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Summer Research Programs for High School Students

We know from experience that summer research programs are one of the best ways for high school students to boost their university applications: they can take an application from run-of-the-mill to a professional stand out. But where are you supposed to find the best high school research program for you? Where do you get started?

Let’s take a look:

Getting started: what is a research program?

A summer research program can range from working with PhD scholars on new innovative science projects in a lab, to studying the marine world on the high open seas. Summer research programs have been developed for all interest areas and can range from days to weeks or even the entire summer. A summer program can be a full cultural immersion, improving English language and learning about the history of a country, or a technical, lab-intensive experience. The options are endless.

Let's start by looking at some amazing research-focused programs:

The Clark Scholar’s Program

This is a highly competitive, seven-week program for academically excellent junior and senior high school students hosted at Texas Tech University. You must be at least 17 years old to apply and it is also open to international students.

The Boston Leadership Institute STEM program for teens

This programs offers one-week and three-week programs, all focused on helping students develop research skills in STEM, including a business entrepreneurship program. They also provide remote opportunities for learning and research.

Lumiere Research Scholar Program

Another highly sought after program for academically excellent students (with financial aid options for both US and international students) is the Lumiere Research Scholar Program, It was founded by Oxford and Harvard graduates to give high school students the opportunity to work 1-on-1 with PhD students in their specific area of interest. The program culminates in a full research project.

Other great but competitive research programs include Polygence

Pioneer Academics and the Stanford Institutes of Medicine Summer Research Program (U.S citizens and green card holder’s only).

What about free summer research programs?


One exciting and innovative program in the US for international girls is TechGirls. This is a four-week US-based program including an 8 month pre- and post-exchange mentoring program. In 2022, TechGirl’s supported 111 young women from 35 different countries, with all costs covered.

National Youth’s Science Camp

Set in the national forest of Monongahela in West Virginia, the National Youth’s Science Camp has been running for almost 60 years and supports student in STEM-focused research. Participants work with professional researchers and participate in adventurous outdoor activities. Again, all costs are covered, although it is highly competitive.

The Brilliant Club

The Brilliant Club is UK-based scholarship program the gives students the opportunity to visit two world-class Universities and receive University-style tutoring in small group tutorials. The Brilliant Club enables students to get insight into studying at University and prepare you for the world of academia.

Interested in cultural immersion research programs?

International Summer School and camp For Teenagers (ISSFT)

In this program, you can choose to study at the University of Stirling in Scotland or the University of Oxford in England, developing your academic, research and social skills all at once!

More examples of wonderful culturally immersive research programs can be found here - you can become a sports pro at summer camps in the mountains in Europe or even have a go at learning Mandarin and having a full cultural and historical immersion in China. These camps are less research-based, more socio-cultural, linguistic and sport-focused.

Whatever you choose this summer, attending a summer research program will not only help you develop research skills, but also give you the opportunity to meet other students with the same passions and interests, learn about new cultures, and grow your global citizenship skills.

Want more support? Reach out to Crimson’s highly skilled team of research mentors at Crimson Research Institute or speak to a Crimson strategist!

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