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Top 20 Economics Programs for High School Students

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

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Top 20 Economics Programs for High School Students

If you’re a high school student with a knack for economics or just curious about how the economic world ticks, you’ve hit the jackpot. This blog is your ultimate guide to the best economics programs out there for students like you. We’ll cover everything from summer institutes at top universities to engaging workshops and courses tailored for young economists. Whether you want to get a solid grasp of economic theory, use economic concepts to tackle real-world issues, or gear up for a career in economics, this blog is your starting line. Let’s jump into the economics realm and find out what these stellar programs have in store for you.

This blog is your ultimate guide to the best economics programs for high school students, covering everything from institutes to workshops.

Top 20 Economics Programs for High School Students

When searching for top-notch economics programs for high school students, you should look for ones offering thorough coursework, real-world economic problem-solving, and opportunities to meet with experienced professionals. Here are 20 programs renowned for their high-quality economics education for high schoolers:

1. Stanford University Pre-Collegiate Summer Institutes – Innovation and Entrepreneurship Program

  • Location: Washington, DC
  • Estimated Cost: Not Specified
  • Eligibility: Not Specified
  • Important Dates: Not Specified

The Innovation and Entrepreneurship Program at Stanford University’s Pre-Collegiate Summer Institutes immerses participants in the fields of innovation and entrepreneurship. It covers essential areas such as understanding customer needs, marketing strategies, product development, and business model creation. The curriculum highlights design thinking as a method for solving real-world customer issues and establishing a successful business. Students receive insights into fundamental business principles and the workings of Silicon Valley companies.

The program includes a variety of educational resources, interactive activities, and a team-based startup project, providing a comprehensive view of the entrepreneurial journey. It also examines potential career paths and leadership development, assisting students in aligning their business ambitions with their talents and interests.

Business people discussing documents and ideas at meeting

2. Harvard Summer School – Invention, Innovation, and Market

  • Location: Cambridge, MA
  • Estimated Cost: $5,550
  • Eligibility: Rising juniors and seniors
  • Important Dates: February 14, 2024 (Application deadline)

This provides a comprehensive understanding of how invention and innovation influence economies on both small and large scales. Nobel Prize Laureate Paul Krugman emphasized the critical role of productivity, stating that it significantly determines a nation’s long-term standard of living improvements through enhanced worker output. This enhancement is largely driven by technological advancements in sectors like energy, medicine, and transportation, featuring innovations like more efficient drills, longer-lasting drugs, and farther-flying airplanes, all of which reshape the economic landscape.

The course discusses the varied impacts of technological progress on consumers, businesses, and governments. It gives special attention to the repercussions of medical advancements on social security, the effects of engine technology on trade policies, and how automation, exemplified by companies like Uber, influences wages.

3. University of Chicago Young Scholars Program

  • Location: Chicago, IL
  • Estimated Cost: $250-$1,000 (depending on family income)
  • Eligibility: Grades 7-12
  • Important Dates: June 17 (Application deadline)

The University of Chicago Young Scholars Program is a prestigious summer program designed for talented high school students interested in mathematics and economics. Participants engage in rigorous coursework, research, and discussions led by University of Chicago faculty, exploring advanced topics in these fields. This program offers a unique opportunity for students to experience a challenging academic environment and develop critical thinking and analytical skills.

4. MIT LaunchX Summer Program

  • Location: Ann Arbor, Bay Area
  • Estimated Cost: Not Specified
  • Eligibility: Ages 15-18
  • Important Dates: April 24 (Final Deadline)

The MIT LaunchX Summer Program is an entrepreneurial initiative that empowers high school students to launch their own startup businesses. During this program, students learn by doing, as they collaborate with peers to develop real products and services, utilizing principles of economics and business management.

Guided by experts from MIT and the business industry, participants experience the process of starting a company, from ideation to execution, fostering a blend of innovative thinking and practical skills.

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5. Columbia University Summer Program for High School Students – Economics, Entrepreneurship, and Social Justice

  • Location: Columbia’s Morningside Campus, NYC
  • Estimated Cost: Not Specified
  • Eligibility: Grades 8-12
  • Important Dates: Not Specified

This course aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of how invention and innovation influence economies on both small and large scales. Nobel Prize Laureate Paul Krugman emphasized the critical role of productivity, stating that it significantly determines a nation’s long-term standard of living improvements through enhanced worker output. 

