Engineering summer programs for high school students

With the rising importance of STEM fields, there are even more summer programs in engineering for high school students to explore. These programs can range from offering general to specific engineering introductions, project-based learning, or research opportunities. Several programs are focused on introducing teen girls or minority students to engineering since these groups are largely under-represented in engineering careers.

Applicants should expect these programs to be very selective (just as it is in applying to college engineering programs). Selection for these programs may include:

  • Transcripts
  • Test scores
  • Recommendations
  • Essays

Students must pay close attention to deadlines. If a program offers “rolling” admission, then it’s best to apply sooner, since the slots fill quickly once the application opens. For example, your more selective programs may open their applications in January with a rolling admissions and by March all the spaces are filled . . . even though applications will be accepted through May.

Here are a few summer programs for high school students to explore engineering:

Summer Honors Engineering Camp (University of Dayton) – students participating in this camp can learn about chemical, civil, electrical and mechanical engineering through hands-on activities.

Summer at WPI – there are programs for middle and high school students. The upper level program, Frontiers, focuses on lab techniques and solving programs across engineering, math, science and robotics.

Santa Clara University Summer Engineering Seminar – students in this program can discover environmental engineering, robotics, nanotechnology or bioengineering through seminars presented by faculty.

If a student doesn’t have the opportunity to participate in a formal summer program, then I encourage them to consider job shadows and internships in their local community. The experience will be invaluable to learning whether you want to invest the resources and effort to pursue engineering as a major in college.

What summer programs in engineering have you found?