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10 Great Summer Programs In New York City

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If you’re looking for a great place for a teen summer program, it’s hard to beat New York City.

With its diverse population of 8.6 million people and its dynamic cultural scene, there really is something for everybody. And, many teen summer programs take advantage of their locations in or near the city, using it as another resource or learning site. Others are on campuses within a short commute and either offer field trips or time for students to explore on their own.

You can find almost any summer program you can imagine in New York City: STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), fashion, the arts, journalism, cooking and even outdoor adventures. Programs vary in length from one week to several, and some have day as well as residential options. Prices vary; some offer financial aid as well as college credit.


A teen summer program can help you test out a major, explore a new interest, connect with like-minded kids, try out a college campus, and explore a part of the world that’s far away or close to home. If New York City has been calling to you, check out these 10 summer programs popular with TeenLife members:

American Academy of Dramatic Arts. The academy offers summer programs ranging from one to seven weeks. Classes are available for actors of all levels, but applicants must be at least 16. Housing is a restored building next door to the main New York campus. (Students 12 to 16 are welcome to apply for the academy’s summer program in Los Angeles.)

Baruch Leadership Academy. This academy offers summer programs for rising juniors and seniors that include pre-med; financial engineering and applied mathematics; global finance and economics; leadership in technology; and entrepreneurship. Sophomores are in their own enrichment program. The academy also offers test prep.

Columbia University Summer Program for High School Students. High school students can study topics such as the arts and creative writing, science, mathematics, engineering, social sciences, business, law, architecture, design, urban studies and the arts. Day and residential options are available.

Envision National Youth Leadership Forum/Medicine. If you’ve been wondering whether medicine would be a good choice for you, this program for high-schoolers at St. John’s University in Queens might help. This nine-day program includes a med school simulation lab and the chance to talk with medical professionals and students. College credit may be available.

Fashion Institute of Technology. This is a day program for middle and high school students that gives them a peek at the world of art and fashion, as well as the technicalities of design. Classes range from sculpture to footwear design. The program also teaches participants about the FIT application process.

Honors Performance Series. How do you get to Carnegie Hall? One way is through this program that gives talented young musicians the chance to perform on major stages. The New York program centers on five days of master classes topped by a performance at, yes, Carnegie Hall. Students must submit applications and audition tapes.

iD Tech Camp at NYU. Students ages 7 to 17 can learn to code, design video games, produce videos, mod IS THAT RIGHT?Minecraft, create with Roblox, engineer robots, model and print 3D characters, work with artificial intelligence and machine learning, build laptops and learn about cybersecurity on the New York University campus. All sessions are one week. There are day and residential options.

School of The New York Times. The NYC Summer Academy, run by The New York Times, offers two-weeklong programs in journalism, media, technology, arts, culture, sports, fashion, business and science. Students can choose to study one topic in a two-week intensive or to look at four diverse topics. A residential option is available.

Urban Adventure Camp offers teens intensive instruction in kayaking, rock climbing and sailing, as well as opportunities to participate in more traditional sports such as basketball, soccer, volleyball and ice skating. The camp is located on Pier 60 at Chelsea Piers; overnight options are available. Sailing and kayaking camps take advantage of the Hudson River and New York Harbor.

Wagner College Summer Pre-College Program. This program offers a three-week course that combines disciplines, such as psychology, gender studies, filmmaking and the history of New York. The Wagner campus is on Staten Island, only a short ferry ride away from Manhattan. College credit may be available.