Free Summer Programs

Free Summer Programs (Top 25 Options for High School Students 2023)

Let’s explore some amazing and free summer programs for students in general.

Free Summer Programs

It will interest high school students and others within that age that summer programs are an excellent option.

These programs provide high school students with firsthand knowledge of college life while also allowing them to pursue their interests.

You will also meet other high school students with similar interests as you undertake any of these free summer programs.

But why should one choose to do a summer program? Find out below.

Why participate in a summer program?

You might be wondering, “Why should I participate in a Summer Program?” It is no news that joining a summer program is a great way to explore a topic.

Also, summer programs will make your college application much stronger because it’ll prove that you are not just interested in the course’s topics, but you are willing to go the extra mile to learn.

The primary reason for picking a summer program should be personal interest. Find a summer course or camp that covers a subject that piques your interest.

You may want to carefully consider the following factors when you are looking for a summer program:

  • Your goal
  • The topic
  • Location of the program
  • The program’s prestige
  • And its selectivity.

To 25 free summer programs for high school students

The following are great options for free summer programs you should consider based on your interest:

  1. Cornell University Curie Academy.
  2. Telluride Association Summer Programs (TASP).
  3. Inspiring Girls Expeditions.
  4. Bentley University Summer Athletic Camps.
  5. Annenberg Youth Academy for Media and Civic Engagement.
  6. Business Opportunities Summer Session (BOSS) at Penn State.
  7. Carnegie Mellon University Summer Opportunities for Access and Inclusion.
  8. American Collegiate Adventures.
  9. University of Pennsylvania Programs for High School Students.
  10. University of New Hampshire Upward Bound Summer Program.
  11. Minority Introduction to Engineering and Science (MITES).
  12. Princeton Summer Journalism Program.
  13. California State Summer School for Mathematics and Science (COSMOS).
  14. Sadie Nash Summer Institute.
  15. Carnegie Mellon University – Summer Academy for Mathematics + Science (SAMS).
  16. USC Bovard Scholars.
  17. Girls Coding Summer Immersion Programs.
  18. Pomona College Academy for Youth Success (PAYS).
  19. Mathcamp.
  20. National Youth Science Camp (NYSC).
  21. NYU Tandon School Engineering Computer Science for Cyber Security Program
  22. The Aspire Program
  23. JCamp
  24. Georgetown Hoya Summer High School Sessions
  25. Summer Study Programs.

Let us explore a few of these free summer programs below.

1. Telluride Association Summer Programs (TASP)

TASP is a six-week educational experience for high school students.

Telluride Association Summer Programs (TASP)

Students participate in seminars led by members of colleges and universities and participate in educational and social activities outside the classroom.

During the program, students are encouraged to learn via discussions rather than lecturing.

The program distinguishes itself from others because of the quality of the education it offers.

When you join TASP, you’ll be tasked with articles and papers that will stretch your mind.

2. University of New Hampshire Upward Bound Summer Program

The University of New Hampshire Upward Bound Summer Program was created to help eligible students achieve their higher education goals through a free, federally funded college preparatory program.

University of New Hampshire Upward Bound Summer Program

During the six-week summer program, students live on the campus of the University of New Hampshire. Their days are packed with challenging academic classes, creative problem-solving initiatives, team building, communication skills, trips, sports and all kinds of fun!

3. Bentley University Summer Athletic Camps

The Summer Athletic Camps of Bentley University have earned a reputation as one of the best teaching fields for athletics in New England.

Bentley University Summer Athletic Camps

Summer sports camps for high school students are available at the university in basketball, volleyball, field hockey, and other sports.

4. Business Opportunities Summer Session (BOSS) at Penn State

BOSS is a two-week residential program for high school students interested in obtaining a business education in college.

Business Opportunities Summer Session (BOSS) at Penn State

It is an opportunity for these students to take college preparatory courses and business fundamentals taught by Penn State faculty.

If economics and business are what interest you the most, then PennState’s BOSS course is right up your alley.

Getting admitted into this program is no easy feat. Applying to this program is like writing a mini college application. You have to submit a statement of purpose, provide your high school transcript, and even a letter of recommendation from one of your high school professors.


  • 2023 BOSS will be held June 18-June 30, 2023, at Penn State University park.
  • Applications will open on November 1, 2022, and close on March 31, 2023.

5. Annenberg Youth Academy for Media and Civic Engagement

The Annenberg Youth Academy for Media and Civic Engagement is a four-week intensive summer academy for 26 talented high school students from the communities surrounding the campus of USC University and the health science campuses.

Annenberg Youth Academy for Media and Civic Engagement

The Annenberg Youth Academy is a highly selective program where students learn about writing, public speech and debate, critical thought, and other subjects related to communication, with a focus on mass media and journalism.

Students are exposed to the equivalent of first-year college-level courses and develop a rich conceptual understanding and practice of the necessary role that media communications and journalism play in fashioning civic-minded thought leaders and innovators.

