As the summer approaches, high school students have the opportunity to take part in leadership programs that can not only strengthen their leadership skills but also boost their resume. These programs can be beneficial for college admissions, as admissions officers tend to favor students who have taken the initiative to develop their leadership skills and gain valuable experience, making their application stand out.
One of the most notable benefits of leadership summer programs is the provision of hands-on experience. Many programs offer students the opportunity to collaborate with professionals and gain an in-depth understanding of the inner workings of various organizations. This allows students to apply what they have learned in the classroom to real-world scenarios, leading to a more comprehensive comprehension of the field.
In addition to hands-on experience, leadership programs also aid in the development of essential skills such as teamwork, communication, and problem-solving. These skills are crucial for success in any profession, and students who participate in such programs will have a head start in their future careers. Many programs also feature workshops and seminars, providing students with invaluable knowledge and skills that can be applied both inside and outside the classroom.
Here are our top 12 leadership programs for high school students for Summer 2023.
Application deadline: January 25, 2023 (Priority), April 5, 2023 (Final)
Dates: 3 weeks (June 4 – June 24, 2023; June 25 – July 15, 2023; July 16 – August 5, 2023)
The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business Leadership Program is a highly respected and selective program designed to provide high school juniors with an in-depth education in business leadership. This program is designed to provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to become effective leaders in the business world.
The program is structured to include a variety of different elements, including lectures from esteemed faculty members, research opportunities, and interactions with business leaders. Additionally, the program features modules on key topics such as negotiation, organizational strategy, business models, and management. These modules are designed to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the different aspects of business leadership.
To enhance the learning experience, the program includes various simulations, field trips, and a 20-day residency on the University’s campus. This allows students to apply the knowledge and skills they have learned in a practical setting, and to gain firsthand experience in the business world.
Eligible students can apply online for the program, and must submit transcripts, a letter of recommendation, and various supplements, including a video or written essay introducing themselves. This helps the admissions committee to get a better understanding of the applicant’s background, interests and potential as a leader.
Overall, the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business Leadership Program is an excellent opportunity for high school juniors who are interested in pursuing a career in business leadership. With its combination of classroom instruction, practical experience, and opportunities to interact with industry leaders, this program provides students with the knowledge and skills they need to become effective leaders in the business world.
Application deadline: Rolling admissions
Dates: 12 weeks from February to May 2024
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) offers a Leadership Training Institute (LTI) that takes place over the course of twelve Sundays in the spring. The program is designed to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of leadership and to develop their leadership skills through hands-on experience.
The LTI is led by experienced Leadership Development Mentors who guide participants through a series of interactive workshops, discussions, and reflective exercises. The program begins with an exploration of what it means to be a leader and the various leadership styles and approaches. Students will also have the opportunity to learn about the various challenges that leaders face and how to navigate them.
In addition to the classroom-based training, students will participate in a large-scale community service project that aims to tackle a specific problem in the local community. This hands-on experience will provide students with the opportunity to apply the leadership concepts and skills they have learned in a real-world setting. The program culminates in a final presentation of each student’s project, where they will have the opportunity to showcase their work and share their experiences with their peers.
To apply for the LTI, students must complete an online application during the designated application window. The application includes a series of questions about the student’s leadership experience and interests. In addition, applicants must submit one letter of recommendation from a teacher. The program is open to students of all levels, including high school and college students.
Application deadline: January 12, 2024
Dates: 8 weeks (Summer 2024)
Cost: Free (with paid component)
The Bank of America Student Leaders program is a highly esteemed opportunity for high school juniors and seniors to develop their leadership skills through a comprehensive 8-week paid internship experience. The program is designed to provide students with valuable hands-on experience by working with reputable organizations such as the Boys and Girls Clubs of America and Habitat for Humanity, where they will gain insight into the inner workings of nonprofits, governments, and businesses, and how they collaborate to address local community needs.
Throughout the program, participants will have the opportunity to work alongside experienced professionals and gain a deeper understanding of the various sectors and how they contribute to addressing social issues. They will also have the chance to develop important skills such as teamwork, communication, problem-solving, and critical thinking.
The program culminates in a one-week in-person summit held in Washington, D.C., where students will have the chance to further hone their skills, network with like-minded individuals, and gain a deeper understanding of the role of government and public policy in addressing social issues. This summit offers a unique opportunity for students to engage with leaders from various sectors and learn from their experiences.
In order to participate in the program, students must commit to working 35 hours per week in-person, and can apply online if they meet the program’s eligibility requirements. This includes being a high school junior or senior, having a minimum GPA of 2.5, and demonstrating a commitment to community service.
