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15 Best Computer Science Programs for High School Students

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

student using laptop computer at a university lecture

15 Best Computer Science Programs for High School Students

Are you a high school student aiming for a career in computer science? If you want to start preparing for college early and make your college applications stand out, you should check out special programs in these areas. There are lots of different options, like coding camps and research internships. Today, we’ll tell you about 15 great programs for high school students like you, so you can find the right one to pursue your interests and boost your college applications.

1. Beaver Works Summer Institute

  • Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Cost: $1,750 (financial aid available)
  • Program Date: July 8 – August 2, 2024
  • Application Deadline: March 31, 2024
  • Eligibility: High school students

The Beaver Works Summer Institute (BWSI) is a dynamic and intensive STEM program aimed at talented high school students entering their senior year. Hosted by MIT Beaver Works, a collaboration between MIT Lincoln Laboratory and the MIT School of Engineering, the program spans four weeks and is designed around project-based, workshop-style courses. You get to dive into STEM fields through hands-on projects and challenges that encompass a wide range of topics, including autonomous vehicles, cybersecurity, quantum computing, and medical data analysis, among others

The initiative encourages you to apply theoretical knowledge to real-world problems, fostering skills in programming, engineering, and data science. BWSI is committed to expanding your understanding of STEM disciplines, offering both in-person and virtual courses, ensuring accessibility and engagement no matter where you are. It’s a unique opportunity to learn from MIT scientists, engineers, and faculty, and to connect with peers who share your passion for STEM​​​​​​​​.

Student submits her AP Computer Science A code

2. Stanford AI4ALL

  • Location: Stanford University
  • Cost: $4000 (financial aid available for those who qualify)
  • Program Date: July 8 – July 26, 2024
  • Application Deadline: March 25, 2024
  • Eligibility: Rising 10th graders during the summer

Stanford AI4ALL is a dynamic online program dedicated to increasing diversity in the artificial intelligence (AI) sector. Aimed at current 9th-grade students, rising to 10th graders over the summer, this three-week program immerses you in the world of AI through a blend of lectures, hands-on research projects, and mentoring activities. You’ll have the opportunity to engage with professionals and learn about AI applications in various areas, such as medicine and disaster response. 

The program not only aims to educate and excite you about AI but also focuses on personal growth through career development workshops and mentorship. By working on significant research projects with the Stanford AI Lab, you’ll explore AI’s societal impacts and potential for addressing global challenges. The program runs from July 8 to 26, 2024, with an application deadline of March 25, 2024, and seeks to build a supportive community among students from diverse backgrounds who share a passion for AI.

3. Berkeley Summer Computer Science Academy

  • Location: University of California, Berkeley
  • Cost: $5,060
  • Program Date: June 16 – June 28, 2024
  • Application Deadline: March 2, 2024
  • Eligibility: Ages 16–17 years old by the start of the program

The Berkeley Summer Computer Science Academy is a dynamic two-week program designed for high school students aged 16 to 17 who are keen on exploring computer science. You will engage in a curriculum that mirrors the introductory course content used by UC Berkeley undergraduates, known as CS10: The Beauty and Joy of Computing. Regardless of your prior coding experience, you will use the blocks-based programming language Snap! to dig into fundamental computer science concepts such as abstraction, algorithms, and recursion, as well as the social implications of computing

The program culminates in a Code Celebration, where you can showcase your individual or group project to UC Berkeley faculty and instructors. The academy is set at the prestigious UC Berkeley campus, offering a blend of academic rigor and a glimpse into college life. Tuition covers classes, housing, meals, and various extracurricular activities, ensuring a comprehensive experience. 

4. NYU Tandon’s Future Game Designers

  • Location: NYU Game Center’s facilities, Downtown Brooklyn
  • Cost: Free
  • Program Date: February 3 – May 11, 2024 (meeting weekly on Saturdays)
  • Application Deadline: February 3, 2024
  • Eligibility: High school first-years, sophomores, and juniors

NYU Tandon’s Future Game Designers is a 14-week, free workshop for high school first-years, sophomores, and juniors. It offers an intensive, hands-on introduction to digital and tabletop game development, game history, and the game industry. Held at the NYU Game Center in Downtown Brooklyn, the program focuses on developing digital prototypes and culminates in a final game project. It emphasizes collaboration, communication, and critical thinking about games within cultural contexts.

5. MIT Women’s Technology Program

  • Location: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Cost: $0 – $6,000 depending on students’ family incomes
  • Program Date: June 29 – July 26, 2024
  • Application Deadline: January 15, 2024
  • Eligibility: Junior high school students

The MIT Women’s Technology Program (WTP) offers a unique educational experience for high school students, particularly focusing on Mechanical Engineering for the summer of 2024. This four-week residential program at MIT’s Department of Mechanical Engineering is designed to introduce high school students to fundamental concepts and principles of mechanical engineering during the summer following their 11th-grade year. 

