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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 $9,165 Available 1/20 (Priority)Rising 9th-12th (female only)
Berklee College of Music Summer ProgramsBoston, MAYesMusic 3 days-5 weeks~$1,150-$9,150Available Rolling Age 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, INYesMusic 1 week ~$1,500Spring3-JulRising 11th, 12th
Columbia University Summer Immersion - ArtsNew York, NYYesArt3 weeks$11,566 Available 19-MarRising 9th, 10th, 11th, or 12th
Cornell University Summer CollegeIthaca, NYYesMultiple (includng Arts)3-6 weeks~$6,750-$13,500mid-January RollingRising 11th and 12th
Curtis Institute Young Artist Summer ProgramPhiladelphia, PAYesMusic 3 weeks $6,150 Available 17-JanAge 14 and older
Design Immersion Camp at North Carolina State UniversityRaleigh, NCYesDesign1 week~$1,225Available 7-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/Design 3 weeks ~$7,500-$9,300Available 1-AprAges 16-18
RISD Pre-College ProgramProvidence, RIYesArt/Design 6 weeks ~$9,600Available Rolling Rising 11th, 12th
San Francisco Art Institute PreCollegeSan Francisco, CAYesMultiple (includng Arts)4 weeks ~$5,5004-Jan1-MayRising 11th, 12th
SCAD Rising StarMultiple YesArt/Design 5 weeks$6,300 Available Rolling (May)Rising 12th
Shakespeare on Stage at Cornell UniversityIthaca, NYYesDrama 3 weeks $6,750 Available 1-MayRising 11th, 12th
Sotheby's Institute of ArtNew York, NYYesArt2 weeks$5,595 Available 1/6 (Priority)Rising 10th, 11th, 12th
Summer Art Intensive at Cooper UnionNew York, NYYesArts4 weeks $2,900 January 15-AprAges 15-18
Summer Art Intensive at NYUNew York, NYYesArt4 weeks $6,250 1-Feb4/1 (Early)Rising 10th, 11th, 12th
Summer Arts Institute at Stanford UniversityStanford, CAYesArts3 weeks ~$6,200January Rolling (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, OHYesMusic 1-2 weeks ~$550-$1,2501-Mar1-MayAge 15 and older
Summer Pre-College Art Program at Carnegie MellonPittsburgh, PA YesArt3-6 weeks ~$6,000-$9,400Available 1-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, NYYesDrama 4 weeks $12,184 Available 8-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 $8,500 15-Jan10-AprRising 11th, 12th
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