While it’s always good to take some time to rest and recharge after the end of the busy school year, summer is full of opportunities to stay active and meet new people, learn new skills, and explore new subjects.

This is especially true for rising juniors and seniors who plan to attend college. For students who want to further their education over the summer, many colleges and universities — including highly selective schools — offer summer programs for high school students. 

These programs can range from virtual classes with flexible schedules to full on-campus immersive experiences where high school students live in college dorm rooms, attend classes, and go on field trips.

Summer programs for high school students are offered on a wide range of subjects and disciplines — there is no shortage of options for high school students to find something that interests them. 

Students can take a variety of classes to explore potential career paths, like those in business, while also learning more about college life. This experience can give high school students a head start on selecting a college or university and determining a major.

Benefits of Taking a Summer Business Program for High School Students

If you are a high school student thinking about pursuing a career in business, there are many summer programs that cover a variety of business topics such as economics, marketing, entrepreneurship, and management. There are also many benefits to starting your business career journey in high school by enrolling in a summer business program.

Earn college credit in high school

You could earn college credit by taking college-level business classes in high school over the summer. Depending on the institution, you may have to go through the college admissions process to take these courses or participate in a dual enrollment program with your high school and the college. 

Earning college credit in high school could reduce the number of credits you will be required to take when you get to college, which can also help you earn your degree and start your career faster or open up room in your class schedule to do an internship.

Gain exposure to college-level academics

The jump from high school to college can be challenging. By enrolling in a summer college program while you are still in high school, you can experience the rigors of college academics before you start your first year, making the transition easier. 

At Harvard Summer School, high school students may apply to the for-credit Secondary School Program or non-credit Pre-College Program and, if accepted, take college-level business topic courses over summer.

Select a field of study

There are many career opportunities in business. By enrolling in a college business summer program, you can explore different business roles to see what interests you, which can also help guide which major you declare when you get to college. When you officially start college, you will already know what classes to focus on. 

Discovering what you want to study while in high school could also save you time and tuition expenses later in your education journey.

Improve your college application

Completing a college business program while in high school may elevate your college application and help you stand out to college admissions officers, especially if you are applying to a highly selective business program or school of business.

Build your network

High school students who attend college programs come from a wide range of backgrounds and geographic locations. By participating in a summer business program, you will meet people and make friends who will become part of your growing network, which could lead to future job opportunities, professional connections, and recommendations.

Grow Your Business Soft Skills Over the Summer

According to the United States Department of Labor, today’s employers view soft skills as more important to work readiness than job-specific hard skills. A recent LinkedIn Global Talent Trends report noted that 89% of recruiters say when a hire doesn’t work out, it comes down to a lack of soft skills.

In addition to gaining valuable business knowledge, college summer programs can help you sharpen these critical soft skills. Students in business summer programs practice:

Communication skills 

Today’s business world is complex, and business professionals must be able to navigate different situations with effective communication skills. 

Summer business programs like the Harvard Summer School’s Pre-College Summer School Program for High School Students offer courses on improving public speaking and persuasion abilities. Other courses include projects where students develop communication skills while working in teams. 

All programs offer multiple opportunities for students to practice different elements of communication to help you grow this critical skill.

Teamwork skills 

High school students who attend summer business programs come from different cultures and backgrounds. Summer business programs often include team activities and the coursework may require you to work with a diverse range of students. 

Time management skills

The work presented in summer programs is often condensed, which may require you to build more study time into your schedule. If you participate in an immersion program, it could be your first time away from home and on a college campus, so you’ll likely want to get out and explore your new environment. 

To balance studying, socializing, and making the most of the summer college program experience, you will need to develop strong time management skills

Leadership skills

Every field of business requires strong leadership skills. Whether you aim to become a CEO, a manager, or any other career in business, each role will involve motivation, critical thinking, problem solving, and more. Each of these skills contribute to effective leadership. 

At a summer business program, you will learn how to hone your strengths in leadership and how to apply them.

Personal branding

One major component of business is branding, from marketing to social media. Developing your own personal branding in high school can give you a head start not only in practicing how to apply branding in professional environments, but also in sharing with the world what makes you unique.

Business Courses at Harvard Summer School

Harvard Summer School offers high school students two opportunities to explore subjects that interest them. Harvard Summer School’s Pre-College Program is a non-credit two-week residential program designed to give high school students a glimpse of college life on the Harvard campus.Harvard’s 4- and 7-Week Secondary School Program offers for-credit courses in a residential, online, or commuting format to fully immerse students in the college experience.

Students take college-level courses alongside peers from around the world taught by Harvard faculty and renowned visiting faculty.The majority of classes have less than 25 students. 

Harvard Summer School offers courses in economics, digital media, management and leadership, and effective speech.

Each course involves case studies that address real-world problems or other materials to deepen your understanding of these key business topics.

Who Should Enroll in a Summer Business Program?

Because college programs are often designed and taught by scholars, summer programs are best suited for highly motivated and mature students who excel academically. 

Some courses offer college credit and others are non-credit classes, but they are still immersive. Students should want to study and engage with classmates and teachers throughout every course they choose to take over the summer. 

Learn more about whether Harvard Summer School is right for you!

Enroll in Harvard Summer School’s Programs for High School Students

Applications open in December for Harvard Summer School’s Pre-College and Secondary School Programs. Both programs are open to rising juniors and seniors; graduating seniors may apply to the Secondary School Program.

Learn more about the business courses and all of the other subjects available during each session along with how to apply