Best Summer Programs for High School Students: Law, Government, Politics, International Relations

Best Summer Programs for High School Students: Law, Government, Politics, International Relations

The following programs are some of our favorites for students interested in government, politics, law and IR.

Boys State/Girls State participants learn the rights, privileges and responsibilities of franchised citizens. The training is objective and centers on the structure of city, county and state governments. Operated by students elected to various offices, Boys State activities include legislative sessions, court proceedings, law-enforcement presentations, assemblies, bands, choruses and recreational programs. Legion posts select high school juniors to attend the program. In most cases, individual expenses are paid by a sponsoring post, a local business or another community-based organization.

The Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellowship fosters relationships among the younger generation of Europeans and Americans to build strong linkages and an awareness of shared values. The Fellowship engages 45 teenagers from Europe and ten American teenagers (ages 16 – 18) in a four-week U.S.-based exchange program that aims to reinforce the transatlantic relationship. During the Fellowship, participants will explore transatlantic relations, leadership development, critical thinking, diplomacy, community activism, and the media in order to unite young adults around common goals, using the legacy of Benjamin Franklin as a framework. American youth are eligible to participate in the fellowship, but do not travel abroad. This fellowship is funded.

The United Nations Association of Greater Boston’s Summer Institute in Global Leadership offers week-long Model UN programs for students from all over the world to work together and address global issues. Learn about global issues, build skills for life and leadership, and collaborate with students from across the world during our week-long Model UN programs! In-person and virtual options.

The U.S. Department of State’s National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y) program provides critical language study overseas for U.S. high school students through full scholarships to participate in intensive summer and academic year programs. Participants study one of the eight NSLI-Y languages while immersed in the culture and day-to-day life of the host country. NSLI-Y is part of the National Security Language Initiative, a multi-agency U.S. government initiative launched in 2006 to improve Americans’ ability to engage with people from around the world. NSLI-Y plays an important role in preparing U.S. students for the 21st century’s globalized workforce and contributes to national security. NSLI-Y participants serve as citizen ambassadors, representing the diversity of the United States abroad and building lasting relationships with people in their host countries. If you have a passion for learning languages and want to immerse yourself in a foreign culture, this program may be for you! No previous language skills are required. NSLI-Y languages: Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), Hindi, Indonesian, Korean, Persian (Tajiki), Russian, Turkish.

Onero Institute Virtual Teams. ​The Onero Institute produces high-level content on international affairs topics in new and creative ways. They develop projects specially designed for social media platforms to better engage young people on global issues and to bring credible content to an increasingly important space. Join the Virtual Engagement Team to take part in this unique area of today’s international discourse. If you would like to join but need more experience developing such projects, participate in the Virtual Engagement Program (VEP) to build up your skills in graphic design, concise writing, teamwork, and research.

The Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate is dedicated to educating the public about the important role of the Senate in our government, encouraging participatory democracy, invigorating civil discourse, and inspiring the next generation of citizens and leaders to engage in the civic life of their communities. They now offer virtual programming.

Temple of Understanding Internship Program provides individuals with a hands-on learning experience of the work of the United Nations for four and a half intensive weeks. Students often discover their passion for a career in foreign affairs and related fields. Applicants are from different parts of the United States, as well as many other countries. Students accepted into this program have the opportunity to meet with different Missions and NGOs for discussions based on their specific questions and interests. Applicants are from different parts of the United States, as well as many other countries, and must be 17 years old by June 20 of the given Internship year.


Senate Page Program

Contact your senator’s office for more information on applying to be a Senate Page.

For Rising 9th Graders

The Summer Law Institute (SLI) is a five-week, summer law program for students who have just completed their eighth grade school year. The Summer Law Institute pushes rising ninth graders to see themselves as young professionals-in-training. The program exposes them to positive and successful role models, involves them in professional activities, and places them on a path that can lead to the fulfillment of their dreams. Students who complete the SLI are eligible to apply to our 4-year College Bound program.

