Best Summer Programs in Washington, DC – 2024

April 11, 2024

washington dc summer programs georgetown american

Washington, DC, our nation’s capital, is absolutely bursting at the seams with landmarks, memorials, and museums. It’s also a walking-friendly city (you’ll want to experience those spring cherry blossoms on foot!) with a robust public transportation system. As such, you can easily tour the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, or Smithsonian museums, to name a few, wander the National Mall, or explore the many public parks. Furthermore, Washington, DC, houses our political leadership as well as many federal buildings, from the U.S. Capitol to the Pentagon. Most excitingly, you can stop watching the Elephant Cam from afar and take yourself to the National Zoo. So, without further ado, crack yourself some blue crab, grab the Old Bay, and put on your favorite patriotic tune because today we are exploring Washington, DC, summer programs in all their glory.

1) George Washington Pre-College Programs

  • Location: Washington, DC
  • Residential?: Residential, commuter, and online options available.
  • Program Length: Summer Immersion: 2 weeks; College Intensive: 6 weeks; Caminos al Futuro: 3 weeks.
  • Cost: Summer Immersion: $5,100 (residential), $4,600 (commuter); College Intensive: ~$6,000 per course; Caminos al Futuro: Free.
  • Eligibility: Summer Immersion: rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors; College Intensive: rising juniors and seniors; Caminos al Futuro: rising seniors.
  • Application Deadline: April/May

Known for its Washington, DC, summer programs in international relations, politics, biomedical engineering, and museum studies, to name a few, George Washington offers a number of immersive programs that aim to connect classroom and experiential learning. Accordingly, their two-week residential Summer Immersion programs combine lectures and hands-on activities. Currently, students can choose from options that include The U.S. Intelligence Community: Global Terrorism and Nuclear Proliferation, Cognitive Neuroscience, and Introduction to Medicine, among others. Although students will have free time to explore the city, they’ll also participate in residential programming during evenings and weekends.

Additionally, George Washington offers College Intensives, which are six-week online courses that students take for credit. Finally, Caminos al Futuro is a selective, three-week residential program offered by the Cisneros Hispanic Leadership Institute. Over the course of the program, participants will analyze how Hispanic/Latino communities are affected by social, political, and economic forces. Then, they develop their own projects that address such issues within the community.

In addition to transcripts that demonstrate strong academic performance, applicants to these Washington, DC, summer programs will need to write a personal statement. They may also need to submit teacher recommendations.

2) Community of Scholars at American University

  • Location: Washington, DC
  • Residential?: Hybrid–students spend two weeks on campus and one week learning asynchronously at home.
  • Program Length: Three weeks
  • Cost: $3,639 + $2,080 room & board
  • Eligibility: Rising juniors and seniors
  • Application Deadline: Rolling

Interested in international affairs? These American University summer programs include a demanding three-credit college course as well as exposure to Washington, DC. Current options for the course include Worlds Apart, Worlds Together: Conflict, Culture, and Cooperation; 21st Century Challenges: Environmental Sustainability and Global Health; and Diplomacy and Dictators: US Foreign Policy in an Uncertain World. During their two weeks on campus, students will participate in classes and simulations and attend briefings at various Washington institutions. When students return home, they’ll complete a final paper or project under guidance from their professors.

On campus, students live in AU dorms and dine on campus. Additionally, weekend programming includes Smithsonian and monument visits, and students will have plenty of opportunities to explore Washington, DC.

On their American University summer programs application, students will need to demonstrate their interest in international affairs. Also, they need to possess a solid academic background and secure a teacher recommendation.

Washington, DC, Summer Programs – Continued

3) School for Ethics and Global Leadership Summer Institute

  • Location: Washington, DC
  • Residential?: Yes
  • Program Length: Four weeks
  • Cost: $11,200. Financial aid is available.
  • Eligibility: Rising juniors and seniors.
  • Application Deadline: February

Many Washington, DC, summer programs are centered on leadership and SEGL is no different. At SEGL’s Summer Institute, students complete an intensive Ethics and Leadership curriculum. Over the course of four weeks, they’ll develop and hone their critical thinking, leadership, and public speaking skills, among others.

