Best Engineering and Technology Summer Programs for High School Students 2022

If you’re interested in engineering or computer science, your high school curriculum might not be enough. Read more to learn about some of the best summer programs for students to explore their interests in technology, engineering, and computer science.

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By ALEX LOVELESS

If you’re interested in engineering or computer science, we advocate that you find as many hands-on learning experiences as you can find: independent projects, online courses, competitions, and sometimes, summer programs. The primary reason for this is that most high schools just don’t have much instruction beyond AP Computer Science or introductory engineering classes, which are hardly challenging enough for students applying to top schools in these fields. Students interested in engineering and technology, therefore, end up needing to supplement their high school education through these experiences. You probably know someone who taught themselves to code since they were in elementary school, started FIRST Robotics competitions in middle school, or even designed their own mobile app. 

However, not every student knows that they have these interests so early on nor do they always have the resources to pursue them meaningfully. This is especially true for any kind of underrepresented minority in STEM (woman, black, latino, native american). Luckily, this gap in equity for engineering and technology education has been noticed by many higher education institutions and organizations that try to address these inequalities in opportunity. They are often free programs that explicitly say on their application pages that they are looking for a certain type of applicant, inspiring a more diverse generation of STEM students. 

While most programs are planning to be in-person again this summer, the variability of COVID could quickly change this and convert many programs back to virtual. Keep in mind that many of these programs, if in-person, will most likely require students to be fully vaccinated. The following list represents engineering, technology, and computer science programs that we believe have direct and/or indirect admissions value at competitive schools. To better differentiate the value of each program, I’ve tiered them into three categories: S-Tier, A-Tier, and B-Tier

S-Tier: Must Go If Admitted

1. Research Science Institute (RSI)
Program Dates: June 26th – August 6th (6 weeks)
Application Deadline: January 14th, 2022 
Cost: Free
International Students: Yes (separate application, Deadline: February 11th)

2. Minority Introduction to Engineering and Science (MITES)
Program Dates: Summer 2022 TBD (6 weeks)
Application Deadline: February 1st, 2022
Cost: Free  
International Students: No (US residents/citizens only)
*MITES will not offered for 2022 because of COVID*

3. Women’s Technology Program (WTP)
Program Dates: June 25th – July 23rd (4 weeks)
Application Deadline: January 15th 2022 
Cost: Free 
International Students: No (US residents/citizens only)
*WTP will be virtual for 2022, so I would bump it down to A-Tier for this year*

4. NASA Internships
Program Dates: Start — Late May/Early June, End — August (ten weeks, numerous projects and locations) **
Application Deadline: Various deadlines
Cost: Free (majority of interns are paid a stipend)
International Students: No (US citizens only)***

**Fall and Spring session internships are also available
***NASA Intern and Fellow Opportunities are also available for international students through affiliated national space agencies. Check the link to see if your country participates in this partnership. 

The programs in S-Tier are some of the most rewarding and impressive tech/engineering programs a high school student can get into. They all are free or even pay students a stipend, which adds to how extremely competitive they are. RSI is listed here because students can choose to pursue research in engineering or computer science, though it’s better classified as a science research summer program. Check out our list of the Best High School Summer Research Programs 2022 for more details. 

MITES and WTP are both extremely selective programs run by MIT. They are the top available programs of the group of equity-driven technology programs that we mentioned earlier. For MITES, applicants should come from underrepresented ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. They take into account the following criteria:

Students at MITES focus on STEM academics, taking one math course, one life sciences course, one physics course, a humanities course, and an elective course. Placement into courses is also determined by a diagnostic test during orientation.

The WTP program focuses on another largely underrepresented demographic: women in STEM. WTP tends to prefer accepting female applicants who are strong in math/science classes but don’t really know what engineering is or haven’t decided what they hope to study. Through the program, they hope to convince these students to consider majoring in engineering and give them the support and knowledge to succeed in this challenging environment. They also seem to prefer students who apply to the program with somewhat limited engineering experience, explicitly stating on their website that students “should not have completed prior coursework or summer programs in the WTP curriculum.” WTP also “strongly encourages” students who come from underrepresented backgrounds, with similar language to the MITES program. Once accepted each student chooses the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) or Mechanical Engineering track and takes rigorous courses related to the field. 

