The Best Summer Programs in Michigan for High School Students

Summer vacations in high school bring to mind images of lazy days spent hanging out with friends or relaxing at home to many students. 

However, others will see the summer break as an opportunity to explore areas of interest through summer camps or programs to achieve goals of gaining admission to a competitive university program or landing an exciting and rewarding job right after graduating from high school.

Summer programs in arts, business, education, STEM fields, social justice, and others abound in Michigan. They are sure to provide an enriching experience to any student who chooses to enroll in one. 

These programs allow for exploring areas of potential interest before committing to a specific program or major in college.

With programs and camps put on by universities, private organizations, and other institutions, Michigan students have a diverse and exciting array of opportunities available to them as they consider how they wish to make the most of their summer vacations.

There are many options available to high school students in the state, and choosing the right one can take time and effort for many students. 

We have put together the following list of several of the best summer programs and camps available to students in the state of Michigan to help students decide on the best opportunity available.

Michigan Ross Summer Business Academy

University of Michigan Ross School of Business
Natecation, University of Michigan Central Campus-Ross School of Business, CC BY-SA 4.0

Provided by the University of Michigan’s Youth Hub, the Michigan Ross Summer Business Academy is available to students entering their senior years in high school. 

The program provides a thorough introduction to the world of business over the course of two weeks.

The residential program allows students to live and learn on the school’s campus while exploring the University of Michigan’s business school, meeting its faculty, and solving challenging business problems. Along with on-campus experiences, students will visit local companies to learn about day-to-day business operations.

All qualifying students are encouraged to apply, and the program especially encourages students from underprivileged backgrounds to attend the program. 

Michigan Math and Science Scholars

The Michigan Math and Science Scholars program offered through the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts at the University of Michigan provides current high school students the opportunity to learn about the latest developments in science and technology in one of three sessions over the summer.

The classes run Monday through Friday from 9 in the morning to 4:30 in the afternoon. Students have the option of living on campus for the duration of the session, and the school employs counselors to supervise and support residential students.

Courses offered in 2022 covered topics such as organic chemistry, the physics of magic, the brain and behavior, forensic science, and many other exciting topics.

Application requirements include a personal statement, grade report, and a letter of recommendation. The fee for the program in 2022 was $100.

Summer Institute for the Gifted at the University of Michigan

The Summer Institute for the Gifted offers both residential and day programs on the campus of the University of Michigan to interested students. 

Students can take courses on gameplay and design, calculus, mental health, neuroscience, green technologies, and regenerative medicine.

Activities available to residential students include SIG’s Brain Bowl, game nights, and weekend trips under the supervision of program counselors.

In order to be eligible for admission to the program, students must demonstrate test scores in the 95th percentile, be in a school or program for the gifted, or provide a letter of recommendation from a teacher or counselor.

High School Engineering Institute at Michigan State University

MSU’s College of Engineering operates its High School Engineering Institute for students entering the 10th through 12th grades and provides the opportunity to study engineering in-depth over the course of a week through its co-ed residential program. Students can choose from one of two sessions falling on separate dates.

Applicants must have at least a 3.0 GPA in math, science, and technology courses and will need to provide a transcript of their coursework.

The program is designed to give students interested in majoring in engineering the opportunity to learn about available majors from graduate students, faculty, and undergraduate students through lectures, demonstrations, tours, and activities.

Teacher Education Academy at Michigan State University

The College of Education at Michigan State University offers students interested in a career in education the option to learn about the field through its on-campus residential Teacher Education Academy

Students will enjoy glimpses into college life and educational careers as they prepare for college by learning about the college application process and college classes in education. 

Along with educational activities, students can participate in activities such as bowling, kart racing, and a paint party as they enjoy their time in the program.

Applicants need to demonstrate academic potential, acquire a recommendation from a school representative, submit a transcript, and complete the program’s personal essay. 

Interlochen Summer Arts Camp

Interlochen Center for the Arts
rossograph, Fine Arts Building -Interlochen, CC BY-SA 4.0

The Interlochen Center for the Arts offers multiple opportunities over the summer for students of the arts to perform their craft while enjoying summer camp activities with like-minded peers. 

High school students can choose from residential programs lasting one, three, or six weeks.

High school students can choose programs in music, theatre, dance, film and new media, visual arts, creative writing, and interdisciplinary arts.

The priority application window closes on January 15, but students will be admitted to programs as long as space is available. Both merit-based scholarships and need-based financial aid are available for most camp programs.

Gridbots Academy

The Gridbots Academy is offered through Michigan Technological University’s Summer Youth Programs alongside the CIResilience research program at the school. 

Available to students in grades 9 through 12, the academy seeks to educate students about STEM fields and promote the interdisciplinary relationship between computing and engineering.

The GridBots Academy is a week-long day camp for students interested in science, engineering, robotics, and programming. 

The 2022 camp centered on educating students about kinematics and the mathematics needed for programming and automation through interactions with a “cobot,” or collaborative robot led by faculty from Michigan Technological University.

Women in Engineering at Michigan Technical University

Women in Engineering is one of Michigan Technological University’s Pathway Programs designed to introduce the world of engineering to girls and young women and encourage and enable them to enter STEM fields. 

The program draws students from across the country and worldwide to learn about the various engineering disciplines through collaborative work, engineering sessions, and special presentations and brings industry professionals to the program to give insider perspectives.

Students interested in the program apply through Michigan Technological University’s Summer Youth Program and are required to submit supplemental materials including transcripts, short essay answers, and a letter of recommendation from a teacher.

ANR Institute for Multicultural Students at Michigan State University

MSU’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources invites students interested in science, math, business, or who seek new experiences to attend its Institute for Multicultural Students and learn about the world of agricultural sciences and natural resources. 

The residential program introduces students to agricultural sciences and engineering, natural resource industries, environmental science, and related fields through hands-on activities, demonstrations, and tours.

Unlike many other summer programs or camps, students and their families do not need to pay a program fee as MSU and affiliated organizations support the program.

The program accepts students based on interest and academic performance. Application materials include the application form, personal essays, high school transcript, and an online recommendation form.