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20 History Summer Programs for High School Students

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Academic Literature

20 History Summer Programs for High School Students

If you’re a high school student passionate about history, summer programs tailored specifically for you can offer an enriching experience. These opportunities allow you to dive deep into the past, exploring events and figures that have shaped the world.

In this article, you’ll find valuable insights into various programs, key information, and how they pave the way for your academic and professional success. Engaging in these summer courses not only enhances your knowledge but also arms you with skills beneficial for your future endeavors.

1. Metropolitan Museum of Art High School Internship Program

  • Location: Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY
  • Program Dates: June 22 to August 9, 2024
  • Application Deadline: March 8, 2024
  • Eligibility: Grades 10 or 11 residing and attending high school in New York, New Jersey, or Connecticut
  • Cost: Free; paid internship

The Metropolitan Museum of Art High School Internship Program is a prime example of an enriching opportunity for students. Its association with one of the world’s leading art museums lends it unparalleled credibility. High schoolers get to work closely with museum professionals, benefit from mentorship, and make valuable connections.

A woman looking at paintings in the Museum of Modern Art

Among summer programs for high school students, this one shines with its unique offerings. Interns enjoy paid positions, engage in diverse museum operations, and develop skills like communication and teamwork. It’s a gateway to the art world, offering practical experience and a strong professional network.

2. Young Civil War Historians Conference

  • Location: Gettysburg College, PA
  • Program Dates: July 14 to 19, 2024
  • Application Deadline: July 1, 2024
  • Eligibility: Rising high school juniors and seniors
  • Cost: $1,395 tuition and $50 application fee; $500 scholarships provided

Gettysburg College’s Young Civil War Historians Conference is a notable program, highly credible due to its association with the college’s expertise in Civil War studies. Students engage with scholars, delve into historical research, and explore Civil War-era sites, gaining in-depth knowledge and skills.

This program stands out for offering interactive workshops, expert guidance, and networking opportunities. Participants benefit from academic enrichment, skill development in research and presentation, and a taste of college life. It’s an ideal setting for students passionate about history to expand their knowledge and prepare for future academic challenges.

3. Telluride Association Summer Seminar

  • Location: Cornell University, NY; University of Maryland, MD; University of Michigan, MI
  • Program Dates: June 23 to August 3, 2024
  • Application Deadline: March 8, 2024
  • Eligibility: High school sophomores and juniors; ages 15 to 18
  • Cost: Free

TASS offers sophomores and juniors a rich educational experience, blending history, politics, literature, and art. Its credibility comes from the Telluride Association’s commitment to intellectual growth, providing a diverse group of students with access to free, college-level courses.

This history summer program for high school students excels with its interactive courses and mentorship opportunities. It’s a free program, ensuring no financial barriers to participation. Students gain intellectual growth, develop essential skills, and build a network with peers and mentors, making it a standout choice for those eager to explore and learn.

4. Smithsonian Institute Student Travel Program (Greece and Italy)

  • Location: Greece and Italy
  • Program Dates: June 18 to July 6; July 2 to July 20, 2024
  • Application Deadline: March 15, 2024
  • Eligibility: Grades 8 to 12
  • Cost: $8,690 tuition and airfare

The Smithsonian Institute Student Travel Program, particularly Greece and Italy: Ancient Civilizations, History, and Myth, provides an immersive journey into the heart of ancient history. With the Smithsonian Institution’s credibility, students are assured a rich educational experience, guided by experts in archaeology and history.

This program stands out for its unique access to iconic historical sites and expert-led insights into ancient civilizations. Students explore the Acropolis, Pompeii, and Rome, among others, deepening their understanding of history and culture. The blend of historical exploration and cultural immersion makes it an enriching choice for any high school student interested in the past.

5. New-York Historical Society Student Historian Internship Program

  • Location: New-York Historical Society, NY
  • Program Dates: July 9 to August 15, 2024
  • Application Deadline: April 7, 2024
  • Eligibility: Rising grades 10, 11, or 12 residing and attending school in New York City
  • Cost: Free; stipend provided

The New-York Historical Society Student Historian Internship Program offers high school students a deep dive into American history through engaging research and educational initiatives. This reputable program, backed by a renowned institution, enriches participants with a thorough understanding of historical processes and cultural heritage.

