Each lesson in this activity focuses on a different area of research. After completing Lesson 1, choose the lessons that relate to your areas of interest.

Lesson 1: Self-assessment. What are the most appropriate summer opportunities for you? As an athlete, you might engage in summer strength and conditioning programs, compete in AAU or USATF competitions, or summer leagues. As a musician, you might attend music camps, programs hosted at college and universities, or work with a music professional. Based on your academic goals, you might take classes to recover a grade or to accelerate your academic coursework by attending summer school, taking online classes, or attending pre-college programs. Consider the following questions in guiding your summer plans:

  • Based on my academic strengths and weaknesses, will I need to recover classes in which I did not perform well during the school year or would I like to accelerate my academic schedule by taking required core, elective, or dual enrollment classes?
  • Based on my gifts and talents, would I like to attend specialized programs for athletes, musicians, artists, dancers, or theatre performers?
  • Based on my financial needs, would I like to work during the summer months?
  • Based on my career aspirations, would I like to pursue paid or unpaid internship opportunities?
  • Based on the competition to gain admission into my top colleges, would I like to increase my competitiveness as a candidate for admission by participating in competitions or engaging in research?
  • Would I like to engage in community service or participate on a Mission Trip?
  • Notes: Make notes of how you envision spending your summers during each year of high school.

Lesson 2: Researching summer programs aligned with your interests. As you engage in researching summer program opportunities, note programs of interest.

  • FFEAE Research: You may begin your research by reviewing the comprehensive listing under the Summer and Pre-college Programs category on the Foundation for Ensuring Access and Equity  website.
  • Keyword Research: You may further expand your research by performing an Internet search on the phrase “best + my interest + summer programs for high school students.”

The first example pertains to students interested in engineering. Performing an Internet search on the phrase, “best engineering summer programs for high school students” yields such results as:

The second example pertains to students interested in music. Performing an Internet search on the phrase, “best pre-college summer programs for high school students” yields such results as:

The third example pertains to students interested in writing. Performing an Internet search on the phrase, “best summer writing programs for high school students” yields such results as:

Lesson 3: Researching Academic Recovery/Accelerated Opportunities. Meet with your high school counselor to determine the opportunities offered by your school district to recover or accelerate your academic coursework. Students on traditional high school schedules (e.g., a 7-period schedule) are often limited to a maximum of enrolling into one core class (i.e., math, science, social studies) per year. Consequently, taking one core class during the summer could enable such students to complete 5 or 6 core classes, or elective classes in areas related to their gifts, talents, or interests (e.g., music, art, theatre, dance).  The following phrases can be used to guide your research in supplementing the opportunities available within your school district:

  • “subject + summer classes for high school students” (e.g., math summer classes for high school students)
  • “subject + classes for high school students” (e.g., music classes for high school students)
  • “academic enrichment programs for high school students”
  • “academic camps for high school students”
  • “gifted and talented programs for high school students”
  • “test + prep summer programs in + your area” (e.g., act prep summer programs in atlanta)

Lesson 4: Reviews. It is prudent to gather information about each of your programs of interest. When it is not possible to listen to the firsthand accounts of students and parents regarding their summer program experiences, using the following Internet search phrase can assist in identifying reviews for most programs, “name of program + reviews.”

Lesson 5: Narrative. Write a 1 – 2 paragraph narrative sharing what you learned from this activity. In your narrative:

  • identify the summer programs best aligned with your interests
  • explain if you would plan to participate in such programs during each of the summers prior to becoming a high school senior and the level to which you hope to develop your gifts and talents, or pursue your needs and interests
  • note any programs of interest that are hosted on college campuses

Important considerations:

Since you are limited in the amount of time and money available to devote to attending summer programs, consider the following in developing your list of programs:

  • Begin with local programs by including your state or city in your search phrase, e.g., “summer music programs for high school students in atlanta.”
  • Expand your search to identify programs hosted on the campuses of some of the colleges and universities to which you are interested in applying for admission and include the college name in your search phrase, e.g., “summer programs for high school students at Duke” or “Duke summer programs for high school students.”
  • Focus on the programs that relate to your ‘hook,’ e.g., music, dance, athletics, academics, math, science, writing, etc.
  • Consider the experiences you hope to gain and how you would share such experiences in your college essays.
  • Apply for scholarships offered by the program. One rising high school sophomore applied for, and was awarded, a scholarship to attend the Yale Young Global Scholars-Beijing. A fourth grade student was selected to receive a scholarship to Space Camp hosted at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
  • Identify programs that are targeting certain types of students or which offer free tuition like the Carnegie Mellon Summer Programs for Diversity: http://admission.enrollment.cmu.edu/pages/summer-programs-for-diversity

Supplement Programs: The following programs are nationally recognized. Performing an Internet search on the name of the program should identify the link to their website.

  • (MS)2 at Phillips Academy
  • A Better Chance (ABC)
  • Asian American Journalists Association – JCamp
  • Benjamin Franklin Summer Institute
  • Canada/USA Mathcamp
  • Carnegie Mellon Summer Academy for Math and Science (SAMS)
  • Duke TIP
  • Hampshire College Summer Studies in Mathematics (HCSSIM)
  • Indiana University – High School Journalism Institute (HSJI)
  • Jackson Laboratory – Summer Student Program
  • Johns Hopkins CTY
  • Leadership Enterprise for a Diverse America (LEDA)
  • MathILy at Bryn Mawr College
  • Michigan State University – High School Honors Science, Math and Engineering Program (HSHSP)
  • MIT Launch
  • MIT Minority Introduction to Engineering and Science (MITES)
  • MIT Research Science Institute (RSI)
  • MIT Women’s Technology Program (WTP)
  • National Institutes of Health Summer Internship Program in Biomedical Research (SIP)
  • Princeton University Summer Journalism Program
  • Program in Mathematics for Young Scientists (PROMYS)
  • Ross Mathematics Program at the Ohio State University
  • Science Summer Program (SSP)
  • Stanford University Mathematics Camp
  • Summer Enrichment at Dartmouth (SEAD) Program
  • Telluride Association Summer Program
  • Yale University Young Global Scholars Program
  • Indiana University – Young Women’s Institute
  • United States Senate Youth Program
  • University of Notre Dame Leadership Seminar
  • University of Pennsylvania Leadership in the Business World Program

You may also utilize summer opportunities to participate in programs or learning experiences that will prepare you to pursue national awards and recognition programs:

  • AP Scholar with Distinction
  • American Invitational Mathematics Examination (AIME) Participant
  • BioGENEius National Participant
  • Boys or Girls Nation Participant
  • Eagle Scout (Boy Scouts)
  • FIRST Robotics Chairman’s Award Recipient
  • Gold Award (Girl Scouts)
  • Google Science Fair Award Winner
  • Governor’s School Program Participant
  • Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF) Participant or Winner
  • Intel Science Talent Search Semi-finalist (or higher)
  • National Hispanic Recognition Program Scholar
  • National Speech and Debate Participant
  • NAQT High School National Championship Tournament Participant
  • Scholastic Art and Writing Competition Award
  • Science Olympiad National Tournament Medalist
  • Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology Semi-finalist (or higher)
  • State or National Orchestra