Volunteer/Internship Opportunities:

Rock the Vote

US Department of Education

For the Many

*Stay in the know! Subscribe*

 

Best Summer Programs for High School Students: Engineering

Best Summer Programs for High School Students: Engineering

The following are some of our favorites for students interested in exploring engineering.

Lincoln Laboratory Radar Introduction for Student Engineers (LLRISE)

The LLRISE program is a two-week summer institute for rising seniors that teaches students how to build small radar systems. The project-based enrichment program challenges students to build a Doppler and range radar.

COSMOS UCSDUS IrvineUC Santa CruzUC Davis

The COSMOS program is a four-week residential program designed by the UC schools. Each campus focuses on different subject areas, all admitting their own “cluster” of students. The courses are taught by UC faculty and researchers. Students choose from nine different clusters, which include engineering design, biodiesel from renewable sources, tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, and more.

MIT Beaver Works Summer Institute

The MIT Beaver Works Summer Institute (BWSI) is a rigorous, world-class STEM program for talented students who will be entering their senior year in high school. The four-week program teaches STEM skills through project-based, workshop-style courses. BWSI began in 2016 with a single course offered to 46 students, a mix of local daytime students and out-of-state residential students. It is typically a 4-week residential program for rising high school seniors and the program is free. They also offer online courses.

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Summer High School Intern Program Research

NIST research is subdivided into six organizational NIST laboratories that conduct research in a wide variety of physical and engineering sciences. The labs respond to industry needs for measurement methods, tools, data, and technology. Six laboratories participate in the SHIP program.

Due to the multi-disciplinary nature of NIST’s research, students should look through the different websites above to discover a best-fit project area. The following information describes the types of research performed by each laboratory. See research projects done in previous years.

MIT Women’s Technology Program (WTP)

The MIT Women’s Technology Program (WTP) is a rigorous four-week summer academic experience to introduce high school students to engineering through hands-on classes, labs, and team-based projects in the summer after 11th grade. WTP is a women-focused, collaborative community aimed at empowering students from groups historically underrepresented and underserved in engineering. They especially encourage students to apply who will be the first family member to attend college, who come from high schools with limited access to STEM classes and activities, or who are African American, Hispanic, or Native American.

Minority Introduction to Engineering and Science (MITES)

The MITES program is a six-week-long residential program geared toward rising seniors from underrepresented or underserved communities. The program aims to provide the skills and knowledge necessary for pursuing a career in the STEM fields. Students take one math course, one life sciences course, one physics course, one humanities course and an elective course. Placement is determined by diagnostic tests that are administered to all students during the orientation period of the program.

AI Scholars

AI Scholars Live Online is a 10 session (25-hour) artificial intelligence bootcamp that exposes high school students to fundamental AI concepts and guides them to build a socially impactful project. Taught by a team of graduate students from Stanford, MIT, and more, students receive a personalized learning experience in small groups with a student-teacher ratio of 5:1.

HK Maker Lab, Columbia

The Hk Maker Lab is a summer engineering design program at Columbia Engineering that places high school juniors and seniors in pre-college, project-based courses with Columbia University faculty. This program is designed for students from backgrounds that are underrepresented in STEM and who have financial needs.

CATALYST Academy

CATALYST Academy is a one-week residential program for rising high school juniors and seniors from underrepresented backgrounds who desire to learn about engineering and careers within an interactive milieu.

Cooper Union Summer STEM

Summer STEM is an opportunity to try engineering for the first time or to dive deeper into engineering teamwork. Each 3- or 6-week class covers college-level topics and activities completed by The Cooper Union undergraduates in their first or second year or explores student and faculty research projects. Current high school students in grades 9, 10, 11 and 12 can apply.  This selective program encourages all curious, compassionate, and college-interested students to apply regardless of prior experience.

Manhattan College

The School of Engineering offers several programs throughout the year to introduce high school students to the field of engineering. Free or low cost.

Google Computer Science Institute (Summer Before COLLEGE!)