Two women smiling on a camera

Unique to this program are opportunities for hands-on museum experience, mentorship by professionals, and public presentation skills. Students benefit from enhancing their research, analysis, and communication abilities, making it an ideal choice for those eager to explore history beyond the classroom.

6. St. John’s College Beginnings Program

  • Location: St. John’s College, NM
  • Program Dates: July 7 to 13, 2024
  • Application Deadline: June 1, 2024
  • Eligibility: High school students; ages 15 to 18
  • Cost: $1,400; scholarships provided

The St. John’s College Beginnings Program dives into politics, poetry, and mathematics’ origins, offering a standout history summer program for high school students. Set in Santa Fe, it encourages exploration of classical texts, fostering a deep understanding of fundamental human concepts and interdisciplinary learning.

The program’s credibility is boosted by St. John’s College’s renowned academic environment. It uniquely blends academic enrichment with cultural immersion, critical thinking, and community engagement through workshops and excursions. This holistic approach provides students with a comprehensive learning experience, enriching their academic and personal growth.

7. Stanford Summer Humanities Institute

  • Location: Stanford University, CA
  • Program Dates: June 23, to July 12 (Session 1); July 14, 2024 to August 2, 2024 (Session 2)
  • Application Deadline: March 29, 2024
  • Eligibility: High school juniors and seniors
  • Cost: $8,250; financial aid provided

The Stanford Summer Humanities Institute offers high school juniors and seniors a deep dive into humanities. Hosted by Stanford University, this three-week program encourages students to explore significant questions in writing, philosophy, literature, art, and history, promising a rigorous educational experience.

With its prestigious Stanford affiliation, the program boasts academic rigor and an interdisciplinary approach. Participants benefit from discussions led by Stanford faculty, fostering critical thinking and offering a unique residential experience. This combination of academic enrichment and personal growth makes it a valuable opportunity for students passionate about the humanities.

8. Anson L. Clark Scholars Program

  • Location: Texas Tech University, TX
  • Program Dates: June 16 to August 1, 2024
  • Application Deadline: February 15, 2024
  • Eligibility: High school juniors and seniors
  • Cost: Free; $750 stipend provided

The Anson L. Clark Scholars Program at Texas Tech University provides high school students with a seven-week intensive research experience. This prestigious program stands out for its hands-on approach, allowing participants to delve into fields of their interest, including history, fostering significant intellectual growth.

Through mentorship from experienced researchers, the program offers a unique blend of practical research experience and academic exploration. It prepares students for future studies, enhancing their ability to conduct independent research and think critically, making it an invaluable opportunity for ambitious students.

9. International Relations Academy

  • Location: Online
  • Program Dates: July 8 to July 19, 2024
  • Application Deadline: Rolling, until slots are filled
  • Eligibility: Ages 15 to 18
  • Cost: $2,795

The International Relations Academy, hosted by the World Scholars Academy, is a prestigious program for students eager to explore international relations. Its affiliation with a reputable educational organization ensures a rigorous and insightful learning experience, covering diplomacy, global governance, and more.

Young students of language school on color background

This history summer program for high school students stands out for its specialized curriculum and practical simulations, offering deep insights into global issues. Participants benefit from expert instruction, skill development, and a broadened global perspective, preparing them for future academic or professional pursuits in international affairs.

10. Roman Fortress Pulpon Field School

  • Location: Jardín de San Bartolomé, Spain
  • Program Dates: August 5 to August 21, 2024
  • Application Deadline: Rolling, until slots are filled
  • Eligibility: Ages 13 to 17
  • Cost: $3,450

The Roman Fortress Pulpon Field School provides an immersive archaeology experience, focusing on the excavation of a Roman fortress in Spain. Its partnership with the Archaeological Institute of America ensures a credible and enriching program that fosters deep understanding of Roman history and critical thinking skills.

With hands-on archaeological practices and expert guidance, students delve into Roman history’s depths. This program not only enhances research and analytical skills but also offers valuable networking opportunities, making it an excellent choice for students passionate about history and archaeology.

11. Davidson THINK Summer Institute

  • Location: University of Nevada, NV
  • Program Dates: July 13 to August 3, 2024
  • Application Deadline: March 29, 2024
  • Eligibility: Ages 13 to 16; SAT/ACT score required
  • Cost: $4,450; financial assistance provided

The Davidson THINK Summer Institute, affiliated with the respected Davidson Academy, offers high-achieving students an intensive academic experience. This program challenges participants with a rigorous curriculum and fosters critical thinking, preparing them for future academic success.

