There are summer programs for teenagers all over Chicago and beyond, ranging from academic enrichment to college experiences. Many programs are free or offer reduced-cost admissions. Here are some programs sure to meet many interests. But act soon: Some application deadlines are coming up quickly.
Camp College. Camp college is a free program that gives current high school juniors an opportunity to to learn about the college search and application process firsthand from college admission professionals and high school counselors. Participants will learn about navigating a college fair, essay writing, identifying college fit/match, financial aid, and many more topics. In addition, students visit multiple colleges/universities and experience living, eating, and playing on a college campus. Campers will also be paired with a counselor-mentor whom they retain for the school year. Camp College will be held July 10-13 on a college campus, and housing and all meals are free. Admission is limited to 40-50 students. Applications, parent waivers, and letters of recommendation are due May 11. The program is sponsored by the Illinois Association of College Admission Counseling. You can learn more about Camp College at its website.
Carleton College Liberal Arts Experience. Want to live on a college campus for a week to see what college might be like? Carleton College, a top liberal arts school in Northfield, Minnesota, offers a program for 52 current high school sophomores from all over the country, with tuition, room and board, and travel costs all free. The experience introduces the strengths of a liberal arts education through an array of courses in science, art, social sciences, and technology, and will be held on the Carleton campus July 7-14. Applications and all supporting materials are due April 1. More information is available at the program’s website.
College Connect at DePaul University. DePaul’s College Connect program introduces students to college-level coursework, while also providing college readiness workshops, career exploration opportunities, and diverse cultural experiences. Six different classes on topics such as cybersecurity, social justice, and the political history of black Chicago will be offered from 9 a.m. to noon, Mondays through Thursdays, July 2 through August 3. The free program, open to current sophomore and juniors, covers tuition and all course materials and also supplies students with Ventra cards to cover transportation. The application deadline is March 31. More information is available at the College Connect website.
Crystal Charitable Fund. Maybe you’ve got your own program in mind but wonder how to pay transportation costs. The Crystal Charitable Fund, through the Oak Park-River Forest Community Foundation, offers grants of up to $4,000 support extended cultural or educational experience for students away from home, even overseas. There’s no application deadline, but applications must be submitted at least six weeks before travel dates. Applications are limited to students 13-19 in the Chicago area from impoverished households and with good academic standards. To learn more about this fund and others from the OPRF Community Foundation, visit the group’s website.
Farther Foundation. Another organization that supplies funds for worldwide travel is the Farther Foundation. Grants of up to $4,000 are available to current sophomore, junior, and senior high school students in the Chicago area for program costs and travel expenses. Applications are due by March 31. To learn more, visit the group’s website.
Girls Who Code. Current sophomore and junior girls interested in computer technology can apply for a free seven-week introductory computer science course. Girls will learn computer science and get exposure to tech jobs. The Summer Immersion Program is held in cities across the country, including Chicago. The deadline of March 16 is fast approaching. Learn more at the group’s website.
Summer Legal Institute at John Marshall Law School. Those interested in a career in law might consider the Summer Legal Institute, a free one-week program for high schoolers of any age at several locations around the country. The Chicago session will be Aug. 6-10 at the school’s Loop campus. Students will learn all aspects of the legal system, including taking part in a mock trial. The application deadline is May 1. More information is available at the John Marshall website.
UIC CHANCE Summer Institute. High school students can have a college experience at the University of Illinois at Chicago. The program consists of in-person and online workshops and other programs at the UIC campus, and introduces underrepresented high school students to the world of college. Access to CHANCE camps provides students with early entry into STEM-related careers. The program has some scholarship funding. For more information, check out the CHANCE website.