Google’s Computer Science Summer Institute (CSSI) is a three-week introduction to computer science (CS) for graduating high school seniors with a passion for technology — especially students from historically underrepresented groups in the field. CSSI is not your average summer camp. It’s an intensive, interactive, hands-on, and fun program that seeks to inspire the tech leaders and innovators of tomorrow by supporting the study of computer science, software engineering, and other closely related subjects. It is a 3-week program, and it is free.

*Stay in the know! Subscribe*

Best Summer Programs (+Other Extracurriculars) for High School Students: Business

Best Summer Programs (+Other Extracurriculars) for High School Students: Business

The following programs and other ECs are some of our favorites for students interested in business.

LEAD

Morgan Stanley JumpStart Scholars in Finance is a 5-month virtual, immersive learning experience designed to develop a pipeline of ambitious high-school seniors into the world of finance.

LEADing for Life GSLI REEX  is a residential program that will focus on developing a Pipeline of high-achieving, students (current high school juniors) by providing an immersive learning opportunity and preparation in Commercial Real Estate.

Fordham University, Various Programs

Young Women’s Business Institute (Kelley)

The Young Women’s Institute (free!) introduces young women to the college experience and business career opportunities. Students are selected from around the country to spend a week at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. While at IU, students:

  • Participate in workshops with top Kelley School of Business faculty
  • Interact with Kelley alumni and current students
  • Prepare a real-world business case project
  • Build leadership and communication skills
  • Connect with like-minded women interested in business

TCU Investor Challenge

Are you a high school student entering your senior year? Apply for the TCU High School Investor Challenge®. [not yet updated for 2024; keep checking back at their site!]
The McCombs Summer High School Programs 
Free, six-day experiences focused on business and leadership that offer rising junior and senior high school students the chance to learn and interact with McCombs students, faculty, and corporate representatives. Outstanding African-American, Latino and Native American students, first-generation students, and students who have overcome social or economic hardship are strongly encouraged to apply. However, all students are welcome to apply.
Business Opportunities Summer Session (BOSS)
BOSS is a two-week in-person program held on Penn State’s University Park campus for high school students interested in pursuing a business education in college. It’s an opportunity for these students to take college prep and business fundamentals courses taught by Penn State faculty.  Sample schedule of what the two weeks would be like.
The University of Pennsylvania, Wharton
The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania hosts tons of paid programs and they are NOT posted here. Many of Penn’s past “selective” programs, like LBW, are now run by Summer Discovery and are not selective. We suggest these lower-cost and free options!

Wharton Global High School Investment CompetitionWharton Connect

Wharton Explore Business Mini-sites

Our Explore Business mini-sites are gateways to conversations, readings and activities that inspire high school students to think more deeply about issues affecting business and society. Dig into these Wharton-powered learning opportunities wherever and whenever you want to explore timely and compelling topics. Our mini-sites include:

Understanding Your Money is a self-paced online course for high school students. This course offers an introduction to fundamental economic concepts, investing, and basic money management to help you make smarter financial decisions. In addition to online video lessons delivered by Wharton faculty, the course includes links to related readings, activities and glossary terms, as well as quizzes to test students on what they have learned.

Non-“Program” Ideas We Love

Get a job!!! Wait tables, scoop ice cream, clean pools, landscape, construction, clean changeovers at hotels, grab a paper route — not glamorous, not always fun, but highly valuable.

Khan Academy Modules

Free Online Classes from Top Colleges & Universities

JUV Consulting

  • Gain experience with prototype testing and feedback, give your opinions and perspectives on trends, be a part of potential focus groups, contribute to school outreach programs, and participate in brand ambassadorship opportunities. Learn more here.

Learn Bloomberg and Financial Modeling via Excel

Internships and Shadows

  • Just about anything goes here, but getting one on your own might be preferred by some schools over shadowing a parent; getting a real job instead can also help balance this out!

