Summer Programs for High School Students in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania summer programs for high schools studentsIntroduction – Pennsylvania Summer Programs

This page of the directory includes information about Pennsylvania summer programs and camps. In the state, there are a variety of summer opportunities that are available for high school students. Many of the programs are designed for both in-state and out of state participants.

This page includes an overview of summer opportunities in the state and this is followed by information about specific summer programs in Pennsylvania, including Philadelphia.

Using this Directory to Explore Summer Opportunities

The following text includes logistical information and descriptions for summer programs in the state of Pennsylvania. This directory, as a whole, has descriptions of a variety of options, which include varying subject areas, different states, opportunities to stay on college campuses, and much more. The following is a sample of the type of content that is found in the directory and it is designed to help students find productive summer programs and camps.

    • Unique opportunities to explore business and learn about being an entrepreneur.
    • Diverse options in the summer months in New York and New Jersey.
    • Information about residential and commuter options when considering a pre-college program.
    • Exciting educational endeavors that integrate areas of STEM (science, tech, engineering, and science) and enable students to learn about potential career options in these fields.
    • Opportunities to develop, build, and refine music skills on college campuses.

Summer Program Locations in Pennsylvania

Penn summer program for high school studentsThere are many colleges, universities, and well-known organizations that sponsor summer programs in Pennsylvania. For example, the University of Pennsylvania, which is in Philadelphia, and Penn State offer a number of programs for high school students (more information about specific programs is included below). As a result of the programs that are available, there are summer opportunities in many different locations around the state. This gives students a variety of options and it promotes the connection of high school students who are coming from varying locations both inside and outside of the state.

Penn State summer programs for high school studentsThe locations of summer opportunities include, but are not limited to, Philadelphia, Gettysburg, College Park, Pittsburgh and more. In particular, there are a number of summer programs in Philadelphia.

Some of the programs have a residential-model in which students stay at the program location (e.g. in a college dorm). Other programs are designed to be commuter-based and students return home each day after the educational activities have finished. There are also programs that give students the option of participating in either the residential-model or as a commuter.

Extending Learning During the Summer

Penn State summer programsThe summer programs in Pennsylvania are designed to enable high school students to continue there education beyond the traditional school year. There are many options that students choose from with regard to gaining knowledge and skills during the summer (e.g. a part-time job, career shadowing). Participating in a structured program can be an effective way for students to continue to engage in learning during the summer months.

Through summer programs,  students can interact with professors / instructors, work cooperatively with other participants, engage in hands-on activities, and explore potential college majors and career options, and more. Additionally, high school students can learn more about a high-interest topic, as there are programs that give students the opportunity to enhance their knowledge in areas such as engineering, medicine, music, psychology, and the STEM fields.Summer programs in Pennsylvania and Philadelphia

It is important to note that the summer programs in Pennsylvania vary with regard to factors such as selectivity, length, cost, and structure. As a result, it is important for students to spend time researching different programs to give themselves options and find those opportunities that best fit with their goals and priorities.

Pennsylvania Pre-College Summer Programs

Gettysburg College summer psychology program for high school studentsAccording to the World Atlas, Pennsylvania is in the top five states with regard to the number of colleges. The has a mixture of private colleges such as Penn and Drexel in Philadelphia and Penn State in College Park. A number of the colleges in the state host, coordinate, sponsor, and / run summer programs. These pre-college programs take place on campuses enabling high school students to gain experience at a college.

In general, pre-college programs are designed to provide students with the opportunity to prepare for a college environment by previewing academics, expectations, and / or social life in a post-secondary educational setting.

Typically, pre-college summer programs give high school students a sense of the types of academic or social experiences at a college. During the summer months, the majority of the student body at most colleges are not on campus, which can change the exact picture of a college. However, during the summer, high school students can still interact with faculty and staff members, meet college students taking classes in a summer session, navigate the campus,  utilize college resources, learn about majors and programs of study, and picture themselves at a post-secondary educational institution.