NASA internships are available to high school students aged 16 or older, though they are also available to undergraduate and graduate level students, making them extra competitive. Prospective students will have to sift through a list of available internships to find one that matches their ambition and their skills. The majority of experiences on this list are unavailable to high school students, but when searching for positions, make sure to look for grade levels 9, 10, 11, or 12 in the “Academic Level” column of the spreadsheet. If a student does have a dream to one day work for NASA, these internships could be worth applying for multiple times, even after they’ve gone off to college. I’d suggest reaching out to NASA’s STEM Engagement Offices to learn more about what you can do to prepare for your application to any of these internship programs. 

A-Tier: Highly Competitive Programs

5. University of Pennsylvania – Jerome Fisher Management and Technology Summer Institute (M&T)
Program Dates: July 10th – July 30th (4 weeks)
Application Deadline: Priority – February 1st, 2022, Final – April 1st, 2022 
Cost: $9,000 (financial aid available w/ separate application)
International Students: Yes

6. Stony Brook University — Simons Summer Research Program
Program Dates: Online — June 27th – July 29th (5 weeks)
Application Deadline: Application opens February 1st, 2022 (School nomination required)
Cost: Free
International Students: No

7. Texas Tech University — The Clark Scholars Program
Program Dates: June 20th – August 3rd (7 weeks)
Application Deadline: February 16th, 2022
Cost: Free, ($750 stipend, $500 meal card)
International Students: Yes

8. Boston University — Research in Science & Engineering (RISE)
Program Dates: July 3rd – August 12th (6 weeks)
Application Deadline: February 14th, 2022
Cost: $4,950 tuition, $2,876-$3,156 room and board, $470 service fees (financial aid available)
International Students: No

9. Stony Brook University — Garcia Center High School Summer Program 
Program Dates: June 27th – August 12th (5 weeks in-person, 2 weeks virtual)
Application Deadline: Postmarked by March 10th, 2022
Cost: $3,000 (lab usage fee), Room & Board Fee TBA
International Students: Yes

10. Science and Engineering Apprenticeship Program (SEAP)
Program Dates: Various labs and dates (8 weeks)
Application Deadline: Closed for 2022, Open August 2022 for Summer 2023
Cost: Free ($3,500 stipend for eight weeks)
International Students: No (US citizens only)

11. Carnegie Mellon – Summer Academy for Math and Science (SAMS) 
Program Dates: June 5th – August 12th at Carnegie Mellon (6 weeks)
Application Deadline: Early – February 9th, Regular – March 9th
Cost: Free
International Students: Yes (Application Deadline – February 23rd)

12. Michigan State University – High School Honors Science, Math and Engineering Program (HSHSP)
Program Dates: June 21st – August 6th (7 weeks)
Application Deadline: March 1st, 2022
Cost: $3,800 (financial aid available)
International Students: No

The A-Tier programs vary in topic and scope, but they all give students the opportunity to explore or even perform research in the fields of engineering and computer science. Each of these programs are very competitive, even the paid ones, as they provide invaluable science and engineering experiences that admissions officers from top schools often value. 

The Jerome Fisher M&T Program is a joint engineering and business program, run by the Wharton Business School and Penn Engineering department, making it unique on this list. Students who are interested in the intersection of engineering and business leadership would be particularly suited for M&T. This is one of those rare paid programs that are just as competitive as some of the best free programs, and while it has been difficult to find language about financial on their website in the past, they now, unambiguously, state that “The M&T Program is committed to supporting academically ambitious students with demonstrated financial need.” Students at M&T take classes taught by Wharton and Penn professors, attend guest lectures by leaders in these fields, and even “build and present a prototype and go-to-market plan for their own high-tech venture”. While M&T is a competitive program and other engineering and business programs likely look at it favorably from an admissions standpoint, I would caution students to be aware of the privilege that a program like this affords certain students. 