*Stay in the know! Subscribe*

Understanding the Relationship Between Parent and Teen Mental Health

Understanding the Relationship Between Parent and Teen Mental Health

The medical community declared a national emergency in child and adolescent mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, new research is helping to shine a light on another important aspect of the story — the mental health of parents and the influence of their health on teens. We see this influence make a difference during the college admissions process. 

Head over to the Harvard GSE website to watch a short video that discusses strategies to better support the mental well-being of parents and caregivers with a view to preventing anxiety and depression in adolescents.

*Stay in the know! Subscribe*

January Executive Function Intensive in NYC + 1:1 Offerings

For college students and soon-to-be college students based in NYC!

This intensive, two-day program will be in person in a small-group format and cover general planning, time management, study skills, reducing procrastination, accomplishing long-term assignments, routine building, self-care, and resilience. Dr. Josephson also offers individualized 1:1 support both in person and virtually. 

Please see the flyer below and learn more about Dr. Josephson’s practice here

Never Enough: When Achievement Culture Becomes Toxic-and What We Can Do About It

Never Enough: When Achievement Culture Becomes Toxic-and What We Can Do About It

A tough one to read as a college counselor. Nothing new here from where we sit, but these are still hard truths and a call to action. It’s on all of us—not just parents!

Never Enough: When Achievement Culture Becomes Toxic-and What We Can Do About It.

A must-read!

*Stay in the know! Subscribe*

Achievement v. Accomplishment

Achievement v. Accomplishment

A great article to read and reread. Let this one sink in…

“Achievement is the completion of the task imposed from outside — the reward often being a path to the next achievement.

Accomplishment is the end point of an engulfing activity we’ve chosen, whose reward is the sudden rush of fulfillment, the sense of happiness that rises uniquely from absorption in a thing outside ourselves.”

The process of applying to college feels overly-achievement oriented, when in fact, it’s applications that highlight both that tend to be the most compelling.

*Stay in the know! Subscribe*

 

 

Summer Executive Function Intensive in NYC

For college students and soon-to-be college students based in NYC!

This intensive, two-day program will be in person in a small-group format and cover general planning, time management, study skills, reducing procrastination, accomplishing long-term assignments, routine building, self-care, and resilience. Please see the flyer below and learn more about Dr. Josephson’s practice here.

*Stay in the know! Subscribe*

Calling All Creatives – Artistic Portfolio & Statement of Purpose Coaching

Calling All Creatives – Artistic Portfolio & Statement of Purpose Coaching

Meet Justin: Justin is a practicing New York-based painter who graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles, with a BA in Art and minors in Asian Humanities and Art History. Studying a wide variety of artistic mediums and histories, Justin has a comprehensive understanding of creative fields. He aims to help students better express themselves both creatively and critically and believes writing to be a fundamental backbone in expression – from one’s own artistic practice to the art of writing a college application essay. 

For students in grades 9-10:

Justin’s work with artists begins with a review of their interests and background in the arts and continues through personalized assignments. Included are routine progress check-ups, constructive critiques, and the provision of relevant historical materials. To develop a high-quality portfolio of approximately 10-15 artworks, students will embark on a course of 15 one-hour-long meetings focused on technical proficiency, experimentation with a variety of mediums and practices, and a continued focus or theme. 

For students in grade 11 (rising seniors) summer 2023:

Highly individualized program based on where the student is in the process and current portfolio development. Work is on an hourly basis. 

For a more detailed outline of the course or information regarding how we help students design portfolios and draft their artist statement of purpose and other essays, please email us or call 609-618-3584. 

*Stay in the know! Subscribe*

2023 College Waitlist Advice

2023 College Waitlist Advice

We must keep it real: most students are not admitted from the WL at highly selective schools.

Our primary advice? Get excited about where you have been accepted! Applying to college is hard; when a college says YES, that means something. Lean into those schools—you won’t think twice about where you were waitlisted a year from now. 

