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The Gillnetter

The Gillnetter

A guide to summer programs for high schoolers

Aurelia Harrison
A snapshot from Aurelia Harrison’s time at the Young Writers Workshop at Simon’s Rock.

The task of building your college resume and figuring out what your interests are is daunting for any high school student. Many colleges expect applicants to apply under a certain major or to a certain program, but how does one figure out what truly engages them? As wonderful as Gloucester is, it is easy to get trapped in the bubble and opt to stay within the confines of the community until college. There is an easy remedy to this issue: summer programs.

Countless colleges and institutions offer summer programs, in almost every subject imaginable. Summer programs are a chance to bulk up a college application, forge new connections and friendships with people across the country, and explore education beyond the walls of Gloucester High School.

Having an experience away from the comforts of ones own home is excellent practice for when college comes. All of these programs are residential, and some have an online option for students not able to travel.

Summer programs
The Arts

The Interlochen Arts Camp, held in Interlochen, Michigan, offers a wide variety of summer courses for middle and high school students. Students can opt to take either a six-week or a three-week session, or a one-week intensive course. The program offers courses in the following areas: visual arts, theater, creative writing, dance, film, music, and interdisciplinary arts. Students are led through a combination of arts courses and typical camp activities, like canoeing and hiking. 

For students interested in music-related fields specifically, the Berklee School of Music offers summer programs ranging from one to five weeks, encompassing a wide range of subject matter. Students can opt for a course in an instrument, dance, musical theater, music production, and more. No audition is required for the majority of courses.

The Savannah College of Art and Design offers two rounds of their five-week summer program, SCAD Rising Star, in Atlanta and Savannah, Georgia. While there, students pick from a wide variety of courses to tailor their artistic education to their interests, from textiles to filmmaking. Students can earn college credits to use either at SCAD or at another complying institution.

Dreaming of the big screen? UCLA offers a three-week performing arts summer camp at their Acting and Performance Summer Institute, from June 23rd-July 13th. The course is graded, and UC college credit is possible for students who pass. The program includes instruction in the complexities of acting, and lessons in movement. The course is rigorous, and features a student showcase at the end.


Interested in lab-based, hands-on science experiences? ImpactLab at the Wentworth Institute of Technology is a two-week program meant to provide students with a chance to explore a new area of science. The course runs in 2 sessions: Session One is July 7th-July 19th, and Session Two is July 21st-August 2nd. Applicants pick from the available session courses, and preference in course is given to applications submitted before March 1st. From computer science to architecture to engineering, ImpactLab seeks to give students an active role in their STEM exploration.

The Acadia Institute of Oceanology offers 5 summer programs for those interested in biology and environmentalism: the Introductory, Intermediate, and Advanced Programs for middle and high schoolers, the Florida Program, and the Tropical Program. With college credit opportunities and an emphasis on field work and hands-on learning, AIO is a great option for students looking to build practical knowledge and travel to new places.

If your interests lie in architecture and design specifically, the Boston Architectural College hosts a Summer Academy that students can take for college credit or simply for fun. Whether you’re interested in landscape architecture, interior design, or coding, the BAC Summer Academy offers a range of design-based courses and classes during the month-long program from July 1st-August 2nd. Apply early, and students get a 200 dollar discount.

The Boston Leadership Institute offers one-week and three-week courses in coding, neuroscience, astrophysics, forensics, and more. Students can choose from several course options, all held over the summer at different times and locations. Academically-minded students looking to get a jump on STEM coursework can participate in an Edge program, which lay foundations for challenging AP or Honors coursework in anticipation of the upcoming academic year.

In addition to these, MIT and BU both offer competitive STEM summer programs.

Creative Writing

The Young Writers Workshop at Simon’s Rock is a three-week creative writing workshop in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. Hosted by Bard College at Simon’s Rock, the program focuses on free-form and expressive writing spanning genres and styles. While at the YWW, students will have opportunities to go on field trips to plays and museums, explore the Berkshires, and forge lifelong connections. This year, the program runs from July 7th to July 27th, and admits students on a rolling admission basis. 

