Best Summer Programs in Atlanta – 2023

April 8, 2023

best summer programs atlanta

Whether you’re a native of the Peach State or looking for adventure away from home, Atlanta brims with fantastic opportunities. Home to many selective colleges—like Georgia Tech, Spelman, Emory, Morehouse, and Agnes Scott—Atlanta is also regarded as the birthplace of the civil rights movement. In addition, Georgia’s capital city is known for being a business and cultural hotspot. Moreover, the University of Georgia’s main campus, located in Athens, is only an hour east of Atlanta. It is the flagship school of the University System of Georgia and hosts its own slate of excellent programming. Below, we’ve profiled the best summer programs in Atlanta for high school students.

1) Terry Business Academy at the University of Georgia

  • Location: Athens, GA
  • Residential?: Yes
  • Program Length: One week (early June)
  • Cost: $195
  • Eligibility: Rising juniors and seniors
  • Application Deadline: Late March

Geared toward rising upperclassmen, the Terry Business Academy is a highly selective residential summer program that is also incredibly affordable. The program provides in-depth exposure to the business world, particularly on high-demand career paths. As such, students will have the opportunity to interact with executives from companies like Travelers, Chick-fil-A, and PricewaterhouseCoopers. Moreover, students live in a UGA residence hall, dine on campus, attend lectures, and participate in social activities.

To apply, students must complete five short answer questions. In their responses, students are required to detail their extracurricular activities. They also must explain why they’d like to participate in the program and how they’d contribute to overall diversity. Additionally, they must submit a letter of recommendation as well as a copy of their transcript.

2) Emory National Debate Institute Summer Programs

  • Location: Atlanta, GA
  • Residential?: Residential and commuter options are available.
  • Program Length: One week (Fundamentals of Debate, Deliberation, and Dialogue) or two weeks (Policy Debate Institute). Both programs run in June.
  • Cost: Fundamentals of Debate, Deliberation, and Dialogue: $850 (commuter); $1,000 (resident). Policy Debate Institute: $1,700 (commuter); $2,000 (residential).
  • Eligibility: Rising sophomore, juniors, and seniors.

Application Deadline: Mid-May. There is also an early bird registration deadline in mid-April that offers a tuition discount.

Emory’s National Debate Institute runs two Atlanta summer programs for high school students. The Fundamentals of Debate, Deliberation, and Dialogue is one-week while the Policy Debate Institute–their signature offering–is two weeks. In Fundamentals of Debate, Deliberation, and Dialogue, students learn the fundamentals of argumentation, critical inquiry, and public speaking in small groups. In the past, topics have included social media privacy and food access injustice. Additionally, students do not need prior debate experience or to be preparing for competitive high school debate teams.

At the Policy Debate Institute, students spend two weeks developing or honing basic debate skills. The intention is that students will transition to a competitive debate team post-institute. As such, students learn how to prepare for, organize, and deliver various debate topics.

In both programs, students have the opportunity to take part in electives and social experiences.

3) CDC Museum Disease Detective Camp

  • Location: Atlanta, GA
  • Residential?: No
  • Program Length: One week (early June)
  • Cost: Free, although students must provide their own transportation and housing.
  • Eligibility: Rising juniors and seniors
  • Application Deadline: Late March

Held at the CDC Headquarters for one week in both late June and late July, Disease Detective Camp teaches students the fundamentals of public health and epidemiology. Topics vary, but past areas of focus have included data analysis, injury prevention, and emergency preparedness. Moreover, the camp is both fast-paced and academically demanding. As such, students may find themselves re-creating outbreaks or in mock press conferences.

As there are only thirty slots available in this Atlanta summer program, the application process is competitive. Students are evaluated based on their responses to several essay questions as well as a teacher recommendation.

4) Young Writers Intensive at Agnes Scott College

  • Location: Decatur, GA
  • Residential?: No
  • Program Length: Two weeks (mid-June)
  • Cost: $650
  • Eligibility: Rising freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors
  • Application Deadline: Rolling; 12 spots available

Fun fact: the Agnes Scott Writers’ Festival is the oldest continuous literary event in Georgia. Consequently, Agnes Scott itself is an ideal place to learn the craft of writing. Over the course of two weeks, high school students are exposed to fiction, creative nonfiction, slam poetry, and digital storytelling. In addition, they learn more about publishing. Students will complete guided writing, participate in workshops, and receive individualized feedback from instructors.

Finally, students will engage in team-building activities that strengthen their sense of community and develop their writing skills.

5) CEISMC Expanded Learning Programs at Georgia Tech

  • Location: Atlanta, GA
  • Residential?: No
  • Program Length: Weekly options available from early June to late July
  • Cost: $450-650
  • Eligibility: Rising freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors
  • Application Deadline: Rolling

Hoping to increase STEAM knowledge and provide experiential learning opportunities, Georgia Tech offers weekly summer programming throughout June and July. Students can choose from such topics such as music production & coding, psychology, robotics, and atmospheric science. Each camp offers a range of activities. For example, during the “Into the Storm” camp, students will learn how to analyze meteorological information, choose a mini-research topic, and present their findings.

For all programs, registration typically opens in early March. It is available until all program slots are filled. Programs are taught by a mix of Georgia Tech faculty and students as well as local instructors.

Final Thoughts – Atlanta Summer Programs

Looking for more summer program resources? Be sure to check out the following: