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Best Summer Programs for Elite High Schoolers

Elite Programs for High Schoolers

Summer Programs at Harvard


The Pre-College Program and Secondary School Program (SSP) will be offered this summer in an online format.

Changes to Courses and Course Formats

Pre-College: Courses open to Pre-College Program students will be offered as Online (live) web conference and taught at the time listed in the course catalog. While we understand that it may be difficult for students who are not in Eastern Time to participate in synchronous courses, we feel it is important to maintain a seminar-style experience in Pre-College Program courses. Please review the Admitted Students page for more information.

SSP: Harvard Summer School courses, in which SSP students enroll, are offered in several online formats. Updates to the Summer School course catalog are forthcoming.

Summer at Harvard

Harvard Summer School is an academically rigorous experience for learners of all ages. Live on campus or study online. Join an international program or take one of our 400+ courses for college credit. Choose the summer experience that’s right for you.

      • Academics

        Taught by Harvard faculty and visiting experts, our programs offer a challenging, rewarding academic experience.

      • Community

        Study, socialize, and engage with a global community of students and peers.


With so many options to choose from, you can create the summer experience that works for you.

Yale Pre-College Students

Yale Summer Session accepts qualified applicants who will have completed their junior or senior year of high school at the time the summer session they attend begins.  More requirements listed here.

Experience a Course with Yale in the Summer

Studying at Yale gives students a newfound appreciation for their academics and forges friendships that will last a lifetime.  Students come to Yale Summer Session to:

      • earn credit toward their major and fulfill requirements for their degree
      • explore a new field or topic
      • focus intensely on one particular subject
      • study with Yale faculty
      • prepare for the challenges of highly selective colleges

Choosing a Yale Summer Session Course

      • Some courses have pre-requisites.  To enroll, your transcript must show that you have the met the pre-requisite(s).
      • Course numbers do not necessarily indicate the level of the course. If a course has no pre-requisites, it is open to any student.
      • Some courses are not open to high school students. Check course descriptions.
      • There is a two course limit per session

The 2021 Summer Session Course Syllabi includes classes from African and African American Studies to Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.  The entire list is here.

Summer Drama Program at Yale

Yale Young Global Scholars

      • Min age requirement: 16 years of age

Princeton’s Summer Programs for High Schoolers

Princeton University Preparatory Program

Our multiyear, tuition-free program prepares our scholars for admission to and success within America’s finest colleges and universities. We are committed to providing a nurturing environment and a program that enhances talents, supports academic growth, and broadens cross-cultural awareness.  We help our scholars to be successful in their highest attainable and most compatible choices for post-secondary education and beyond.

Students are selected to become PUPP Scholars during the spring of their freshmen year of high school. PUPP currently partners directly with six high schools in the Mercer County, NJ region: Ewing High School, Lawrence High School, Nottingham High School (Hamilton, NJ), Princeton High School and Trenton Central High School. Students must attend one of these schools in order to be eligible for the program. Acceptance into PUPP is contingent upon a student’s academic record, state exam scores, a writing sample, house-hold income, and their performance in a small group interview, leadership potential, and commitment to pursuing higher education. The recruitment process takes place during the spring of 9th grade, with applications available on March 1st each year.

Once selected, PUPP Scholars participate throughout the remainder of their high school career. Scholars complete three, intensive six-and-a-half week summer institutes at Princeton University and take part in school-year programming, including weekly after school academic enrichment sessions and a series of cultural excursions. PUPP works directly with students and their parents during their senior year of high school to provide guidance and support during the college admissions and financial aid process. PUPP alumni receive support with their transition to college and guidance throughout their collegiate career.

Princeton’s Summer Journalism Program

The Princeton Summer Journalism Program (PSJP) is one of the only programs of its kind offering a free, innovative residential journalism and college prep institute for high achieving high school juniors from low-income backgrounds. Over ten days every summer, up to 40 students from across the country explore current events and world affairs through workshops and lectures led by Princeton professors, professional journalists, and alumni on campus. The summer program culminates in the publication of the Princeton Summer Journal, the student-produced newspaper. During their senior year, students are matched with a personal college adviser, who will work with them on their college admissions process. Since our founding in 2002, PSJP has graduated more than 400 students who have gone on to attend some of the best colleges and universities and produce content for the most respected publications in the nation. Another 40 will join them this spring, as they complete their senior year and the college admission process!

Summer Internship at Princeton for High Schoolers

A full-time, free research experience in the sciences or engineering for high school students. Students are included in ongoing research programs where they are closely supervised by Princeton faculty and research staff. The participation dates are customized according to the schedules of the research personnel and intern and the specifics of the project. Internships typically span 5-6 weeks over the summer.

The Laboratory Learning Program is not a summer camp. The Laboratory Learning Program does not include housing, transportation, social activities or entertainment. LLP students are not eligible to lease or sublease Princeton University housing.


      • Sixteen years old or more by June 15, 202X. No exceptions.
      • Enrolled in high school. Graduates who have not yet turned 18 by June 15, 202X may apply.
      • US citizens, legal permanent residents, or international students currently in the United States attending a US high school.
      • Once accepted, parental consent forms, evidence of health insurance, and a high school nomination form are required before attending the program.
      • Safety training is required prior to beginning laboratory work.
      • Two-page research summary report is due at the conclusion of the program.

