21 Architecture Summer Programs For High School Students To Apply

“You are a high school student who is fascinated by the art of designing buildings and structures”

“You are looking to explore your creative side and gain valuable experience before college”

“You are craving to learn from experienced architects and industry experts”

If you could resonate with any of the points above, you’re definitely someone with a passion for design and a love for architecture who is scrolling internet pages looking for the perfect opportunity. If so, then an architecture summer program comes to your rescue.

Let’s explore the fascinating world of architecture and make the most of our vacation time. From designing models to creating 3D prototypes, these programs provide students with hands-on experience in the field of architecture along with a chance to learn from experts in the field and collaborate with like-minded peers. 

So, if you’re ready to learn and take your first baby step toward your passion, read on to discover the many architecture summer programs available for you.

Exploring Architecture: Interesting & fun summer programs for high school students

High school is the most crucial time for students as this is the time they have to decide and prepare for their future and summer vacations bring in the perfect opportunity to learn and explore various career opportunities. This is where students will land on a number of summer programs available for every field. Given below are some summer programs exclusively for architecture and related fields.

1. TeenArch Studio Summer Institute Program by the University of California, Los Angeles

  • Eligibility: 8th-12th grade in Spring 2023 & Ages 14-17
  • Program Dates: In-person – July 9- July 29, 2023, Virtual – July 10 – July 28, 2023
  • Fees:  In-person class – $4,731, Virtual class – $2886 (This is the total fee amount including program fee, registration fee, IEI fee, and Document fee) 
  • Mode of instruction: Both In-person and online
  • Deadline: June 15, 2023
  • Financial aid – For California high school students, full and partial financial aid is available. For more information, please visit this link.

This 3-week long summer program is structured not just to introduce and familiarize high school students with the concept of architecture and designing but also to give a sense of the life of a college student before becoming one. This summer design studio will equip students with the basic fundamental skills and the knowledge essential to start their journey toward a career in architecture. 

From studio projects to group discussions to even one-on-one interaction with the architects and designers, the program is designed with lots of activities which will be followed by a final review with a group of evaluators. In addition to this, this program carries three-quarter units of UC credit.

2. JumpStart Summer Institute – Introduction to Architecture Program by the University of California, Los Angeles

  • Eligibility: High school diploma (or equivalent)
  • Program Dates: July 5 – July 28, 2023
  • Fees: $3,563.12
  • Mode of instruction: On-Campus 
  • Deadline: June 15, 2023
  • Financial aid – For California high school students, full and partial financial aid is available. For more information, please visit this link.

If you’re someone who is passionate about design thinking or ideation and not particularly architecture or related fields, then this course is for you. You do not need to have any prior knowledge or experience to enroll as this is what this program is for. This 4-week program will introduce students to architectural form, space, order, and material innovation.

Moreover, this program will not only acquaint students with drawing and 3D modeling but also introduce them to industry-standard modeling and drawing environments like AutoCAD, Maya, Rhino, and 3D Studio. Students will also be eligible for 6 quarter units of UC credit after successfully completing the program.

3. Summer Academy by Boston Architectural College

  • Eligibility: High school students (Grades 9 – 12)
  • Program Dates: July 5 – August 4, 2023
  • Fees: $1,500 
  • Mode of instruction: Both online and offline options are available
  • Deadline: June 1, 2023
  • Financial aid – scholarships available 

Hey, aspiring architects, engineers, interior designers, and artists, what are you waiting for? This is the perfect summer program for you with both the options of online and offline learning providing opportunities to everyone. While On-campus students will be having hands-on experience and live interactions, kits of materials and supplies will be sent to the students attending the classes virtually allowing them to practice wherever they are. 

Students will get access to the latest in design software along with a 3D printing pen to use in their designs. The course will help build a physical as well as an online portfolio. Also, the students of grades 11th and 12th who will complete the course will be awarded 1.5 college credits along with a $2000 scholarship for any BAC’s undergraduate program.

4. Introduction to Architecture Online by The Cooper Union

  • Eligibility: High school junior and senior students. High school graduates and international students can also apply
  • Program Dates: July 5 – August 8, 2023
  • Fees: Program fee – $2,980 and Registration fee – $40 (Additional charges for supplies)
  • Mode of instruction: Online
  • Deadline: June 1, 2023
  • Financial aid – No scholarships available

This 5-week summer program is all about introducing students to the world of architecture that not only focuses on creating and thinking of a design but how to translate that into a 3D prototype and real model. This program allows students to learn and work on different professional tools such as Rhino for 3D modeling, Photoshop for designing, and 3D printing, and for this, the students are required to have a PC or MAC with system requirements that can run this software.

