Summer Programs in North Carolina for High School Students
Introduction to North Carolina Summer Programs
This page of the directory includes information about summer programs and camps for high school students in North Carolina. The state has a diverse set of opportunities that are available for students during the summer months.
Participating in a structured program in NC can help students to extend their education and learning beyond the academic or school year.
The content on this page includes information about programs in the state as well as descriptions of specific summer programs for high school students in North Carolina, including UNC Chapel Hill and NC State.
Resources on this Directory of Summer Opportunities
This page focuses on summer options within North Carolina and there are a variety of opportunities that can be found in the state. In addition to the information about NC summer programs shared on this page, there are other summer opportunities included in this directory. The following items represent a sample of the types of summer opportunities that are contained in this directory.
- 7 unique summer programs that are designed for high school students with an interest in nursing.
- 10-plus useful summer camps with a focus on college majors and careers in the field of pharmacy.
- A variety of writing opportunities that are available in the summer.
- Exciting experiences to explore the field of business and to get a feel for what it is like to be an entrepreneur.
- Summer academic programs and camps that focus on STEM (science, technology, math, and engineering.
- Summer opportunities that focus on visual arts.
North Carolina Summer Program Locations
Summer programs in the state of North Carolina are held in various places around the state. The different locations enable more high school students to take part in a structured summer opportunity. Programs are held in locations that include Charlotte, Durham, Greensboro, Chapel Hill, Raleigh, Winston-Salem and more.
A number of the summer programs take place on college campuses, which serves to spread options throughout the state. For example, there are programs offered at UNC Chapel Hill, Wake Forest, and Appalachian State. There is more information coming up about pre-college summer programs.
North Carolina Summer Program Topics
One of the best aspects of summer programs in North Carolina is the variety of topics that are available for high school students. There are diverse subjects that are offered by different programs in NC, which enable students to explore areas of interest.
The topics of the summer programs for high school in North Carolina include, but are not limited to, computer programming, engineering, visual art, music, robotics, economics, and STEM. There are also programs that enable students to take courses on a college campus and there can be a wide variety of subjects to choose from.
Because of the wide range of topics available through NC summer programs, high school students can explore a particular area of interest. Students may be interested in learning more about a subject that they enjoy in school, such as science.
Alternatively, students may choose a subject area that extends beyond the walls of a traditional high school such as engineering. There are also summer programs around the country that focus on topics such as writing, music, and leadership. For more information on programs that emphasize specific subject areas, please use the ‘topics‘ tab in the menu near the top of this page.
Potential Benefits of NC Summer Programs
There are a variety of benefits that can come from participating in a structured summer program in North Carolina. For example, depending on the program, high school students can explore an area of interest, interact with instructors, meet new peers who have similar interests, develop confidence, consider potential college majors, collaborate with other students, and engage in hands-on or experiential activities.
It is important to note that each program is different with regards to the schedule, day-to-day structure, resources available, instructor-to-student ratio, expense, and more. Due to these differences, it is important that high school students take some time to research and read about programs. Researching and learning about programs can be helpful in considering those programs that align with interests, aspirations, and priorities.
It is also important to note that there are other valuable activities that high school students can participate in during the summer. Students may want to work part-time to gain employment skills, prepare for standardized tests (e.g. SAT and ACT), visit colleges, hone skills in an extracurricular activity (e.g. music, sports), spend time with family, and relax to recharge for the next school year.
Students may also want to consider participating in a summer program as well as engaging in other activities. There are a number of short summer programs in North Carolina, which can enable students to take part in multiple productive activities during the summer.
Pre-College Summer Programs for High School Students in North Carolina
In general, pre-college experiences are designed to assist students in preparing for post-secondary education. The pre-college summer programs in North Carolina provide high school students with the chance to gain experience on a campus, find out about academic expectations and opportunities at the college-level, and get a preliminary idea of life in a college setting.
Pre-college programs also enable students to spend time on a campus, talk with faculty and staff members, learn about academic and co-curricular activities, and explore the buildings, facilities, and resources.
