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Preparing for MIT: Summer programs

If you’re the kind of student who’d like to spend your summer learning as much hands-on math, science, and engineering as you can, you might be a good fit for MIT!

So here is an (incomplete) list of summer programs that MIT students have found enriching and fun. We have prioritized selective summer programs, at MIT and elsewhere, that offer compelling intellectual content and a rigorous educational approach, a great community of like-minded peers to make friends with, and that are either free to attend or, like MIT, offer generous need-based financial aid.

MIT summer programs

MIT does not offer open-enrollment summer programs where any high school student can come to campus to take courses and live in the residence halls. However, several partner organizations run small, specialized programs on campus. If studying the human genome, building a robot, or scoping out the stars sound like a fun way to spend your summer, then you might try one of these:

MITES Summer

MITES Summer is an intensive six-week residential academic enrichment program for about 80 promising high school juniors who intend to pursue careers in science, engineering, and entrepreneurship, especially those from minority backgrounds and other underrepresented segments of the population. The program is free of charge to participating students, not including transportation.


Research Science Institute (RSI) brings together about 70 high school students each summer for six stimulating weeks at MIT. This rigorous academic program stresses advanced theory and research in mathematics, science, and engineering. Participants attend college-level classes taught by distinguished faculty members and complete hands-on research. Open to high school juniors, the program is free of charge for those selected.


Women’s Technology Program (WTP) is a four-week summer academic and residential experience where 60 female high school students explore engineering through hands-on classes (taught by female MIT graduate students), labs, and team-based projects in the summer after their junior year. Students at WTP focus on either Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) or Mechanical Engineering (ME).


While the Summer Science Program (SSP) is not on campus, MIT co-sponsors this residential program, and many MIT students are among the program’s alumni. The curriculum is organized around a central research project in either Astrophysics, Biochemistry, or Genomics. In the Astrophysics program, each team of three students determines the orbit of a near-earth asteroid (minor planet) from direct astronomical observations. In the Biochemistry program, each team designs a small molecule to inhibit an enzyme from a fungal crop pathogen. In the Genomics program, each team builds a bioreactor to stimulate evolution of antibiotic resistance in E. coli, then analyzes its DNA for mutations. The programs are six weeks long and offered at locations in Colorado, New Mexico, and Indiana.

Beaver Works Summer Institute

Beaver Works Summer Institute (BWSI) is an intensive four-week program in July where high school juniors can get a taste of the MIT experience, while working on college-level curriculum with other students from around the country. BWSI is free to students, especially those who may be the first person in their family to attend college. They offer a range of courses—from Autonomous Underwater Vehicles to Quantum Software and to Serious Game Design with AI—with concentrations in programming autonomous systems and more! While this program is only open to high school juniors, there are also online programs offered for younger high school students.

Other summer programs at MIT

Do you want to spend part of your summer at MIT? In addition to the programs listed above, MIT also hosts the following programs:

Other selective summer programs

Most summer programs admit all or most students who can pay the (often high) tuition. However, a number of competitive-admission summer programs select only the best students on the basis of merit and are often free or comparatively affordable. MIT offers four of our own (above), and here are a few more from other organizations:

Science and research programs

Math summer programs

The American Mathematical Society maintains a large list of youth summer enrichment programs in math. Some summer math programs that our applicants seem to like include:

State Governor’s Schools