Allegheny College summer program for high school studentsSome pre-college programs are designed to be residential, which gives students a chance to stay in dorms, dine in on-campus buildings, and interact with peers in a college environment. Other pre-college experiences are commuter-based, which tends to decrease the cost while still providing students with an experience on a campus.

It can be helpful for high school students to consider both residential summer programs and commuter-based programs to determine which better matches with their goals, interests, and finances.

Finding Summer Programs in Pennsylvania

Summer program for high school at Penn State UniversityThere are many valuable summer programs that are offered in the state of Pennsylvania. High school students, who are interested in participating in a summer program are encouraged to research different program opportunities to find those that are the best fit. By using this directory, students can find out information about specific programs to begin the research process. It is recommended that students contact an official program representative to ask questions.

Overall, high school students can benefit from examining summer programs to determine which ones will be good matches for them. By reading the postings below, students can get information about individual summer programs in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania Summer Program Spotlights

Drexel summer pre-college programs

Drexel Summer Institutes

Penn State Communications Summer Camp

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

Pennsylvania Summer Programs


Allegheny College Summer Academy – Allegheny, Pennsylvania

The Summer Academy provides students with a pre-college experience on the campus. Students have the opportunity to take modules in areas such as science, theatre, and history. The modules are designed to provide students with in-depth knowledge. Participants have a chance to interact with faculty members and get a feel for college academics. By participating in the academy, students have a chance to prepare for college and consider college majors as well as career pathways.

Participants: High school students.

Bucknell University summer engineering program for high school students

Bucknell University Engineering Summer Camp – Lewisburg, Pennsylvania

The summer engineering camp at Bucknell provides students with an opportunity to become more knowledgeable about and gain experience in the field of engineering. This program enables students to participate in high-interest activities, engage in experiential education, and learn about the wide variety of career options in engineering.

The summer camp is designed to provide students with an understanding of the ways in which engineering impacts society and to help them gain insight into the skills that engineers use. Residential students also stay on the Bucknell’s campus, interact with faculty members, and collaborate with peers. Additionally, students can view as well as utilize the university’s engineering resources, such as labs for conducting research. The program requires an application and financial aid may be available for qualifying students.

Participants: There is a program for high school students who have finished grades 10 or

11. There is a middle/high school program for students who have finished grades 7-9.

Carnegie Mellon

Carnegie Mellon Summer Pre-College Program – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

The pre-college programs at Carnegie Mellon give students a chance to learn about the university and explore subjects of interest. Students can choose programs in areas such as architecture, science, theatre, music, and technology. Students learn from faculty members and have the chance to interact with peers.

By participating in the program, students get a feel for college life and gain a better understanding of the educational expectations at the college level. In addition, participating students can explore the city of Pittsburgh while they are in a pre-college program.

Participants: High school juniors and seniors.

Drexel summer pre-college programs

Drexel University Summer Institutes – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The Drexel Summer Institutes are designed for motivated high school students. The institutes give participants the opportunity to preview college and investigate academics at the university. The institutes offer students the chance to examine subject areas such as engineering, the arts, business, medicine, health professions, and more.

Students can explore engaging topics, participate in active learning experiences, and gain a better understanding of career pathways related to the subjects of interest.

Participants: High school students.


Gettysburg College Summer Psychology Program – Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

The Gettysburg Psychology Program enables students learn about the interesting areas of psychology. Students engage in activities and discussions about high-interest topics within the field. By participating in the program, students have a chance to learn from faculty members and explore career options in psychology.

Participants: High school students in grades 10-12


Indiana University of Pennsylvania Summer Honors Program Indiana, Pennsylvania

IUP offers a summer program for high school students through the Honors College at the university. This pre-college program is designed to provide students with a preview of life and academics in a higher education setting.