Programs are in both Engineering and Natural Sciences Research

Columbia’s Programs for High School Students

Programs include:

Additional Programs for High Schoolers at Columbia:

Upenn’s Summer Programs for High Schoolers

Penn Summer High School programs are open to high school students living in the US and across the globe. Join your peers from around the world for Ivy League experience of a lifetime. To keep our students safe as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, Penn Arts and Sciences staff is dedicated to making our high-quality programs available this summer—completely online.

Some Programs include:

Penn Summer Prep Program

Engineering Summer Academy at Penn

The Engineering Summer Academy at Penn (ESAP) welcomes highly motivated and talented students to explore Engineering at the college level.  The Academy’s intensive, three-week programs combine sophisticated theory with hands-on practical experience in cutting edge technologies. Work with leading faculty while earning college credit, live on Penn’s historic campus, and connect with new friends from around the world.


Admissions is highly selective, and each required element of the application is taken into careful consideration. Students who succeed in ESAP not only demonstrate a history of academic excellence, but also creative thinking skills, the ability to work well independently as well as on a team, and the motivation to take an active learning role in a collegiate environment.

The program is designed for rising sophomores to rising seniors.  Applicants must have completed their freshman year in high school (ninth grade) and must be at least 15 years of age by the start of the program (Move-in day)  – click here for the current calendar year.  Unfortunately, students currently in their senior year of high school are not eligible for ESAP.  All applicants must have a good overall academic record (minimum B average), with a preference for strong performance in math and science subjects, as well as honors and advanced coursework.

Cornell’s Precollege Studies


      • If you will have graduated from high school by the time you start your course
        Please do not use this page. Instead, review your program options on the Courses for Credit site and follow the registration instructions under the visiting students category.
      • If you will still be in high school at the time you start your course
        Please review your precollege options below.

Precollege study options

High school students are invited to take courses at Cornell year-round.

On-campus and online options are available.

Visit Cornell SCE Precollege Studies

To register for online courses

Visit the online courses section of the Cornell University Precollege Studies website to learn more and register.

To register for on-campus courses


For more information, call the Precollege Studies office at 607.255.6203 or email precollege@cornell.edu.

Precollege Programs 2021

Summer Residential Program

Cornell SCE – Any person, any study, any time, any place

Brown University’s Pre-College Program

Brown Summer High School

Summer @Brown

Leadership Institute


Unlocking Knowledge

MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW) is a web-based publication of virtually all MIT course content. OCW is open and available to the world and is a permanent MIT activity.

Empowering Minds

Through OCW, educators improve courses and curricula, making their schools more effective; students find additional resources to help them succeed; and independent learners enrich their lives and use the content to tackle some of our world’s most difficult challenges, including sustainable development, climate change, and cancer eradication.

Stories of how OCW has impacted the world:

Duyen Nguyen | MIT Open Learning

Myanmar’s education landscape is changing, thanks in large part to the efforts of the Tekkatho Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that uses digital technologies to bring world-class educational resources to local institutions and communities. Supported by a grant from the Omidyar Network, Tekkatho sets up free, self-contained digital libraries—eTekkatho—and other education infrastructure across the country, making access to materials like MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW) possible even in places with little to no connectivity.
eTekkatho is able to include OCW content among its many resources through OCW’s Mirror Site Program, which delivers free copies of the OCW website to over 400 non-profit educational organizations working in under-resourced parts of the world, for installation on their local networks. Currently set up in 23 universities and six community libraries across the country, eTekkatho’s impact on learners in Myanmar has been remarkable. Over 10,000 people—from students to educators—have attended an eTekkatho training course, where they learn how to access, browse, and download educational and research materials. With thousands of resources now at their fingertips, students grow confident in taking the initiative in their education, becoming proficient in self-study and independent learning. As of 2017, over 100,000 individual ebooks, video lessons, datasets, lectures, and other educational content have been downloaded from eTekkatho library.
OCW is one of the most popular resources that eTekkatho provides. At Phaung Daw Oo, a monastery school in Mandalay that offers free education to over 7,000 children, students like Kyaw Win Khant turn to the eTekkatho digital library to research their assignments, develop their IT skills, and prepare for college and work. “Of course I use eTekkatho! It’s really useful for my studies,” says Kyaw, who was motivated to study chemistry after finding resources on the subject through the digital library. Through watching OCW lectures, Kyaw says he also improved “[his] communication skills.”

Sara Sezun | MIT OpenCourseWare

Tooba Siddiqui, a student at IQRA University in Islamabad, Pakistan, is determined to pursue her education in spite of political unrest. She gives credit to OCW for allowing her to overcome many obstacles. According to Siddiqui, Islamabad is a relatively peaceful city, although, due to frequent strikes, getting to class can sometimes be impossible. She says, “I learned from OCW a lot when the roads from my residential area used to be blocked due to some political happening, and I had no other choice than to sit at home.”