This enhancement is largely driven by technological advancements in sectors like energy, medicine, and transportation, featuring innovations like more efficient drills, longer-lasting drugs, and farther-flying airplanes, all of which reshape the economic landscape.

The course discusses the varied impacts of technological progress on consumers, businesses, and governments. It gives special attention to the repercussions of medical advancements on social security, the effects of engine technology on trade policies, and how automation, exemplified by companies like Uber, influences wages.

6. Yale Young Global Scholars Program – Politics, Law, & Economics (PLE)

  • Location: New Haven, CT
  • Estimated Cost: $6,250
  • Eligibility: Ages of 16-18
  • Important Dates: Not Specified

The Politics, Law, & Economics (PLE) session is designed for students keen on exploring economic theories, governmental systems, and legal frameworks from various historical and global viewpoints. It covers essential subjects like public policy, human rights, market regulation, governance, international relations, and global cooperation and conflict.

This session enhances students’ critical thinking and analytical abilities, allowing them to scrutinize social systems and current issues through economic, legal, and political perspectives. During PLE, participants benefit from an interdisciplinary approach, gaining knowledge and exposure to a broad range of topics within the theme, which equips them to become well-informed and active global citizens.

7. Economics for Leaders (EFL)

  • Location: National, Local, Online
  • Estimated Cost: $2,300 (Residential), $800 (Virtual)
  • Eligibility: Sophomore to Junior
  • Important Dates: June 2024 – August 2024 (Program Schedule)

Economics for Leaders (EFL) is a summer program designed to teach high school students how to apply economics in decision-making processes. This selective program targets student leaders, aiming to enhance their leadership effectiveness by integrating economic analysis into their skill set.

EFL stands out for its practical approach and the significant advantage it offers in college admissions. With a commendable 90% recommendation rate from participants, it has gained recognition among college admissions officers for its ability to increase a student’s competitiveness in the college application process.

Admission to EFL is contingent on demonstrating leadership potential, maturity, and a clear vision for one’s future. The program not only focuses on academic prowess but also on preparing students to face future challenges head-on. Through EFL, students gain critical skills and knowledge, laying a foundation for future success

View of students talking next to each other.

8. Wharton Global Youth Program – LBW

  • Location: Not Specified
  • Estimated Cost: $1,500 to $2,999
  • Eligibility: Grades 9–11
  • Important Dates: Jun 9 – Jun 29, 2024, Jun 30 – Jul 20, 2024, Jul 21 – Aug 10, 2024 (Program Dates)

The Leadership in the Business World (LBW) program offers an immersive experience in understanding leadership dynamics within modern organizations. Through a rigorous combination of lectures from Wharton professors, insights from business leaders, interactive simulations, and team-building exercises, students gain a comprehensive view of 21st-century leadership. 

They engage in deep discussions on core business subjects, apply theoretical knowledge in practical scenarios through digital simulations, and explore diverse industries by interacting with seasoned professionals. This blend of academic and real-world learning equips students with the skills and perspectives necessary to navigate and lead in the contemporary business landscape.

9. Cornell University Summer College – Introduction to Business Management

  • Location: Online, On campus
  • Estimated Cost: Not Specified
  • Eligibility: High school
  • Important Dates: Not Specified

This course offers a comprehensive overview of management and business fundamentals, touching on key areas such as human resources, marketing, finance, and strategic planning. It addresses current challenges like the effects of technological innovation on operations, globalization, ethics, and the importance of teamwork, leadership, and entrepreneurship. Students also get the chance to engage in a group project that integrates these themes, allowing them to apply their knowledge in a collaborative, practical setting.

