The Best Summer Pre-Med Programs for High School Students

Everybody knows that the medical field is one of the most rewarding professions in the world. Doctors and nurses make a real difference in people’s lives, improving their health and fixing complicated problems.

Everybody also knows that the medical field is incredibly challenging, starting with medical school. The medical school experience is rigorous and demanding, putting students through their paces to ensure they have all the knowledge and skill they need when working on the human body.

While future medical students may think that they know these facts, they might sometimes forget. That’s where summer medical programs come in.

Offered by some of the best medical schools in the United States, these programs give high schoolers a chance to experience life as med students. 

Whether in an overnight residential program or a day program, students get to attend classes and perform research, just like they will if they go to a real med school.

With these experiences, students can better assess their desire to become medical professionals. 

Even better, these experiences give students a head start in their studies, forming a knowledge base and connections they’ll need in their future careers.

With just a few weeks out of their summer, students can begin their journey toward a satisfying, but challenging, life as medical professionals.

Georgetown Summer High School Science and Medical Program (Washington, DC)

The summer high school science and medical program at Georgetown gives future doctors and nurses hands-on experience with the materials they’ll use in their future careers. 

Working at the Georgetown Medical Center, the program introduces high schoolers to the demands of a medical school curriculum while also showing them the possibilities available to medical professionals.

Georgetown offers several different programs, ranging from one to three weeks.

During the one-week Medical Academy, students can experience a number of Georgetown resources, including the Lombardi Cancer Center. 

In this accelerated program, students get a taste of medical essentials, such as human anatomy, biomedical ethics, and more.

The three-week Medical Academy goes further into four key fields, including anatomy & physiology, neuroscience, emergency medicine, social medicine, and public policy. 

Whichever field they choose, students explore the challenges and possibilities the track presents.

Stanford Institutes of Medicine Summer Research Program (Stanford, CA)

Stanford Medical Center
Robert Skolmen Bobskol854, Stanford Medical Center, CC BY-SA 3.0

For students who want a long-term summer program, the Stanford Institutes of Medicine of Summer Research Program provides eight weeks of intense study. 

Bringing in the best young scientific minds from across the country, the program connects students with Stanford faculty and researchers, giving them hands-on experience with cutting-edge work.

Through the summer research program, students not only have their interest in research piqued, but they also get to add their perspective to ongoing projects. 

Faculty mentors and teachers take students through every step of the research process, giving them a full taste of scholarly work.

More than a mere internship or summer cap, the research program rewards students for their labor. Each participant receives a $500 stipend for their contributions.

With this hands-on experience, students are prepared to become better physicians and excellent researchers, ready to address the most significant challenges in the medical world.

National Institute of Health Summer Internships in Biomedical Research (Bethesda, MD)

For high schoolers who want to get a head start dealing with medical challenges, it’s hard to beat working at the National Institute of Health. 

One of the largest funders of medical research in the country, the NIH works with doctors and universities across the world to improve the health of Americans.

Through the NIH’s Summer Internships in Biomedical Research, high schoolers get a taste of the big leagues. 

Selected students will spend their time working with NIH-affiliated scientists in one of the Institute’s state-of-the-art facilities. 

With access to more than 1150 laboratories on and off-campus, including the 240-bed Hatfield Clinical Research Center, students have ample opportunity to gain experience with the latest in devices and techniques.

Of particular note is the NIH’s commitment to addressing diversity concerns in the scientific community. The Institute encourages internship applications from underprivileged and minority communities, including those affected by economic and physical disasters.

Boston University Introduction to Medicine (Boston, MA)

Boston University Medical Center
Drknchkn, Boston University Medical Center, CC BY-SA 3.0

Presented in partnership with the Boston University School of Medicine and the Department of Medical Sciences, the AIM Introduction to Medicine program provides high schoolers with an intensive three-week premed experience.

Working alongside BU faculty and researchers, students get a first-hand taste of the medical school experience. Over the three weeks, students cover a broad range of medical interests, helping them better develop their future plans.

In addition to attending seminars and lectures on topics such as anatomy and physiology, students also work in BU’s labs. In the final two weeks of the program, students collaborate to research emerging issues in medicine.

By the time students leave the program, they have not only a firm grasp on their future plans but also an advantage in understanding the latest medical concerns.

Nova Southeastern University Achieve in Medicine (Davie, FL)

Designed for high-achieving juniors and seniors, the Achieve in Medicine program from Nova Southeastern University is a five-day immersive camp. 

In every session, students work with Nova Southeastern faculty to gain hands-on experience as medical students. 