SAMS is another STEM summer program focused on addressing inequity in STEM fields. Run through Carnegie Mellon University, SAMS first focuses on building academic skills before entering its 4-week long classes on campus. At the end of the program, students will present their STEM projects at a symposium, culminating the entire experience. 

RISE, Simons, Clark Scholars, SEAP, and HSHSP are all research programs that give you the opportunity to research in engineering and CS fields. Similar to RSI, they are mentioned again here because of an accepted student’s ability to do research in engineering or computer science. You can read more about them in our Best High School Summer Research Programs 2022

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B-Tier: Competitive, Challenging Experiences

13. NYU – Applied Research Innovations in Science and Engineering (ARISE) 
Program Dates: June 24th – August 13th
Application Deadline: March 1st, 2022 (for NYC residents only) but interviews/lab tours in April/May
Cost: Free w/ stipend if completed
International Students: Yes

14. USC Summer High School Intensive in Next-Generation Engineering (SHINE)
Program Dates: June 13th – July 29th
Application Deadline: March 1st, 2022
Cost: $5,300 (financial aid available)
International Students: Some programs may accept international

15. California State Summer School for Mathematics and Science (COSMOS)
Program Dates: Online, July 10th – August 6th (4 weeks) 
Application Deadline: February 11th, 2022 (favors in-state applicants)
Cost: $4,500 ?
International Students: No

16. AI4ALL
Program Dates: Various locations and dates (3 weeks)
Application Deadline: TBD
Cost: Free or provide extensive tuition assistance
International Students: Some programs may accept international

17. LaunchX Summer
Program Dates: Online — June 20th – July 22nd (5 weeks)
Application Deadline: Early — December 20, 2021; Regular — February 15th, 2022
Cost: $5,980 (financial aid available)
International Students: Yes

18. University of Pennsylvania – Engineering Summer Academy Program (ESAP)
Program Dates: July 2022 (3 weeks), Online/Virtual TBD
Application Deadline: Priority — March 4th, 2022; Regular — April 1st, 2022
Cost: $7,700
International Students: Yes

19. Girls Who Code – Summer Immersion Program
Program Dates: Online — Round 1: June 17th – July 1st, Round 2: July 11th – July 22nd, Round 3: August 1st – August 12th**
Application Deadline: Early — February 16th, 2022; Regular — March 18th, 2022
Cost: Free ($500 needs-based stipend provided)
International Students: No
**Girls Who Code also has a 6-week, self-paced coding program

The B-Tier programs are also meaningful experiences and can be great for students in their sophomore year to build skills and knowledge in these fields. Each program has vastly different academic focuses and goals, so make sure to read more details about them directly on their websites. ARISE is a great program offered to NYC residents, giving students interested in STEM subjects direct research experience at NYU. SHINE also gives students the opportunity to contribute to meaningful engineering-specific research at USC with topics ranging from biomedical engineering to aerospace engineering or materials science. COSMOS is an academic summer program that focuses on different clusters with different STEM topics and UC campuses. AI4ALL focuses on teaching minority students about programming and AI to better prepare them for the quickly changing technology world. ESAP focuses on engineering research in the fields of CS, complex networks, robotics, biotechnology, computer graphics, and nanotechnology. Girls Who Code focuses exactly on what you’d expect, helping more girls to get interested in coding and apply to computer science programs in college. 

A side note here for LaunchX, as it has fallen out of favor recently as a competitive program. While we have defended LaunchX and its recent struggles in the past based on its previous track record, their decision to keep their 2022 program online this summer instead of in-person has signaled to me that they are not willing to put in the hard work and resources to make this program what it once was. That said, we do still see value in the program for students who aren’t competitive enough for M&T but have similar interests. LaunchX focuses more on actual entrepreneurship through technology and centers it’s program on building your own startup company.

There can certainly be admissions value in these programs in the form of an outstanding recommendation from a mentor or advisor in any of these programs. Between the A and B tiers, I’m sure there could be more discussion and debate as to where each program falls, but these are the ones that I have experience with or have heard great things about. As always, make sure to weigh the costs of the program with the length and depth of the experience itself before deciding on whether or not it’s a worthwhile time to spend your summer.

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