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 of programs available for students in different locations around the state. Summer programs are offered in locations such as Chicago, Evanston, Champaign, Peoria, and Charleston.

The content on this page includes background information as well as descriptions of specific summer programs that are held in Illinois, including opportunities in Chicago and at the University of Illinois.

Utilizing this Directory of Summer Programs for Options Within and Beyond Illinois

This directory is designed to help students, parents, and educators explore summer programs and pre-college opportunities. This page contains information that centers around a number of productive programs in the state of Illinois. In addition to the information included below, students, who have an interest in an educational summer program, can examine the following pages, which include information and descriptions of summer options.

    • Summer programs that enable students to learn about STEM areas (science, technology, engineering, and math).
    • A variety of summer options that are designed to promote, cultivate and enhance writing, including creative writing.
    • Summer programs that enable students to learn about and explore business and entrepreneurship.

Public and Private Colleges in Illinois

Illinois Chicago summer programs for high school studentsIllinois 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 regard to the number of colleges. This 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 of colleges that offer structured summer 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 program. 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 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 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.

Pre-College 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.

Summer programs for high school students in IllinoisMore Information about Summer Pre-College Programs

There is additional 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.

Finding Information about Illinois Summer Experiences in Illinois

Illinois summer educational camps for high school studentsThere are a variety of valuable summer programs in Illinois for high school students to consider if they are interested in a structured learning experience that extends past the school year. It can be beneficial for students to spend some time reading about different program options to find opportunities that correspond with their goals, interests, aspirations, and summer schedules.

The information, below, includes descriptions of specific Illinois summer programs. The information on this page may be useful as students begin to research and learn about potential summer options.

Illinois Summer Program Spotlights

University of Illinois summer programs for high school students

Illinois Aerospace Summer Institute

Southern Illinois University summer program for high school students

Southern Illinois Summer Camps

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

Summer Programs for High School Students in Illinois

Augustana College Summer Psychology Program – Rock Island, Illinois

This summer psychology program offers high school students a unique opportunity to learn about the field of psychology. In particular, this program focuses on the psychological research and ideas pertaining to what makes people happy. This program can be beneficial for students who want to learn more about the field of psychology and those who are considering psychology as a major.

Through this program, high school students have a chance to learn about significant information pertaining to the way that psychologist conduct research. Specifically, the program emphasizes findings that involving factors that lead to contentment. During the program, students gain insight by listening to engaging lectures, participating in active discussions, and taking part in experiential exercises.

The program is short in duration and it gives high schools student the opportunity to experience learning in a college setting.

Participants: High school students

Bradley University summer debate program 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

This 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 Illnois summer program for high school students

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 summer engineering programs for high school students

University of Illinois Summer Engineering Programs – Champaign, Illinois

The College of Engineering hosts and runs a variety of summer programs for high school students. The programs are designed to help students become more familiar with engineering and to learn about the different disciplines within the field. The programs enable students to meet, interact, and work with professors from the university and to a get a sense of what it is like to study engineering in a higher education setting.

There are different engineering programs that are offered in the summer. Some of the programs enable students to gain exposure to a broad range of engineering topics. There are opportunities that allow students to focus on a particular area of interest within engineering such as mechanical, biomedical, chemical, and more.

The programs provide students with the chance to listen to experienced speakers, take part in engineering-based learning activities, work together with other participants, and gain insight into college majors and careers in engineering.

The pre-college programs also give students a chance to stay on the campus and get a feel for what it is like to be a college student. Students get a preview of living in university dormitories, utilizing campus resources, and spending time in a college setting. There is an application process for the programs and students can apply for financial assistance.

Participants: The programs are for high school students. The specific eligibility requirements depend upon the individual program opportunities.

University of Illinois Chicago summer engineering program for high school students

University of Illinois at Chicago Summer Engineering Program – Chicago, Illinois

The summer engineering camp at UIC provides students with a foundation in the field of engineering. The program is sponsored by the College of Engineering and students have a chance learn from faculty members at the university.

One of the features of this summer program involves the focus that is placed on helping students to develop an understanding of a variety of types of engineering. During the camp, students have the opportunity to gain insight into different multiple disciplines within engineering. Students learn about different areas of engineering on a daily basis. These can include electrical, mechanical, biomedical, chemical and more.

The program emphasizes learning by doing. As a result, participants have a chance to engage in active experiential exercises to enhance their knowledge of engineering. For example, students can utilize the resources at the university to engage in and get a taste of engineering-based lab work. The program also enables students to learn about different types of career options that exist within the field.

In addition, this pre-college summer camp enables students to spend time on a college campus and take part in learning in a college environment. As a result, students become more familiar with opportunities in a higher education setting.

Participants: There is one section of the summer camp that is designed for high school students. There are also sections for younger 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.

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.

Further Recommendations for Finding Summer Opportunities of Interest

The state of Illinois has a variety of valuable summer opportunities with many held on a college campus. There are also recommendations for resources that contain options outside of the state. These options include the chance to explore specific topics of interest and to spend time in a college setting.

    • Engaging opportunities for high school students in the state of Michigan.
    • Pre-college theater options that enable students to develop and grow their performance skills.
    • A range of interesting computer camps that allow students to learn and utilize technology in areas such as programming, game design, coding, networking, and more.

For more information, please view our entire list of states and topics and examine the articles about opportunities in our blog.

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