7 Summer STEM Programs for High School Students (2023)

If you’re a high school student with a particular affinity for science, technology, engineering, or mathematics, all conveniently encompassed in the term STEM, chances are you would love an opportunity to pursue your interests and talents during the summer, not just during the school year.

You’re in luck; plenty of universities and institutions offer summer STEM programs for high school students to keep learning and growing in their favorite STEM-related fields. And what’s more: these summer STEM programs often include opportunities to take on hands-on projects and meet world renowned leaders in STEM industries. (And they don’t look too bad on a college application, either.)

Below are 7 of the many different STEM programs offered for high school students during the summer, in no particular order. Some are offered in person, while others are online, especially in 2021, as a result of the pandemic.

Remember to take a detailed look at each program’s cost, requirements, and sign-up deadlines as you decide which one might be right for you.

1. Research Science Institute (RSI)

In this prestigious summer program, 80 high school students who have completed the equivalent of three years of school (usually juniors and seniors) are chosen to participate in a six-week intensive program, free of cost, hosted by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Students in the program complete the entire research process, starting from scratch, by reading current literature in their field, designing a research plan, carrying out that plan, and presenting their findings.

Moreover, students get the chance to take intensive STEM courses from accomplished professors and receive mentorship throughout their research projects.

The 2021 program will be held either in-person on the MIT campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts, or virtually. The deadline to apply is January 16, 2021.

(Video) Summer Science Programs for High School Students 2022

2. California State Summer School for Mathematics & Science (COSMOS)

COSMOS is an intensive four-week summer residential program for students, grades 8 through 12, interested and talented in STEM.

The program takes place at four different University of California campuses: UC Davis, UC Irvine, UC San Diego, and UC Santa Cruz. Each campus can accommodate 160 to 200 chosen participants with a 3.5 GPA or higher to explore STEM topics through challenging curricula, hands-on and lab-intensive activities, and mentorship with renowned professors, researchers, and scientists in STEM fields.

The program tuition adds up to $4,128 for California students and $6,500 for out-of-state students, but financial aid is available for eligible in-state students.

The 2020 program was cancelled due to pandemic-related health and safety concerns, but stay tuned for information regarding the 2021 program and beyond as it becomes available on the program website.

3. Stony Brook University Garcia Summer Research Program

This intensive seven-week program is offered to gifted high school students who are interested in combining formal instruction with independent research at the Stony Brook University Garcia Center in Stony Brook, New York.

Students have the opportunity to create and conduct an original research project through the program and continue their work through the Mentor Program, in which they work with a faculty member on scheduled research throughout the year.

The summer program requires a laboratory usage fee of $2500 along with a $50 registration fee. Since they will be working in a lab, students who apply must be at least 16-years old before the date mentioned on the application. They must also have a GPA of 3.8 or higher.

Information for the summer 2021 program is not yet available, but keep checking the program website for updates.

(Video) 5 Types of STEM Summer Programs - How to spend your summer

4. Rosetta Institute of Biomedical Research Molecular Medicine Workshops

High achieving high school and middle school students interested in pursuing a career in medicine or related fields like biomedical research, drug development, pharmacy, or nursing are welcome to apply for advanced classes offered by the Rosetta Institute of Biomedical Research.

The workshops in molecular medicine, which include engaging lectures and hands-on lab classes, are taught by PhD-level, experienced researchers and instructors.

Tuition for workshops ranges from $325 to $3680, depending on the workshop in question.

Workshops are offered year-round, but during the summer of 2021, there will be several different workshops held at UC Berkeley and UC San Diego, a series of limited-enrollment, lab-intensive workshops held in Alameda, CA, and a variety of summer online workshops.

5. Carnegie Mellon Summer Academy for Math and Science (SAMS)

Carnegie Mellon University’s SAMS program allows students to take part in a rigorous curriculum taught by renowned faculty and staff to develop a deeper understanding of areas like mathematics, biology, and physics through traditional classroom instruction, hands-on projects, and sustained faculty mentor engagement.

Carnegie Mellon encourages students from diverse backgrounds that have been historically underrepresented in science and engineering, ELL students, first generation college students, and students from families with low socioeconomic status to apply. Tuition for admitted students is free, but students are responsible for books, supplies, transportation, and recreational expenses, if applicable.