10. Duke University Summer Session – Statistics for Business and Economics

  • Location: Online, On campus
  • Estimated Cost: $2,840
  • Eligibility: Grades 10th and 11th
  • Important Dates: June 17 (Application deadline)

This course introduces the foundational elements of probability and statistics. It encompasses descriptive statistics, probability theory basics, and the properties of discrete and continuous random variables, as well as sampling estimation, hypothesis testing, analysis of variance, and regression analysis. Emphasis is placed on applying these statistical concepts to solve problems in business and economics, ensuring students can translate theoretical knowledge into practical solutions in their fields.

a male student having humanities online class

11. Berkeley Pre-Collegiate Program – NSLC Business & Entrepreneurship

  • Location: Bay Area
  • Estimated Cost: Not Specified
  • Eligibility: At least 16 years old
  • Important Dates: June 3, 2024 (Application deadline)

At the NSLC on Business & Entrepreneurship, students learn how to establish a company from scratch, addressing the wants and needs of stakeholders, employees, and customers.

12. CTD Academic Summer Camp at Northwestern University

Location: Evanston, IL

  • Estimated Cost:  $1,850-$5,407
  • Eligibility: Rising juniors and seniors
  • Important Dates: April 1, 2024 (Application deadline)

This summer camp offers Global Economics as a course that explores Macroeconomics, examining economies on regional, national, and international scales. This discussion-rich seminar addresses major issues like globalization effects, government roles, and human rights protection. It also explores the influence of non-governmental organizations, the repercussions of artificial intelligence and automation, and climate change implications. 

Participants interact with these subjects through readings, case studies, debates, research, and critiques. The seminar concludes with students creating and presenting an original research project, marking the culmination of their scholarly journey.

13. London School of Economics Summer School

  • Location: London, UK
  • Estimated Cost: Not Specified
  • Eligibility: Not Specified
  • Important Dates: June 17 to July 5 (Session One), July 8 to July 26 (Session Two), July 29 to August 16 (Session Three)

The London School of Economics (LSE) Summer School is one of the most prestigious programs in the world, offering high school students the opportunity to study economics and related disciplines. Participants learn from LSE’s renowned faculty, exploring complex economic theories, global financial markets, and contemporary economic issues. This program provides a rigorous academic experience, fostering a deeper understanding of the economic forces that shape our world.

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14. Oxford University High School Economics Program

  • Location: Oxford, UK
  • Estimated Cost: Not Specified
  • Eligibility: Ages 18-24
  • Important Dates: Not Specified

The Economics Summer School at Oxford Summer Courses provides a comprehensive exploration of economics and its broad impact, from societal daily effects to global contexts. Students at this summer school engage with economics through real-life scenarios, covering topics like game theory, negotiations, social choice analysis, market dynamics, and the principles of capitalism.

After mastering these areas, the course broadens to global perspectives, examining globalization and economic development. This vibrant program positions students at the heart of contemporary economic discourse, illustrating how core economic theories and concepts deepen understanding of both the world and oneself. The course supports students in setting and reflecting on ambitious goals, facilitates interactive learning through tutorial Q&A sessions, and provides valuable industry insights during discussions with expert speakers.

15. Economics Cambridge Summer School 

  • Location: Cambridge, England
  • Estimated Cost: Not Specified
  • Eligibility: 13-15 years old
  • Important Dates: Not Specified

The Economics Cambridge summer school at Oxford Summer Courses offers an in-depth study of Economics. Students in the course will delve into fundamental concepts like supply and demand, market structures, and the impact of government intervention on economic scenarios. The program introduces disciplines such as behavioural economics, equipping students with versatile skills applicable to various career paths. 

Participants will explore the mechanics of the market, understand the consequences of economic downturns, and consider the future influence of economics on their lives. The course features a masterclass to develop life skills, including teamwork, debating, and collaboration, facilitated by experienced staff. Students are encouraged to set and evaluate ambitious goals, with a dedicated reflection session to assess their progress and the insights gained during the course at Cambridge.

16. Johns Hopkins University Pre-College Summer Programs – Elements of Microeconomics

  • Location: Online, On campus
  • Estimated Cost: Not Specified
  • Eligibility: Academically advanced high school students
  • Important Dates: Not Specified

The Elements of Microeconomics course serves as an introduction to the economic system and economic analysis, with a strong focus on fundamental concepts such as demand and supply, relative prices, resource allocation, and the distribution of goods and services. It delves into the theory of consumer behavior, examining how individuals and households make decisions to allocate their resources. 

