will also participate in social events and build a community with their peers. All educational, food and boarding costs are generously covered by our funders. Students only pay for transportation to and from MIT. Application will be available in November.

Pomona College Academy for Youth Success (PAYS)

PAYS offers 90 local high school students the opportunity to engage in a combination of courses, cultural events, workshops, projects and field trips during the intensive 4-week, residential program as well as throughout the academic year. Pomona College covers all costs including housing, food, activities, and transportation to field trips. Students will only be required to bring basic school supplies, such as pencils and paper. The program runs from  June 14 – July 10, 2020.

Deadline to apply is February 21, 2020.

Princeton Summer Journalism Program

PSJP offers students from historically underrepresented backgrounds with an interest in journalism a 10-day summer program where they expose students to the range of opportunities available in the field of journalism, introduce them to the basic skills they need to report for their own newspaper and produce a short documentary, take them to visit major news outlets in NYC, and present different perspectives about the kinds of post-secondary preparation required for the work. They pay for all travel, lodging, food, and supplies during the summer program, although students are encouraged to bring spending money for souvenirs or treats off-campus. Application opens in early December.

Sadie Nash Summer Institute

Summer Institute is an award-winning 6-week summer program for self-identified young women currently attending high school in the New York/Newark, NJ area. All participants receive a weekly stipend and unlimited Metrocard. The program includes social justice classes, field trips, workshops, and meeting women leaders. Applications will be available later in January.

SMASH Academy

SMASH Academy is afree, 3-year, STEM-intensive residential college prep program that empowers students to deepen their talents and pursue STEM careers. For 5 weeks every summer, scholars are immersed in tuition-free studies at leading universities throughout the country.  During the academic year, scholars participate in monthly programming. Academies are located in 10 universities across the country. Students can check their eligibility here.

The deadline to apply is February 28, 2020.

Telluride Summer Program Association (TASP)

A Telluride Association Summer Program (TASP) is a free six-week educational experience for high school juniors. Students  attend a seminar led by college and university scholars and participate in many other educational and social activities outside the classroom. The program runs June 21 – August 1, 2020.

Deadline to apply is January 13, 2020.

Templeton Summer Scholars Program

High school juniors and seniors will live in residence on Eastern University’s campus from July 7 – 15, 2020 or July 17 – 24, 2020. Students will enjoy one-to-one writing tutorials, guest speakers, field trips to Philadelphia and the surrounding area, and cultural events. Courses also include daily times of devotion and prayer, Sabbath rest, and visits to Eastern’s world class planetarium and observatory. Students will be awarded up to 3 college credits upon completion of this program (transferable to other colleges and universities).

Merit and need-based scholarships are offered.

Early bird deadline is February 28, 2020.

University of Notre Dame Leadership Seminars

Leadership Seminars is a competitive, 10-day program on Notre Dame’s campus for academically talented students who show impressive leadership within their communities. Approximately 90 students are admitted to Leadership Seminars each year, and students are eligible to receive one college credit upon completion of the program. Tuition, housing, and meals for students admitted to Leadership Seminars will be paid for by the University. The program runs from July 18, 2020 – July 29, 2020.

Financial Aid Request due January 20, 2020 and applications are due January 27, 2020.

USC Bovard Scholars

USC Bovard Scholars offers a three-week summer residency on the USC campus where students will experience college life first-hand. After the summer program ends, students will work with a dedicated admissions coach throughout their college application process. The program is at no cost to students or families.  USC will pay for transportation to and from campus for students coming from outside of Southern California.

Deadline to apply is January 17, 2019.

Yale Young Global Scholars

Yale Young Global Scholars (YYGS) offers five interdisciplinary sessions science, literature, politics and solving global challenges. The program does not offer grades or college credit. There are a limited amount of scholarships for the program which has three sessions: June 21 – July3, July 5 – July 17, and July 19 – 31, 2020. Students may attend only one session.

The deadline to apply is January 15, 2020.

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