Due to health and safety concerns regarding Covid-19, the SAMS 2021 curriculum will be a 3-part program launching on July 3, 2021 and extended through December 2021.

6. Ross Mathematics Program

In this six-week program dedicated to mathematical discovery, students ages 15 to 18 attend synchronous lectures on Number Theory and attend small-group meetings each day to discuss problem sets, guided by a Ross counselor. Though the program has historically been held in person, for a while at Ohio State University, the program has moved to an online format.

(Video) UIC Rockford High School Programs – STEM Camp & Summer Science Internship

The cost of the program is $1500, though financial aid is available.

The 2021 Ross Mathematics Program will be held online from Sunday, June 17 through Friday, August 6, 2021. The application window will open January 4, 2021, and admitted students will receive any updated specifics for the online program.

7. MDI Biological Laboratory Summer Research Fellowship

High school students aged 16 or older with an interest in developing scientific research skills must be nominated by a teacher before applying to this highly selective program.

During the program, acceptedstudents conduct an independent research project and present their findings at the annual MDI Summer Science Symposium. Students are supervised by a faculty mentor and work alongside undergraduate fellows, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and research assistants to gain an understanding and perspective of scientific career paths.

Other than the cost of travel, laundry, and voluntary recreational activities, this program is cost-free for students who are accepted.

For the summer 2021 program, nominations are due by 11:59 pm EST on January 8, 2021, and applications are due by 11:59 pm EST on February 5, 2021.

Though the program has historically been held at MDI in Bar Harbor, Maine, the summer 2021 program may be moved online if health safety and concerns require that adjustment. If in-person activities are deemed safe, the program will take place from Sunday, June 20 through Saturday, August 7, 2021.


(Video) STEM NOLA Provides Critical Summer STEM Educational Programming to Jefferson Parish Youth

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Is Notre Dame summer Scholars prestigious? ›

While we do include the Notre Dame Summer Scholars program is on our list of prestigious programs, it is important to remember that prestige lies on spectrum. The most prestigious summer programs are typically both highly selective and free (or very cheap).

What is MIT summer program? ›

This rigorous academic program stresses advanced theory and research in mathematics, science, and engineering. Participants attend college-level classes taught by distinguished faculty members and complete hands-on research. Open to high school juniors, the program is free of charge for those selected.

Does MIT offer summer camps? ›

Our intensive summer programs immerse students in the dynamic environment of MIT, led by MIT students and Edgerton Center instructors. There may not be a program available for every student, but the Edgerton Center offers extensive summer programs. Read to learn more!

Does MIT have a high school program? ›

High school students can attend an MIT program online as long as they meet the requirements. There are many options available to 12th-grade students. MIT and Harvard created edX online classes that include classes for high school students.

Are Ivy League summer programs worth it? ›

Yes, summer programs are definitely worth it! They present a perfect opportunity to explore your field of interest in greater depth, develop relevant skills, meet like-minded students, and – perhaps most importantly – increase your chances of getting into the Ivies.

Who gets invited to Stanford Summer Session? ›

About Summer Session

High School and gap year students (ages 16-19), undergraduate (age 17+), and graduate students (age 18+) are welcome to apply for Summer Session. These students are also considered visiting undergraduate or graduate students over the summer.

Can a 14 year old get into MIT? ›

Each year, a handful of “underage” teenagers are among MIT's incoming students. The university takes no initiative to court them, but anywhere from one to five, ranging in age from 14 to 16, join the MIT community annually.

Do summer programs look good on college applications? ›

Did you know summer activities can push your college application to the “yes” pile? Colleges want to see that you are committed to extracurriculars throughout the school year, but they also love it when you are making the effort to expand and stretch yourself over summer vacation.

Does Harvard Summer School help you get into Harvard? ›

Does attending the Secondary School Program guarantee admission to Harvard? No. However, attending Harvard Summer School and performing well will strengthen your application to any college or university.

Can a 13 year old get into MIT? ›

MIT doesn't have any age requirements or limits.

Can a 12 year old go to MIT? ›

Children under 12 must either be accompanied by a parent or guardian or be participating in a registered MIT K-12 program. Auditing classes: K-12 students may audit MIT classes in spring 2022.