Through this summer program, students have a chance study a topic of interest, learn from faculty members, and meet peers from a variety of locations. Classes can be taken in high-interest areas such as business, English, politics and more. This provides students with the opportunity to examine a subject in-depth and to consider potential college majors.

Participating students also take part in an cross-disciplinary class that addresses philosophical and global issues. The questions and issues that are shared in this class can lead to effective discussions among students along with the instructors.

This program is also designed to help students get a sense of life on a college campus. The program is residential. So, students have a chance to stay in college dorms, utilize campus resources, and interact with current college students. As a result, the program serves to not only help to prepare students for academics in a college setting, but also for the social, extracurricular, and logistical aspects of being a college student.

Participants: Rising high school 11th and 12th graders.


University of Pennsylvania Summer Band Camp – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

This residential summer program provides high school students with the opportunity to enhance their music skills while getting a feel for college life by staying on the campus. The instruction is designed to help students enhance their performing skills.

Participating students have a chance perform in concerts for different groups of people. Students also have the chance to visit well known locations in the Philadelphia.

Participants: High school students.


Engineering Summer Academy at Penn – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

This program is designed for high school students who would like to learn more about the field of engineering, college majors in engineering, and career paths in the field. Students can choose classes in different areas in the field of engineering, including medicine, computer science, robotics, cutting edge technology, and more.

The program is residential, which gives students the opportunity to utilize facilities and resources at Penn. Students also learn from faculty members and get a sense for the academic expectations at a university.

Participants: High school students.


Summer Medicine Program at the University of Pennsylvania – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The Summer Medicine Program is designed for students who are interested in pursuing a career in the medical field. Students participate in activities that are directly connected to the field of medicine and get a sense for what it is like to be a medical student.

This pre-college program also gives students a feel college life and enables them to gain the experience being on a university’s campus.

Participants: High school juniors and seniors.

Penn State summer programs

Penn State Summer Communications Summer Camps – College Park, Pennsylvania

The College of Communications provides summer camps that enable students to learn about different areas within communication studies. Students can participate in summer camps about broadcasting, digital journalism, and film.

The summer camps involve students learning from faculty members and professionals and interacting with peers. Participating students also have the opportunity to learn about Penn State’s campus and resources.

Participants: High school students.

Hillman Academy

University of Pittsburgh Hillman Cancer Center Academy – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

This summer program provides a unique research opportunity for high school students with an interest in pursuing a major and career in a STEM field (science, technology, engineering, math). The program runs over eight weeks and students learn about the cancer center at the university.

During the program, students work with faculty members and other professionals to engage in research activities. Students have the opportunity to work on and develop a research poster for a presentation that is conducted towards the end of the academy.

Participants: High school students with a preference given to juniors and seniors.

Widener University summer engineering program for high school students

Widener University Summer Robotics Program – Chester, Pennsylvania

Widener offers an engineering summer program for high school students that focuses on the area of robotics. Through this program, students have the opportunity go in-depth in learning about the field of robotics, gain insight from faculty members, participate in interesting discussions, and work in cooperation with other high schoolers.

One of the unique aspects of this program is the mix between significant discussions about robotics and hands-on experiences. As a result, participating students have a chance to enhance their knowledge and develop skill set. Students can learn conceptual ideas as well as technical skills from professors at the university as well as practicing engineers. This is a commuter-based program.

Participants: High school students.

Recommendations Resources that can be Utilized to Find Summer Opportunities

There are additional summer options that are included throughout this directory. The following pages are recommended to investigate summer programs that may be of interest.

    • Options for high school students to engage in learning experiences pertaining to the effective and educational use of technology.
    • Pre-college programs that emphasize different types of writing, including creative writing.
    • 5 universities that offer high school students the chance to take classes on campuses during the summer.
    • Examining the possible benefits that can come from participating in an educational summer experience.
    • Investigating the college majors and career options in engineering through hands-on activities, collaborative projects, and interactions with professionals in the field.
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