Its unique offerings include a wide-ranging academic curriculum, intellectual exploration under expert guidance, and enriching activities that broaden perspectives. Participants benefit from skill development, college preparation, and personal growth, making it an outstanding opportunity for students seeking to advance their academic and intellectual capabilities.

12. College of William & Mary Pre-College Program in American History

  • Location: College of William & Mary, VA
  • Program Dates: June 16 to July 6 (Session 1); July 7 to July 27, 2024 (Session 2)
  • Application Deadline: May 31 (Session 1); June 10, 2024 (Session 2)
  • Eligibility: High school students
  • Cost: $5,600

The Pre-College Program in American History, offered by the College of William & Mary and NIAHD, provides a deep dive into American history. This credible program enriches high school students with hands-on activities, expert instruction, and visits to historical sites, fostering a comprehensive understanding of America’s past.

Through this history summer program for high school students, participants engage with a specialized curriculum and immerse themselves in cultural excursions. The program prepares students for college-level academics, enhances critical thinking, and promotes personal growth, making it an invaluable experience for those passionate about American history.

13. UC Santa Barbara Research Mentorship Program

  • Location: UC Santa Barbara, CA
  • Program Dates: June 17 to August 2, 2024
  • Application Deadline: March 18, 2024
  • Eligibility: Grades 10 or 11; minimum of 3.80 weighted GPA
  • Cost: $4,975 (commuter); $11,874 (residential); scholarships provided

The UC Santa Barbara Research Mentorship Program is a six-week, competitive summer experience that attracts high-achieving students globally. Its affiliation with the prestigious UC Santa Barbara ensures a program of high quality, offering hands-on research, mentorship, and interdisciplinary academic exploration.

School Teacher Teaching Students Learning Concept

This program distinguishes itself with its interdisciplinary approach, intensive research projects, and close mentorship by experienced faculty. Participants gain not only in-depth knowledge across various fields but also develop critical thinking and analytical skills, preparing them for future academic and research endeavors.

14. Harvard Pre-College Summer School Program for High School Students

  • Location: Harvard University, MA
  • Program Dates: June 23 to July 5, 2024 (Session 1); July 7 to July 19, 2024 (Session 2); July 21 to August 2, 2024 (Session 3)
  • Application Deadline: February 14, 2024
  • Eligibility: Rising juniors and seniors
  • Cost: $5,300 (tuition) and $75 (application fee); financial aid provided

The Harvard University Pre-College Summer School Program for High School Students offers an immersive insight into college life through two-week intensive courses. Associated with the prestigious Harvard University, it provides a rigorous academic environment that encourages students to explore diverse subjects and develop critical thinking skills.

This program is unique for its wide range of subjects, including history, literature, and science, allowing students to experience campus life, live in dorms, and engage in extracurricular activities. It prepares students for future academic pursuits and personal growth, offering valuable college preparation and skill development.

15. Center for American Archaeology (CAA) High School Field School

  • Location: Kampsville, IL
  • Program Dates: June 16 to June 22 (Week 1); June 23 to June 29 (Week 2); June 30 to July 6 (Week 3); July 7 to July 13 (Week 4)
  • Application Deadline: Rolling, until slots are filled
  • Eligibility: Ages 13 to 17
  • Cost: $950 (1 week); $1875 (2 weeks); $2800 (3 weeks); $3700 (4 weeks); scholarships provided

The CAA High School Field School offers a hands-on archaeology experience, distinguished by its partnership with the Archaeological Institute of America. Students engage in real archaeological fieldwork, learning techniques and methodologies that deepen their understanding of archaeology and cultural heritage.

In this history summer program for high school students, participants gain practical skills in excavation and artifact analysis, guided by professional archaeologists. This immersive experience not only prepares them for future academic or career pursuits in archaeology but also instills a respect for cultural heritage preservation and ethical considerations in the field.

16. Sotheby Art History

  • Location: New York City, NY
  • Program Dates: July 7 to July 19 (Term 1); July 21 to August 2, 2024 (Term 2)
  • Application Deadline: February 5 (Early Decision); March 11 (Priority and Financial Aid); April 8, 2024 (Regular)
  • Eligibility: Grades 10 to 12
  • Cost: $5,935 (Day Program); $7,220 (Residential); financial aid provided

The Sotheby Art History program, affiliated with the renowned Sotheby’s Institute of Art, offers high school students a deep dive into art history. This program combines intensive academic study with museum visits, providing a well-rounded understanding of art’s cultural significance.