Can a 30 year old get into MIT? ›

We don't have any age limits or restrictions. If you've been away from high school for a while, we would expect to see the results of your standardized tests, Secondary School Report, evaluations from teachers/employers and other supportive materials that would assist us in getting to know you.

What high schools get you into Harvard? ›

In total, one out of every 20 Harvard freshmen attended one of the seven high schools most represented in the class of 2017—Boston Latin, Phillips Academy in Andover, Stuyvesant High School, Noble and Greenough School, Phillips Exeter Academy, Trinity School in New York City, and Lexington High School.

Can you get 5.0 at MIT? ›

The MIT grade point average (GPA) is calculated on a 5.0 scale. Your cumulative GPA displays on your grade report (internal record) and on your transcript (external record). Your term GPA displays on your grade report only.

Is MIT higher than Harvard? ›

Did you know: There are more than 400,000 Harvard alumni worldwide! Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is one of the most highly regarded private universities in the United States.
Student Body Overview.
Student-Faculty ratio7:13:1
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25 Mar 2022

Which high school sends the most students to Harvard? ›

Nationwide, these are the three top schools with the most graduates who registered at Harvard, Princeton or MIT from 2015-18: Thomas Jefferson High School in Alexandria, Virginia: 96; Stuyvesant High School in New York City: 94; and Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, New Hampshire: 87.

Will a 36 ACT get you into Harvard? ›

There's no absolute ACT requirement at Harvard, but they really want to see at least a 33 to have a chance at being considered. A university with Harvard's stature has equally high ACT standards.

Does summer improve GPA? ›

Raise Their GPA

While letting an elective class go and not retaking it is an option, summer school grades replace the failing grade already earned. That will raise your teen's GPA.

What GPA is needed for Stanford? ›

There is no minimum GPA or test score, nor is there any specific number of AP or honors courses you must have on your transcript in order to have your application reviewed or be admitted to Stanford.

Is the Stanford summer Program selective? ›

Around half of applicants receive some form of financial aid, which can cover up to 100% of tuition expenses, and is based on need. Students apply for financial aid after they are admitted to the program. Up to $500 in financial aid is available to cover travel expenses. Selectivity: The program is very selective.

Does Stanford Summer Session look good on college apps? ›

That said, doing an academic summer program is one way to show your intellectual interests to college admissions officers, and also to demonstrate your academic strengths. This is true of programs at Stanford as well as programs at other universities.

Can a 13 year old go to Harvard? ›

Students must be 18 years of age at time of registration. Undergraduate degree program application. Refer to the ALB program eligibility requirements for full details.

Can I get into MIT with a 4.7 GPA? ›

Final Admissions Verdict

If you don't pass their SAT and GPA requirements, they'll likely reject you without much consideration. To be safe, you should aim for the 75th percentile, with a 1570 SAT and a 4.17 GPA or higher to be above average.

What GPA gets you into MIT? ›

To have the best shot of getting in, you should aim for the 75th percentile, with a 1570 SAT or a 36 ACT. You should also have a 4.17 GPA or higher. If your GPA is lower than this, you need to compensate with a higher SAT/ACT score.

Do summer classes affect GPA? ›

Taking summer classes may seem like a drag, but it is one of the best things you can do to boost your GPA. When you retake a course during the summer, you are likely to be in a smaller class. That will give you more one-on-one time with the instructor.

Do colleges care about Precollege? ›

While some experts believe pre-college programs can enhance your college resume, others say it likely has no influence on college admissions. But generally speaking, colleges do like to see high school students taking an interest in academics over the summer, and pre-college programs accomplish that.

Do colleges look at summer school grades? ›

Yes they will see your grades because you are required to submit all of your college transcripts, not just your high school transcript. Colleges that want to see your transcripts for frosh admission want to see all transcripts of high school and college work done while in high school.

Do you need a high GPA to get into Harvard? ›

To have the best shot of getting in, you should aim for the 75th percentile, with a 1580 SAT or a 35 ACT. You should also have a 4.18 GPA or higher. If your GPA is lower than this, you need to compensate with a higher SAT/ACT score.

What GPA so you need to get into Harvard? ›

It is tough to get into Harvard. The university receives applications from more qualified applicants than they can accept, and most applicants have at least a 4.18GPA. Meeting GPA and SAT/ACT requirements (although these are now optional) will help you get through the first round of filters.

