The Best Business Summer Programs for High School Students

For high school students who are naturally business-minded, attending a business program can be a great way to use their summer vacation and cultivate that entrepreneurial spirit. 

On top of that, college admissions seem to be becoming more and more competitive with each passing year. 

In light of this trend, students who plan to continue their education after graduating high school would be wise to make the most of all the free time they will have once school lets out for the summer.

Summer programs are a great way to stand out from the crowd. Spending your precious downtime on any academic pursuit shows that you are dedicated, practical, and willing to buckle down even when you are not required to. 

These qualities are precisely the sort of thing that the people who are in charge of making college admissions decisions look for in prospective students. 

Furthermore, participating in a summer college program is an excellent way for students to get first-hand knowledge of what campus life is like at the college they choose.

This insight will prove to be extremely valuable when it comes time to choose what schools to apply to, since there is no better way to know whether the academic, social, and residential environment at a given college is right for you than to go and see for yourself. 

Here, we will explore some of the best business summer programs for high school students all across the country.

Berkeley Business Academy for Youth (Berkeley, CA)

UC Berkeley Haas School of Business
Public domain photo via Wikimedia Commons

Offered by the prestigious University of California at Berkeley, the Berkeley Business Academy for Youth is a two-week program led by Haas School of Business faculty. 

Each year, 50 high school students from all around the world have the opportunity to take part in B-BAY. 

B-BAY students get the chance to sample a taste of campus life at Berkeley while working collaboratively with one another to create and develop a business idea and bring it to life. 

Within just two weeks, B-BAY students receive classroom instruction, conduct independent research, and complete team projects, as well as computer lab assignments. 

All of this is only preparation for the program’s culmination when each team presents its business plans to all faculty and peers. 

After presenting their plans, students will receive a certificate of completion. 

The experience is intended to prepare attendees for college by helping them develop the research presentation and communication skills essential to creating a successful business.  

Business is Global: Summer Language Program at Indiana University (Bloomington, IN)

Business is Global: Summer Language Program is a college preparatory experience offered by the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University. 

Intended to prepare students to enter the world of business in the modern era of globalization, this intensive program offers students the opportunity to choose to study either Arabic, Mandarin Chinese, or Turkish. 

Over the two weeks of the program, they not only study the language of their choice, but also gain a comprehensive understanding of the culture and economy of the countries in which that language is spoken.

With a name like “Business is Global,” this program is perfect for students interested in pursuing a college degree or career in international business. 

On top of that, multilingualism is a valuable skill that will make students stand out to future employers or college admissions officials.

Camino al Futuro at George Washington University (Washington, DC)

George Washington University’s Caminos al Futuro, or “walk to the future” in English, is a three-week-long program for students from Latinx and Hispanic communities. Due to funding from scholarships and generous donors, the program is free of cost. 

The program is designed to help these students develop leadership skills, conduct research, and learn to work in collaboration with others.

During the program, participants have the opportunity to work with leaders and professionals in the areas of business, politics, and economics, creating network connections as they cultivate invaluable skills. 

Students in this program also attend a series of academic lectures given by university faculty in order to become well-informed about the most pressing contemporary issues facing their communities. 

Other program highlights include a writing workshop, leadership development training, and many social and recreational opportunities. 

The Anson L. Clark Scholars Program at Texas Tech University (Lubbock, TX)

The Anson L. Clark Scholars Program at Texas Tech University is a seven-week-long, intensive summer research program open to only 12 high school juniors and seniors each year. 

This program is not only free of charge but also includes a $500 meal card and a $750 stipend upon completion.

Texas Tech University is a tier-one research university with a stellar faculty, giving students in this pre-college summer program the fantastic opportunity to learn from leading experts across all academic areas of study.  

Students who choose to study business during the Clark Scholars Program will have access to all the school’s Jerry S. Rawls College of Business Administration has to offer, including state-of-the-art facilities, the rigorous academic environment on campus, and more.

Syracuse University Summer College (Syracuse, NY)

Syracuse University School of Management
Aspears89, The Martin J. Whitman School of Management, CC BY-SA 4.0

Syracuse University offers students four different delivery options for their pre-college summer programs: on-campus, on-location, online, and hybrid. These four program types range in duration from two to six weeks.