There are a number of colleges and universities that offer some type of pre-college program opportunity. For example, there are summer programs at UNC, Chapel Hill, North Carolina State, and UNC Greensboro. There are also reputable organizations that run pre-college programs on college campuses in North Carolina.
Some of the NC pre-college programs are intended to be residential, which involves high school students staying on the campus. For residential programs, students typically have a chance to stay in college dormitories and get a glimpse of college life.
There are also pre-college commuter programs, which involve students spending time on a campus and participating in educational activities during the day and then returning home each night. Whether a pre-college program is residential or commuter-based, it can be helpful for students in preparing to reach their goals in higher education.
Finding Summer Programs in NC
It can be helpful for high school students to research and learn about summer programs. By researching programs, students are likely to find opportunities that match up with their expectations for the summer.
For those students who are interested in a program out of state, this directory includes many opportunities around the country.
For students who would like to participate in a program in the state, the descriptions, below, of specific North Carolina summer programs may be useful in finding opportunities of interest.
North Carolina Summer Program Spotlights
Out of this World Summer Camp Experiences!
Wake Forest University Summer Pre-College Insitutes
University of North Carolina, Greensboro Summer Music Programs
North Carolina Summer Education Programs
Appalachian State Summer Innovation Program – Boone, North Carolina
The North Carolina Center for Engineering Technology at Appalachian State University offers summer innovation camps for students of a variety of ages. The Future Engineer Summer Camp has a program for students in grades three through five and for students in grades six through eight. This program allows students to get an introduction to engineering ideas.
The Coding Summer Camp is designed for students in grades six through eight and gives students the chance to learn about computer science. The Product Development Summer Camp is intended for students in grades nine through twelve and it enables participants to examine the process of designing a product and taking it to market.
The Robotics Summer Camp is for students in grades four through six and it enables participants to learn about the fundamentals of robotics. The Builders Boot Camp Summer Program is for students in grades seven through ten and it is designed to help participants learn about construction, building, and using tools appropriately.
Participants: High school, middle school, and elementary students.
Duke University Summer Programs – Durham, North Carolina
Duke offers several programs that are designed to provide students with a productive summer. Students in grades ten through twelve can attend the Summer College Program. This program provides students with the opportunity to take courses and experience residential life at the university.
The Summer Academy is intended for students in grades nine through twelve. This program is designed to enhance student leadership skills, particularly in the areas of communication, presentation, and collaboration.
The Accelerated STEM Academy is for students in grades nine through twelve. This program gives students a chance to learn the STEM fields, develop knowledge about the research process, and gain an understanding of the resources that can be utilized in a research setting at a university. All of the summer programs can help students examine topics of interest, learn about college life, and explore potential college majors and careers.
Participants: High school students (grade-levels vary depending on the program).
TIP Summer Studies at Duke – Durham, North Carolina
The TIP Summer Program enables gifted and talented students to participate in problem-based learning activities. During the program, students have the opportunity to investigate and examine academic areas of interest.
The program also provides students with a residential experience along with extracurricular evening programming. Overall, TIP Summer Studies gives students a chance to connect with peers, interact with instructors, and expand their learning about high-interest topics.
Participants: Students in grades 7-10.
Out of this World Summer Camps: The Learning Center at Pari – Rosman, North Carolina
Explore the universe and beyond with the Learning Center at PARI! Our Astronomy/Planetary-focused residential camps are launching in June 2020 and registration is now open! These one-of-a-kind experiences are offered at our historic, 200-acre campus in the Pisgah National Forest and offer campers a truly otherworldly adventure.
The Learning Center’s summer camp experiences include cabin lodging, on-site dining, hiking trails, recreational activities, hands-on space and earth science exhibit galleries, scenic mountain views, with tours of the former NASA facility and its historic instruments. The Learning Center strives to engage campers at multiple levels, while providing the inspiration and education for our next generation of thinkers and explorers.
Participants: High school and middle school students (grades 6-12).