Cooper Union will provide full access to Adobe creative cloud applications for the duration of the program. In addition to this, this program familiarizes students with the historical context to make them understand the various perspectives and the cultural evolution of the designs and the process. Upon completion, students will get an official certificate of completion from the Cooper Union.

5. Introduction to interior design by New Jersey Institute of Technology

  • Eligibility: High school sophomores, juniors, and seniors
  • Program Dates: July 9 – July 14, 2023
  • Fees: $1,650
  • Mode of instruction: On-Campus 
  • Deadline: May 31
  • Financial aid – NA

Interior designing is all about making the inside space look aesthetically pleasing and comfy enough to live and relax. If you’re someone with a knack for designing and readjusting your home furniture essentials to experiment with different space looks, then this program is for you!

This program will take you through a series of lessons, hands-on practice, and field trips to develop a basic understanding of the design principles as well as different materials to use in space. After completing this 1-week course, you’ll get a chance to present your work and your portfolio will be ready to take back home and use for your applications for colleges.

6. The Introduction to Architecture Summer Program by Cornell’s College of Architecture, Art, and Planning

  • Eligibility: Must be at least 15 years old or above. High school sophomores, juniors, and seniors can apply
  • Program Dates: June 20 – July 28, 2023
  • Fees: $10,080 (six credits at $1,680 per credit). Textbook purchases are not included in the tuition charge.
  • Mode of instruction: Online
  • Deadline: May 29, 2023
  • Financial Aid: Scholarships are available. Check here for more information

If you’ve no prior knowledge and are completely new to the subject, then this program is for you. This is a 6-credit program that is divided into two courses of 3 credits each. Both courses will familiarize students with the many aspects of architecture including history, design principles, preservation, landscape architecture, building technology, and cultural factors. 

The program not only helps build architectural drawing skills but also develops architectural problem-solving techniques. The course is delivered through lectures, demonstrations, discussions, film screenings, and virtual tours of museum collections along with guest lectures. Students will be able to build a portfolio with the help of personalized feedback on their work and periodic evaluations.

7. Project Pipeline Summer Camp

  • Eligibility: High School Rising Freshman – Rising Seniors. An exception is there for 8th graders and high school students who have just graduated that are interested in Architecture
  • Program Dates: July 21 – July 23, 2023
  • Fees: Free
  • Mode of instruction: Offline (Small Center for Collaborative Design which is 1725 Baronne Street, Central City)
  • Deadline: NA
  • Financial aid – NA

This is a 3-day summer camp that focuses mainly on encouraging high school students to analyze their surroundings and design a real-world project that addresses an issue in the community. The program connects students to real-world architects and planners and guides them through all stages of design, from investigating to designing and creating a 3d model prototype.

The program aims to help students enhance and refine their thinking skills, design, and creativity and culminates with a showcase of the final presentation of the real-world project which is open to family, friends, and educators. The 3-day camp is followed by a field trip on July 26 for which rising 6th – 12th graders can register separately for the same.

8. Build San Francisco Summer Design Institue by Architectural Foundation San Francisco

  • Eligibility: High school students
  • Program Dates: June 12 – June 30, 2023, or July 10 – July 28, 2023
  • Fees: $3000. Half of the payment needs to be paid at the time of the registration. Full refund for cancellations before June
  • Mode of instruction: Online
  • Deadline: NA
  • Financial aid – Need-based aid is available

The program mainly focuses on familiarizing students with software programs like SketchUp and the Autodesk family of modeling software used for designing, 3D modeling, video, and animation. It helps students work on their projects using professional tools and build their portfolio which will come in handy while applying for colleges. 

The program requires students to have an internet-connected computer that is working fine and can install the required software programs. The classes will be online via Zoom platform and students will have a chance for 1:1 mentoring and guidance from a professional expert. The program encourages and helps students to work on their design skills and learn to use technology effectively.

9. Design Projects by the School of the Art Institute of Chicago

  • Eligibility: Students of age 15 – 18
  • Program Dates: June 19 – June 30, 2023
  • Fees: Program fee – $1,785
  • Mode of instruction: Online
  • Deadline: NA
  • Financial aid – Merit scholarship and Need based scholarship available

If you’re interested in learning about modern-day architecture, then this program is for you. The main focus of the program is contemporary architecture through collaboration, 1:1 mentorship, online demonstrations, visiting artist presentations, and online museum resources. From ideation, drawing, and researching to drafting, and developing projects, this program has covered everything. 