Participants benefit from hands-on experiences and networking opportunities, enhancing their academic and personal growth. This prestigious program fosters critical thinking and a deeper appreciation for art, making it a valuable experience for students interested in exploring the art world.

17. Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History’s History School

  • Location: Online
  • Program Dates: To be announced
  • Application Deadline: To be announced
  • Eligibility: High school students
  • Cost: Free

The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History’s History School offers a rigorous summer program for high school students passionate about American history. Affiliated with the esteemed Gilder Lehrman Institute, it guarantees a high-quality education that covers a broad spectrum of American historical topics through intensive study and cultural immersion.

Two college students standing in corridor

This program distinguishes itself with hands-on workshops, seminars, and cultural excursions, allowing students to deepen their understanding of American history. Participants benefit from academic enrichment, critical thinking development, and networking opportunities, making it an invaluable experience for those looking to explore the complexities of America’s past.

18. Boston University High School Honors Program

  • Location: Boston University, MA
  • Program Dates: June 30 to August 9, 2024
  • Application Deadline: February 14, 2024
  • Eligibility: Rising juniors or seniors enrolled in honors and/or AP courses
  • Cost: Around $10,000 to $11,000; financial aid provided

The Boston University High School Honors Program provides high school students with an enriching history summer program, offering a broad selection of courses that cover various historical periods and themes. The program’s credibility is underscored by Boston University’s commitment to academic excellence, ensuring students benefit from rigorous coursework and experienced faculty instruction.

Through this program, participants not only deepen their historical knowledge but also develop critical thinking and analytical skills, preparing them for future academic challenges. It’s an excellent opportunity for students to explore their interest in history, enhance their academic profile, and experience personal growth through intellectual engagement.

19. Excavate: High School Archaeology Expedition

  • Location: James Madison’s Montpelier, VA
  • Program Dates: July 7 to July 12, 2024
  • Eligibility: High school students
  • Cost: $950; Free for descendants and African-American community members

Excavate: High School Archaeology Expedition offers high school students a unique chance to explore archaeology at James Madison’s Montpelier, a museum in Virginia. This program is notable for its hands-on archaeological research, guided by experienced professionals, and provides a deep dive into the historical and cultural significance of the site.

Participants gain practical experience in excavation and artifact analysis. This history summer program for high school students not only prepares them for future academic or career paths in archaeology but also instills a respect for cultural heritage preservation.

20. National History Academy Residential Summer Program

  • Location: Foxcroft School, VA
  • Program Dates: June 30 to July 26, 2024
  • Application Deadline: Rolling basis
  • Eligibility: Grade 10 to 12
  • Cost: $9,995; scholarships provided

The National History Academy Residential Summer Program is a unique opportunity for students interested in American history, law, and government. With visits to significant historic sites and interactions with experts, this program offers an immersive learning experience that goes beyond the classroom, fostering a deep understanding of the nation’s past.

This program combines academic study with experiential learning, including special cultural events and debates. It’s highly credible, thanks to its comprehensive curriculum and access to exclusive locations. Participants benefit from a blend of formal and informal education, enhancing critical thinking and offering a transformative summer experience.

Why Are History Summer Programs Important for High School Students?

History summer programs offer high school students a unique chance to immerse themselves in the past, understand the complexities of history, and how it shapes our present. These programs stimulate intellectual curiosity and foster a lifelong passion for learning.

Participating in a history summer program for high school students not only deepens their knowledge of historical events and figures but also enhances critical thinking and research skills. Such immersive experiences provide a strong foundation for academic and personal growth.

different kind of books

How Do History Summer Programs for High School Students Enhance College Applications?

Participating in history summer programs demonstrates a student’s initiative to delve deeper into their academic interests, showcasing their dedication and intellectual curiosity to college admissions officers. These experiences signal a commitment to learning beyond the traditional classroom setting.

Moreover, the unique skills and knowledge gained, coupled with the exploration of historical topics, provide compelling material for college essays and interviews. This can set applicants apart, highlighting their well-rounded character, critical thinking abilities, and readiness for college-level coursework.

