Great Summer Leadership Programs for High School Students

Great Summer Leadership Programs for High School Students

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Do you see yourself as a leader? Strong leadership skills are a great way to set yourself apart on a college application as well as in your future career. Below are five summer programs that will give you a head start on expanding your leadership capabilities, helping you learn to work with a team, improve your communication skills, and effect change. And if you know of another worthwhile leadership program, share it with other readers using the link at the bottom of the page.

The Brown Leadership Institute

Brown University's pre-college summer programming includes The Brown Leadership Institute, an intensive two-week leadership training session for motivated and intellectually curious 9th through 12th graders. The program aims to apply leadership skills to social issues, encouraging students to develop the skills necessary to be socially responsible future leaders. Through case studies, group projects, field trips, simulations, and discussions and debates, they examine complex global issues and learn to apply the Social Change Model of Leadership Development to come up with effective solutions. Students also create and bring home an action plan, attempting to resolve a long-term issue that they care about.​

Leadership in the Business World

University of Pennsylvania. rubberpaw / Flickr

Rising high school seniors interested in exploring undergraduate business administration and leadership are encouraged to apply to Leadership in the Business World, sponsored every summer by Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Students attend lectures and presentations by Wharton faculty and guest speakers, visit successful business enterprises and work in teams to create an original business plan to be presented to a panel of venture capitalists and other professionals. The month-long program is offered at both of Wharton's campuses in San Francisco and Philadelphia, attracting students from across the globe to learn about 21st-century leadership at a world-class business institution.

LeaderShip U

LSU Law School. David Schexnaydre / Flickr

High school students entering grades 10-12 have the opportunity to explore and develop their core leadership skills in this residential program at Louisiana State University. Students spend a week in a college setting, learning to identify and develop their own strengths, communicate with others, manage their time and finances, resolve conflicts, and more, as well as participating a career exploration roundtable at the end of the session.

National Student Leadership Conference: Mastering Leadership

Northwestern University. Photo Credit: Amy Jacobson

Among its wide selection of summer sessions for high school students, the National Student Leadership Conference offers a five-day course on Mastering Leadership. This program includes a series of interactive workshops that emphasize the “Pillars of Effective Leadership,” including goal-setting, group dynamics, conflict resolution, team building, persuasive communication, and community service, as well as taking field trips, meeting with leadership professionals, and completing a day of service in the local community. Dates and locations vary.

Students Today Leaders Forever

Hamline University. erin.kkr / Flickr

Students Today Leaders Forever, a national non-profit student leadership association, offers this residential summer experience for high school students entering grades 9-12. Students participate in intensive leadership workshops and team-building activities with a focus on organization, teamwork, communication, and an overall commitment to effecting positive change. There are two six-day sessions hosted on the campuses of Hamline University in St. Paul, MN and University of Wisconsin - Parkside.


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