In addition to this, along with traditional methods, students will learn about software such as Adobe and Rhino 3D. The program will guide students in building a quality portfolio and developing competitive applications for college admissions to art and design programs. Apart from this, upon completion, students are eligible for a 1.0 college credit which makes it a full-fledged summer program.

10. High School Design Studio by Columbus Center for Architecture and Design

  • Eligibility: Grade 9 – 12
  • Program Dates: June 12 – June 23, 2023
  • Fees: $590
  • Mode of instruction: On-Campus (Knowlton School of Architecture at The Ohio State University)
  • Deadline: NA 
  • Financial aid – Need-based scholarships are available

High school design studio (HSDS) is a two-week program to explore every field that falls under the design discipline. The high school students will get college-level experience and exposure all the while learning and exploring. Every year, there are different themes and this year the theme decided is “Figure vs Ground” which aims to develop the understanding of how figure/ground affects form, space, and order.

Students will get a chance to learn from counselors and professionals from various fields including architecture, interior design, city planning, engineering, etc by participating in activities, and projects, creating drawings and models, and receiving personalized feedback from industry experts.

11. Architecture Camp by Auburn University College of Architecture, Design, and Construction

  • Eligibility: Rising Grade 11th – 12th
  • Program Dates: Session 1: June 11-16, 2023 | Session 2: June 25-June 30, 2023 | Session 3: July 9-14, 2023
  • Fees: $905
  • Mode of instruction: On-Campus 
  • Deadline: NA
  • Financial aid – Full-camp scholarships are available

The architecture camp brings you the opportunity to learn from Auburn University faculty experts with diverse backgrounds that will lay the foundation for the basic architectural and design skills strong and secure. High school students will not only get to learn and explore but also experience campus life while staying at Auburn’s resident dormitories.

From basic concepts to working on live projects, the camp will provide a lot of hands-on experience along with a chance to display their work at the end of the week. The program aims to introduce high school students to the world of architecture through interactive lectures, discussions, and 1:1 feedback which will ensure that students receive a broad perspective of the different aspects of design.

12. Pre-College Design Program by Georgia Institute of Technology

  • Eligibility: Rising high school juniors and seniors
  • Program Dates: June 11 – June 23, 2023, & July 9 – July 21, 2023
  • Fees: $2,500
  • Mode of instruction: On-Campus 
  • Deadline: NA. Applications are reviewed on a first-come first-serve basis.
  • Financial aid – Full and partial scholarships are available

Get a chance to immerse yourself in hands-on experience along with visits to different construction sites, tons of practice with drones, 3D printing, and many more with this two-week intensive summer program. This program will teach you the required computer software like REVIT to create the model of the building and take the 3D print of your designs.

In addition to this, the program provides the pre-college experience and an opportunity to learn from world-class faculty. However, please note that there are 2 sessions under this program and the seats for session 2 for the program Building Construction Session II are only open currently and rest of the programs are already filled but you can keep checking it for next year’s updates.

13. Young Women’s Design and building institute by Gils Garage

  • Eligibility: 9th – 12th-grade girls and gender-expansive youth
  • Program Dates: There will be 2 groups for 1 week each. June 13 – June 23, 2023
  • Fees: Free
  • Mode of instruction: Offline (Girls Garage location)
  • Deadline: No more accepting any applications, but you may keep checking it for next year’s dates. The applications open around February 1st to March 1st.

This week-long program features working on a project for local nonprofit clients. With such real-world project and experience, students will get a chance to work on their different skill set which includes architectural designing, carpentry, welding, screen printing, etc. 

The program is led by highly skilled builders, educators, artists, and architects whose guidance and feedback will help high schoolers build fundamentals and hone the required skills. No matter at what skill level you are, this program demands no prior knowledge or experience. Additionally, students will get 1:1 college and career mentorship along with a chance to build STEM Industry connections.

14. embARC Summer Design Academy by Berkeley College of Environmental Design

  • Eligibility: Rising high school juniors and seniors (11th & 12th grade) with GPA of 3.0 or higher. International students can also apply
  • Program Dates: July 3 – July 28, 2023
  • Fees: Domestic visitors – $4,885 and International visitors – $7,665. Check here for a detailed fee structure.
  • Mode of instruction: In-person (College Campus)
  • Deadline: Currently, the applications are on hold. Kindly keep checking the official website for updates
  • Financial aid – Need-based aid is available

This 4-week summer program by CED integrates various components of architecture in one single program which takes your passion all the way to the next level. This program includes an urban design studio, sustainable city planning workshop, digital design workshop, environmental design, and materials exploration workshop that gives endless opportunities to high schoolers to learn and explore.

