10 Summer Leadership Programs for High School Students

Are you a high school student looking to make the most of your summer and become a future leader in your field?

Look no further! We’ve rounded up the top 10 summer leadership programs for high school students, covering everything from global leadership skills at Georgetown University to innovation and problem-solving at NYU’s Future Global Leaders Academy.

But it’s not all business and academics – the Sadie Nash Leadership Project focuses on empowering young women and non-binary students, and UCLA’s Bruin Leadership & Entrepreneurship Entertainment Academy combines leadership lessons with the love of the silver screen.

No matter your interests, there’s a summer leadership program for you. Get ready to take your leadership skills to the next level!

Future Global Leaders Academy – NYU

New York City is America’s premier city, a global center for innovation and business. In the heart of the city sits New York University, one of the country’s best and most highly respected institutions. This is where the Future Global Leaders Academy is set.

The Future Global Leaders Academy is a hands-on, two-week educational program intended for students aged 14-18. This academy has a global perspective that is meant to help high-school students think about how to tackle the problems of the future.

The primary focus of this program is considering how to reach the United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals, meant to combat poverty, injustice, and inequality. These are big picture, major issues that will face the leaders of tomorrow, and this program is trying to help prepare these future leaders.

Students who join this program will be innovators and problem-solvers that want to learn more about the global problems our planet faces and their potential solutions. This competitive program looks great on a resume or application and includes hands-on, team-oriented applications of the lessons you learn.

Global Leadership Skills and Agents of Social Change – Georgetown

The center of the American political world sits in Washington, D.C, where everyday leaders tackle major international projects. Georgetown University is one of the best-known universities in the country, set in D.C, with many students who go on to join the political fray.

The Global Leadership Skills and Agents of Social Change program is a Summer Discovery course intended to inspire and educate tomorrow’s leaders. The program is available for students between the ages of 14-18. It is a two-week intensive course that will provide new and unique perspectives.

This course is an excellent addition to a college application or resume and will function as great preparation for the upcoming university experience. It is an academically rigorous program that will prepare high school students for what lies ahead while also offering an incredible global education.

The course is centered around learning leadership skills built for the modern environment, blending concepts of sustainability and social responsibility with technology and business ethics. It all combines for a top-notch look at how students can prepare for tomorrow’s business world.

Essentials of Leadership – Wharton, University of Pennsylvania

The University of Pennsylvania, or Penn, is one of the eight private universities that make up the Ivy League. Wharton is Penn’s business school, one of the tops in the world, that has a long list of alumni that are titans of industry.

The Essentials of Leadership Program is a Summer Discover program led by Wharton that is a hands-on educational experience with a business focus. This program is for rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors and offers insight into what attending school at one of the top business programs in the world would be like.

This program lasts for two weeks and is entirely online, so students from across the country can access this exciting educational opportunity. This program has numerous components that make it incredibly exciting for students, including case competitions, guest speakers, and interactive digital simulations.

This program is competitive and caters to students with a record of excellence inside and outside the classroom. It is an excellent tool for improving students’ chances of admission at other universities, as it is selective and offers a top-notch educational experience.

Sadie Nash Leadership Project

The Sadie Nash Leadership Project is intended for female and non-binary high school students to prepare them for their future as leaders in the workplace. It is a program that will empower and activate young leaders and build a tight-knit community.

The Sadie Nash Leadership Project takes place in New York City and New Jersey, lasting six weeks. It is a virtual program with some optional in-person components, and it is completely free. In fact, students get the chance to receive a $300 stipend at the end, depending on participation.

The Sadie Nash Leadership Project is intended to help students question and redefine notions of leadership and will have educational material on a variety of topics. Students can expect to learn about social justice, identity, ethics, and more. It is a fast-paced program with field trips, guest speakers, and more.

This program is perfect for all self-identified women and non-binary students, and it will offer an education centered around leadership and inclusion. It will be a fun and enlightening experience and help prepare young leaders for their future.

Bank of America Student Leaders Program

Bank of America is one of the most powerful banks in the country, and they have dedicated some of their considerable resources to helping others. Their Bank of America Student Leaders Program exemplifies their commitment to the community.

The Bank of America Student Leaders Program is competitive but extremely valuable for those who make it through. It is an eight-week program where high school juniors and seniors are connected to major companies in their chosen city for an eight-week-long paid internship. These internships are at non-profits.

The program culminates in a week-long leadership summit in the center of America’s political world, Washington D.C. Students are paid for their attendance. This program is a one-of-a-kind opportunity for students from all backgrounds to receive hands-on experience at different community-oriented non-profits.

The Bank of America Student Leaders Program is highly competitive, but that is only because of its impact on its recipients. This program looks incredible on applications and resumes and connects students to a local non-profit that can help them down the road.

University of Notre Dame Leadership Seminars

The University of Notre Dame is one of the most highly-recognized universities in the nation, and it is the site of this amazing leadership seminar. The University of Notre Dame’s Leadership Seminars is a competitive but highly impactful program that helps students across the country become the best leaders they can be.

The Leadership Seminars is a ten-day, intensive program set on campus. Students that attend will receive free housing, tuition, and meals, as well as transferrable college credit. They’ll also gain a top-notch education.

