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Illinois Summer Programs and Camps for High School Students

Introduction – Summer Programs in Illinois

Illinois summer programs for high school studentsThis page of the directory includes information about Illinois summer programs that are offered for high school students. There are a variety programs available for students in different locations around the state. Programs are offered in areas such as Chicago, Evanston, Champaign, Peoria and Charleston.

Public and Private Colleges in Illinous

Illinois is home to a large number of public and private colleges and universities. According to World Atlas, Illinois is in the top ten states with regards to the number of colleges. This is includes the University of Illinois system with the flagship university being at Urbana-Champaign.

There are also many private colleges around the state such as the University of Chicago, and Lake Forest College. While not all summer opportunities are held on college campuses, the number colleges that offer programs serves to expand the options that are available for students. In addition, Illinois also has vibrant organizations and agencies, which also sponsor and run summer programs.

Illinois Summer Opportunities – A Variety of Subject Areas

University of Illinois summer programs for high school studentsThere are many different topics that high school students can explore through structured summer programs in Illinois. Students can focus on subjects such as music, theater, engineering, law, computer technology, visual art, engineering, law, writing, music, writing, and more. These programs enable students to extend their education outside of the traditional academic year.

High school students may have different reasons for choosing a summer programs. With so many different subject areas of focus that are offered by programs in the state, some students may want to pursue an interest or passion that falls outside of the school curriculum. Others may want to participate in a program to continue learning about a subject that they were studying at school. Additionally, students may want to have the experience of working with instructors and collaborating with new peers, while also enhancing their knowledge in a subject.

Researching Summer Programs in Illinois

Summer pre-college programs for high school students in IllinoisStudents are encouraged to read about and research different summer programs to determine, which opportunities are good matches for them. Students can also contact program administrators to ask questions about the structure of the program, such as the learning experiences offered, the typical day-to-day schedule, the types of activities that students participate in, and the instruction and supervision provided.

The length and location of summer opportunities can also be a factor for students in considering programs.  Students can a find a number of Illinois summer programs on this page of the directory and then continue to research and find out more about opportunities of interest.

Pre-College Summer Programs in Illinois

Illinois summer programs for high school studentsPre-college summer programs are designed to give high school students a chance to learn more about the academics and/or campus life in a college setting. Many of these programs take place on university campuses and enable students to gain experience in a higher education environment.

Pre-college programs in Illinois often enable students to interact with faculty members, explore campus resources, gain insight into potential majors, and develop a better understanding of college-level academics.

Residential and Commuter Options

Some pre-college programs are designed to be residential. These programs typically enable students to stay in residence halls, dine in college-run facilities, and utilize the resources on the campus. This can help students get a preview of college life. There are also commuter pre-college programs, which provide students with the opportunity to learn in an academic setting and return home after the daily educational activities.

Additional Information about Pre-College Summer Experiences in Illinois

There is more information about pre-college programs in the blog article entitled “what is a pre-college program?”

Overall, pre-college summer programs can help to prepare high school students for the transition from high school to college. If students have an interest in participating in a college-based summer opportunity, they are encouraged to research program options carefully in order to find those that would be good matches for them.

Illinois Summer Program Spotlights

University of Illinois

Illinois Aerospace Summer Institute

Southern Illinois Summer Camps

Scroll down to view more Illinois summer programs for high school students

Summer Programs for High School Students in Illinois


Bradley University Summer Forensic Institute – Peoria, Illinois
Bradley University offers a summer program for students interested in forensics, debate, and communications. The program is a two-week residential opportunity for high school students. Participating students learn from the university’s forensic champions.
Participants: High school students

Medical Summer Program

Camp Cardiac Summer Program – Chicago, Illinois
There is a unique summer program in Chicago, Illinois for high school students who are interested in the field of medicine. The program is known as Camp Cardiac and the instruction is provided by graduate students in the field of medicine.

This summer program utilizes experiential learning to help high school students learn about medical fields, such as being a doctor, nurse, or physician’s assistant. As a part of the program, students learn about physiology and anatomy as a preview of the further educational pathways that can lead to a career in a healthcare field. Students also participate in experiential learning exercises and simulations to help them better understand the role of a medical professional. In addition, high school students learn and interact with instructors, which can be useful in regards to gaining insight into the education pathways and career opportunities in the healthcare area.

This program is commuter-based, which involves students attending the week-long sessions during the day and then returning home in the evening. There are some partial and full scholarships for this program that are awarded through an application process.

Participants: High school students, who are ages fifteen to eighteen.

Chicago Youth Shakespeare

Chicago Youth Shakespeare Summer Program – Chicago, Illinois
The summer Youth Shakespeare Program is designed for high school students who are interested in acting and theater. Participants learn about performance-related techniques and improvisation. Students also have the chance to learn from artists in the Chicago community. Participating students have the opportunity to attend Shakespeare performances in the Chicago area. Additionally, students participate in role playing exercises and other practical activities.
Participants: High school students.


