Summer Programs for 9th – 12th


6 great summer programs for high school students that will add value to your college applications.

Summer is a great time to pursue your passions. There are many ways to enjoy summer while also being productive and adding value to your college application. The most selective colleges will be looking for a theme to your high school experience. Try to connect your summer plans to “your theme” or area of interest. Demonstrating interest in your major while in high school is viewed as added value with admissions.

# 1 Take courses at a local community college

  • Any courses you complete at a CCC will be a fraction of the cost per college unit compared to most four year programs. So not only will this be penny wise but it will give a boost to your GPA and college application if you perform well.
  • You may take a class and find it’s a subject you would like to pursue further in college. Explore new areas that may be of interest.
  • Concurrent enrollment at community college while in high school is increasingly common and will make you a stronger college applicant if you perform well.

# 2 Take a course at a one of the University of California campuses

  • The UC campuses all offer summer courses and many are open to high school students if you meet the GPA requirements.
  • Taking a class at a UC will give you a chance to see first hand how you feel about being on a large campus with many students.

Berkeley summer program for HS students – Berkeley does not offer housing

UCLA Summer programs for high school students – UCLA offers housing

A word of caution – Many private entities run expensive summer sessions at the most prestigious institutions during the summer such as Brown, Stanford, UCLA and Berkeley. I suggest bypassing these private organizations and be sure you are enrolling directly through the University official summer program; not a third party. Unless you believe you are really getting more for your money.

# 3 Volunteer

  • There are many great opportunities open to student volunteers that can be very rewarding and meaningful, especially if you find a way to serve in an area you are interested in. Find a way to share your strengths or passion!

# 4 Get a job or paid internship

  • Summer is a great time to get a job or summer internship that can help you save to contribute toward your own college expenses.

# 5 Apply for a summer research program

  • Research based University’s love to see students with research experience.
  • These programs can be very competitive; some cost $ while others offer a stipend.

# 6 Apply for competitive summer programs for high school students

Below are competitive programs that are highly selective vs. heavily marketed expensive programs that add little value to your experience. Some scholarships are available.

Math Camp
2015 Application Deadline:
Early Action March 15th
Regular Action April 15th

Canada/USA Mathcamp 2015 will be at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, WA from July 5 to August 9, 2015.

“Mathcamp: Canada/USA Mathcamp is an intensive 5-week-long summer program for mathematically talented high school students, designed to expose these students to the beauty of advanced mathematical ideas and to new ways of thinking. More than just a summer camp, Mathcamp is a vibrant community, made up of a wide variety of people who share a common love of learning and passion for mathematics. At Mathcamp, students can explore undergraduate and even graduate-level topics while building problem-solving skills that will help them in any field they choose to study.”

Honors Summer Math Camp
2015 Application Deadline:
January 1 – April 15th
Rolling Admissions (admit rate 20%)

The Mathworks Honors Summer Math Camp (HSMC) is an intensive multi-summer program for high school students. The goal of the program is to develop talented students of all socioeconomic backgrounds through immersive and in-depth experiences in an unique learning environment. Students develop important skills for future degrees and careers in math, science, engineering, and many other fields.

Program in Mathematics for Young Scientists
2015 Application Deadline:
April 1st
Decisions by May 1st

PROMYS is a nationwide program for pre-college students who will be at least 15 years old by the move-in date of June 28, 2015. Students throughout the United States participate as well as many international students. Admissions decisions will be based on the following criteria: applicants’ solutions to a set of challenging problems; teacher recommendations; high school transcripts; and short student essays explaining their interest in the program.