Regardless of which type of program students prefer, there are a vast number of different course offerings relating to business to choose from. 

Corporate law, business innovation, and the team and leadership academy course are only a few of the many different subject areas covered by the college’s summer programs. 

Students who are interested in exploring a new corner of the country can even participate in Syracuse’s on-location pre-college programs at one of their academic centers in New York City, Governors Island, or Los Angeles.

Pre-Collegiate Summer Institute at Stanford (Palo Alto, CA)

Stanford Graduate School of Business
Steve Castillo, Knight Management Center, CC BY 3.0

Stanford’s Pre-Collegiate Summer Institutes offer an extensive array of two-week-long online courses for students in grades eight through eleven. 

Although these programs are for enrichment rather than college credit, students have the opportunity to receive real-time course instruction from Stanford’s world-class faculty, engage in lively discussions with peers, and develop crucial skills for succeeding during college.

The Summer Institute offers three different business courses: innovation and entrepreneurship, business strategy, and strategic marketing. Upon completion of the course of their choosing, students will receive a certificate of completion, as well as a qualitative written evaluation from their instructor. 

The program also includes several student life workshops and other activities that allow participants to get a taste of the Stanford experience.

Edge Summer College Program at the University of Delaware (Newark, DE)

Open to high school sophomores and juniors, the Edge summer program at the University of Delaware offers an introduction to entrepreneurship course. 

The purpose of this course is to aid students in developing a comprehensive understanding of the fundamentals of business, all while earning three college credits. 

The course emphasizes core entrepreneurial skills such as the ability to recognize opportunity, strong communication skills, teamwork, leadership, and resource marshaling. 

In addition to the business class, this 20-day-long program also requires that students participate in a seminar course led by admissions professionals, providing valuable insight into the application process. 

With a maximum of 25 students in each class, participants can benefit from a close-knit learning environment and build connections with like-minded peers from across the country. 

ENDEVVR at Georgia Tech (Philadelphia, PA)

Georgia Institute of Technology
Public domain photo by Daderot via Wikimedia Commons

The ENDEVVR program at Georgia Tech is a four-week, intensive program for high schoolers interested in entrepreneurship. The program is generally held at the University of Pennsylvania, although in recent years have been held online. 

During this program, participants have the unique opportunity to learn not only critical business skills, but also to start actual companies under the mentorship of experts in the field.  

Over only the first two weeks of the program, participants will collaborate with their teammates to develop their ideas into real products. 

They then have the opportunity to connect with actual customers, clients, and investors, giving them invaluable hands-on experience working in the entrepreneurial mentality. 

Students also receive personalized counseling and guidance from the program’s mentors, who are real business professionals with years of experience in this field. 

Summer Precollege Studies Program at Cornell (Ithaca, NY)

Cornell’s Summer Precollege Studies programs offer over 50 different three or six-week-long university courses for students looking to get a head start on studying business at a college level. 

Participants can earn between three to eight college credits depending on the specific course chosen.

During the school’s intensive summer residential programs, participants receive instruction from Cornell’s expert faculty, gain insight into the college admissions process, and enjoy all the social opportunities that campus life at this Ivy League university entails.  

Participants can choose from several different business courses, including an introduction to business management, macroeconomic theory, and marketing.

For students who are interested in interdisciplinary studies, there is also a course called social entrepreneurs, innovators, and problem-solvers, which focuses on the intersection of business and social justice. 

Harvard Pre-College Program (Cambridge, MA)

Harvard is widely known as one of the best colleges in the world, so it is no surprise that this elite college offers an exceptionally rigorous pre-college program for high-achieving high school students.  

The Harvard Pre-College Program is offered only on campus, giving students a chance to get a taste of what it is like to attend an Ivy League university. Participants can choose from among over 100 different two-week long, non-credit courses, studying in small classes of around only 15 students. 

Emphasizing the importance and value of learning for learning’s sake, students do not get letter grades. Instead, at the end of the program, they will receive a written evaluation from the course instructor, as well as a “grade” of AR or NM, meaning “requirements met” or “requirements not met.”
Course offerings include intellectual property law for the start-up and entrepreneur.