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10 Humanities Programs for High School Students

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Students playing music in the school grounds.

Humanities programs for high school students explore various aspects of human culture, history, and ideas. They cover subjects like literature, history, philosophy, languages, and the arts. These programs help you think critically, understand different cultures, and appreciate diverse human experiences.

Summer humanities programs offer an exciting experience. You’ll participate in fun classes, discussions, and projects that deepen your understanding of these subjects. The programs often include lectures from experienced teachers, interactive group work, and activities like writing workshops, visits to historical sites, and art projects. You’ll also meet other students with similar interests! In this blog, we will explore ten humanities programs that high school students like you will surely enjoy!

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1. Stanford Summer Humanities Institute – Stanford University

  • Location: Stanford University Campus
  • Cost: $8,250
  • Program Dates: Session One: June 23, 2024 – July 12, 2024, Session Two: July 14, 2024 – August 2, 2024
  • Application Deadline: February 1, 2024
  • Eligibility: Grades 10 and 11

The Stanford Summer Humanities Institute is a three-week residential program for rising high school juniors and seniors. It explores core questions in the humanities through seminars led by Stanford professors. Participants will live on Stanford’s campus, interact with an intellectual community, and study alongside like-minded peers. Courses cover a range of topics, from the American Enlightenment to ancient Greek philosophy. The program encourages academic freedom, so students can investigate philosophical questions and pursue research topics of their choice.

2. Telluride Association Summer Seminar (TASS)

  • Location: Cornell University, University of Maryland, and University of Michigan
  • Cost: Free
  • Program Dates: June 23-August 3, 2024
  • Application Deadline: January 3, 2024
  • Eligibility: At least age 15 and no older than age 18. International students are welcome to apply.

The Telluride Association Summer Seminar (TASS) is a free, six-week summer program for high school sophomores and juniors. It focuses on critical thinking and a democratic community, preparing and inspiring young leaders. TASS covers all costs, including tuition, books, room and board, field trips, and facilities fees.

The program offers two areas of study:

TASS-CBS (Critical Black Studies explores the history, politics, literature, art, and cultural contributions of people of African descent. Another one is the TASS-AOS (Anti-Oppressive Studies). This examines systems of power and oppression, including white supremacy, patriarchy, and classism, and considers ways to transform society.

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3. Anson L. Clark Scholars Program

  • Location: Texas Tech University
  • Cost: Registration is free
  • Program Dates: June 16, 2024 To August 1, 2024
  • Application Deadline: February 15, 2024
  • Eligibility: At least 17 years of age. Must be a US Citizen or Permanent Resident.

The Anson L. Clark Scholars Program is a hands-on practical research experience under the guidance of outstanding and experienced faculty at Texas Tech University. This immersive educational experience allows students to work closely with faculty on cutting-edge research projects. This program only selects 12 exceptional high school students.

4. Bank of America Student Leaders Program

  • Location: Washington, D.C.
  • Cost: Sponsored by Bank of America
  • Program Dates:  July 22-27, 2024
  • Application Deadline: January 18, 2024
  • Eligibility:  Junior or senior in high school. Must be legally authorized to work in the United States without sponsorship through the end of September 2024. Must be able to participate in an 8-week paid internship and work 35 hours a week.

The Student Leaders Program connects over 300 high school juniors and seniors from diverse backgrounds to opportunities for employment, skills development, and service. Through eight-week paid internships with local nonprofits and participation in a national leadership summit in Washington, D.C., students gain practical work and life experience. The program promotes civic engagement and leadership, empowering students to make a positive impact in their communities.

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5. Daily News Summer Journalism Program 

  • Location: Yale University campus
  • Cost: $500 (In-person). $180 (remote participants)
  • Program Dates: August 23-25, 2024
  • Application Deadline: July 21, 2024
  • Eligibility: Rising high school students

The Yale Daily News Summer Journalism Program is a three-day intensive course for high school students, run by the undergraduate staff of the Yale Daily News. This program is for students who want practical journalism experience and professional insights. Participants attend workshops on reporting and writing, hear lectures from esteemed journalists, and practice hands-on reporting by producing a story. At the end of the program, students get to see their works published in a special issue of the Yale Daily News!

6. Pre-College Writing & Culture 

  • Location: Carnegie Mellon University campus
  • Cost: $6, 800 –  $8, 995
  • Program Dates: Jun. 22 – Jul. 20, 2024
  • Application Deadline: February 1: Early Decision & International Applications Due, March 1: Scholarship & Regular Decision Applications Due
  • Eligibility: At least 16 years old

The Pre-College Writing & Culture Program at Carnegie Mellon University is an intensive experience for high school students, focusing on writing, film, and culture. Students engage in digital poetics, short-form writing, and film development and production, guided by distinguished faculty. The curriculum emphasizes critical thinking, creative expression, and effective writing skills. Participants analyze cultural and societal issues, receive individualized feedback, and develop a substantial body of work. The program includes weekday classes and activities, with occasional special events on weekends.

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7. The Iowa Young Writers’ Studio Summer Residential Program

  • Location: Iowa City, Iowa on the University of Iowa campus
  • Cost: $2,500
  • Program Dates: June 16-29, 2024 (Session 1), July 14-27, 2024 (Session 2)
  • Application Deadline:  February 4, 2024
  • Eligibility: 10th – 12th grade

The Summer Residential Creative Writing Program is a two-week summer experience for high school students. Participants choose one core course—fiction writing, poetry writing, a mix of fiction, poetry, personal essay, TV writing, or playwriting—taught by Iowa Writers’ Workshop graduates. Students share their work, receive constructive feedback, and engage in writing exercises. The program also features readings by published authors, workshops on writing processes, and discussions on topics like literary translation and mental health. Collaborative projects, open mics, and social events for community and connection among young writers.