For students looking to travel farther, the Iowa Young Writers Studio offers a two-week creative writing program at the University of Iowa. The Iowa Writers Workshop is also a renowned graduate program, and has produced famous authors from Kurt Vonnegut to Sandra Cisneros. The Iowa Young Writers Studio is an opportunity for high schoolers to get a taste of that prestigious community, while they opt for a core class in fiction, poetry, creative writing, playwriting, or TV writing.

For something shorter, the Reynolds Young Writers Workshop at Denison College in Granville, Ohio is an eight-day writing workshop running from June 22nd to June 29th. Attending students live in Denison College dorms and work with a variety of professional writers and TAs during the course. The Reynolds YWW is praised for its high-quality writing education and generous financial aid for attending students.

Held at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, The Kenyon Young Writers Residential Workshop is a two-week creative writing camp run during two sessions: June 23rd-July 6th, and July 14th-July 27th. Focused on cultivating creativity and discussion, the Kenyon YWW offers both in-class writing time and voluntary genre-specific sessions. The program is run by many talented writers, several of whom are published in the Kenyon Review themselves.

Looking for more options? Many east coast colleges, from BU to Sarah Lawrence, offer a variety of summer creative writing courses through the college.


The Hampshire College Summer Studies in Mathematics program is a six-week summer intensive in college-level mathematics, where students engage in lectures, participate in workshops, and problem-solve. Between classes, students have the opportunity to go on field trips and decompress with fun activities. Hosted at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts, HCSSiM is intended to give students an intense and engaging exploration into the world of high-level math.

For students able to travel, the Canada/USA Mathcamp is a math program hosted this year in Tacoma, Washington from June 30th to August 4th at the University of Puget Sound. Students work with undergraduate and graduate-level math concepts, and are encouraged to take the lead on their own education in terms of what they are interested in. The schedule is highly flexible, with most activities being optional, and field trips happen on Sundays and Mondays.

Tentatively scheduled at Rivier University in Nashua, New Hampshire, Idea Math Camp is a math program for rising grades 4-12, spanning 9 days from June 23th-July 3rd. The camp has both a residential group and a half-day program. Using a seminar-style approach to math education, Idea Math Camp offers a variety of different math courses that students can place into via a benchmark.

Looking for more options location-wise? Ross Mathematics Program is a 6-week summer intensive program for mathematically-minded high school students. The program this year is held in 2 locations: June 9th-July 19th at Otterbein University in Columbus, Ohio, and June 16th-July 26th at the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Indiana. Activities include daily number theory discussions and lectures, an emphasis on group problem-solving, and unstructured time for completing work and building community.


The School of the New York Times offers an enormous range of courses for students interested in any area of journalism or writing. Courses offered include investigative journalism, food journalism, climate change and public policy, opinion writing, photojournalism, and many more. Each course is two weeks (or one term) long, and the entire program runs on a four-term schedule. The program is run in Manhattan, New York, and students reside in the Fordham University dorms.

The Asian American Journalists Association is once again hosting JCamp, a six-day intensive journalism course led by journalists and media executives. The program is open to students of all ethnic backgrounds, and is all-expenses paid, including the costs of travel and housing. JCamp is held in a different city every year, and intends to bring focus to the stories of communities of color.

For an experience closer to home, Boston University offers a Summer Journalism Academy, which runs from June 24th to July 12th. Students have the opportunity to study under a working journalist and learning practical journalism skills in the field. Additionally, students get a 400 dollar discount if they apply before March 8th.


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About the Contributor
Aurelia Harrison, Editor in Chief
Aurelia Harrison (they/them) is a senior and Editor in Chief for the Gillnetter. Their interests include writing, thinking about writing, music, and talking. They work at The Bookstore of Gloucester on the weekends, are a member of drama club, and love nature walks and famed Colombian pop star Shakira. They have been published in lit journals such as IAMB Magazine and The Empty Inkwell, and have received awards for their poetry and journalism. If you happen to engage Aurelia in conversation about philosophy, The Hunger Games, or Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumours” album, bring a sleeping mask. You have been warned. Email them at [email protected]  

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