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10 Summer Programs That Boost Your Resume For College

Although you may not have started college applications just yet, most of you are probably thinking about them. Maybe you’ve already cracked open a SAT/ACT book or two or maybe you’ve even already started the scary season of standardized testing for college! You’re pretty sure you’re maintaining or at least working towards a GPA you’re happy with and you’ve been involved with extracurricular activities and leadership positions at school, whether it’s playing for the marching band or serving as editor of the newspaper. So all that’s left is to do is wait for this school year’s end and enjoy another summer of sleep, TV shows, and more sleep before starting the next year, right? Wrong!

If you want to stand out in an increasingly competitive sea of college applications, you want your resume to boast more than a perfect GPA, sweet test scores, and extracurricular involvement. Summer is the perfect time to do just that! You have three to four months without school to worry about, so why not get involved in a program that will probably only take up part of that time? There are so many different kinds of programs that there’s sure to be something that fits your interests. Participating in a summer program can be an opportunity to prove to colleges that you’re a productive go-getter about things you’re passionate about—the cherry on top of that nice resume you’ve already been building! Plus, you’ll get to meet new people, focus on things that interest you, and have a lot more fun than sitting on your butt at home! Here are HC’s picks of 10 summer programs to boost your resume for college:

1. Summer@Brown – Providence, RI

Having an Ivy League name already on your resume as only a high school student is sure to catch the eye of any college admissions officer! And luckily, admissions into Summer@Brown won’t be as cutthroat competitive. Brown offers numerous pre-college summer programs from traditional summer classes to specific programs in various disciplines of leadership, English language, theatre, and sports. They also have a global program for “rigorous academic experiences in the context of cultural immersions.” Brown offers a spectrum of programs to cater to everyone from academic scholars to theatre geeks alike. Emma Albert-Stone, a former Summer@Brown student and a sophomore at the College of William & Mary says, “It was great to be able to take a [focused] college topic course – something like neuroscience rather than your generic biology or chemistry. I found the class so interesting and it was one of the factors that really helped me decide on my major later on when I actually went to college. I also was able to get a supplemental recommendation for college applications from my professor at Brown!” You’ll also get a taste of college life getting to live in a dorm away from home and explore campus in your free time! Check out their website for specific details on the dates, tuition fees, requirements for applying as they vary from program to program.

2. New York Summer Music Festival – Oneonta, NY

Do you spend all your free time practicing your instrument? Do you sing in the shower, hallways, and even in your head? Do you find your mind analyzing the chord progressions in songs on the radio while your friends in the backseat are screaming out the song totally off-key? If so, then the New York Summer Musical Festival, an international summer music camp, may just be your home away from home this summer. You’ll receive conservatory-level instruction from faculty members drawn from prestigious institutions such as Julliard, the New York Philharmonic, or the New York Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. You’ll also get the opportunity to play alongside professional musicians and hundreds of other students with the same love of music you have in rehearsals and in concert. There are two-week ($1,900), four-week ($3,600), and six-week ($5,300) sessions throughout the summer, and NYSMF also offers financial aid and scholarships to students who are eligible. For further details on specific dates, additional program fees, and application requirements, be sure to check their website.

3. The New England Center for Investigative Reporting’s Summer Workshop – Boston, MA


So, you’re pretty sure you want to be a journalist or writer in the future, and maybe you write for your school newspaper or you’ve even started your own blog. And yet, you’re itching to do more, but you feel like your age is limiting you from getting your foot in the door. After enrolling in the Her Campus High School Ambassador (a online course designed by Her Campus for girls who want to make it in the communications industry!), Boston University’s New England Center for Investigative Reporting Summer Workshop is one of the next best steps you can take. From day one, you’ll work on investigative stories alongside award-winning journalists and Boston University faculty, as well as learn the critical thinking and writing skills that you’ll need for the college admissions process. Not to mention, you can explore the gorgeous city of Boston in the summertime! This summer, they’re offering three sessions throughout July and early August—you can choose one or more. All you need is your high school transcript, a writing sample, and teacher recommendation to apply in addition to a $25 application fee. The enrollment deadline is June 30, 2013, so you’ll have plenty of time to get everything together. The tuition is $2,200 plus some for housing and dining. Check out their website for more details and to apply!

4. Global Leadership Adventures Service Trips

If there’s one thing you can never have enough of on your college resume, it’s volunteer hours. Plus, the act of giving your time to others without expecting anything back is just something you should want to do regardless! Making a difference in others’ lives without expecting anything in return is invaluable. Global Leadership Adventures gives high school students the life-changing opportunity to go on a community service trip abroad through programs in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The cultural experiences, volunteer work, and new friendships you’ll make will be unforgettable. The application process includes a $365 deposit, applicable towards the total tuition, a $30 non-refundable application fee, three brief essays, a self-evaluation, and background information about you and your life experiences. For more details on the specific programs, tuition fees, and application, visit their website!

