8 Pre-Med Summer Programs for High School Students
By Bijal Luhar
Healthcare Professional and Project Manager on the Digital Transformation team at Optum
6 minute read
Summer is the perfect opportunity for high school students to explore their interests, especially for those considering careers in medicine. Offered by some of the top medical schools and institutions in the United States, specialized summer programs provide high schoolers with the unique chance to experience life as a medical student. These programs typically consist of lectures, hands-on clinical experiences, and guest speakers - allowing students to broaden their understanding of the healthcare field.
Beyond the academic experience, these programs sharpen college applications and resumes. These programs tend to be highly competitive and maintain a small cohort size, allowing students to closely interact with their instructors and peers. In addition, they allow students to build connections with like-minded peers who share their passions.
It’s important to keep in mind that these programs tend to vary in length, format, location, and cost (scholarships are oftentimes available to alleviate financial burden). However, by the end of each program, students typically have a clearer understanding of whether a career in medicine aligns with their interests.
Top 8 Summer Medical Programs for High School Students
Rice University’s Pre-College Online Programs provide a range of online STEM courses for students ages 13 and up. The Physiology Course offers a deep dive into how the human body works focusing on the nervous, muscular, cardiovascular, and respiratory systems. By the end of the course, students will earn a Rice University Certificate and have the opportunity to create a capstone project that demonstrates the comprehensive knowledge they gained throughout the program. Students will also benefit from guidance from a mentor and enjoy the flexibility of an online learning schedule. It’s perfect for those interested in medicine.
Grade Level / Age: 13 years and older
Application Deadline: Varies, see website for more deadlines
Program Timeline: 20-30 hours over 4 weeks
The National Student Leadership Conference (NSLC) on Medicine & Health Care is offered across various top universities such as Duke University, Northwestern University, UC Berkeley, Yale University, and the University of Miami. The 9-day program offers a hands-on experience for high school students. Students have the opportunity to develop surgical skills, including suturing, participate in clinical diagnostic simulations, tour top medical facilities, and interact with current students, researchers, and residents. By the end of the program, students are tasked with developing a public health intervention that is focused on spreading information on illness and disease prevention. In past years, NSLC students have even heard from special guest speakers such as the U.S. Surgeon General, Vice Admiral Vivek Murthy.
Grade Level / Age: 9th-12th grade
Application Deadline: See website for most up-to-date deadlines
Program Timeline: 9 days across various dates from June through August
Cost: Varies by location, $3,795 - $3,995
The Stanford Medical Youth Science Program (SMYSP) is an academic enrichment program designed for students from low-income, underrepresented backgrounds in Northern California. During the 5-week program, students are placed in hospital internships across Stanford Hospital while also attending weekly lectures focused on public health, research methodology, and human anatomy. In addition, students work in small groups to complete a college-level research paper, presentation, and academic poster.
Grade Level / Age: 11th grade
Application Deadline: Historically late March, check website for most up-to-date deadlines
Program Timeline: 5 weeks from June 24 to July 26, 2024
Georgetown University offers a 3-Week Medical Academy with three distinct tracks: Anatomy & Physiology, Emergency Medicine, and Neuroscience. Students choose their preferred track and get a glimpse into the curriculum of a first- year medical student. Taught by Georgetown University School of Medicine faculty and students with various guest lectures, the program covers modern medical techniques. Students walk away from the program with a research-based poster and a Certificate of Participation from Georgetown.
Grade Level / Age: 15 years and older
Application Deadline: Early Bird Deadline, January 31st / Final Deadline, May 15th
Program Timeline: 3 weeks from June 9 to June 28, 2024
Cost: $5,775 commuter/ $7,645 residential
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The Penn Medicine Summer Program allows rising high school juniors and seniors to spend 4 weeks at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine. Modeled after the first year of Penn Med classes, this program provides students with fundamental medical skills, including CPR techniques, suturing, skin biopsies, and live demonstrations. The program even offers fun weekend trips to regional destinations such as New York City and Washington DC.
Grade Level / Age: 16-18 years old
Application Deadline: See website for most up-to-date deadlines
Program Timeline: 4 weeks from June 30 to July 26, 2024
Tuft’s Mini Med School Program provides students with the unique opportunity to study alongside leading professionals in medicine, veterinary, and biomedical sciences. This program, centered around infectious diseases and immunology, includes lectures, medical case studies, hands-on training, and field trips to the Tuft Medical campus. Participants will also gain insight into the medical school admissions process. At the end of the program, students will complete a capstone project focused on a health-related topic.
Grade Level / Age: 11th-12th grade
Application Deadline: Historically April, see website for most up-to-date deadlines
Program Timeline: 2 weeks from July 7 to 19, 2024
Cost: $5,000 commuter/ $6,000 residential
The UCI Med Academy offers a week-long immersive experience designed to introduce students to the medical profession, the intricacies of the medical school application process, and the concept of health equity. During the program, students have access to UCI’s School of Medicine Clinical Skills Center Simulation Center where they can interview standardized patient actors, practice the basics of medical resuscitation, and perform procedures such as suturing and ultrasounds. Students will also get insight into the medical school application process and learn the academic journey required to become a physician. In addition, the program places a strong focus on health equity, allowing students to explore health disparities that impact specific populations.
Grade Level / Age : 15-19 years old
Application Deadline: Historically March, see website for most up-to-date deadlines
Program Timeline : 5 days, see website for most up-to-date dates
Led by faculty and graduate students from Boston University's Charles River Campus, the Boston University AIM program is an intensive 3 week program that provides students with a balance between curriculum and hands-on experiences. Mornings typically consist of seminars that focus on subjects like anatomy, physiology, infectious diseases, and contemporary issues in medicine. While in the afternoons, students focus on hands-on learning activities such as simulation labs for physical exams, surgical exercises such as suturing, anatomy laboratory investigations, exposure to radiology imaging studies, and laboratory activities. Students even have the exciting opportunity to present their findings to their peers at the end of the program.
Grade Level/Age: 11th -12th grade
Application Deadline : See website for most up-to-date deadlines
Program Timeline : See website for most up-to-date dates
Other Summer Research Opportunities
In addition to the opportunities listed above, there are many other programs around the country to help you gain experience in your pre-med journey. Polygence is just one of those opportunities designed to help high school students pursue their passions. Our Core program is designed to help high school students pursue their passions or even professional careers with the help of expert mentors.
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