Consequently, they’ll analyze various case studies and complete three capstone projects. Firstly, the Collaborative Policy Document is a proposed solution to a pressing international challenge–past examples include Syrian human trafficking and rainforest deforestation. Secondly, the Ethical Credo requires students to reflect on how ethics and leadership will impact their lives moving forward. Finally, after identifying a problem in their local, national, or global communities, students engage in a Social Venture Project. As part of this project, they’ll communicate with people who have been impacted by their issues of choice. Additionally, the goal is for students to continue working on their projects after they return home from the Institute.

During the program, students live together in a residence across the street from the U.S. Capitol. They are served three meals a day and can explore the city in the evenings and on weekends. Moreover, students and faculty work together to develop extracurricular programming.

To apply to these Washington, DC, summer programs, students must provide a solid slate of materials. These include writing samples, two teacher recommendations, a transcript, a parent statement, and a graded paper.

Washington, DC, Summer Programs – Continued

4) Georgetown Summer Programs

  • Location: Washington, DC
  • Residential?: Residential and commuter options available.
  • Program Length: Summer College: five or eight weeks; Academies: one, two, or three weeks; College Prep: five weeks.
  • Cost: Summer College: ~$6,000 per course (not including residential fees); Academies: $2,625-3,549 (one week), $4,025-6,050 (two weeks), $5,499-7,645 (three weeks); College Prep: $6,159 per course + $3,978 residential fee or $1,573 commuter fee.
  • Eligibility: Rising freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors. However, several programs–including the Medical and Biotechnology Academies–require students to be at least 15 years old.
  • Application Deadline: Early Bird Deadline: January; Regular Deadline: May

For students interested in earning college credit at their Washington, DC, summer programs, Georgetown’s Summer College is an incredible option. Students can choose from a five-week on-campus or eight-week online option, and can take up to two classes per session. Courses offered by Georgetown summer programs are intensive, and typically, over forty different subjects are available. Current offerings include Cyborg: Human Machine Interface, American Gothic Fiction, and the Ethics of Climate Change, among many others.

Georgetown also offers multiple one-, two-, and three-week Academies. There, students delve into a specialized topic through collaborative activities, guest lectures, and field trips. As such, these are accelerated and intensive experiences. One-week Academies include Creative Writing and Artificial Intelligence while two-week Academies include Forensic Science and Entrepreneurship. In addition, there are four three-week Academies available: Business, Economic Policy, Foreign Policy, and Medical.

Finally, students who enroll in the residential College Prep Program will live on Georgetown’s campus while taking a 3- or 4-credit course as well as a number of College Prep Seminars. These seminars cover test-taking strategies as well as the college search and application process. Moreover, courses are intensive—students can expect eight hours of class and 18 hours of studying per week.

To apply to any of these Georgetown summer programs, students must write a personal statement. Additionally, Summer College and College Prep students must provide transcripts and recommendations, and Academy students must complete a school reviewer form.

5) Pharm STEP 1

  • Location: Washington, DC
  • Residential?: No
  • Program Length: Two weeks
  • Cost: Not listed.
  • Eligibility: Rising juniors and seniors.
  • Application Deadline: March

Housed at the Howard University College of Pharmacy, Pharm STEP 1 is a two-week Washington, DC, summer program for high school students. Over the course of the program, students will take classes in subjects like medical terminology and pharmacology calculations. They’ll also be taught by Howard’s award-winning faculty.

Pharm STEP 1 is not a residential program, so housing, meals, and transportation will be not be provided to participants. To apply, students will need to demonstrate an interest in pharmacy as a profession as well as a high aptitude for math and science. Moreover, they’ll need a minimum of a 2.75 GPA, and must submit a transcript, resume, and three letters of recommendation.

Final Thoughts – Washington, DC, Summer Programs

If Washington, DC is your top choice this summer, you’re in luck. Whether you’d like to study global affairs at the American University summer programs, build your pharmacy knowledge at Pharm STEP 1, or delve into a Medical Academy offered by Georgetown summer programs, you’ll be able to find a place where you can thrive.

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