High school students and their parents often ask for our guidance on how best to spend the summer break. Our advice is customized to the particular student; the best options need to be considered within the context of the child’s interests, preferences, and schedule, as well as family plans. Our primary goal is to help students identify their genuine interests and find opportunities to explore those areas. At the same time, we want to help students pursue experiences that will help them stand out in the college admissions process.

We’ve previously written about a variety of ways for high school students to make the most of your summer, and this blog post will focus specifically on academic programs. Be sure to check out our postings about other categories of summer programs, such as research programs and service-learning opportunities.

At Collegiate Gateway, we have been following 153 carefully curated summer academic programs – meeting with program leaders, attending informational webinars, and visiting the websites. As of now, summer 2022 will offer a lot of choice for high school students interested in academic programs. About 60% will be offering only an in-person option for the summer, 9% of the programs remain fully virtual, and 29% are giving students a choice of either virtual or in person. 2% are waiting until closer to summer to announce their plans.

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Below, you can read a breakdown of the different options for high school students, as well as some examples of programs running this summer.

In-Person Programs

The majority of summer academic programs have in-person options this summer, so if you find yourself “over” Zoom and want a break from the screen time, you’ll have plenty to choose from.

Most STEM, lab-based science programs are making plans for in-person learning because of the importance of a hands-on approach in this field. For example, Cornell’s CURIE Academy and Bucknell’s Engineering Camp both plan to run residential programs this summer, in hopes of giving students a more interactive engineering experience than last year’s virtual formats.

Georgetown University’s Summer High School Sessions will be in person this summer, including their 1-, 2-, or 3-week Academies and the 5-week College Prep Program. Both were virtual last summer. Students can focus on a single academic area in the Academies, such as Law, Forensic Science, or Medicine, or they can take classes with undergraduate students and earn college credit in the College Prep Program.

Summer Discovery and Go Putney are popular choices for many high school students due to their diverse options and various locations around the world. Last summer, Summer Discovery offered both in-person and virtual courses, but this year, all of their programs return to a residential setting, taking place on campuses such as Haverford, Penn, and UCLA. Putney will continue to offer in-person programs this year both in the US and internationally, as they did in Summer 2021. For those looking for an intellectual, international experience, Putney has expanded the Oxford Academia offerings to include collaborations with Oxford, University of Siena, and The American University of Paris, and also offers pre-college programs in Barcelona and Tokyo.

Choice of In-Person or Remote Learning

A growing trend for summer programs in 2022 is to offer students a choice of in-person or virtual learning. The evolution of Bentley University’s Wall Street 101 is a good example of the shift in summer programs’ formats. This program offers simulated trading exercises, lectures on financial analysis, and engagement with Wall Street professionals. In 2020, Bentley cancelled the program, stating that “a virtual platform would not be effective given the program’s dependence on on-site visits, guest speakers, and group work.” However, they successfully held the program online in 2021. This summer, the University is offering three choices for students: in-person residential, in-person commuter, or virtual.

Summer@Brown participants take courses reflective of the Open Curriculum and participate in workshops, activities, and events with peers. The program is taking place throughout the summer both on Brown’s campus in Providence, RI or online.

Columbia University will hold their Summer Immersion program both online and on-campus this summer. Summer Immersion: New York City is a three-week residential program or one-week commuter program that offers extensive course offerings, including Creative Writing, Data Science, and Inside the Animal Mind. Summer Immersion: Online brings “an Ivy League education into the homes of bright, high-achieving students.” The one- or two-week courses are on topics such as Computer Science, Medicine, and Entrepreneurship.

Similarly, Northwestern will be offering two versions of their College Prep Program this summer: e-FOCUS Seminars (two-week online courses) and IN FOCUS Seminars (two-week on campus courses). Courses range from topics such as medicine, politics, and game theory.

Virtual Programs

About 9% of the programs we are following are only offering virtual programs this summer. This provides the enormous benefit of opening up the option to many more students. Virtual programs are more affordable, because of the elimination of travel and residential fees, and students can have more flexibility combining a summer academic program with work or family responsibilities. An additional advantage is that remote programming allows a more diverse population of students to access these opportunities.

American University High School Summer Scholars offer asynchronous, self-paced online courses to high school students. AU faculty support the students through virtual office hours during the four-week courses.

Yale Young Global Scholars, an academic enrichment program for high school students from all over the world, will be hosted online again this summer. Given travel restrictions and embassy concerns, hosting the program online is the best way to “honor the program’s mission to be globally diverse, engaging, and accessible to students from all backgrounds.”

We are happy to guide you in the search for a summer experience that will help you develop your potential and position you for success! Sign up for a free consultation and see our events schedule for virtual presentations geared toward high school students.