5. Penn Medicine Summer Medical Camp – Philadelphia, PA

For aspiring doctors or researchers, it’s never too early to get started in your medical career! The Penn Medicine summer program is a 4-week camp where highly motivated high school juniors and seniors are taught and mentored by Penn Medicine staff. Students can expect to do a variety of medicine-related activities including learning to suture, tie surgical knots, biopsy, and even perform virtual surgery at the state-of-the-art Penn Clinical Simulation Center. The exciting hands-on experiences you’ll gain will be sure to prove admissions officers that you mean business when it comes time to apply to pre-med programs. The residential program runs from July 7 to August 3 and costs $6,500. The application, which costs $100, can be found online on their website along with other program information.


6. iD Programming Academy

In a world that is becoming increasingly digitalized, the demand for computer engineers and professionals in the technology field is greater than ever. If you think you’re going to be the programmer of the next must-have gadget or the developer of the next hit app, then attending one of the two-week iD Programming Academy programs is something you’ll love! Students can expect to take courses ranging from programming and coding to app development and robotic engineering. You’ll also work with top-tier faculty, take a tour of a real development studio or related venue, earn accredited Continuing Education Credits, and create team presentations and publish your code—all of which will astound admissions officers. The programs are held at 10 prestigious institutions including Princeton University, UCLA, and Stanford, just to name a few. For more details on the program, registration, and tuition (varies by program), check out their website!

7. Blue Tree Creative Summer Camp

Do you love art, writing, or film? Are you a style savvy chick, a dancer, or a photography enthusiast? For the creative cat, Blue Tree Creative Summer Camp is an opportunity to explore dance, fashion, writing, art, film, and photography. As a camp wholly dedicated to just girls, you’ll be sure to build lasting friendships as well as receive great mentoring from women with experiences in the art. The projects you create at Blue Tree will boost your resume for college applications. For details on session dates and locations, tuition fees (varies by location), and registration, check out their website!

8. Habitat for Humanity Learn and Build Experience

Habitat for Humanity is one of the most established and well-known volunteer organizations in the country, so college admissions officers will definitely know this name when they see it on your resume. If you’re the kind of gal who doesn’t mind a little sweat and doing hands-on projects, then the Learn and Build Experience offered by Habitat for Humanity is something you should try out this summer! You’ll get to help build homes for people who really need them, and there’s nothing more humbling and rewarding than knowing you helped to put a roof over someone’s head. The friendships and connections you’ll make during your build are also priceless and show college admissions officers that you’re a hardworking, team-oriented person. Habitat for Humanity offers both domestic and international trips over the summer for those interested in becoming a part of the Learn and Build Experience. Details, costs (varies by location), and the actual application can found on their website. Scholarships are also provided for those that demonstrate need

9. Global Scholar – Washington D.C.

For those who are looking to pursue a career in global or international affairs and politics, Global Scholar is the perfect two-week intensive program. You will take seminars with policy experts working on key global issues, go on visits to institutions and landmarks in Washington D.C., take workshops on leadership, communications, and policy analysis, and participate in a campaign competition and a global crisis simulation to sharpen your understanding of the global system. This program will scream leadership on your resume. It’ll also help shape your critical thinking skills as well as increase your awareness about a lot of the issues of our global community. Global Scholar runs from July 14 – July 28 this year. If you’re an early bird and you submit payment by March 15, the program costs $2,240 to stay in residence and $1,140 for commuters. For more information and for details on regular tuition, scholarships/discounts, and for the actual application, visit their website online.

10. Youth About Business

If you dream of being the CEO of your own company, Youth About Business Summer Camp just may be the right camp for you. They have two programs. The first is the YAB Summer Business Camp Program where students learn about the world of high-level corporate finance through their Merger and Acquisition simulation. Students receive mentorship from actual attorneys, accountants, investment bankers, and other executives. The second is the YAB Entrepreneurial Training Program (only available in the southeast) where students are taught the mechanics of how to successfully run a business. Students then have the opportunity to apply their knowledge by actually participating in the management of small business operatives referred to as their Training Centers. This program will bolster your resume regardless of your future major or career path. You might even be inspired to start your own or intern or work with a professional you connect with there—all the more to put on your college resume, right? For more information on either program, tuition, dates/locations, and application requirements, check out their official website.


Though these summer programs may sound like a handful, don’t be intimidated! They were designed for curious, driven high school students just like you. There’s something for everyone, and you’ll be sure to have much more memorable experiences participating in them than staying in your cave of a home as a lazy bum during summer. There are so many people to still meet and new things to do! So what are you waiting for? Start applying!




Avianne Tan is a senior at New York University studying journalism and English. As a social justice advocate, feminist and mental health advocate, Avianne aspires to use journalism as a platform to raise awareness and incite positive change. Currently, she is an interactive news intern for WABC-TV NY Channel 7 Eyewitness News at 7online.com. Being a news junkie, she also writes for The News Blog here on Her Campus. When she's not reading or writing news, Avianne loves taking spontaneous adventures, eating new food and relaxing with her pets. Catch Avianne Flu by following her on Twitter and Instagram! To learn more about Avianne, please visit her website at www.aviannetan.wix.com/atan.
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