The course also covers the theory of the firm, exploring how businesses operate, make production decisions, and interact in the market. Students will study market structures, including competition and monopoly, and learn how these environments affect business strategies and market outcomes. Additionally, the course applies microeconomic analysis to contemporary issues, enabling students to understand and analyze real-world economic problems and their implications.

Female student eating in front of a laptop.

17. UCLA Summer Sessions for High School Students – Economic Summer Institute

  • Location: California, LA
  • Estimated Cost: Not Specified
  • Eligibility: 9th – 12th grades
  • Important Dates: June 21, 2024 (Session A) July 12, 2024 (Session B)

In the program, students work in small groups under the guidance of UCLA Economics undergraduates, applying their knowledge and skills to prepare case study presentations linked to their studies. They participate in lectures given by UCLA faculty, followed by workshops and discussion sessions facilitated by UCLA Economics Peer Learning Facilitators. 

The students undertake team-based projects on diverse economic subjects and present their understanding through weekly PowerPoint presentations. The curriculum encompasses a range of topics such as analyzing empirical data, conducting case studies, and forming data-based arguments. Additionally, they explore economic mechanisms like price ceilings and floors, discuss rent control, examine the costs of taxation, and delve into international trade and the impactful role of trade in the economy.

18. University of Michigan Math and Economics Summer Program

  • Location: Ann Arbor, MI
  • Estimated Cost: Not Specified
  • Eligibility: May involve prerequisites in mathematics and economics
  • Important Dates: Not Specified

This program has an integrated approach to learning, combining rigorous mathematical techniques with economic theory and applications. Participants engage in a curriculum that challenges them to apply quantitative methods to understand economic models and real-world financial issues. This is ideal for students interested in the intersection of mathematics and economics, providing them with a solid foundation for advanced study in these fields.

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19. NYU Precollege Summer Program – Business Organization & Management

  • Location: NYC
  • Estimated Cost: Not Specified
  • Eligibility: Grades 11th or 12th
  • Important Dates: June 12 (Application deadline)

This course looks into the intricacies of effective management, exploring the methods to establish and sustain high performance and productivity. It covers a range of topics such as management structure, planning, organization, staffing, strategy formulation, decision-making, leadership, and social responsibility. The curriculum provides a broad overview of the essential duties related to skilled management and leadership across various occupational areas, industries, and economic sectors. The course also examines strategies for creating and maintaining motivating work environments and high-performance standards.

20. Australian National University High School Economics Program

  • Location: Canberra, Australia
  • Estimated Cost: Not Specified
  • Eligibility: A minimum AQF Level 7 Bachelor’s Degree
  • Important Dates: December 15 Semester 1 (Application deadline)

The ANU Bachelor of Economics program offers a comprehensive approach to understanding economic concepts, providing a structured way of thinking to address various economic questions. The coursework encompasses theoretical and applied economics, economic history, and econometrics, aiming to enhance students’ analytical, problem-solving, and quantitative skills.

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How to Find the Best Economics Programs for You?

Finding the right economics program as a high school student can seem daunting, but with a step-by-step approach, it can be quite manageable. Here’s how you can find the economics programs that best fit your interests and goals.

Start with Self-Assessment

Begin by understanding your own interests and strengths. Are you more intrigued by the theoretical aspects of economics or the practical application of economic principles in the real world? Consider what aspects of your current studies you enjoy the most and how they might relate to economics. This self-reflection will help guide your search for programs that align with your interests.

Research Different Programs

Once you have a better idea of your interests, start researching various economics programs. Look for programs that offer courses or specializations in areas you find exciting. For example, if you’re interested in how economics applies to environmental issues, look for programs with a strong focus on environmental economics.

Consider Program Reputation and Resources

The reputation of a program can provide some insight into its quality and the opportunities it may offer. However, don’t just go by rankings alone. Look into the resources available to students, such as research opportunities, internships, and extracurricular clubs related to economics. These can enhance your learning experience and help you apply what you learn in real-world situations.

a group of students walking

Talk to Current Students and Faculty

Reaching out to current students and faculty in economics programs can provide valuable insights. They can offer firsthand information about the curriculum, teaching style, and overall student experience. This can help you gauge whether a program’s environment is the right fit for you.

Attend Workshops or Summer Programs

Participating in workshops or summer programs focused on economics can give you a taste of what studying economics at a higher level would be like. These experiences can be incredibly valuable in deciding if economics is the right field for you and which aspects you are most passionate about.