The program is free to apply and attend for students with family incomes less than $120,000, with a sliding scale of fees based on family income for those above this threshold. For summer 2024, the program will only offer the Mechanical Engineering track, as the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science track is on hiatus.

student of computer science

6. MIT LLRise

  • Location: MIT campus in Cambridge, MA & at Lincoln Laboratory in Lexington, MA
  • Cost: Free
  • Program Date: July 14 – July 27, 2024
  • Application Deadline: March 7, 2024
  • Eligibility: Junior high school students

The MIT Lincoln Laboratory Radar Introduction for Student Engineers (LLRISE) program is a unique opportunity for high school students, especially those about to enter their senior year. This program offers an immersive two-week workshop where you will learn to build small radar systems. Scheduled for July 14 to July 27, 2024, LLRISE combines hands-on learning with theoretical instruction, allowing you to work alongside skilled scientists and engineers. 

The focus is on building both a Doppler and a range radar, enhancing your problem-solving skills, and providing a deep dive into the world of radar technology. LLRISE is held both on the MIT campus in Cambridge, MA, and at the Lincoln Laboratory in Lexington, MA. The program is free of charge, but you will need to cover your transportation to and from MIT. Accommodation is provided in MIT dormitories, creating an immersive campus experience.

7. WPI Frontiers Program

  • Location: Worcester Polytechnic Institute
  • Cost: $3,995
  • Program Date: July 7 – July 19, 2024 & July 21 – August 2, 2024
  • Application Deadline: April 30, 2024
  • Eligibility: Rising 10th, 11th, and 12th graders

WPI Frontiers Summer Program is a two-week residential program for high school students entering grades 10 through 12. It’s scheduled in two sessions for 2024, July 7-19 and July 21-August 2. The program immerses students in the world of STEM with a minor in humanities, business, or arts. 

It costs $3,995 per session and includes housing, meals, field trips, workshops, and activities. The daily schedule includes STEM discipline study, workshops, college preparation activities, sports, and social events. The program provides a well-rounded experience for students.

8. The Lincoln Laboratory Cipher Program

  • Location: 300 Technology Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Cost: Free
  • Program Date: August 5 – August 9, 2024
  • Application Deadline: April 12, 2024
  • Eligibility: High school students

The Lincoln Laboratory Cipher (LLCipher) program at MIT is an enriching and highly educational experience designed for high school students interested in mathematics and cybersecurity. This one-week summer workshop offers an introduction to theoretical cryptography, a field that combines mathematics and computer science. You’ll get to learn about fascinating topics like blockchains, public key encryption, and various crypto-schemes

The program also exposes you to examples of flawed cryptography to help you understand the ease with which it can be compromised. A key part of the LLCipher experience is hands-on learning, where you can apply theoretical concepts through engaging activities, including creating an online platform featuring challenges in different cryptosystems.

a computer science reporting in front of his colleagues

9. SLAI Computer Science Program

  • Location: Carleton College, One North College Street, Northfield, MN 55057, USA
  • Cost: $4,500
  • Program Date: July 6 to July 26, 2024
  • Application Deadline: March 11, 2024
  • Eligibility: High school students

The SLAI Computer Science Program at Carleton College is an exceptional opportunity for high school students interested in computer science and technology. This three-week summer program, scheduled for July 6th to July 26th, 2024, is designed to offer a deep and immersive experience in various areas of computer science.

During the program, you will have the opportunity to explore topics like Robotics, Computer Vision, Web Development, and Computer Organization through both theoretical classes and practical, hands-on labs. For instance, in the Robotics section, beginners can engage in “Creative Robot Programming,” using LEGO Spike Prime robots and learning programming with Scratch or Python. 

10. Emagination Computer Camps

  • Location: Fairfield University, North Central College, & Rosemont College
  • Cost: $1,885 – $3,415
  • Program Date: June 16 – August 9, 2024
  • Application Deadline: Unspecified
  • Eligibility: Students aged 8-17

Emagination STEM Camps offer a unique blend of technology learning and traditional camp activities, providing a rich experience for kids and teens aged 8-17. Established in 1982, Emagination has a long history of inspiring campers in a supportive and inclusive environment. Here, you have the freedom to tailor your summer experience by selecting four STEM courses from over 20 cutting-edge options. These courses cover a broad range of subjects, from coding and game design to robotics and digital arts. You’ll engage in both morning and afternoon classes, each lasting about three hours with a break in between.

Beyond the classroom, Emagination ensures a well-rounded experience with a variety of fun activities. Whether it’s playing outdoor games like ultimate frisbee, engaging in role-playing adventures, or participating in special events like character conventions and talent shows, the camp offers a balanced mix of learning and play. 