“It’s said that it takes a village to raise a child, and I am living proof of that myself,” relates Siddiqui, whose father died when she was six years old. Due to severe arthritis and “social norms,” her mother had limited job opportunities. Siddiqui describes how relatives, neighbors, and classmates “started helping both financially and socially to help raise me and my siblings… from providing shelter to hitching a ride to school or attending a parent-teacher meeting.” Thanks to the assistance she has received, Siddiqui decided to major in Development Studies to be able to help others. “I see myself as the child of the village who has made an implicit but lifelong promise to help those in need and make them a functional part of society again.”

To maximize her learning experience, Siddiqui often takes the same course at her university and through OCW simultaneously. She has done this for Development Economics, Microeconomics, Urbanization and Development, and Introduction to Psychology, among others. Siddiqui credits OCW for helping her understand sociology and economics, and gives special thanks to Professors Jonathan Gruber, Abhijit Banerjee, and Guido Lorenzoni. “I find economics quite tough,” she says, “and with the help of lectures by these professors, they are no longer difficult to understand for me.”

To complement her studies, Siddiqui volunteers at the IQRA Center for Social Responsibility, which runs assistance programs in education, vocational training, and social enterprise. “I have been particularly engaged in renovating a public school with the help of funds that were raised,” says Siddiqui. She now teaches English and math at this school, to children between the ages of four and ten.

Currently in her seventh semester of university, Siddiqui is planning to take Macroeconomics, as well as Social and Political Movements, through OCW. Eventually she would like to work in education. Her goal is “to educate the young generation of Pakistan on how to save themselves from child abuse and harassment, and to come up with teaching strategies for the mentally disabled people of Pakistan.”

Stanford’s High School Programs

Stanford Pre-Collegiate Summer Institutes 

Stanford Pre-Collegiate Summer Institutes provides a taste of the Stanford classroom experience and challenges students with advanced content not typically found in the high-school curriculum.

Single-Subject Study
Our 30 summer courses provide in-depth and interactive exploration of academic material. Courses are ungraded and are not awarded credit. Courses are available in subjects including computer science, math, creative writing, philosophy, engineering, and more.
Live Online Classes
With small class sizes, our online classes allow students to engage in every aspect of a course through real-time discussions in which instructors and students see, hear, and interact with one another.
Global Focus and Real Connections
Bright peers from around the world create a truly special and unforgettable experience. Study and discuss academic topics alongside peers that share the same talents, interests, and curiosity.
Learn from Scholarly Instructors
Attend courses designed, created, and taught by instructors who are knowledgeable in their fields and passionate about teaching. Many courses highlight new areas of research and professional practice.

Dartmouth’s Summer Programs

Sophomore Summer

Summer Enrichment at Dartmouth (SEAD) 


According to NPR, about 80% of people living in rural communities do not go to college. SEAD is on a mission to change that.

Strengthening Educational Access with Dartmouth (SEAD) equips high-potential youth from under-resourced communities in the Upper Valley with the skills needed to thrive in high school and succeed in the best college for them.

For more information regarding frequently asked questions about SEAD for parents/guardians, schools, and perspective SEAD scholars click here.


SEAD’s 4-year model follows a cohort of first generation and/or low-income high school students starting their sophomore year of high school up through their sophomore year of college.  This model encourages academic preparedness and personal growth in high school scholars through immersive opportunities, specifically designed academic enrichment courses, and year-round mentoring with successful college students at Dartmouth.

In greater detail, the three primary components of SEAD include:

An immersive summer session in which SEAD scholars live and learn on Dartmouth’s campus for a full week of community building, dynamic courses, enrichment opportunities, and engaged mentoring;

Academic year curriculum during the scholars’ Junior and Senior years of high school provided by a trained cohort of Dartmouth undergraduates.  Through after-school programming, day-long retreats and college site visits, SEAD scholars engage in weekly mentoring, academic enrichment opportunities, and targeted skills-building to prepare for college success;

Ongoing college transition and persistence support through coaching, scaffolded leadership opportunities, and connecting scholars with campus resources at their respective institutions of higher education.

Dartmouth’s SEAD program offers an unparalleled opportunity for undergraduate students and first-generation and/or low-income high school students in Vermont and New Hampshire to learn together how to capitalize on their strengths and build a continuum of support for a comprehensive, high impact approach to college success.

GenCyber Summer Program at Dartmouth

GenCyber 2021 Information: 
The ISTS is pleased to announce the resumption of our sponsorship of the GenCyber cybersecurity program for high school students. Due to the on-going disruption to normal on-campus activities this year’s program will be offered virtually. As in past years, we are extremely fortunate to have Professors Goldstein and Reeves as our lead instructors. Professor Goldstein has been our lead instructor since the inception of the program, and Dr. Reeves received his PhD for Dartmouth and is a colleague of Professor Goldstein’s. We will be offering two sections of our introductory program; however, we will not be offering an advanced program this summer. Each section of the introductory program will last five weeks and be comprised of one day of virtual instruction per week. Section One will start on Tuesday, July 6, 2021 and Section Two will start on Thursday July 8, 2021. Once admitted to the program the participant must attend all five days to qualify for a completion certificate.

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

Entrepreneurship & the Environment

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