Washington D.C. Summer Programs and Camps for High School Students

Introduction to Summer Programs in Washington D.C.

Washington D.C. summer programs for high school studentsThis page of the directory includes information about Washington D.C. summer programs and camps for high school students. The District of Columbia has summer programs that focus on a variety of topics such as science, music, international studies, journalism, STEM, healthcare and more.

The summer programs in Washington D.C. provide high school students with the opportunity to extend their learning beyond the standard school year. Through most summer educational programs, students have the chance to explore a topic of interest in more depth, engage in a variety of learning activities, consider potential college majors, gain information about career pathways, and connect with new peers.

The content below includes general information about summer opportunities in Washington D.C. and descriptions of specific summer programs in the D.C. area.

Pre-College Summer Programs in Washington D.C.

Washington D.C. is the home of reputable colleges and universities such as Georgetown, American, George Washinton, Howard, and more. Many of these colleges hold summer pre-college programs for high school students. Pre-college programs provide students with a preview of the opportunities and responsibilities that can be expected in a post-secondary education setting.

Washington D.C. summer pre-college programs for high school studentsMost pre-college programs take place on a college or university campus. As a result, students have the chance to gain experience with learning in a college environment. Students can also get a feel for the types of academic expectations that exist in higher education as well as the resources that are available to the members of the campus community. Some pre-college programs also enable students to learn from faculty members, interact with staff members, gain insight into navigating a college campus and explore areas of study that can be pursued in college.

The pre-college experience at institutions in Washington D.C. can be useful in helping high school students to begin to feel more comfortable in a college setting and to build confidence in preparing for the transition out of high school and into a post-secondary educational environment.

A Summer Experience in Washington D.C.

Many of the summer programs in the District of Columbia are open to high school students who live nearby as well as to those who come from a distance. Beyond the educational activities that a summer program can provide, there are also rich learning opportunities in the Washington D.C. area.

Summer programs for high school students in Washington D.C.Washington D.C. has been called a “learning lab” because of the monuments, museums, historical landmarks, and government buildings. DC is home to the Lincoln Memorial, the Smithsonian, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the White House, the Library of Congress, and so many other meaningful and educational sites. Many of the summer programs in Washington D.C. incorporate visits to significant and pertinent sites to extend the learning of students. In planning the summer, it can also be beneficial for the high school students to spend time with their families outside of a program in Washington D.C. This can provide the opportunity to explore and learn in the DC area before a program begins or after it concludes and it can serve to make the summer even more valuable.

Information about this Summer Program Directory

The content included on this page focuses on summer programs that are held in Washington D.C.  There are specific programs included below from higher education institutions such as Howard University and from educational organizations such as the School of New York Times

After viewing the Washington D.C. summer programs below, there are additional resources on the summer program directory that may be useful in exploring program opportunities. The resources that may be helpful include:

    • A variety of summer opportunities in the state of Virginia.
    • Exciting summer programs that focus on the areas within STEM (science, tech, engineering, and math).
    • Opportunities to participate in summer programs on college campuses in Maryland
    • 10-plus summer programs for students with an interest in journalism.
    • 10-plus valuable opportunities to explore the field of pharmacy.
    • Program and camp options for students with an interest in technology.

Researching and Finding Washington D.C. Summer Programs

The following section of this page contains descriptions of specific Washington D.C. summer programs. The programs differ with regard to topic, length, cost, structure, educational experiences, and more. As a result, it can be helpful for high school students to carefully read about the program options to find those summer opportunities that would be the best fit.

Washington D.C. Summer Program Spotlights


Howard University Summer Enrichment Science Academy


Gallaudet University Summer Youth Camps

Scroll down to view more Washington D.C. summer programs for high school students

Washington D.C. Summer Educational Programs

American University in Washington DC Community of Scholars summer program for high school students

Community of Scholars Program at American University’s School of International Service – Washington D.C.

Community of Scholars at American University’s School of International Service offers high school students 3-credit courses in international affairs taught by highly regarded AU faculty in small seminar-style classes. In addition to class time, students will hear from prominent guest speakers and visit the U.S. Department of State, World Bank, USIP, and Embassies.

Afternoon activities include a climate change simulation, a guest panel on careers in international relations and more. Residential option available. Evening and weekend activities include a “Capitol Steps” performance, an evening monument tour, an “International Night” with cuisine and music from around the world. The dates for the program are July 6 to 24. The first week is online followed by two weeks on campus.

Participants: High school students who will be entering their junior or senior year after the summer.

American University

Discover the World of Communication at American University – The District of Columbia

The Discover the World of Communication summer program provides students with the opportunity to learn from faculty members and professionals in the Washington D.C. area. Students participate in workshops that cover a variety of high interest topics in the field of communications. Students also visit local radio and televisions studios to see communications in action.

Participating students have a wide selection of classes to learn about areas such as film, journalism, photography and other topics pertaining to the communications field. Students have the option to stay on campus to learn about college life and the campus of American University.

Participants: High school students.


Gallaudet University Summer Youth Camps – Washington D.C.

Gallaudet University provides summer youth camps for students who are deaf and hard of hearing. The university provides different summer camp options for students.

Discover Your Future is designed for students to learn about career opportunities and to learn more about the Washington D.C. area.

Immerse into ASL is designed to help students enhance their ASL skills and explore aspects of deaf culture. Bison

Brainiacs is designed for students who would like learn more about STEM topics. Got Skills? is intended to help students enhance their collaborative, leadership, and sports skills.