8. Summer Dance Intensive

  • Location: Juilliard’s Lincoln Center campus, New York City.
  • Cost: $2,200 (Tuition), $1,900 (Room and Board)
  • Program Dates: July 7-26, 2024
  • Application Deadline: December 15, 2023
  • Eligibility: Ages 15-17

The Juilliard Summer Dance Intensive is a three-week program to introduce dancers to Juilliard and provide insights into college dance programs. Participants will be in technique classes, discussions, and collaborations with guest choreographers. They also have the opportunity for one-on-one meetings with Dance Division Dean Alicia Graf Mack or Associate Director Mario Alberto Zambrano. This program helps dancers make informed decisions about their education and professional goals.

Female student looking at his laptop while attending an online course.

9. The Conservatory for Actors

  • Location: Yale University campus
  • Cost: $9,900, $75 Application Fee
  • Program Dates: July 1 – August 2, 2024
  • Application Deadline: Before April 1st
  • Eligibility: Not Specified

The Yale Summer Conservatory for Actors is a five-week introduction to the basic techniques of acting. Rooted in the principles of Stanislavski, this summer program focuses on building a solid foundation essential for all further study in theatre.

Participants will experience and learn the core techniques that form the bedrock of acting, gaining skills and insights that are applicable across various forms of theatre. This program is designed to provide aspiring actors with a comprehensive understanding of the craft and prepare them for advanced studies and professional opportunities in the world of theatre.

10. RISD Pre-College

  • Location: Rhode Island School of Design
  • Cost: Residential: $11,350, Commuter: $8,715
  • Program Dates: Session II: July 21–August 18, Fall 2024 Session I: Sept 14–Oct 13, Session II: Oct 26–Nov 24. Spring 2025 Session I: March 1–30, Session II: April 12–May 11
  • Application Deadline: February 28, 2024
  • Eligibility: 10th – 11th grade

The RISD Pre-College Program offers high school juniors and seniors a five-week college-like experience, mirroring the life of an RISD undergraduate. Participants join college-level studio classes, critiques, and projects, working alongside creative and motivated peers from around the world. The program provides access to renowned resources and instructors, helping students strengthen their portfolios and transform their approach to art and design. This intensive program prepares young artists for future academic and professional success in the art and design fields.

Young man working on his drawing on a desk.

Benefits of Attending Humanities Summer Programs

Humanities summer programs for high school students are enriching experiences that boost both academic and personal growth. These programs enhance critical thinking, writing, and speaking skills while increasing cultural awareness and empathy. They also help students prepare for college, provide networking opportunities, and offer a chance to explore potential career paths. Attending a humanities summer program can help students become more well-rounded, thoughtful, and prepared for future challenges.

Future Career Opportunities for Students in Humanities Programs

For high school students with a passion for the humanities, there are numerous career paths that can align with their interests. Here’s a look at some of the possibilities:

Education and Academia: Students can become teachers, professors, or administrators, specializing in fields like literature, history, philosophy, or languages. There’s also the opportunity to work in educational policy or curriculum development.

Writing and Publishing: Careers in writing, editing, and publishing are a natural fit. This includes roles like author, journalist, content writer, editor, and literary critic. The digital age also opens doors to web content development and management.

Arts and Culture: For those drawn to the arts, careers as museum curators, art dealers, gallery managers, or cultural program coordinators might be appealing! They could also work in theater production, music management, or as an art critic.

Law: Humanities students often excel in law due to their strong analytical and critical thinking skills. Careers can range from being a lawyer or paralegal to working in advocacy or public policy.

Government and Public Service: Many humanities students enter public service, working in local, state, or federal government. They might focus on cultural affairs, public policy, or diplomacy.

View of a students talking.

Nonprofit Sector: Working for a nonprofit organization can allow students to focus on social issues, cultural preservation, or community development, utilizing their humanities background to drive mission-focused objectives.

Business and Marketing: Understanding human culture and behavior can be beneficial in business, particularly in roles like marketing, public relations, human resources, or corporate communications.

Historical Preservation and Archiving: Students might pursue careers in archiving, where they manage and preserve historical documents and artifacts, or work as historians.

Each of these career paths values the skills developed through humanities studies, such as critical thinking, effective communication, and a deep understanding of human behavior and culture. These careers allow students to continue exploring their passions while making meaningful contributions to society.

Final Thoughts

These top 10 humanities programs are examples of incredible opportunities to explore their interests in arts, culture, and literature. Participating in one of these programs enhances academic skills while also preparing students for college and future careers. No matter your interest—be it writing, history, or cultural studies—there’s a program on this list that can help develop your skills and broaden your future opportunities.

View of college students studying in a room with a table.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are humanities programs?

Humanities programs for high school students cover subjects like literature, history, philosophy, languages, and the arts. These programs help students develop critical thinking skills, understand diverse cultures, and appreciate human experiences.

2. What can I expect from summer humanities programs?

Summer humanities programs offer classes, discussions, and projects that deepen your understanding of humanities subjects. You’ll participate in activities like writing workshops, visits to historical sites, and art projects, and you’ll meet other students who share your interests.

3. Who can apply to these programs?

Eligibility varies by program. Generally, these programs are aimed at high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors. Some programs have specific age requirements or academic prerequisites.

4. What are the benefits of attending these programs?

Attending a humanities program can enhance your academic skills, prepare you for college, and help you explore potential career paths in fields like education, law, arts, and more. It also offers networking opportunities with peers and professionals.

5. How do I apply, and what are the costs?

Application deadlines and costs vary. Some programs are free, while others may have a tuition fee. Details are typically available on the program’s website, and you should prepare to apply well in advance of the deadline to ensure all materials are submitted on time.

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