Students will tackle complex global issues like war, race, and the environment while working in a collaborative and fast-paced environment. They’ll interact with Notre Dame faculty in small class settings, build friendships with other students, and live in a dorm, gaining a real sense of the undergraduate experience.

This program is highly selective, but students that attend will get to talk about big picture issues and gain insight into their own strengths as a leader. It will be an incredible learning opportunity and an interactive environment with other like-minded students worldwide.

Subiendo: The Academy for Rising Leaders – UT Austin

The University of Texas is one of the top private universities in the country, set in one of America’s rising cities. Austin is a new hotspot for tech companies like Apple and Tesla, and it is a great city for students.

The University of Texas offers several free programs that provide a chance for rising juniors and seniors to get a sense of what the undergraduate experience will be like. One of these is Subiendo: The Academy for Rising Leaders. This is a selective week-long leadership development program available to students of all backgrounds.

Subiendo will give students the chance to explore Austin, engage in case competitions, network with industry leaders, and gain first-hand insight into what life is like at the University of Texas. There will be leadership seminars, campus tours, and much more. It is team-oriented and collaborative and will help students connect with others.

Subiendo is a selective program, but if students make it through, it is a huge boost to their resume and university applications. It is also a chance to branch out their leadership skills and experience the university lifestyle.

CLYLP Los Angeles Institute

The Chicano Latino Youth Leadership Project is an organization dedicated to empowering and building the leadership potential of California’s youth. The goal is to create more politically engaged, culturally aware, and goal-oriented youth and the Los Angeles Institute plays a big part in this.

The Los Angeles Institute is a three-day institute that is designed to increase the leadership potential of students from Los Angeles County. The goal is to increase their knowledge of the region’s cultural and political landscape and connect students with leaders from the community and business world.

Housing, meals, and programs at the Los Angeles Institute are entirely free, and students are housed at the UCLA dorms. There will be hands-on opportunities for students, including mock hearings with city lawmakers and informational workshops about the college admissions process. Students will leave this institution with a clearer insight into how to get into university, how the LA political system works, and more.

The Los Angeles Institute provides an exceptional opportunity for Chicano and Latino youth to connect with business leaders and politicians. This entirely free experience is a huge help on a university application and an opportunity to develop a network and expand leadership abilities.

Bruin Leadership & Entrepreneurship Entertainment Academy

UCLA is a world-famous university set in Brentwood, a beautiful part of sunny Los Angeles. UCLA offers courses in a massive variety of topics, and their Bruin Leadership & Entrepreneurship Entertainment Academy is an example of the diverse educational experience students can receive.

This course, which is created alongside Summer Discovery, is a two-week intensive intended for students aged 14-18. It is an exploration of leadership in a variety of ways, including what makes leaders effective and how to become better leaders. It uses a model designed to promote self-knowledge, so students can learn more about their own tendencies.

Students will explore an array of topics revolving around leadership and entertainment. They’ll learn about entertainment moguls like Ted Turner and Rupert Murdoch and discuss things like representation and how the portrayal of social and political realities shape society. It is perfect for lovers of the silver screen.

This program will have homework, tests, presentations, and more, so it will provide great preliminary insight into the undergraduate experience. It will explore leadership and topic in an engaging and enlightening way.

Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program

Did you know women make up half the workforce, but only 27% of the Science Technology Engineering and Medicine, or STEM, workforce? Girls Who Code is seeking to combat this equality through early education, and their Summer Immersion Program is a great leadership opportunity for young women.

The Summer Immersion Program is a two-week virtual program sponsored by industry leaders. Students will learn a wide range of web development principles, including CSS, HTML, JavaScript, and more. This program seeks to prepare women for a future in the STEM industry to reduce imbalances.

This program isn’t just about learning coding, though. It is about building community for females seeking a future in STEM, as they will meet a large number of like-minded individuals. It is also a chance to network with female entrepreneurs and engineers that have used their coding and leadership skills to launch lucrative careers.

This program is open to high school students that self-identify as women or non-binary, regardless of skill level. It is an excellent way for students to learn practical skills that can set them up for the rest of their lives.


Summer can be a time for students to unwind and relax after a long school year, but it can also be a time where they gain the skills and experience that will help them down the road. Leadership programs provide students with an excellent experience and a chance to grow and develop their leadership abilities.

Leadership skills will always have value, and learning how to enhance yours will help you, no matter what you do in your first job or a career you change into. Putting in the time and learning from the best will put you on a track towards success, and leadership programs are excellent additions to a resume and college application.

As you can see, there are a massive variety of options for leadership programs, and these ten options are only scratching the surface. There is something for every preference, and the chance to learn alongside like-minded students from experienced teachers is a great way to get the most out of your next summer.

You’ll make critical choices in High School that will define your next decades. Summer leadership programs are an excellent choice for high schoolers and position you to unlock your leadership potential before you take your next steps towards college.

If you are considering taking part in a summer leadership program or have in the past, we want to hear from you. Comment below what you hope to get out of the experience, or what you got out of your past experience, or connect with us on social media.