Updated: Jul 6, 2020
This may be an understatement: the world looks quite different now than from what people envisioned 6 months ago. Several festivals, competitions, and summer programs have been cancelled to keep society safe. And yet, despite the new relationship we’ve developed with the indoors, several summer programs have either been moved online, or have been created specifically for virtual use, to benefit high school students. Below, I’ve put together a list of free virtual summer programs for high school students. Most of the programs listed have set their deadline for mid-May, so apply soon!
However, because this list is quite short for the time being (as most summer programs set application deadlines in March-April), I’ve also listed websites offering free online courses for any interested learner. This summer poses an opportunity lie no other for students to build upon their knowledge or learn about their interests on their own time. These courses also often hold communities of students who share your interests, so be sure to communicate and allow yourself to be inspired by others!
I also fully encourage you all to seek out opportunities that aren't as established. For instance, emailing companies for internships, or professors for research projects. Though these things may seem difficult to do from home, data entry, collecting background information, and data analysis are all actions mainly computer based. And don't find this task daunting! Sending an email that includes a short overview of you, your interests, and what interests you about the person/organization you're sending it to (plus a resume if you feel bold) is a great way to start relationships with establishments. There are also several virtual volunteering opportunities that can take over your summer, as long as you reach out where you think you can help!
Virtual Summer Programs:
Interns will be tasked with researching a specific company, technology, or market, and write a report on their topic. With the support of mentors, interns will be able to produce a publishable report that can earn them a Letter of Accomplishment. Internship lengths can be discussed with employer.
Eligibility: Must be high school sophomore, junior, or senior, have taken at least one honors science or english class, and at least 3.25 GPA.
Deadline: Rolling admissions
A free, online, summer STEM program where high school students explore data science and analytics. Students will work in teams and be able to network with tech giants while gaining code and data science experience in python. Students will also be able to tour a virtual design museum.
Deadline: July 13th, 2020
A fantastic opportunity where The New York Academy of Scientists chooses 1000 of the world’s brightest teenagers to design innovative solutions dedicated to society’s greatest problems. Students work with a mentor in an international group of 6 throughout 10-week challenge periods.
Eligibility: Must be 13-17 years old
Deadline: July 31st
Free, innovative opportunity which connects girls around the world with mentors in STEM disciplines. Participants are exposed to virtuals coursework that they may do at their own pace, networking opportunities, and online events.
Eligibility: Must be 13=17 year old girl
Deadline: July 31st
Platform where high school and college students can join or help lead current research projects that fit their interests. For summer 2020, these include machine learning, bioinformatics, entrepreneurship and others. Though there is no stated deadline, students are encouraged to apply asap. Observer and participant positions are now open.
Congressional candidate Rebecca Parsons is seeking full and part time interns to help with her campaign. These high school and college interns will gain experience in executing a field program, campaign fundraising, debate preparation, and political advertising. Interns can also request a letter of recommendation upon departure!
A year long stem straining program for girls grades 6-12 where students explore a stem topic, then complete an intensive research project with the help of their mentors. Students meet for virtual/in person field trips once a month, and present their projects at Ron Burton Village in June 2021.
Eligibility: Must be 6-12th grade girl
Deadline: July 24th
A stipended work opportunity where motivated high school students write a curriculum for and teach a week long virtual computer science course to k-8 students. The deadline for the first cohort is June 15th, but people can also apply to teach following weeks.
Tom Wells Campaign Intern:
Help Tom Wells’ congressional campaign for Florida’s 3rd congressional district by interning in field and data management or fundraising! Internships are currently remote, students must be college students or high school seniors, and interns can earn a letter of recommendation upon completion. You don’t have to be a resident of Florida to apply.
Upkey is accepting 1000 high school seniors and college undergrads as virtual interns. Students will learn leadership, entrepreneurship, and personal development through project-based learning experiences.
Deadline: August 17th
Websites offering free online courses:
Sidenote: These sites all have free courses, though they also all have paid programs, which offer more services (such as exams or final certificates). A few of these websites also have some courses that can only be taken if paid for - don’t let this deter yo from exploring other courses on the sites!
Long Island University: Summer Honors Institute
The LIU Virtual Summer Honors Institute is an academic and leadership experience for talented rising high school seniors. Join us virtually this summer, July 12 - 14, and get a first-hand look at exceptional academics from a national university. Rolling admissions.
Offers thousands of free online college courses in various subjects. Past courses can be audited, and students are able to converse and follow others.
Offers thousands of free online courses in several subjects through partnerships with companies and universities.
Harvard offers dozens of free online courses, ranging from computer science to religious studies.
Platform offering free online college courses, where students can be quizzed on their knowledge and discuss with other students.
Offers hundreds of free courses, articles, and personal development resources to help people learn and develop themselves from home. Upon completing a course, this site also gives you a free certificate of participation.
A search engine containing thousands of free online courses spanning several topics. Courses are assigned a level of difficulty, time taken to complete, and a rating by those who have taken the course in the past. A free certificate of completion is provided.
Online database connecting students to websites that do. Class Central allows students to choose courses from categories organized by topic, providing reviews and time taken to complete the course.
Offers dozens of free online MIT courses, with both undergraduate and graduate difficulty levels. Many courses are audited, but new courses are added frequently.