11. National Computer Camps

  • Location: Fairfield University, Oglethorpe University, & Online
  • Cost: $400 – $2700
  • Program Date: June 16 to August 2, 2024
  • Application Deadline: May 28, 2024
  • Eligibility: Students aged six up to high school

National Computer Camps (NCC), established in 1977, stands out as America’s original computer camp, offering a diverse and dynamic experience in the field of computer technology. NCC’s philosophy centers on the critical role of computer technology in modern education, emphasizing the uniqueness of each camper with varied needs, learning styles, and backgrounds. This approach fosters a positive self-image essential for the development of young individuals.

At NCC, you’ll find a curriculum that’s continuously updated to incorporate new technologies, ensuring its relevance and engagement for campers. The program is not just about teaching technical skills; it’s about nurturing a lifelong interest and capability in computing. The focus areas include computer languages, game design, web design, and applications, taught through individualized and cooperative instruction. This allows you to progress at your own pace while still being part of a collaborative learning environment. 

12. Upperline School Of Code

  • Location: 150 Broadway, New York, NY (online option also available)
  • Cost: $295 – $4,995
  • Program Date: Classes available all throughout 2024
  • Application Deadline: Rolling basis
  • Eligibility: High school students

Upperline School of Code is a dynamic educational platform focusing on empowering students through coding. The program stands out for its commitment to transforming how students interact with technology, fostering a deep understanding and practical application of coding languages such as HTML, CSS, Ruby, JavaScript, and Swift

The program’s structure is tailored to cater to individual needs and schedules, offering a range of flexible learning options, including in-person classes, online classes, and a hybrid model. This flexibility ensures that regardless of your personal circumstances or geographical location, you can access quality coding education. Upperline’s curriculum is project-based, where you work on real-world projects, giving you a tangible portfolio of work that is highly valued in the job market.

Asian beautiful woman thinking idea with laptop computer in coffee shop

13. Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program

  • Location: Online
  • Cost: Free
  • Program Date: Rounds 1 to 3: June 14 – August 9, 2024
  • Application Deadline: March 22, 2024
  • Eligibility: High school students who identify as girls or non-binary

The Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program offers a unique and empowering opportunity for high school students who identify as girls or non-binary. This program is designed to introduce you to the world of computer science and technology in a supportive, all-female environment

In the two-week Summer Immersion Program, you’ll participate in live, virtual classes sponsored by leading companies. This immersive experience includes learning about game design, covering beginner to intermediate computer science (CS) concepts, the design process, and user experience (UX) design. It’s open to current 9th to 11th graders and even offers a $300 needs-based grant for eligible students in the United States. 

14. Regeneron Science Talent Search

  • Location: Washington, D.C
  • Cost: Unspecified
  • Program Date: January 10 – March 12, 2024
  • Application Deadline: November 8, 2023
  • Eligibility: Students over 13 years of age

In the Regeneron STS, students from across the country submit their original research in various scientific fields. The competition is unique in its focus on high school students, providing them with an important forum for their research, which is recognized and reviewed by a national jury of professional scientists. 

Each year, the program recognizes 300 students as scholars and invites 40 student finalists to Washington, D.C., for final judging. These finalists display their work to the public and meet with notable scientists and government leaders. The competition awards over $3.1 million annually, with scholarships for the top 300 scholars and a minimum of $25,000 for each finalist. The top winner of the competition receives a grand prize of $250,000.

15. iD Tech Camps

  • Location: In all participating schools
  • Cost: $729 – $1,129
  • Program Date: June, July, August 2024
  • Application Deadline: Rolling basis
  • Eligibility: Students from ages 7 to 19

iD Tech Camps offer an enriching experience for young tech enthusiasts, combining education and fun in a unique setting. These camps are designed for kids and teens aged 7 to 19, catering to a wide age range with varying levels of expertise in technology. The programs are held at over 75 prestigious locations across the United States, including top universities, ensuring an inspiring learning environment. With options for both weeklong and two-week programs, iD Tech Camps cover a broad spectrum of topics such as coding, game design, robotics, and more. 

The registration for the 2024 summer sessions is already live, and considering the popularity and limited spots, it’s advisable to apply early. The application process is straightforward, involving selecting a program, checking eligibility, and choosing convenient dates and locations. With the camps hosted at multiple prestigious universities and offering a range of dates, there is flexibility to find a program that fits your schedule and interests​​​​​​.

Technological facility

Final Thoughts

You can start learning computer science and technology before college. These programs help prepare you for college and for working in technology. Whether you want to make new software, fix computer security problems, or start your own tech business, these programs can help you start. Your path to a great college and a successful career in tech starts with the steps you take now. Keep asking questions, stay excited about learning, and get started on your tech journey.

It is important to have all the necessary information before making any decision. AdmissionSight is always here to help you with any questions or concerns. We have over ten years of experience helping students successfully navigate the challenging admissions process. Don’t let the admissions process overwhelm you. Contact AdmissionSight today and let us help you achieve your dreams.

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