Top 10 Summer Programs For Humanities Aspirants In High School

Your school year’s long summer break could often become a boring ordeal. The days stretch on, and you hole yourself up inside your house for most of the break. But you know what? You can choose not to let it be that way. In fact, you could make the most out of this break. 

Just imagine you have plenty of time at your disposal. This means you could take up all those activities you have pushed back into your ‘do it later list.’ Moreover, high school is the most suitable period to explore your interests. It is at this time when the major bunch of students comes to know themselves better, they find out their interests, and some of them even begin their pursuit in the same field of interest. Even if you do not identify with this fortunate group of students, you can still keep calm because this break might bring you some clarity about your own interest and passion. 

So, if you are one of those high school students with a keen interest in animation, robotics, fashion or even dance, this is the best time for you to pursue your interest full-time. Join a summer camp or a program, and get your hands full with activities that will keep you burning with passion. And even if you are unsure whether you are truly interested in the humanities, you can still take this chance to explore it fully. So that, in the end, you can make a final decision of your own. There wouldn’t remain any room for regrets. 

Therefore, in this post, we will cover a list of 10 humanities summer programs for high schoolers while giving them the major insider’s knowledge about what to expect in a humanities summer program.

What to Look For In A Humanities Program?

If you are a freshman and want to spend some time in a summer program, chances are you might question, “what should I expect from the summer program?” 

These are some of the most obvious questions that strikes you right after you make your decision to join a summer program. And your concern is valid considering the fact that you will be investing the whole of your summer into the program. The time and energy that you give into the program should definitely reap its rewards, and expecting some return is only normal and fair. 

So, how do you make that one choice out of many available options? Here’s a checklist to help you out. 

1. Choose according to your specific interest

Humanities is a vast field that merges a variety of subjects. Therefore, here, you need to know which subject fascinates you and based on that knowledge, you make your choice. 

2. Consider the school that interests you

The same summer program could be offered by a number of schools. Therefore, if there is a school that specifically interests you, you need to check whether the school offers summer programs for your concerned subject. 

3. Consider the returns

What do you get after you finish the program? This is the most practical aspect that deserves due consideration. Therefore, check and double-check whether the program provides you with real hands-on experience that could prove valuable for your future. 

4. Application deadline and requirement

Once you have finished checking out the earlier points and you come up with the final choice, don your research hat and find out important details about the program such as the application procedure, required documents, and deadlines.   

List Of Summer Programs For Students Who Want To Pursue Humanities

1. Iowa Young Writers’ Studio

All the aspiring writers out there must have definitely heard of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa. Unfortunately, high schoolers aren’t eligible for the workshop until they get into graduate school. But to make up for that loss, the university also hosts a summer program for young writers known as the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio. 

This is a two-week-long summer program that aims to hone the creative writing skills of young high schoolers. Seminars, workshops, and writing exercises like peer edits and constructive criticism work together to create a creative environment for budding writers. 

2. Yale Summer Drama Program 

Yale Summer Drama Program is the best program for students looking for arts summer programs in theatre. Applicants in this program must choose between the 5-week-long Conservatory for Actors and the 10-Day Director’s Workshop offered by the University. The acting workshop provides you with an intensive introduction to the basics of acting. 

It allows you to analyze text, improve your delivery techniques through on-camera acting, understand vocal production and articulation, and study scenes to understand how different elements come together and create a production. Whereas the Director’s Workshop leans more towards the technical side of theatre. While working with actors in rehearsal, you’ll study set design, the importance of voice, and stage management in more detail. 

3. Medill-Northwestern Journalism Institute

Do the “get to know you” questions intrigue you? If yes, then journalism can be the option for you! This journalism camp equips rising high school students with hands-on experience in writing, reporting, and editing for print and digital broadcasting. If you are planning to apply for a top journalism university program, then participating in this summer program would literally make your profile shine. In this five-week summer institute, you’ll get to meet fellow aspiring journalists from all over the world and participate in a variety of journalistic initiatives, from conducting interviews to working on stories about trending topics. A mentor to critique your writing assignment is just the cherry on top.

4. Juilliard Summer Dance Incentive

If dancing is your forte, you should consider applying for this program. Most of the students applying for this program have intensively trained themselves in ballet. This program becomes a way for them to refine their technique and performance further. 

This three-week program aims to introduce them to Julliard and its college dance programs. Students receive training in ballet and modern dance forms, participate in yoga classes, and showcase their skills at the end-of-the-year showcase. 

5. Anson L Clark Scholars Program 

The Anson L Clark Scholars Program is a seven-week summer research program for twelve highly qualified high school seniors and juniors. The program offered by the Texas University helps scholars have hands-on research experience with the help of highly qualified faculties. 

The program is free of cost; qualified students will also receive a 500-dollar meal card with free boarding and accommodation. Students will also get to be a part of fun activities, weekly seminars, and field trips. Upon completing a successful research project report, the student shall also receive a $750 tax-free stipend. 

6. RISD Pre College

If you’re looking for a visual arts summer program, the Rhode Island School of Design offers a six-week-long pre-college experience for all the young artists out there. Attending this camp will give you an idea of what your college experience would be like if you are planning to apply for a visual arts college. 

You’ll get to follow a college-style curriculum with day-long studio classes. You can also use the college’s resources, such as the Nature Lab and the RISD Museum. This program will make you experiment with new materials, tools, and techniques while learning from award-winning mentors.

7. UC Berkeley embARC Summer Design Academy

EmbARC is a four-week-long program hosted by UC Berkeley’s School of Environmental Design. The program brings together high school students from diverse backgrounds to explore architecture, urban design, and sustainable city planning through integrated components such as an architecture + urban design studio, a sustainable city planning workshop, a digital design workshop, an environmental design conversation series, and a materials exploration workshop.

8. New York University Tisch Summer Program 

NYU’s Tisch School of Arts has a lot to offer. In the four-week-long provided by the University, students get to choose their field of study from a variety of options such as Dance, Drama, Dramatic Writing, Drama Production and Design, Filmmaking, Game Desing, Photography and Imaging, and Recorded Music. 

This residential program includes highly structured classes, which include doing projects, receiving professional training, and collaborating. At the end of the program, you will have a chance to showcase your work – your play, video game, choreography – depending on your track.

9. Boston University Tanglewood Institute (BUTI) 

If you’re looking for the musical side of things when it comes to art summer programs, Boston University offers the chance to learn from and collaborate with musicians from the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Tanglewood Music Center at BUTI. Depending on your instrument, you can attend programs ranging in duration from two to six weeks. 

Two-week long workshops are provided in the following instruments: Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon, Saxophone, Trumpet, Horn, Trombone, Tuba and Euphonium, Percussion, Violin, Viola, Cello, Double Bass, String Quartet, and Electroacoustic Composition. While instruments like Orchestra, Harp, Piano, and Voice and Composition are covered in six-week-long workshops. 

10. National Security Language Initiative for Youth

The U.S. Department of State’s National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y) program was launched in 2006 to promote critical language learning among American youth. Sponsored by The U.S. Department of State, in cooperation with American Councils for International Education, the program offers scholarships to meritorious scholars to immerse them in language instruction in eight less frequently learned languages: Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Indonesian, Korean, Persian, Russian, and Turkish. While living with the host families, the participants get to know a whole new culture. 


Once you are done with your research and know which program you are going to attend this summer, you need to get yourself moving with the application process in a timely manner. Check whether the application requires a special audition or a portfolio, and prepare them in advance if it does. A summer program in one of these prestigious colleges will definitely boost your profile during your college application. 

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