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Summer Program – Chapel Hill, North Carolina
UNC Chapel Hill offers a summer camp called ImagineLab. The program is designed to engage students in analytical thinking, collaboration, and technology.
One option within the summer program is DreamBuilders, which gives students a chance to think about real world problems and collaborate in activities involve computer programming, video, developing products, and more. Another option within the program is called GameChangers. This option provides students with the opportunity to participate in activities such as designing games, developing digital societies, and examining gaming.
Through this summer program, participating students have a chance to interact with staff members, work cooperatively with peers, and utilize critical thinking skills to discuss global issues. Students can apply for scholarships for the program, which takes place at UNC Chapel Hill.
Participants: High school and middle school students (the ages of thirteen to eighteen).
NC State Summer Camps for High School Ninth and Tenth Graders – Raleigh, North Carolina
NC State offers several summer programs that are designed for rising freshmen and sophomores students in high school. These summer camps enable students to have an experience on a college campus and learn about topics of interest.
One option that is offered at the university is the engineering summer camp. This is designed to provide students with a chance to learn about the field of engineering and what engineers do. Students participate in a variety of experiential learning activities to develop a better understanding of the engineering field. In addition, students learn about the varying disciplines within engineering. Through this program, students can enhance their understanding of important engineering principals and develop a solid foundational knowledge of the field.
Another program at NC State focuses on entrepreneurship. This summer camp is an opportunity for students to exhibit creativity, discuss ideas, and learn about ways to view various fields through the lens of an entrepreneur. Students in this program have the opportunity to learn from professors at the university as well as the practicing entrepreneurs. Students also have the chance to participate in discussions and hands-on learning exercises to enhance their knowledge.
Another summer camp offered by NC state focuses on computer programming. Participating students have the chance to learn about different programming options. In addition, students have the opportunity to collaborate with others to create a practical technology product through the use programming and computing. Prior experience in computer science is not required for this summer camp.
The summer camps for rising freshmen and sophomores are commuter-based. Students participate in educational activities during the day and return home or to a designated location when the daily schedule has concluded. There is an application process of these programs.
Participants: Rising high school freshmen and sophomores.
NC State Design Summer Camp – Raleigh, North Carolina
The College of Design at the university sponsors and runs design programs for students during the summer. This summer camps helps students to learn about the field of design and ways in which design influences many other areas in society. The summer camps enable students to extend their knowledge of architecture and design while also applying their learning through experiential studio-based activities.
There is a commuter=based summer camp for middle school students that gives students a chance to learn about the fundamental principles of design while also participating in project-based activities. Students learn from instructors affiliated with NC State and receive helpful feedback on their design work.
The College of Design also offers a commuter summer camp for rising high school freshmen, sophomores, and juniors. This program enables students to explore different aspects within the field of design, including architecture, graphics, and more. Students have a chance to learn from, interact with, and receive feedback from instructors. Participating students work in a studio setting to create projects based upon important principles in design.
The College of Design also offers a pre-college summer camp for rising high school juniors and seniors. This is a residential-based program, which enables students to experience life on a college campus while also learning about a variety of facets within the design field. Students have a chance to learn from and interact with instructors from the university. Students also have the opportunity to gain insight into college majors and career opportunities within the field. In addition, students have the opportunity to spend extended time in a studio setting to work on projects, which serve to give them a preview of majoring in the design field.
The summer camps have a limit on the number of students that they can take as participants. As a result, students are encouraged to complete the application early. There are some financial assistance scholarships available that are primarily based on financial need.
Participants: High school and middle school students.
North Carolina State Summer Engineering Program – Raleigh, North Carolina
The College of Engineering at NC State offers a summer residential program for upper class high school students to learn more about the field of engineering. This pre-college summer program enables students to examine different facets of the engineering field and to consider engineering majors as well as career opportunities.
