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Best Summer Programs for Performing and Visual Arts

High school students who are talented in the arts often keep quite busy outside of normal school hours, starring in dramatic productions, performing in the chorus or orchestra, or painting/scrupling/drawing for hours each day in the evenings. The summer months can provide additional time to pursue one's passion in the arts, whether independently or by applying to a competitive formalized summer program.

Our list of Best Summer Programs in the Performing and Visual Arts is comprised of 28 top-notch programs that range in duration, cost, and eligibility criteria but all share the common trait of quality in the eyes of prospective colleges. All of the aforementioned data points are provided for each school along with the location of the program, whether they offer a residential experience, and when the application window opens and closes. We also reveal when applications become available, the deadlines, whether residential housing is offered, and the geographic location where the program takes place. These selections provide you a way to sing, dance, or act your way to a meaningful summer experience that provides the added benefit of improved admissions prospects.

Programs highlighted in red are especially competitive. To view additional data columns, click the + icon to the left of the program's name.

ProgramLocationResidentialFocusLengthCostsApp. OpensDeadlineEligibility
Barnard College - Performing Arts and Media InstituteNew York, NYYesMultiple (includng Arts)4 weeks$9,165Available1/20 (Priority)Rising 9th-12th (female only)
Berklee College of Music Summer ProgramsBoston, MAYesMusic3 days-5 weeks~$1,150-$9,150AvailableRollingAge 15 and older
Boston University High School HonorsBoston, MAYesMultiple (includng Arts)6 weeks~$9,000 (2 courses)15-Dec29-MayRising 11th, 12th
College Audition Preparation Workshop at Indiana UniversityBloomington, INYesMusic1 week~$1,500Spring3-JulRising 11th, 12th
Columbia University Summer Immersion - ArtsNew York, NYYesArt3 weeks$11,566Available19-MarRising 9th, 10th, 11th, or 12th
Cornell University Summer CollegeIthaca, NYYesMultiple (includng Arts)3-6 weeks~$6,750-$13,500mid-JanuaryRollingRising 11th and 12th
Curtis Institute Young Artist Summer ProgramPhiladelphia, PAYesMusic3 weeks$6,150Available17-JanAge 14 and older
Design Immersion Camp at North Carolina State UniversityRaleigh, NCYesDesign1 week~$1,225Available7-AprRising 11th, 12th
Harvard Secondary School ProgramCambridge, MAYesMultiple (includng Arts)2-7 weeks~$4,750-$12,810December15-MarRising 10th, 11th, 12th
Miami University Summer ScholarsOxford, OHYesMultiple (includng Arts)2 weeks~$1,45015-AprRollingRising 11th, 12th
Notre Dame Summer ScholarsNotre Dame, INYesMultiple (includng Arts)2 weeks~$3,750Available18-Feb16 years old by 8/1
Parsons Summer Intensive Studies NYCNew York, NYYesArt/Design3 weeks~$7,500-$9,300Available1-AprAges 16-18
RISD Pre-College ProgramProvidence, RIYesArt/Design6 weeks~$9,600AvailableRollingRising 11th, 12th
San Francisco Art Institute PreCollegeSan Francisco, CAYesMultiple (includng Arts)4 weeks~$5,5004-Jan1-MayRising 11th, 12th
SCAD Rising StarMultipleYesArt/Design5 weeks$6,300AvailableRolling (May)Rising 12th
Shakespeare on Stage at Cornell UniversityIthaca, NYYesDrama3 weeks$6,750Available1-MayRising 11th, 12th
Sotheby's Institute of ArtNew York, NYYesArt2 weeks$5,595Available1/6 (Priority)Rising 10th, 11th, 12th
Summer Art Intensive at Cooper UnionNew York, NYYesArts4 weeks$2,900January15-AprAges 15-18
Summer Art Intensive at NYUNew York, NYYesArt4 weeks$6,2501-Feb4/1 (Early)Rising 10th, 11th, 12th
Summer Arts Institute at Stanford UniversityStanford, CAYesArts3 weeks~$6,200JanuaryRolling (March)Rising 9th-12th
Summer at GeorgetownWashington, DCYesMultiple (includng Arts)1-5 weeks~$3,000-$8,000AvailableFills by mid-FebRising 10th, 11th, 12th
Summer Music Programs at OberlinOberlin, OHYesMusic1-2 weeks~$550-$1,2501-Mar1-MayAge 15 and older
Summer Pre-College Art Program at Carnegie MellonPittsburgh, PAYesArt3-6 weeks~$6,000-$9,400Available1-MarRising 11th, 12th
Summer@BrownProvidence, RIYesMultiple (includng Arts)1-4 weeks$2,849-$7,154DecemberRollingRising 10th, 11th, and 12th
Tisch (NYU) Summer High School Drama ProgramsNew York, NYYesDrama4 weeks$12,184Available8-JanRising 11th, 12th
UCLA Summer InstitutesLos Angeles, CAYesMultiple (includng Arts)VariesVariesVariesVariesVaries
University of Chicago Summer CollegeChicago, ILYesMultiple (includng Arts)3-5 weeks$10,305-$12,065January26-FebRising 12th
Yale - Summer Drama ProgramNew Haven, CTYesDrama5 weeks$8,50015-Jan10-AprRising 11th, 12th
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