What high school GPA is needed for Harvard? ›

Most students admitted to Harvard have an unweighted GPA of 4.18 or above, so you'll need to have at least a 4.2 to be seriously evaluated. To meet the Harvard requirements, you'll have to score primarily A's on your high school courses.

Who is the youngest high school graduate? ›

Kearney attended San Marin High School in Novato, California, for one year, graduating at the age of six in 1990. In 1994, Kearney and his parents were on The Tonight Show.

Is it easier to get into MIT if you are a girl? ›

Definitely not. That being said, it is also true that a higher percentage of female applicants are successful than male applicants.

Can I get into MIT without SAT? ›

We require the SAT or the ACT for both prospective first year and transfer students.

Do normal kids get into MIT? ›

Currently, MIT's acceptance rate is 4.1%, which means it only accepts around 4 applicants for every 100 people that apply. A 4.1% acceptance rate means that MIT is extremely competitive to get into. You'll need excellent grades, test scores, essays, and letters of recommendation to even be considered.

Can average kid get into MIT? ›

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Facts

To get into the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), you will need to have a near-perfect high school GPA, top scores on your ACT or SAT and the types of extracurricular activities that allow you to demonstrate your commitment and leadership abilities.

How old is the average MIT student? ›

Most MIT students fall into the 25-29 age-range. Student age diversity is considered average.
Age Diversity of Massachusetts Institute of Technology Students.
Student Age GroupNumberPercent
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Is getting into MIT harder than Harvard? ›

As you know, both Harvard and MIT are extremely hard to get into, with Harvard having a slightly lower acceptance rate; however, MIT has slightly higher test score averages, which means you will need to do even better on the SAT or ACT, especially on the Math section, to get in.

What are the odds of getting into Harvard? ›

Does a high SAT score make up for a low GPA? ›

If your GPA is just out of range, your high SAT/ACT score will likely make up for your GPA, especially if the rest of your application is strong. But if your GPA is far below their range, it will be especially important to use your application to explain why your GPA is low.

What is the #1 high school in America? ›

North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics

#1 Best Public High Schools in America.

What high school sends the most kids to Ivy League? ›

The Ivy League Placement High School Rankings
  • Rank/High School - State/% Attending Ivy League College/Average # Annual Ivy League Matriculation.
  • 1 Trinity School - NY 37% 39.
  • 2 Collegiate School - NY 37% 20.
  • 3 The Brearley School - NY 36% 21.
  • 4 Roxbury Latin School - MA 35% 19.
  • 5 Winsor School - MA 33% 18.

Can a 4.0 GPA get you into Harvard? ›

Harvard GPA Requirements

However, unweighted GPAs are not very useful, because high schools weight GPAs differently. In truth, you need close to a 4.0 unweighted GPA to get into Harvard. That means nearly straight As in every class.

What is the lowest GPA MIT accepts? ›

Aim high. Even though there are no official MIT GPA requirements, you should aim for a 4.17 weighted GPA. If you're already a junior or senior figuring out how to get into MIT and your GPA is lower than 4.17, know that scores close to the average MIT SAT scores or ACT scores can counterbalance a lower GPA.

Is D passing at MIT? ›

Beginning in sophomore year, “A” through “F” grades will be reported, with “D” considered a passing grade. See the Registrar's site for complete grading information. At the end of your first term at MIT you will receive both your official Pass/No Record grades and a copy of your unofficial “hidden” grades.

Is 1570 a good SAT score for MIT? ›

MIT SAT Requirements

If you want to have the best shot of getting into MIT, aim for the 75th percentile with a 1570 SAT. You must at least have an SAT score of 1500 to have a chance of being considered for admission to MIT.

Why is MIT not ivy? ›

Schools like Stanford, MIT, and the University of Chicago often outrank Ivies in terms of academics. However, since they aren't in the same athletic conference, they technically aren't Ivy League schools.

Is MIT owned by Harvard? ›

Eventually, the MIT Corporation approved a formal agreement to merge with Harvard, over the vehement objections of MIT faculty, students, and alumni. However, a 1917 decision by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court effectively put an end to the merger scheme.

