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Educational Programs During the Summer


You may think summer school is only for students who need to take required makeup classes. But many students choose to take part in special summer learning programs.

Summer school has a reputation for being an option for people who need to take or make up required classes. However, that is simply not the only case. There are a variety of summer programs available for numerous reasons. These learning programs can help you develop certain skills and pursue interests. Here is a list of some reasons people enjoy taking an extra class or two over the summer and how this benefits their lives:

  • Offers hand-on experience that a typical classroom doesn’t provide
  • Enables students to try new things and explore ideas
  • Is a great way to meet like-minded people and make new friends
  • Offers a chance to try a college lifestyle
  • Allows people to earn college credit
  • Gives students extra time to develop punctuality, responsibility and life skills
  • Keeps people motivated and engaged
  • May lead to a future job opportunity or work-study
  • Showcases a commitment to learning and being a self-starter on resumes and college applications

Any extra knowledge you can obtain is never a waste. It can help you grow and develop in a myriad of ways. Be sure to list any of your summer study endeavors on your college application. It shows that instead of sitting around, lounging in the sunshine, you chose to get up and go somewhere to learn every day, and that says a lot!

Different Summer Learning Opportunities Abound

The possibilities are endless! Are you interested in sciences, athletics, fine arts, music, STEM, or languages? Besides looking into your local campuses for opportunities, check out recreation centers, museums, colleges and performing-arts locations to see what is available. Your library may have a listing, or your online classifieds may highlight some options. The possibilities are as broad as your imagination.

Residential Programs

If you would like to move in with some fellow students and explore residential programs, ask around. You may be able to commute with your roommates or rely on public transportation to help you get from Point-A to Point-B.

High School Summer Program Options

If you still live at home or choose to for the first couple of years of college, there are some great options available. Speak with your school counselor to hear about your local options.

  • Summer math semester at your local community college
  • A multi-day creative writing program at college
  • A language immersion class in another country or at school
  • Computer camps offer week-long programs in 3-D game design
  • Taking a 6-week college campus program to explore environmental studies, psychology, engineering and other college-level classes
  • Night-school options in various subjects

The Cost of Private Programs

Obviously, it depends on how long your courses are and what topics you are interested in, if they are available close to home or if commuting and accommodation will be required. There may be some financial aid options or volunteer work available to help you choose. If you fall in love with something outside of your price range, speak with your school counselor to see what your options are. If you talk to them early in the year, there may be adequate time for you to save up with a part-time job.

Be sure to check out these federally-funded choices below. They are quite inexpensive and may even be free!

  • Upward Bound: This is a college-prep program that offers mentoring and academic tutoring. It has been designed for low-income families and for those who will be the first family member to attend college.
  • Governor's Schools: There are fifteen to twenty states that offer these summer programs on an annual basis. It is often necessary to write an essay and have the teacher submit a recommendation during the application process.

Getting Started

We recommend using the winter months to research your summer program options. Enjoy the best selection by starting early. Note that March deadlines are common for many summer programs. Beginning early will give you plenty of time to draft and write and proofread any essays or complete specific requirements, as certain programs require application materials that rely on planning ahead.

Taking the First Steps:

  • Determine what your main goals are. Are you looking to develop new skills, or gain personal confidence? Are you hoping to earn college credit? Would you like to meet fellow students who have similar interests?
  • Check into the application requirements for the programs that draw your interest. Certain programs require creative work samples, test scores, or school transcripts. Give yourself enough time to meet the requirements without feeling rushed, stressed, or exhausted.
  • Check into online summer programs by researching your interests and your area.
  • Make an appointment with your school counselor. They may have a variety of resources available to discuss.
  • Review local colleges to see what options they are offering.

Summer Job Options

Don’t despair if taking summer school classes feels too expensive or unattainable. There are other ways you can learn new skills and gain valuable experience. Keeping a summer job can be just as excellent on your resume or college application as partaking in a summer learning program. From retail to golf courses, to serving at restaurants, tutoring students, lifeguarding, or improving your mechanical skills at a nearby shop, the possibilities are endless.

Inquire With People You Know

If you don’t have much success looking on job boards or find any summer learning programs that pique your interest, consider asking around. Talk to parents, teachers, friends, neighbors and even staff at your favorite locations to discover if there are any upcoming opportunities. Alternatively, you can choose to hand in a resume and approach places that you feel would be an ideal fit. This is a great way to practice your resume-building skills, public speaking and being assertive and friendly to managers on the spot.