The program requires no prior knowledge or experience and focuses on building a strong foundation of the subjects. Students will be able to build their own portfolio which will be of great help while applying to colleges. The program allows students to work on real-world projects and design solutions to real urban planning problems which help develop problem-solving and critical thinking skills. Additionally, students will get a certificate of completion along with a credit on an official UC Berkeley transcript.

15. High school camp by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln

  • Eligibility: High school students
  • Program Dates: June 11 – June 16, 2023
  • Fees: Program fee – $650
  • Mode of instruction: On-Campus
  • Deadline: The application dates open around February and go till April.
  • Financial aid – High school workshop scholarship available

This summer camp allows high schoolers to explore careers in the field of architecture and interior design. The aim of the camp is to let students observe their surroundings and analyze real-world design challenges. Students do not need to have courses such as art or drafting in order to apply for the program.

This program fee covers everything from studio supplies, program fees, meals, and lodging. Students will get to learn about architectural conventions, practice different real-world client scenarios, and build required skills through discussions, design studio explorations, and video presentations.

16. Experiment in Architecture by IIT College of Architecture

  • Eligibility: High school students
  • Program Dates: July10 – July 22, 2023
  • Fees: Program fee – $1,595 (daytime/ non-residential), $2,395 (residential, on-campus room and board included)
  • Mode of instruction: On-Campus
  • Deadline: Accepting wait-list applications
  • Financial aid – Limited number of scholarships are available

Are you ready to learn from one of the prestigious institutions of Architecture? This 2-week program is definitely an opportunity not to lose. This program is designed to introduce high school students to the fundamentals of architecture through exercises, seminars, and group discussions with expert practitioners.

Students will get a chance to try their hands on 2D/3D modeling software along with hand drafting all the while preparing and working for the final project. The program will conclude with an online exhibition of the projects made by the students for their portfolios.

17. HiArch by the College of Architecture, Design, and the Arts

  • Eligibility: High school students (Rising freshmen to graduating seniors)
  • Program Dates: Week 1 – July 10 – July 14, 2023, Week 2 – July 17 – July 21, 2023
  • Fees: Program fee – $400 for week 1 and $600 for both the weeks
  • Mode of instruction: On-Campus (But is a non-residential program)
  • Deadline: Accepting wait-list applications
  • Financial aid – NA

This summer program aims to build the foundational skills required to pursue architecture as a career. It is divided into two weeks and a student can register for week 1 or both weeks but in case, if you’re applying for week 2 then make sure you’ve completed week 1. Students do not need to have any previous knowledge or experience in this program. 

From hand drawing to creating 3D prototypes, this course has everything covered. The course will be led by group discussions, design exercises, and tutorials. Students will receive one-on-one feedback while working on a number of projects that can be used for building their portfolios.

18. Summer Design Academy by Norwich University

  • Eligibility: High school sophomores, juniors, and seniors
  • Program Dates: July 9 – July 15, 2023
  • Fees: $850
  • Mode of instruction: On-Campus 
  • Deadline: The applications are still being reviewed until the camp is full
  • Financial aid – After completing the program, the student will be eligible for $1000 which will apply toward the cost of Norwich University tuition

Norwich University brings you an immersive 1-week summer program to build up your fundamentals in the field of architectural composition and design thinking. The program includes seminars, sketching and drafting, model building, guest lectures, workshops, and field trips. 

The program not only takes you through the series of lessons but also allows you to reflect on your work by getting 1:1 feedback and working on the same. Moreover, there will be an exhibition at the end of the program where all the work by students will be put up for parents, educators, and visitors and every student will have their portfolio ready by successfully completing the program.

19. Pre-College Architecture by Carnegie Mellon University 

  • Eligibility: Should be at least 16 years of age and currently a high school sophomore or junior
  • Program Dates: July 1 – July 28, 2023
  • Fees: $9,249
  • Mode of instruction: On-Campus 
  • Deadline: The applications open around February 1st to March 15th.
  • Financial aid – Need-based full scholarships are available. Please note, international students are not eligible for scholarships.

This 4-week summer program covers everything a high school student can ask for in terms of experience, knowledge, and skills. Students will work on a series of projects to build conceptual knowledge and learn to express their ideas through 2D, 3D, and digital drawings.

