Based on Empowerly’s years of experience helping students with the college preparation process, we notice trends. Among the trends in summer programs, we notice which programs draw the most applicants, which hold the most weight in admissions decisions, and which have been around for a while. Based on our observations, we’ll put a spotlight on 5 big STEM summer programs—ones that, year after year, remain favorites for high achieving students looking to stand out.
What are the Big 5?
You will probably have heard of most of this list of five since they draw applicants from across the country. However, keep in mind that the ranking of the best programs depends on you as a student.
Rather than half-heartedly aiming for one of these for the sake of prestige, take the time to find a summer activity that works for you. That’s what brings out your talents, and where you’ll have the most fun. Feel free to read our other recent posts about STEM and other open summer programs for high school students.
Now that we’ve discussed how these programs were chosen, let’s review them.
The following are presented in no particular order.
- California State Summer School for Mathematics and Science (COSMOS)
- Check out our tips on how to get into COSMOS here. This is a great program for California students in particular since the state has a strong public school system. If you’re not in California, find out if your state offers anything similar!
- Stanford University’s Mathematics Camp (SUMac)
- For more, see our tips on how to get into SUMaC. Some of the team at Empowerly have gone to SUMaC themselves! For the scoop on what it takes to get there, it’s worth doing the research.
- Stanford Institute of Medicine’s Summer Research Program (SIMR)
- Here’s a review of COSMOS, SUMaC, and SIMR altogether. Also at Stanford, SIMR is renowned for providing great medical STEM opportunities. Liking the Stanford system? While you’re at it, check out Stanford’s Genomic Research Internship Program (GRIPS), which features a focus on genomics. Each of these West Coast-based summer programs offers unique advantages.
- Center for Excellence in Education’s Research Summer Institute (RSI)
- If you’re curious about our take, read up on how to get into RSI. This option is well-known in STEM circles and a great option for students with high ambition and drive.
- MIT’s LaunchX Program (LaunchX)
- Read up on this review of RSI and MIT Launch for more. LaunchX offers young entrepreneurs a learning environment to develop their business idea beyond the classroom. It’s a great way to stand out from your peers. All of these programs hold significant clout on your resume for college admissions.
Note: Summer program availability is subject to change due to public health concerns. These programs were last checked on 31 March 2022.
Now, are you ready to start submitting your applications?
Summer programs that require applications are an excellent opportunity to practice how you might present yourself on your college applications. Similarly, you’ll want to put thought into your writing sample(s), and which materials you submit alongside it. Proofread, of course, and consult a trusted source to review it as well.
Empowerly is great at summer program applications, and specializes in STEM! We are a resource here to help students, so don’t be afraid to reach out and learn more about how we can help your family.