Before implementing any waitlist strategies, it is important to deposit at a school where you have been admitted. Take advantage of admitted student days and other events that connect you with potential future classmates, including joining “Class of 2027” social media groups. These forums are often very informative, and fun, and can help you take your mind off the waitlist waiting game. Again, try to get excited—college is simply awesome. Where you go is not nearly as important or impactful as what you do once you get there to make it all that it can be. It can be everything you want it to be; it’s up to you to make that happen no matter where you go. 

If you do want to stay engaged with your WL options, first get familiar with the WL data from past years. How many students are offered spots on the WL? How many accept their spot, and more importantly, how many does school X ultimately admit? Some of these numbers are dismal, but it is best to know what you are up against. Look at the Common Data Set first (http://www.commondataset.org/). A few other sites to review:

Once you have accepted a spot on the WL, deposited elsewhere, and familiarized yourself with the waitlist data, consider the strategies below. Not all of them are novel, but without much to lose, why not do all you can so you can look back without any what-ifs?

  • Read the materials they send you when you are waitlisted. Follow ALL waitlist instructions. You might be asked to send updates to a specific WL manager or upload them on your applicant portal. If you previously connected with your rep (you should have at the beginning of the process), reach back out and ask them if they have any advice for you as a waitlisted candidate. Keep this line of communication open; do not send updates every week, but stay in touch to continue to demonstrate interest.
  • If a school is open to it, send a waitlist letter. This letter should contain information updating the school on what you’ve been up to both inside and outside of the classroom since the time you applied—but most importantly—it needs to fill in any GAPS from your original application and highlight a few specific value-adds you will bring to X campus. This is where individualized feedback can be critical.
  • Consider including:
    • Academic Updates. Spend some time talking about coursework and school projects, and make connections to future courses of study. You can even drop in related courses you’d like to take at school X, like those you’d include in a “why school essay,” but only do this if you did not submit an essay of this type when you applied, otherwise you are being redundant, and that is not well-received.
    • Extracurricular Updates. Include these only if significant and can be connected to how you will add value to the school where you are deferred. This includes school and non-school clubs, service commitments, and/or other leadership experiences you can highlight. Like the academic paragraph(s), making connections to similar opportunities you plan to undertake in college can be helpful additions. For example, if you talk about a new project you spearheaded as VP of your school’s Interact Club, you may want to include that you hope to lead a similar project within a specific club or group at school X. Being very specific is important.
    • The additional ways you have connected with and continued to get to know school X since you applied. This could include setting up an informational interview with a local alum, a current student, reaching out to your regional alumni group, or continuing to connect with your regional rep via email. Show school X they have remained on your radar. 
  • Ask your guidance counselor to advocate for you. Ask them to send updated grades/transcripts promptly. Your grades should have remained the same or gotten better, not dipped.
  • Obtain and have an extra letter of recommendation sent, but only if the school welcomes extra LORs.  A teacher, coach, or someone else close to you who can speak to your potential contributions to school X could draft this letter. Some schools explicitly state on their WL docs they do not welcome or want extra LORs; if that is the case, don’t send. *Side note on alumni letters­ and letters from well-known and or famous people. Many students ask if these are helpful to send, and the answer is no. If you think that a big name vouching for you will help, it generally doesn’t as a stand-alone factor, and officers can see through these often brief and less than meaningful notes.
  • Worth saying again: Make sure you follow any directions they provide!

Additional strategies…

  • Check if school X has a local alumni group (Google it) and if so, reach out to them and ask if there is anyone willing to meet with you via Zoom for an informal informational interview. Use this meeting as an opportunity to learn more about the school, as those learnings might be nice to include in a WL update.
  • Use social to your advantage. Don’t be afraid to engage with your WL school on TikTok, Instagram, or other social channels. Don’t forget to open all email correspondence from the school, as schools track opens/clicks as interest.

You don’t need to…

  • Show up on campus or engage in other over-the-top moves that you think will make an impact. They won’t. Please understand that this type of behavior is not appreciated or welcomed.

More questions about the WL? Email us!

*Stay in the know! Subscribe*