University of Chicago Summer Pre-College Programs – Chicago, Illinois
The University of Chicago offers summer programs that enable students to learn more about their areas of interest. The pre-college program provides students with support from faculty members and other professionals. Through the program, students can explore topics such as STEM, writing, justice, economics, gender studies, paleontology, psychology, and more. Participating students have the opportunity to learn about subjects at in-depth level, gain experience on a college campus, and become familiar with the resources in a university setting.
Participants: High school students (age 14 and up).

Eastern Illinois University summer program for high school students

Eastern Illinois Summer English Studies Camps – Charleston, Illinois
This program provides students with a unique opportunity to explore aspects of English studies at an in-depth level. Students have the option to participate as residents or commuters. Participants can take classes in areas such as creative writing, literature, media studies and more.
Participants: Students in grades 10, 11, and 12.

University of Illinois

University of Illinois Aerospace Institute Summer Camp – Urbana, Illinois
The Aerospace Institute is a residential program that is designed for students who would like to explore aerospace engineering and aviation. Students participate in hands-on learning experiences though the program. Students also can participate in discussion groups, laboratory activities, and model workshops.
Participants: High school students.

University of Illinois
College of Medicine

University of Illinois College of Medicine Summer Science Programs – Rockford, Illinois
The UIC College of Medicine offers summer biomedical science programs for high school students. The programs provide different educational options and opportunities. They are designed to help students learn about the science fields through a variety of learning and experiential activities.

The STEM Summer Camp is designed to give students the opportunity to gain insight into college majors and career opportunities in the sciences and particularly the biomedical sciences. The program enables students to meet other participants with similar interests, learn from instructors, gain a better understanding of the sciences, learn about biomedical research, engage in discussions and participate in experiential learning exercises. This is a commuter-based camp, which involves taking part in the learning activities during the day and then leaving the program location to return home or to a designated location in the evening. There is not currently a cost associated with this program. This camp has been designed for students from a variety of high schools in Illinois. There is a complete list of these schools on the summer program’s website.

The Summer Science Internship Program provides a unique opportunity for a small group of high school students. This program enables students to gain an understanding of the practical applications of research and discoveries in the sciences. Students work collaboratively in la ab settings, gain experience with research, and learn from a mentor in the field.  This program is known for being selective and it is designed serve high school students in the Rockford’s School District and communities that are close to it. There not currently a cost associated with this program.

Participants: High school students from different schools in Illinois, who will be at least age sixteen by the first day of June in the year of participation.


Northwestern University College Prep Summer Program – Evanston, Illinois
The Northwestern College Prep offers high school students with the opportunity to explore topics in a university setting. Through the program, students have a chance to learn more about areas of interest at in-depth level.

The College Prep Program provides high school students with two options. There are In Focus seminars. These intensive seminars typically run for two weeks. They enable students to examine topics at an in-depth level. Through this option, students can explore topics such as medicine, sustainability, law, psychology and more.

Another option for students, who are eligible for this program, is take college-level classes at the university. There is wide range of subject areas, which include anatomy, public speaking, writing,  music and more.

Participating students also have the opportunity to experience life on a university campus and prepare for the academic expectations of college.
Participants: High school students.


School of the Art Institute of Chicago Summer Residency Program – Chicago, Illinois
SAIC offers students with the opportunity to explore aspects of art during the summer while cultivating their own artistic skills. Participants learn from faculty members, artists, and designers. Students also have access to college-level resources in order to prepare for higher education. As a part of the program, students can work on a portfolio for college admission to an art program with support of the faculty and staff.
Participants: High school students.

Saper Law

Saper Law Summer Program – Chicago, Illinois
The Saper Law Summer Program provides a week-long camp for high school and college students that involves examining the legal profession. The program takes at the Saper Law Office. Students participate in academic exercise relating to law and have a chance to visit state as well as federal court houses. Students also have the opportunity to participate in mock trial exercises. Overall, this program enables students to explore career opportunities in the legal field.
Participants: High school and college students.

Southern Illinois University Academic Summer Camps – Edwardsville, Illinois
Southern Illinois provides day camps during summer that enable students to learn about subjects of interest. In prior years, topics have included visual arts, science, music, sports, engineering, health, and more.
Participants: Students age 8-18.

Western Illinois University Summer Music Institute – Macomb, Illinois
The summer music institute provides instructional sessions for students of a variety of ages and skill levels. The sessions are designed to help students cultivate their music skills and abilities. Students can focus on areas such as band, jazz, choir, and more. There are some talent-based scholarships available for this summer program.
Participants: Students in grades 4 – 12.