The Deaf Youth Pride Camp is designed to support students who identify with the LGBTQIA+ community and helps them to enhance their advocacy skills.

Participants: High school and middle school students (grade-levels vary depending on the specific summer camp).

George Washington

George Washington University Pre-College Program – The District of Columbia

The pre-college at George Washington gives students the opportunity to learn more about college life and academics. There are options available through the university’s pre-college that enables students to preview college life. The options include College Intensive, Summer Immersion, and Summer Exposure. 

The College Intensive option is designed for high school juniors and seniors who are interested in challenging themselves by taking college-level courses.

Summer Immersion is available for sophomores, juniors, and seniors who are interested in enhancing their knowledge on a topic of interest.

Summer Exposure is designed to give students an introduction to the college experience through learning activities and living on the campus.

Overall, pre-college provides students with the chance to learn about topics of interest, collaborate with peers, interact with faculty members, and prepare for the life in a college environment.

Participants: High school students (grade-levels vary depending on the specific option within the pre-college program).

Georgetown University College Prep Program

The College Prep Program is designed to prepare students for the college admission process and help them learn strategies to succeed in a college environment. This residential program gives students the opportunity to take seminars to gain insight into college life, prepare for standardized testing, engage in the college search process, and learn about other topics relating to college admission and academic success in higher education.

In addition, students have the chance to take courses with current college students, which provides them with a feel for academic expectations in a university setting.

Participants: High school students.

Georgetown University summer writing program for high school students

Georgetown Summer Creative Writing Program

Georgetown offers an engaging and productive program for high school students that focuses on creative writing. The program is designed to enable students to enhance their current writing skills while also learning about new writing styles, techniques, and forms.

The one-week program allows students to immerse themselves in an atmosphere that promotes, fosters and encourages creativity in writing. Participants take part in discussions, hear from guest speakers, interact with instructors, collaborate together, and engage in a variety of writing exercises. The program does not just focus on one singular mode of writing. Instead, students gain insight and experience with essays, poetry, fiction, and more.

During the program, high school students participate in a wide variety of learning activities. Students take trips off of the campus and into the community in order to visit interesting as well as relevant sites in the Washington D.C. area. The site visits are educationally-oriented and they can help spark ideas to use in the writing process. Participants also take part in seminar-based classes while also having the chance to apply what they have learned in their own writing pieces. Students also consistently give and receive feedback to hone their skills and they have the chance to share their work during open readings. Additionally, students learn about the publishing process, journals that publish writing, and potential career options for writers.

The writing program is designed to be a pre-college experience. It gives students a chance to spend time learning on a college campus and get a feel for a university setting. There is a residential and commuter option for the program. There is an application process for the program and there may be a limited number of scholarships available.

Participants: High school students who are rising into the 10th, 11th, or 12th grade.


Howard University Summer Enrichment Academy

This residential program is intended for underrepresented minority students who are interested in pursuing a career in a health profession. Students learn about the academic requirements and expectations for majors as well as careers in health fields such as pharmacy and other health professions. Students have a chance to visit medical centers in the area to see health professionals in action.

Students also have the opportunity to participate in clinical shadowing. In addition, the program offers activities that are designed to give students exposure to meaningful cultural experiences in a college setting.

Participants: Rising high school juniors and seniors.

Marymount University in Washington D.C. – Criminal Justice Summer Program

The summer criminal justice program enables high school students to critically examine a variety of topics relating to the way that the justice system functions. Through the program, students hear from speakers, engage in interesting discussions, and learn from professors about the criminal justice field.

During the two-week program, high school students explore issues surrounding the courts, public policies, juvenile justice, and more. Participants have a chance to learn from professionals in fields such as criminal scientists, law enforcement officials, and government agents. Additionally, students have the chance to visit pertinent sites in Washington D.C. to gain insight into the way that the criminal justice system operates.

The program is designed to be an educationally-based pre-college experience. High school students have the chance gain experience on a college campus, interact with instructors, take part in extracurricular events, and get a feel for the types of opportunities that are available in higher education. There is a commuter and residential option for the program. There is an application for the program.

Participants: High school students.


National Youth Leadership Forum in Law and CSI

The National Youth Leadership Forum: Law and CSI provides students with a unique opportunity to work with faculty members and professionals to learn about the methods that are used in the field of criminal investigation and criminal law.

Participants have an option of a CSI track or a legal track. These tracks enables students to examine an area of interest at an in-depth level. The program emphasizes experiential learning that allows students to gain knowledge and skills that connect to the fields of law and criminal investigation.

Participants: High school students.

School of the New York Times in Washington DC summer program for high school students

The School of NY Times Washington DC Summer Programs – Washington D.C.

The New York Times offers a a unique summer program in Washington D.C. for high school students. The program offers both two and four week courses. Some of the courses focus on a particular subject while others are designed to be cross-disciplinary.

This summer program gives students the opportunity to learn from instructors, journalists, and experts who are affiliated with the New York Times. There are variety of topics that can students can choose to focus on during program. These include political activism, law and ethics, reporting political news, and more. Students also have the chance to visit and utilize resources in Washington D.C. while they are learning in the program

The program has a residential option as well as commuter option for participants.

Participants: Rising high school sophomores, juniors, seniors, and students who have just completed high school.

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