The Bank of America Student Leaders program is an exceptional opportunity for high school students to gain valuable experience, develop important skills, and make meaningful connections that will help them achieve their goals and impact their communities.
Application deadline: Rolling Admission
Duke University, Durham, NC (July 5 – July 13, and July 17 – July 25)
Yale University, New Haven, CT (July 24 – July 2, July 6 – July 14, July 17 – July 25)
UC Berkeley, San Francisco, CA (June 23 – July 1, and July 5 – July 13)
The National Student Leadership Conference offers a pre-college summer program for high school students in grades 9-12 and middle school students in grades 6-8. The program provides students with leadership training, hands-on simulations, guest speaker presentations, and the opportunity to experience life on college campuses. Additionally, high school students have the option to participate in specialized summer programs in fields such as business, STEM, government and law, and art and design.
Application deadline: Rolling admissions until May 12, 2023
Dates: On-Campus – 2 weeks (June 25 – July 7, 2023 or July 16 – July 28, 2023); Online – 4 weeks (July 10 – August 4, 2023)
Cost: On-Campus – $5,218; Online – $5,313
The Brown Leadership Institute is a highly selective program that aims to empower young leaders in their communities. The program is designed for 9th-12th grade students who are interested in learning about various aspects of leadership, such as social entrepreneurship, women in leadership, leadership in refugee and health policy, and law and social change. The program is offered in two different formats – an in-person program that lasts for two weeks, and an online program that lasts for four weeks.
The in-person program provides students with an immersive experience that includes additional activities that allow them to experience college life. The online program, on the other hand, allows students to participate from the comfort of their homes and provides them with an interactive learning experience through live sessions, online discussions, and other interactive activities.
To apply for the program, students need to complete an online application that includes a writing supplement, a copy of their most recent transcript, and an application fee. Additionally, students also have the option to submit additional supplements and a letter of recommendation to enhance their application. The selection process is highly competitive, and only a limited number of students are selected to participate in the program each year.
Application deadline: January 31, 2023
Dates: 5 days (June 11 – June 15, 2023)
Subiendo is an intensive, week-long program designed to introduce high-achieving juniors and seniors in high school to the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin. The program aims to provide an immersive and interactive experience for students by offering a variety of activities such as leadership seminars, case studies, campus visits, and tours with current students. The program is specifically geared towards students who are interested in exploring the field of business and gaining a deeper understanding of the McCombs School of Business.
The program is free for students to participate in and the University covers the costs for educational materials, food and boarding. The program encourages students from underrepresented groups to apply and is designed to provide them with a valuable opportunity to explore the field of business and gain a deeper understanding of the McCombs School of Business.
To apply for the program, students are required to submit an online application, a transcript, a description of their extracurricular involvement and leadership, essays, a letter of recommendation and an optional resume. The application process is designed to help the program organizers understand the student’s background, interests, and qualifications, and to select the most suitable candidates for the program.
Application deadline: January 23, 2023
Dates: July 22 – August 2, 2023
Cost: $60 application fee, $150 enrollment fee, and travel expenses. Tuition, housing, and meals are covered by the University.
The University of Notre Dame offers a highly competitive summer leadership seminar for high school juniors, which is designed to provide a comprehensive introduction to collegiate academics, foster a strong commitment to community service, and offer college-level social experiences to develop leadership skills and gain insight into higher education. The program is ten-days in duration.
To apply, students must submit a comprehensive online application, including their transcript, a counselor report, and one letter of recommendation from a teacher, with the option to submit standardized test scores as well. The University will cover all expenses associated with tuition, housing, and meals, however, students are responsible for an application fee of $60, an enrollment fee of $150, and travel expenses to and from the University. Financial aid may be available for the application and enrollment fee in certain circumstances.
Application deadline: Generally in April annually
Dates: 4 days (Sessions generally offered in June)
The Young Women’s Institute (YWI) program at Indiana University, sponsored by the Kelley School of Business, is an highly selective, week-long program that aims to empower young women who have completed their junior year of high school by providing them with the skills and knowledge necessary to lead in the business world. During the four-day program, participants will attend seminars led by esteemed Kelley School faculty, where they will learn about leadership and business, and also complete a case study in a small team setting. The application process for the program begins in February, and applicants are required to submit their resume, high school transcripts, and personal essays. Successful applicants will have the opportunity to participate in the program free of charge, with the exception of transportation and personal expenses.