How to Choose the Right History Summer Program for High School Students

Choosing the right history summer program for high school students can be a pivotal step in their educational journey, offering them unique insights into the past and shaping their future academic paths. Here are essential tips to help you select the best program:

  • Identify your historical interests. Consider whether you’re more fascinated by ancient civilizations, modern history, or specific themes like military, cultural, or political history. Look for programs that align with these interests.
  • Assess the history summer program’s credibility. Research the hosting organization’s reputation, the qualifications of the instructors, and the program’s association with academic institutions or historical societies.
  • Consider the history summer program’s format. Decide if you prefer a more traditional classroom setting, hands-on archaeological work, or a blend of both. Each format offers different learning opportunities.
  • Look into the location. Programs held at historically significant sites or cities can provide an immersive experience that classroom-based studies cannot match.
  • Evaluate the curriculum of the history summer program. Review the courses offered, ensuring they cover topics you’re interested in and provide a challenging yet achievable learning environment.
  • Check accessibility and support. Ensure the program offers adequate support for students, including resources for learning and accommodations if needed.
  • Understand costs and financial aid. Be clear on the program’s cost and available scholarships or financial aid options to make it accessible.
  • Ask about college credit. Some programs offer college credit, which can be a valuable addition to your academic record.

Selecting the right history summer program requires careful consideration of your interests, the program’s structure, and its benefits. By following these tips, you can find a program that not only enriches your understanding of history but also enhances your college application and academic career.

What Skills Can Be Gained from Participating in History Summer Programs for High School Students?

Participating in a history summer program equips you with a robust set of skills that are applicable both in academic settings and beyond. Here’s a look at the valuable skills gained:

  • Critical Thinking: Analyzing historical events and sources fosters the ability to think critically about complex issues, encouraging students to question and synthesize information.
  • Research Proficiency: Students learn to conduct thorough research using primary and secondary sources, a skill invaluable for academic success and future scholarly endeavors.
  • Effective Communication: Presenting findings, participating in debates, and writing essays enhances both oral and written communication skills, making ideas more persuasive and coherent.
  • Collaboration and Teamwork: Many programs include group projects that require teamwork, teaching students to work effectively with others towards a common goal.
  • Adaptability and Problem-Solving: Engaging with historical puzzles and challenges improves problem-solving skills and adaptability, preparing students for unexpected academic and life situations.
  • Time Management: Balancing intensive coursework, projects, and activities helps students develop time management skills, a critical asset for future academic and professional success.

Through these programs, students not only gain an appreciation for history but also build a skill set that prepares them for college and beyond, demonstrating the multifaceted value of immersing oneself in historical studies during the summer.

a female student grabbing a book from a library shelf

What Types of Activities and Workshops Are Included in History Summer Programs for High School Students?

History summer programs are designed to bring the past to life through a variety of engaging activities and workshops. These components are key to providing a comprehensive and immersive learning experience:

  • Archaeological Excavations: Students may participate in digs, learning to uncover and analyze historical artifacts under the guidance of professionals.
  • Museum Visits: Program schedules often include trips to museums and historical sites, offering behind-the-scenes tours and exclusive insights into collections and exhibitions.
  • Document Analysis Workshops: These sessions teach students how to examine historical documents, from ancient manuscripts to modern texts, enhancing their understanding of primary sources.
  • Historical Reenactments: Some programs incorporate reenactments, allowing students to step into the shoes of historical figures and experience historical events firsthand.
  • Lectures and Seminars: Led by historians and subject matter experts, these talks cover a wide range of topics, providing depth and context to historical studies.
  • Debate and Discussion Sessions: Encouraging critical thinking and public speaking, these sessions involve debates on historical controversies and discussions about historical interpretations.
  • Creative Projects: Students might engage in creating multimedia presentations, writing historical fiction, or producing documentary films related to their studies.
  • Cultural Immersion Trips: Visits to cultural landmarks and participation in traditional activities offer a deeper connection to the historical periods studied.

Through these varied activities and workshops, history summer programs not only educate but also inspire students, fostering a deeper appreciation for history and its relevance to the modern world.

Conclusion

Engaging in a history summer program is more than a journey through the past; it’s an investment in your future. It equips you with critical skills, enriches your college applications, and ignites a lifelong passion for history.

If you want to stand out in the college admissions process and deepen your understanding of the world, these programs offer an unparalleled opportunity. Let history not only inform your present but also inspire your future.

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