Through the program, students can learn about current topics in engineering and explore different avenues in which engineers can work. The program includes a number of high-interest workshops. Each workshop is like track within this program and students focus on an area / topic in engineering that interests them. The topics include aspects of engineering such as applied materials, bio-materials, robotics, building apps, and more. The topics of workshops are also divided by disciplines within the engineering field such as civil, environmental, biomedical, and more. This enables students to gain insight into a practical and current topic and to develop a better understanding of disciplines within the engineering profession.
This summer program is designed to be residential and students can stay on the campus of NC State. Participating students have the opportunity to get a sense of what it is like to live on a campus. This can be helpful in preparing for the transition from high school to college. There is an application process for this program.
Participants: Rising high school juniors and seniors.
University of North Carolina School of the Arts Summer Programs. – Winston Salem, North Carolina
The UNCSA Summer Programs provides students with the opportunity to receive training in dance, drama, and the visual arts. Students learn about integrating other subject areas into the arts and the importance that the arts play in communities.
The program allows students to experience life at a higher education institute that has an emphasis on the arts. In addition, participating students have a chance to interact with peers as well as their instructors and share the interest that they have in the arts.
Participants: High school students.
University of North Carolina, Charlotte Summer Camps – Charlotte, North Carolina
UNC Charlotte provides summer programming for students in grades one through twelve. Cool School Camps are for students in grades one through four. This program provides students with hands-on learning activities and they are encouraged to explore their academic interests.
Fortyniner Minor is for students grades five through eight. This program uses an interdisciplinary approach to help students extend their learning beyond the school year.
The Niner Academy is for students in grades nine through twelve. This program is designed to help students become prepared for the college environment and the workforce.
The Robotics Summer Camp is for students in grades four through twelve and it is designed to promote the area of robotics engineering. This program help students learn more about careers in the engineering field.
Participants: Students in grades 1-12.
UNC Greensboro Summer Music Camps – Greensboro, North Carolina
UNC Greensboro offers summer camps to promote the area of music among students. Students can take part in summer camps that are focused on band, orchestra, mixed chorus, and piano.
Participants have the opportunity to enhance their musical skills while also interacting with peers and instructors. The culminating experience involves a performance among participants for families and friends.
Participants: Students grades 5-12.
University of North Carolina, Wilmington, Summer Enrichment – Wilmington, North Carolina
UNC Wilmington offers a unique summer program for high school students that combines education and fun near the coast. The program is known as Surf-N-Service because it provides students with a chance to improve their surfing skills, learn about significant topics relating to the coastline, and engage in community service.
The summer program provides the opportunity for students to learn about marine science, coastal preservation, restoration of areas near the shore, and environmental science. The program is structured to enable students to give back to the community, learn from surfing instructors, acquire knowledge pertaining to ocean science, and visit relevant sites near the ocean.
This program is a part of the UNC Wilmington MarineQuest summer enrichment opportunity. The program has a residential as well as a commuter option for participating students.
Participants: High school students between the ages of fourteen and seventeen who have finished the eighth grade.
Wake Forest Summer Pre-College Summer Institutes Programs – Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Wake Forest offers residential institutes for high school students during the summer. Students have the opportunity to explore a topic of interest in areas such as medicine, business, dance, engineering, film, and more. Participating students engage in active experiences and discussions to learn more about the potential majors and careers that would align with their goals.
Participants: High school students.
Western Carolina University Summer Art Camp – Cullowhee, North Carolina
The Art Tastic Summer Camp focuses on visual arts for students in grades six through ten. Students are able to work on projects that are designed to cultivate their interest in art. Students learn about different areas in visual arts such as ceramics, drawing, and crafts.
Participants: Students in grades 6-10.
Recommended Resources for More Summer Opportunities
There are additional resources contained within this directory of summer programs that can be useful. The following resources are recommendations to help with finding more summer experiences.
- 10-plus interesting hands-on computer science camps, including programming, coding, app development, and more.
- Opportunities for students with an interest in music, who would like to develop and enhance their skills.
- 10 unique math summer experiences that promote critical thinking, discussions, real-world connections, and problem-solving.
- Interesting options to explore the field of engineering, including college majors and career paths.