Application deadline: TBA
Dates: Varies (July 2023)
Cost: Varies (Commuter: $3,199 – $5,299; Residential: $6,599 – $10,299)
Summer Discovery is a company that sponsors academic programs for high school students, hosted at colleges across the United States. One of the programs offered is the Global Leadership Skills & Agents of Social Change session at Georgetown University. This program is designed to provide students with valuable skills in negotiation, conflict resolution, and influence. The program allows students to choose between commuting to campus or living on the Georgetown University campus. The session is structured as a single class that can be taken either in the morning or afternoon, allowing students to balance their studies with other activities and responsibilities. The curriculum is designed to challenge and inspire students to develop their leadership abilities while fostering a sense of social responsibility. By participating in this program, students will have the opportunity to learn from experienced educators and professionals, and to connect with other high-achieving students from around the world. This program will enable students to acquire knowledge, skills and experiences that will help them to become effective leaders, who can make a positive impact in their communities and the world at large.
Application deadline: February 11, 2023 (Priority); April 15, 2023 (Final)
Dates: 3 weeks (June 25 – July 14, 2023 or July 23 – August 11, 2023)
Cost: Residential – $9,058; Commuter – $7,772
The Barnard College Young Women’s Leadership Institute is a program that aims to develop female leaders by providing students with opportunities to engage in interest-based “tracks” and complete small group projects. The program is open to rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors who attend Barnard College. Students can choose from one of seven tracks, each of which focuses on a specific area of study or interest, such as STEM, writing and literature, political science and economics, urban studies, art history, sociology and gender studies, and dance.
To apply to the program, students must submit an online application form, an unofficial high school transcript, a list of extracurricular activities, a recommendation letter, and a 500-word statement of purpose. Financial aid is available for those who demonstrate need, however, the aid is limited.
The program is designed to provide participants with a unique opportunity to develop their leadership skills and explore their interests in a supportive and empowering environment. By participating in the program, students will gain a deeper understanding of the issues and challenges facing women leaders today, and will learn how to effectively navigate these challenges in order to achieve their goals and aspirations. Additionally, by working in small groups and engaging in hands-on projects, students will have the opportunity to build valuable teamwork, collaboration, and communication skills that will serve them well in any future endeavors.
Application deadline: March 15th, 2023
Dates: 1 week (June 3 – June 9, 2023 or June 10 – June 16, 2023)
The Summer Leaders Experience at the United States Military Academy at West Point is an intensive summer program specifically designed for high school seniors who are interested in pursuing a career in the military. The program aims to provide students with an in-depth understanding of the rigorous academic, physical, and leadership demands that cadets at West Point must meet.
The program is designed to be both challenging and rewarding, and it provides students with a unique opportunity to develop their leadership skills through a variety of activities such as problem-solving exercises, team-building challenges, and physical fitness tests. Participants will also have the opportunity to learn from current West Point cadets, who will serve as mentors and provide guidance and support throughout the program.
In order to be eligible for the Summer Leaders Experience, students must have a strong academic record, including high test scores and grades, and must be able to demonstrate leadership potential. The application process for the program is done online, and students are typically selected based on a combination of academic achievement and extracurricular activities. Overall, the Summer Leaders Experience is a great opportunity for high school seniors who are considering a career in the military to gain valuable insight and experience, and to develop the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed as a cadet at West Point.
Application deadline: May 15, 2023
Dates: Varies (In-Person: July 9 – July 21, 2023; Virtual: July 30 – August 11, 2023)
Cost: On-Campus – $5,500; Virtual – $3,800
The Tufts Leadership for Social Change pre-college program is open to any rising junior, senior, or recent high school graduate who is interested in developing their leadership skills. The program is designed to provide students with an opportunity to explore and discuss a wide range of issues related to social change, including topics such as educational inequities, environmental justice, public policy, and more.
Participants in the program have the option to choose between an in-person or virtual edition, and will receive a single Tufts credit upon completion of the program. In the in-person section, students will have the opportunity to engage in social activities as a major part of the program experience.
To apply for the program, students must complete the online application form and submit the following materials: a transcript, parental permission, a letter of recommendation, and a 250-word statement of interest. The statement of interest should detail the student’s reasons for applying to the program, their goals for participating, and how they believe the program will benefit them.
This program will provide students with the ability to develop their leadership skills, and explore the different issues related to social change, which will be beneficial for the student’s future endeavors. This program will also provide students with the opportunity to engage with like-minded individuals, and develop a strong sense of community with their peers.