The program’s main aim is to build foundational architectural skills and knowledge along with analytical thinking and design thinking. Besides basic drawing and creating prototypes, the program will also focus on Photoshop, Illustrator, and Rhinoceros to build and develop digital skills.

20. ArchStart by Taubman College

  • Eligibility: High school sophomores, juniors, seniors, and rising college freshmen
  • Program Dates: July 9 – July 14, 2023
  • Fees: $3,600 (This cost is for 2023. It may change for next year)
  • Mode of instruction: On-Campus 
  • Deadline: The applications open around February till May. Interested students can fill out this inquiry form for next year’s applications. 
  • Financial aid – Watson A. Young Scholarship is available for Michigan residents with an annual family income of $65,000 and under

This 1-week immersive program will expose high school students to the design principles, which are a must for anyone looking to make their career in any field related to design. Students will engage in different workshops, visits to architecture firms, and projects, giving hands-on experience in various aspects of architecture. 

All in all, this program will prepare you for the world of design by helping you develop analytical skills, conceptual skills, and real-world problem-solving skills. In addition to architecture knowledge, Taubman College will review the applications and admission process and students will also receive insights into the college application process and how to prepare for their college experience.

21. Discovering Architecture by Drexel University

  • Eligibility: High school students at least 16 years of age who have completed their junior year by July 2023 are welcome to apply.
  • Program Dates: July 9 – July 22, 2023
  • Fees: $3,450 for the residential program and $2,750 for non-residential program
  • Mode of instruction: On-Campus 
  • Deadline: Keep checking the official website for next year’s dates. The applications open from around February till April.
  • Financial aid – NA

This two-week intensive summer program introduces students to the fundamentals of architecture by focusing on the process of design thinking and generating sustainable solutions. The program will take place in the form of lectures, workshops from experts, and special activities like cultural events and field trips to significant architectural sites in Philadelphia.

Additionally, this program will expose students to computer 2D/3D software such as Sketch-Up Pro and Podium to create three-dimensional models and explore space in a digital format. Students will deliver a presentation to faculty members and invited professionals at the end of the program. Also, the parents will have the chance to view the gallery show.

Little steps to take to start preparing for Architecture from high school 

It is always good to start early if you know what you want to pursue as a profession. High school prepares us for our future endeavors and lays the foundation for the required skills, so given below are some crucial factors that can be worked upon from high school itself if architecture is what you dream for.

  1. Subjects to focus more on – Maths and science is what will set the base for architecture. Concepts like algebra, statistics, geometry, and calculus in mathematics along with courses especially in physics and chemistry are crucial for architecture basics. Besides, Art and design play an equally important role as architects’ main role is designing. 
  1. Working on specific skill sets – There are many skills that are a must for an architect aspirant. However, it takes time to develop those skills. First and foremost, is drawing and sketching followed by computer and technical skills. Both skills are the basic requirement for architecture. Along with these, creativity and design thinking, communication skills, paying attention to details, and observational skills are what characterize the pre-requisite skills for an architect. 
  1. High school electivesHigh school electives are a great opportunity to learn and practice new skills and explore different career paths. For architecture, you can take graphic design, interior design, creative writing, computer math, probability and statistics, environmental science, physics, 3D art, drawing, building construction, and computer-aided drafting. 

Note – These are some selective elective courses available to high school students. Please check with your school for the same.

  1. Scholarships – There are a number of scholarships available for architecture aspirants to check while preparing for and exploring colleges. Keep checking for regular updates to make sure you do not miss out on important dates and deadlines. Some scholarships require you to submit an essay for which you’ll need a good command of language and creative writing as mentioned above. 
  1. Extracurricular Activities – To explore and practice different skill sets, high school students can immerse themselves in extracurricular activities. Communication skills activities and creative writing activities will help you practice accurately expressing yourself which will be important in all situations like communicating your ideas and designs. Also, college readiness activities can prepare you for everything from exploring to applying to different colleges.

Summing Up

Architecture summer programs for high school students offer a valuable opportunity to explore the field of architecture and design. Providing pre-college experience, these programs allow students to learn and practice through hands-on activities, guest lectures, 1:1 feedback from industry experts, and group discussions.

Through these programs, students can work on their creative thinking skills, problem-solving skills, and critical thinking skills by working and finding solutions to real-world projects and problems. In addition to this, these programs will help make portfolios that are a must for every graduating high school student aspiring to build a career in the field of architecture.

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