Many summer options for high school students seeking to enhance their learning and lives


Don’t “listen” to Punxsutawney Phil and his shadow: Summer really is just around the corner.

Now, while the wind is howling and snow is blowing, is the time for high school students to look into summer pre-college programs. Whether interested in sharpening their creativity, developing leadership skills, learning to design apps or exploring Judaism, there’s something for every teen this summer. Here are some at Brandeis University, Brown University or the Union for Reform Judaism. More programs are available at other institutions.

Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts

All summer pre-college programs at Brandeis are residential and take place on campus.

App Design Boot Camp, July 9-20

Learn app design in a course that combines college-level work with field trips and social activities designed to provide students with an exciting and transformative summer experience. Students will learn what it takes to create their own groundbreaking web application using industry standard technologies such as HTML5, CSS and the Meteor Javascript Web Platform.

Students will also have an opportunity to meet and interact with professional app developers from companies such as Google and Cablevision.

Brandeis Institute for Music and Arts, July 3-31

Students develop their creative and artistic skills while exploring the relevance of Jewish tradition in their lives during a four-week summer arts institute. Students choose one area on which to focus: creative writing, dance, music (choral and instrumental), theater or visual arts.

Students will receive intensive one-on-one instruction in their chosen major, collaborate and create in small groups, and explore the community around them with new friends during this unique experience.

Genesis, July 3-31 or July 3-17

Established in 1997 through a grant from Steven Spielberg’s Righteous Persons Foundation, Genesis offers in-depth sessions that engage students in hands-on study of an academic field through a Jewish lens. The program uses complex and compelling topics to teach what it means to build a diverse, international, pluralistic Jewish community.

Service Corps, July 9-20

In the Brandeis Service Corps, students combine their love of service with hands-on volunteer projects and deep intellectual exploration into the issues facing communities in the greater Boston area and throughout the country. Students can earn up to 45 hours of community service credit while honing their leadership skills, gaining deeper understanding of themselves and their ability to help those in need, and developing projects and ideas to bring change back home.

Young Leaders Conference on Israel Studies, June 25-30

The Brandeis Young Leaders Conference on Israel Studies convenes an elite group of high school students for an intensive academic conference that equips them with a critical knowledge base of history, politics, culture and Israeli society.

For more information on Brandeis’ summer programs, call (781) 736-8416 or go to

Brown University,
Providence, Rhode Island

Brown Leadership Institute

This unique two-week program combines the development of socially responsible leadership with focused study on academic topics such as health, global development, social entrepreneurship, conflict resolution and environmental justice. Students learn through course work, workshops on leadership styles, public speaking, active listening and the development of an “Action Plan” related to their school or home community. The Brown Leadership Institute is a residential program that runs three times during the summer.


The STEM II program is for rising ninth- and 10th-grade students. Students can choose from a variety of two-week STEM II courses. Each course consists of rigorous academic content, laboratory or field exercises, and a personalized project that enhances academic learning.

In addition, students participate in inspiring research talks and co-curricular exercises, explore the foundations of one STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) discipline while living on campus, and participate in programs that promote social and academic growth and support students as they prepare for success in their lives and future careers.

Global programs

Brown Pre-College Global Programs offer rigorous academic work and a cultural immersion experience designed to prepare students for the increasingly complex challenges of the 21st century. High school students can choose to study this summer with Brown in Atlanta (Disease Control: Biotechnology versus Microbes); Rome (An Immersion in Roman Life and Culture); or Segovia, Spain (Global Business, Language and Culture).

Brown also offers several other summer programs for high school students, including sports camps, summer high school, pre-baccalaureate college credit courses and online courses.

For more information, contact Brown’s pre-college advisers at (401) 863-7900 or

The Union for Reform Judaism

Six Points Sci-Tech Israel, June 28-July 19

In the URJ program, which takes place in Israel, students entering grades 10-12 will explore Israel as a living laboratory where science and technology meet the Jewish past, present and future. For more information, email

SAM SERBY is a native of East Greenwich and attended Temple Sinai, in Cranston, for many years. He is a recent graduate of Johnson & Wales University.

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