Is Yale or Harvard better? ›

In almost all the major ranking factors, Harvard has the upper hand except for the faculty/student ratio. Here, Yale is ranked at 4th while Harvard is at 40th. This aside, Harvard ranks first in academics and graduate employers while Yale is at ninth.

› blog › which-one-to-go-for-ha... ›

Both schools are consistently ranked first on national college ranking lists. They are celebrated for their elite academics, illustrious faculty, and thriving s...
MIT and Harvard are two renowned institutions that consistently top national college ranking lists and are known for their premier academics, distinguished facu...
Two of the most prestigious and selective universities in the world, Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are academic peers and nei...

Is Summer Science Program prestigious? ›

The Summer Science Program (SSP) is a prestigious and highly sought after opportunity for high school students to explore specific scientific fields in more depth before entering college.

Is Notre Dame considered prestigious? ›

University of Notre Dame is ranked #18 out of 443 National Universities. Schools are ranked according to their performance across a set of widely accepted indicators of excellence.

Is YYGS impressive? ›

Will attending a Yale Young Global Scholars program impress colleges? It depends on what you make of the program. Just having it on your college application won't do much. Despite a somewhat low acceptance rate, the program isn't competitive enough or well-known enough to really make a difference to colleges.

Which scholarship is most prestigious? ›

Most Prestigious Undergraduate Scholarships
Name of ScholarshipMaximum AwardDeadline Month
Luce Scholars ProgramAll ExpensesOctober
Marshall ScholarshipsAll ExpensesOctober
National Merit Scholarship Program$2,500November
Rhodes ScholarshipsAll ExpensesOctober
6 more rows

Do summer programs look good on college applications? ›

Did you know summer activities can push your college application to the “yes” pile? Colleges want to see that you are committed to extracurriculars throughout the school year, but they also love it when you are making the effort to expand and stretch yourself over summer vacation.

How many applicants does RSI get? ›

As we mentioned above, RSI is very competitive. Each year, the program receives over 1,600 applications for 80 spots. That's an acceptance rate of less than 5%, on par with many Ivy League college acceptance rates.

How many people get accepted into SSP? ›

Is admissions very selective? A. In recent years the admission rate has been around 10%, so definitely have an alternate plan for your summer.

Is it harder to get into Vanderbilt or Notre Dame? ›

Therefore, the acceptance rate alone is not a good indicator that Vanderbilt University is a better school or will be more difficult for you specifically to get into. On the flipside, University of Notre Dame is easier to get into based on acceptance rate alone.

Is it harder to get into Harvard or Notre Dame? ›

AdmissionNotre DameHarvard
Acceptance Rate19%5%
Enrolled %54.3%69.8%
Avg High School GPA3.914.0
8 more rows

Is it harder to get into Duke or Notre Dame? ›

Is University of Notre Dame or Duke University Harder to get into? Which school is easier to get into? If you're looking at acceptance rate alone, then Duke University is more difficult to get into.

How selective is the Yale summer Program? ›

Unlike many programs our admission is selective. But despite—or perhaps because of—competitive submissions, the program's environment is collegial and friendly. We don't distinguish the published from the unpublished, and encourage all writers to find their voice.

How many students are selected for YYGS? ›

Since its founding in 2001, YYGS has expanded from two sessions with 300 students to 12 sessions with 2,400 students.

Is YYGS good for college apps? ›

Prepares You for College

YYGS has a holistic online application process similar to the American college application. From writing supplement essays to listing out extracurricular activities, applying for YYGS helps prepare students for their future college applications and provides an unforgettable experience.

What is the easiest scholarship to win? ›

Top easy scholarships in 2022
  • $10,000 “No Essay” Scholarship.
  • $2,000 Nitro College Scholarship – No Essay.
  • $2,500 Christian Connector Scholarship.
  • $5,000 Graduate School Scholarship.
  • $2,000 College Repayment Grant.
  • Annual Protestant Faith Based College Scholarship.
  • Annual Catholic College Scholarship.

What is the highest GPA to get a scholarship? ›

One of the most common grade point average requirements is a 3.0 average. (Again, every scholarship provider is different and it's up to them to set their eligibility criteria, not us.) While some scholarships are based on a student's GPA, most scholarship aren't only about a student's GPA.


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