Evaluate Your Long-Term Goals

Think about where you want your economics education to take you. Are you aiming for a career in academia, government, private sector, or non-profit organizations? Different programs may have strengths in different areas, so consider how each program aligns with your career aspirations.

Finding the right economics program involves a mix of self-reflection, research, and hands-on exploration. By taking the time to understand your interests and goals, and by actively seeking out information and experiences, you can find an economics program that not only educates but also inspires and prepares you for your future career.

a finance manager working

How Can Participants Benefit from Attending Top Economics Programs for High School Students?

Attending top economics programs can offer numerous benefits to high school students, helping them gain valuable knowledge and skills, and shaping their future academic and career paths.

Advanced Learning Opportunities

Top economics programs provide students with the chance to delve into advanced topics that are often not covered in standard high school curricula. Participants can explore complex economic theories, learn about different economic systems, and understand global economic relations. This advanced learning fosters a deeper understanding of economics as a field and its application in various real-world scenarios.

Exposure to Expert Faculty

These programs are usually taught by experienced professors and experts in the field of economics. Learning from these professionals gives students access to high-quality education and insights into the latest economic research and trends. Students can benefit from the faculty’s expertise and experience, gaining a more nuanced understanding of the subject.

Networking Opportunities

Attending a top economics program provides students with the opportunity to meet and interact with peers who share similar interests. This networking can lead to lasting friendships and professional connections. Students often get the chance to meet and learn from industry professionals, guest speakers, and alumni, providing a broader perspective on career opportunities in economics.

Career and Academic Advancement

Participating in a prestigious economics program can significantly enhance a student’s academic profile. It demonstrates a commitment to learning and can be a strong addition to college applications. Furthermore, the knowledge and skills gained from these programs can give students a competitive edge in college admissions and later in the job market, especially in fields related to economics, finance, and business.

Group of students talking while staring at the screen.

Development of Critical Thinking and Analytical Skills

Economics programs challenge students to think critically about various economic issues and problems. Participants learn to analyze data, understand market trends, and make informed decisions based on economic principles. These skills are not only vital for studying economics at a higher level but are also highly valued in many career paths.

Economics programs can greatly benefit high school students by providing advanced knowledge, access to expert faculty, networking opportunities, and a competitive edge in academic and career pursuits. These programs also foster critical thinking and analytical skills, preparing students for future success in economics and related fields.

How Does Participation in Top Economics Programs for High School Students Impact College Admissions?

Participation in top economics programs can significantly impact college admissions for high school students in several positive ways:

Engaging in top economics programs demonstrates a student’s willingness to challenge themselves academically and explore subjects at a deeper level. Colleges often look for applicants who pursue rigorous coursework or extracurricular activities that show a commitment to academic excellence. Participating in such programs indicates a student’s serious interest in economics and their readiness for college-level work.

Admission to highly competitive colleges can be incredibly selective. Participation in prestigious economics programs helps students stand out from other applicants. It serves as a differentiator, showcasing a proactive approach to learning and a genuine interest in the field of economics. This can be particularly impactful in a pool of candidates with similar academic achievements.

an economics professor teaching in an economics class

Top economics programs often provide students with skills that are highly valued in higher education, such as analytical thinking, research abilities, and a strong understanding of economic principles. These skills not only prepare students for the academic rigors of college but also demonstrate to admissions officers that the student is well-equipped to succeed in a challenging college environment.

The experiences and insights gained from participating in top economics programs can provide valuable content for college application essays and interviews. Students can discuss how these programs influenced their perspective on economics, shaped their career aspirations, or contributed to their personal growth. This can help create a more compelling and personal narrative in their applications.

Attending such programs often allows students to build relationships with educators and professionals who can provide insightful recommendations for college applications. Moreover, networking with peers and faculty in these programs can lead to opportunities and mentorships that further support a student’s academic and career journey.

Final Thoughts

The top 20 economics programs for high school students provide a wealth of educational benefits, from advanced learning opportunities to networking with experts in the field. Participating in these programs can significantly impact students’ academic and career paths, equipping them with valuable skills and experiences for future success in economics and related fields.

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