These camps not only inform students of the expectations they’ll need to meet but also will give them a head start on their research interests.

Nova Southeastern offers two forms of AIM learning. 

There is a day camp for high school students ranging from rising first-year students to rising seniors. Students spend their days on campus participating in seminars and laboratory experiments but do not live on campus.

Rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors can apply for the residential camp. 

While living on campus for five days, students get the whole college experience, including meeting other med students and attending special events.

University of Washington: INSIGHT High School Program (Seattle, WA)

Designed as a sampler program for young scholars, the INSIGHT High School Program at the University of Washington adapts the school’s intensive summer internship program for high school students.

During the four weeks of the program, students are exposed to teachers and researchers in subjects such as public health, biomedical research, and medicine. 

Unlike many summer programs, INSIGHT invites applications from those who have recently graduated, giving them more time to decide on their future plans.

Regardless of their level, students in the INSIGHT program enjoy the benefits of working with academics at the University of Washington, doing the real work of a medical student.

Tufts University Mini-Med School (Medford, MA)

Tufts University School of Medicine
John Phelan, Arnold Wing, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston MA, CC BY 3.0

The Mini-Med School at Tufts University is exactly what it sounds like: medical school in miniature. 

Any high school student considering a career as a doctor or healthcare professional can sample life at Tufts Medical School. Even better, the Mini-Med comes in two versions, virtual and in-person.

With the in-person option, students get the whole med school experience. They work in labs, sit in seminars, and collaborate with their fellow future medical students.

In the virtual option, students get to see the school from the comfort of their own homes. Distance learning technologies connect students to Tufts professors and classes and allow them to interact with professionals worldwide.

Whichever track they choose, students will learn from Tufts faculty about essential issues, including diversity in medicine, immunology, and infectious diseases.

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital High School Senior Summer Intensive (Cincinnati, OH)

For those looking to go into pediatric medicine, the High School Senior Summer Intensive at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital may be the best choice. 

As the title suggests, the program is for high school seniors only. But those who get accepted have an opportunity to gain advanced knowledge and experience in their field.

 A proper internship, the Summer Intensive gives seniors 20 hours of real medical work each week, for the course of eight weeks. Students work alongside mentors in one of nine pediatric specialties.

In addition to invaluable connections and experience, the Summer Intensive also allows students to get paid for their work. At a rate of $9.30 per hour, students learn the value of their time and expertise while they learn.

Those who complete the program leave ready to pursue further studies in Ph.D. or MD programs.

Wake Forest University Summer Immersion Program Medicine Institute (Winston-Salem, NC)

Wake Forest University School of Medicine
Allengot, Wake Forest School of Medicine – Bowman Gray Center for Medical Education, CC BY-SA 4.0

With connections to one of the nation’s top research hospitals, Wake Forest School of Medicine is a fine choice for anyone looking to become a doctor or healthcare professional. 

The University’s Summer Immersion Program in the Medicine Institute gives students an early look at the school’s offerings.

With two five-day camps offered each year, the program lets participants live like real medical students, including staying on campus.

In lectures and seminars taught by Wake Forest faculty, students learn about key topics such as pediatrics, cardiovascular pathology, and more. 

Working at Wake Forest Baptist Health hospitals, students get hands-on experience in labs and with patients.

Penn Medicine Summer Program (Philadelphia, PA)

Like all of the other programs on this list, the Bold Summers program at Penn Medicine connects high schoolers with real professors and researchers. 

Those accepted get to participate in every aspect of medical school life, from attending classes to participating in research projects.

The program follows the model of Penn Medicine’s first-year med program, and puts students in conversation with teachers and students in that program. They will stay in dorms, work in simulations, and participate in live demonstrations. 

That last point underscores the key difference at Penn Medicine. In many cases, students get to observe a surgery, watching their teachers apply the same skills they learn in the program.

Few other programs provide an experience quite so accurate. 

UC Irvine Summer Surgery Program (Irvine, CA)

Like Penn’s Bold Summer Program, the Summer Surgery Program at UC Irvine gives students access to the surgical process. 

But because it’s designed for those who plan to become surgeons, UC Irvine goes one step further and lets students participate.

The program begins with teaching students surgical center protocols involving safety and cleanliness. Students gain experience working with state-of-the-art technologies, including the school’s new da Vinci robot.

Finally, students participate in small group workshops supervised by faculty mentors. Students learn about anatomy and techniques in these situations, including ultrasound training.

Perhaps the most intensive of summer programs, the offering at UC Irvine is highly selective, only for the best of the best.