As we have noted, the AYA program strengthens students’ skills in writing, critical thought, public speech and debate, multimedia production, interviewing and ethnography — all essential competencies required for excellence in and out of the classroom in the 21st century.

The students are introduced to USC Annenberg’s undergraduate programs and services, as well as possible careers in media and journalism.

They have opportunities to meet the school’s innovative scholars who are advancing issues of race, gender, and ethnicity in communication and journalism communities of practice.

Students must reside and attend high school in Los Angeles County to be eligible to apply.

Application Notices:

  • Applications for the 2023 Annenberg Youth Academy program will be available in January 2023.
  • Program Dates: Monday, June 19, 2023–Friday, July 14, 2023 (no class on Monday, July 3 and Tuesday, July 4 due to Independence Day Holiday).

6. Cornell University Curie Academy

The Curie Academy free summer program is a one-week residential program for high school girls who excel in math and science.

Cornell University Curie Academy

This program is specifically for rising juniors and seniors who desire to learn about engineering in the context of an authentic college experience.

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

SAMS is one of the free summer programs available. Topics taught at SAMS include biology, mathematics, and physics.

Carnegie Mellon University’s Summer Academy for Math and Science (SAMS)

The program is a great introduction to a potential career in STEM.

To qualify for SAMS, the applicant must be a current junior student.

What makes SAMS so great is its focus on scientific topics without neglecting topics like writing. Attending SAMS will vastly improve any student’s reasoning skills while also offering them a great introduction to STEM disciplines.

Students who successfully complete this program often end up as excellent STEM scholars.

The program allows students to develop a deeper understanding of STEM via traditional classroom instruction, through hands-on projects, and sustained engagement with world-renowned faculty and skilled staff mentors. In addition to their academic experiences, students also have the opportunity to collaborate and develop meaningful relationships with peers from across the country.

Dates and Options:

Application deadlines: SAMS – March 15, 2023

(Applicant must be a current junior to be eligible)

Decision notification: on April 5, 2023
Program dates: July 1, 2023, to August 5, 2023 (5 weeks)
Program options: residential only

8. Inspiring Girls Expeditions

Inspiring Girls Expeditions seeks to empower young women through science, art, and outdoor exploration.

Inspiring Girls Expeditions

Their first expedition was led in 1999 in the rugged North Cascades mountains of Washington state. Since then, they have grown into an international community with branches and expeditions in the United States, Canada, Switzerland, Austria, Central Asia, and New Zealand.

Each year they select expedition teams of 8-9 teenage girls and three instructors to spend 12 days exploring and learning about a remote and wild environment.

9. Mathcamp

Mathcamp is an intensive five-week summer program in which students can explore several principles of mathematics.

Mathcamp free summer programs

Students can learn about undergraduate and graduate subjects by linking with a diverse group of people who share a common love of mathematics.

Canada/USA Mathcamp is an immersive summer experience for mathematically talented students ages 13–18 from all over the world.

Key Date for 2023:

Mathcamp 2023 will take place at Champlain College in Burlington, VT from Sunday, July 2, to Sunday, August 6, 2023.

10. National Youth Science Camp (NYSC)

The National Youth Science Camp (NYSC) is an intense one-month camp for young scientists. It is available to them the summer after graduating from high school.

NYSCamp free summer programs

The National Youth Science Camp is a free residential honors program for two accomplished high school graduates from each state in the USA, plus Washington, DC.

Students must demonstrate academic competence in mathematics or science, as well as other documented leadership skills.

11. California State Summer School for Mathematics and Science (COSMOS)

The California State Math and Science Summer School (COSMOS) is a four-week summer residential program that allows high school students who have demonstrated skills in STEM subjects (science, technology, math, and engineering) to explore beyond the confines of their regular secondary school curriculum.

COSMOS free summer programs

COSMOS is limited to high-school students who either attend a California high school or are residents of California.

Application Schedule:

  • Online application will be available on January 11th, 2023, by 8 am.
  • Deadline for all application material: February 10th, 2023, by 11:59 pm.

12. NYU Tandon School Engineering Computer Science for Cyber Security Program

The NYU Tandon School Engineering Computer Science for Cyber Security Program is a barrier-breaking computer science and cyber security introduction for high school students.

Free Summer Programs

Cybersecurity is a hot topic nowadays, so if you have an interest in computers and are curious about the world of ethical hacking, cryptography, and cybersecurity, you should absolutely apply for this program.

Computer Science for Cyber Security (CS4CS) is a 3-week full-day summer program providing an introduction to the fundamentals of cybersecurity and computer science at NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering.

The program strives to educate and empower a new generation of engineers in an inclusive environment that breaks down barriers that have historically led to the underrepresentation of women and minorities in STEM.

You are eligible to apply if you live around New York City and can demonstrate your commitment through your application.

No background or experience in cybersecurity or computer programming is needed in order to apply, only your interest and enthusiasm.

Who Can Apply?

