Best Engineering Summer Camps For High School Students

Engineering summer camps

Engineering summer camps are great for developing a budding interest in STEM. These programs offered by top-tier universities can also boost your child’s chances of securing a place in their dream college. 

But, not all engineering programs are created equally. Engineering camps differ in their curriculum, acceptance criteria, and objectives. That’s why we’ve compiled this quick guide on the top picks when it comes to engineering to help your child achieve their goals. 

Best Engineering Camps

Purdue MITE Program

Purdue University hosts the MITE program on its West Lafayette campus. The MITE program is designed to attract underrepresented students from all backgrounds to pursue one of the several engineering majors at Purdue University. 

The curriculum centers around improving SAT math and verbal scores, so it’s a great choice for parents looking to boost their child’s standardized test scores. Purdue tests MITE students’ SAT scores before and after the program and reports a vast average improvement of 90 points. 

The Purdue MITE program lasts for four weeks and is designed to create a university atmosphere in its courses across a wide range of majors. Students also get the opportunity to participate in engineering projects. 

It’s open to applications from rising seniors who have completed their junior year before the summer. There are scholarships available to those who qualify. 

MIT Mites 

The MITES Summer course is a rigorous math, science, and humanities program hosted by MIT at their Boston campus. The program runs over six weeks, from late June through to early August. 

MIT MITES students take five university-level courses in subjects like math, physics and life sciences with options like machine learning. MITES supervisors provide written evaluations of each student at the end of the program, which can be used in college applications.

It’s open to high school students who are juniors. Candidates will be evaluated on their academic record, letters of recommendation, and passion for STEM subjects. You read about more STEM summer camps here.

Applicants from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds are especially considered, provided they meet high academic standards and eligibility requirements. 

SAME Camps

The Society of American Military Engineers offers week-long engineering and construction camps in association with five branches of the US Military. These five camps are spread across different locations from Massachusetts all the way to North Carolina and Colorado. 

They target rising sophomore, junior, and senior high school students. To apply, your son or daughter needs to be at least 15 years old and have finished their first year of high school.

Applicants are evaluated on their academic performance, leadership skills, fitness, and moral character. Children receive mentorship from current engineers and military staff. 

Next Engineers

Next Engineers is a highly selective engineering camp operated by General Electric across different cities around the world.

The Next Engineers program targets students aged 13 to 18. It offers its graduates partial scholarships toward a major in engineering for those who choose to attend college after. 

The Next Engineering Academy is highly selective and accepts just 50 students at each of its annual sessions. Applicants are evaluated on their academic merit, essays, and a letter of recommendation. 

It’s unique because it expects its students to participate in the program for 3 years and provides support all along the way. 

University of Wisconsin-Madison ESP

The University of Wisconsin-Madison ESP has an in-person and virtual session. WISC features university-level classes in subjects like physics and engineering design taught by their faculty. 

While staying at the campus, students can expect to participate in team-building activities, workshops, and discussions which all go towards improving their soft skills and learning about STEM. 

The Wisconsin-Madison program also features field trips with companies like Alliant Energy, Rockwell Automation, and Spectrum Brands. 

The WISC program targets current sophomores and juniors while the virtual program is intended for freshmen and sophomores. You can choose from their one and three-week option. 

SEE Camp

The SEE (Summer Engineering Exploration) Camp is operated by the Society of Women Engineers at the University of Michigan. Students live on the Ann Arbour campus for a week and have the opportunity to tour the campus and experience courses set by Michigan’s faculty. 

SEE Camp’s curriculum includes activities that encourage students to engage with different disciplines. Participants also experience leadership and team-building activities as well as recreational activities like kayaking.  

It takes place over the course of a week, typically during mid-July. They open applications for all high-school students entering their sophomore, junior, and senior years. It’s also one of the few choices where you don’t need to be a US citizen to apply. 

Applications are assessed holistically and there is no requirement for GPA or SAT/ACT Scores. Instead, the University of Michigan will evaluate your child on their extracurricular activities, a letter of recommendation, and their answers to short essay questions designed to assess their interest although no previous experience is needed.

Note: If you want your child to build up their leadership abilities, read our guide on leadership summer camps

MSU Future Engineer

Michigan State University offers five different programs as a part of its Future Engineer Series which receive kids from grade levels ranging from 4th to 12th grade. There is a minimum GPA of 3.0 or above for all their options. 

The Spartan Lego Robotics is a non-residential summer program that allows you to build custom robots and then test them in competitions. The program lasts only one week and it caters to those in 4th to 7th grade. 

MSU’s High School Engineering Institute is a program open to US and International students entering their final three high-school years. Participants should be interested in pursuing an engineering degree and will be mentored by one of their faculty members. It requires that applicants have a good track record in classes. 

Making A Game of It teaches technological and computer science and STEM skills to rising juniors and sophomores. The course lasts for one week and hosts students on campus where they teach how to code with Python and create video games. 

The Summer Bridge Engineering Program is a one-week residential camp that provides in-depth classes across major engineering disciplines. You will participate in lectures, demonstrations, and hands-on activities. 

The Computer Science and Engineering program introduces students to knowledge of data analytics, cybersecurity, and other applications. The course is intended to approach computer science from an engineering perspective.

JHU Engineering Innovation

Johns Hopkins University’s Engineering Innovation includes four courses designed to develop an interest in engineering.

Their Explore Engineering Innovation takes students through a variety of disciplines including chemical, civil, electrical, and mechanical engineering. It’s available as an online course and in person. 

The Biomedical option introduces participants to common biological, physiological, and medical problems. Students will model biological systems and design experiments over the course of the three-credit course.

Sustainable Energy Engineering introduces participants to the science behind renewable energy. All choices are available to rising high school juniors and seniors and happen over 4 weeks. Visit their website for a list of class requirements and grades. 

NYU Arise

NYU ARISE is a free engineering summer program in New York City for kids in 10th and 11th grade. Students will do college-level research and learn about scientific methods and professional development.

The NYU ARISE program lasts for 7 weeks and is a commuter program, meaning your child would live at home and commute in for the 9 am to 4 pm daily schedule. Apart from engineering, other topics covered include computer science, machine learning, biology, and robotics. 

Applicants need to submit their cumulative GPA, provide grades for science and math classes, and include a letter of recommendation as well as mention what area they’d like to study. 

UMD Esteem/SER-Quest

The University of Maryland Esteem/SER-Quest program is part of the A. James Clark School of Engineering. It’s research-focused, lasts for 4-weeks, and is designed to prepare talented students for admission to an engineering major. 

While attending the campus, students will work on a research project from scratch with other students and learn all about the college application process. Applicants must have a minimum GPA of 3.2 and must also provide two letters of recommendation as well as complete an essay expressing their interest in engineering.  

Students don’t need to pay a thing since enrollment once accepted is completely free.