Students who…

  • Live in one of the five New York City boroughs or smaller neighboring cities such as Jersey City, Newark, or Hempstead.
  • Have demonstrated interest/are highly motivated in STEM as shown in essays and application
  • Are available for the entire program and are committed to completing
  • Are entering 9th, 10th, 11th, or 12th grade in September 2022
  • Show they are responsible, punctual, and persistent and have demonstrated an ability to make and fulfill commitments.

Important Dates:

  • Application Deadline: April 13, 2022
  • Notification of Application: May 4, 2022
  • Program Dates: July 11 – July 29, 2022

13. JCamp

Asian American Journalism Association’s JCamp is a national multicultural journalism program for high school students.

JCamp is a 6-days training camp where students learn from veteran journalists and media thought leaders.

JCamp free summer programs

The program teaches topics such as leadership fundamentals, journalism ethics, and the value of diversity in media coverage.

There is a strong emphasis on diversity and listening to various voices and opinions from various cultures.

Despite the name of the organization, the program is not limited to Asian American students. All you need is a high school diploma and a strong interest in journalism. The application process is free, as are the costs of the program, lodging, and travel to the location.

14. GirlsWhoCode Summer Immersion Program

At the girls who code summer program, students gain the computer science skills they need to make an impact and prepare for tech careers in our free, virtual summer programs.

GirlsWhoCode Summer Immersion Program

Summer program participants get exposure to tech jobs, meet leaders in tech careers, and find community in our supportive sisterhood.

This is designed for girls. It is held by a non-profit whose mission is to empower women to enter technology jobs.

It is a very intensive program that lasts for seven weeks and focuses on computer science and coding.

This camp is an excellent intro to computer science. So if you’re a woman looking to improve your skills in the technological field, you should absolutely apply for this one.

In addition, the GirlsWhoCode program is “a national non-profit organization dedicated to closing the gender gap in technology.” The program combines project-based learning with aspects such as networking and connecting with women in high-tech companies.

15. MIT Introduction to Technology, Engineering, and Science Program

The MIT Introduction to Technology, Engineering, and Science program advances access and equity in STEM through transformative, pre-college experiences.

MITES (formerly OEOP) provides transformative experiences that bolster confidence, create lifelong community, and build an exciting, challenging foundation in STEM for highly motivated 7th–12th-grade students from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds.

MITES create new pathways for participants, helps them develop the skills they need and a sense of belonging in the STEM fields, and empowers them to use their knowledge to address urgent issues facing their communities and the world at large.

16. Princeton Summer Journalism Program

The Princeton Summer Journalism Program (PSJP) is one of the only programs of its kind offering a free, year-long college preparation and journalism program for high school juniors from low-income backgrounds.

Princeton Summer Journalism Program

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 a 10-day residential experience on Princeton’s campus, during which students publish the annual newspaper – the Princeton Summer Journal.

During their senior year, students are matched with a personal college adviser, who will work with them on their college admissions process.

Since its founding in 2002, PSJP has graduated more than 500 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!

17. Pomona College Academy for Youth Success (PAYS)

The Pomona College Academy for Youth Success (PAYS) enrolls over 90 local high school students.

Pomona College Academy for Youth Success (PAYS)

It seeks to support them in preparing for admission to selective and highly selective colleges and universities.

PAYS scholars engage in a thought-provoking combination of courses, cultural events, workshops, projects and field trips during the intensive 4-week residential program as well as throughout the academic year.

18. Summer Study Programs

The Summer Study Programs at a variety of schools, such as Harvard, Georgetown, UCLA, and Cambridge, combine academically challenging courses with the fun and excitement of campus and life abroad.

Free Summer Programs: Alternatives to Summer Programs

If you want working experience and don’t care about traditional academic learning, there are other ways to gain experience in your chosen field other than taking any of the free summer programs.

If you were interested in writing, for example, you could take matters into your own hands and begin writing online. Start a blog, publish articles on Medium, or even try to work with magazines or local newspapers. The only limit is your imagination.

Volunteering is another excellent way to gain relevant experience. Do you have a passion for biology? Offer to assist at a zoo or a marine park as a volunteer.

Internships/summer jobs are also beneficial. They provide you with valuable real-world experience and will look great on future college applications.

There are always alternatives to formal academic training (like the free summer programs) for furthering your education. Consider your objectives and how you intend to achieve them. Begin at the end and work your way backward to determine the best course of action.


That concludes our list of the top free summer programs for high school students. Whatever you want to do, you’ll find something on this list that piques your interest.

Always begin with your goals in mind. Do you want to delve into a subject? Or are you actively seeking to expand your knowledge in a particular field? Do you want to improve your chances of getting into college?

Before applying for any summer program, you should answer all of these questions. Some students want a more casual experience, while others are concerned with their future academic success. In this case, there is no correct or incorrect answer. This is your life. Make your own decisions.

Let us know your preferences in the comment section below. Thank you.


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