Academic enrichment is a cornerstone of Harvard Summer School programs for high school students, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have some fun while you’re at it.
The seven-week Secondary School Program gives students time to connect with peers based on common interests. Below are some of the online activities and clubs students have enjoyed during our 2020 and 2021 online programs.
Please note: Large-scale events on campus will likely be altered in 2022 to prioritize student-safety and will reflect COVID-19 prevention measures in place on campus.
Secondary School Program Activities
Below, you’ll find a list of activities typically offered each summer. Once you’re admitted to the program, you’ll receive details on how to sign up for activities.
Activities are subject to change year to year, but whether you’re joining an online or on-campus session, rest assured there will be plenty of chances to engage and network at Harvard Summer School.
- Classical Music Listening Party
- Musical Theater Listening Party
- Open Mic Night
- College Selection Panel
- College Admissions Panel
- College Admissions Q&A
- College Counseling: one-on-one appointments
- First Generation / Low Income (FGLI) Panel & Advising
- LGBTQ+ Panel & Q&A
- Forming Opinions, a discussion series
- Student-initiated Discussions
- But I Might Be Wrong: A Discussion Forum
- Language Meet-Ups: Spanish, French, Russian
- Hispanic/Latin American Culture: A Discussion of Heritage
- Journal Club
- Wellness Club
- Dramatic Monologues: Playwriting Workshop & Performance
- Two Years Over Here: My Peace Corps Experience
- How’d You Get There? Student-Alumni Discussions of Careers
- Travelers in the World: Students Discuss Something from their Country or Culture
- Group Lunches (“Lunch with the Dean”), open to up to 10 students
- Show & Tell: Bring Your Hobby
- Show & Tell: Bring Something That’s Important to You
- Drawing/Painting Night
These are some activities you may be able to partake in on-campus:
- Dances: students attend dances held at both the beginning and end of the Secondary School Program sessions.
- Talent Show: You can audition to showcase your talents at this culminating summer event.
- Socials: Themed social activities every weekend, just for SSP students. Previous themes have included karaoke, board games, art night, and trivia night.
- Music Groups: Summer Chorus, Summer Orchestra, Summer Pops Band [Note: participation in these music groups is not managed by the SAO, but the SAO does promote the groups’ performances to students]
- College Counseling Q&As: Informal Q&A sessions about anything related to college applications and admissions. Topics can include SAT/ACT prep, course selection, deadlines and applications, public versus private institutions, financial aid, letters of recommendation, college tours, family concerns, equity and inclusion, and athletics and clubs.
- College Visits. Campus tours and admissions sessions at a range of colleges and universities. Yale and Brown are staples, but visits have also included area institutions such as Boston College, Boston University, MIT, Tufts, Wellesley, and others.
Activities for All Admitted High School Program Students
Our Student Activities Office and Dean of Students Office host a range of activities throughout the summer that are open to all admitted Harvard Summer School students, as long as the activity is within the time frame of your session.
Online College Admissions Programs
- Harvard College Admissions Talk: Informational session with admissions officers from Harvard
- Selecting the Right College: A panel featuring summer staff (Resident Directors in Pre-College Program and Assistant Deans in the Secondary School Program)
- Paying for College and Applying for Financial Aid: A hands-on workshop
- Virtual Admissions Panel: Featuring admissions officers from a range of Ivy and Ivy+ institutions.
- Writing the College Application Essay: A hands-on workshop.
On-Campus Student Activities Office Offerings
Summer 2021 will be held entirely online, but if you’re looking ahead to 2022, here are some activities you may be able to partake in next summer:
- Film Series: A mix of the latest releases and long-standing fan favorites, every weekend night
- Athletics: Weekly pick-up games and tournaments across a range of sports, usually basketball, soccer, dodgeball, tennis, and running
- Language Tables: Informal conversation tables over meals in the dining halls, for those interested in practicing a second language, missing their native tongue, or anywhere in between.
- Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging Sessions: Led by trained facilitators designed to promote students’ understanding of and appreciation for diversity, inclusion, and belonging
- Special Events: Large-scale events that vary from year to year. For example: Arts Night in Annenberg, Game Night in Annenberg, Cake Decorating Contest, World Cup Watch Parties, Olympic Games Watch Parties, Election-Year Political Debate Watch Parties.
- Trips and Excursions: Off-campus trips throughout Boston and greater New England
- Arts & Culture: Museums and performing arts. Examples: Museum of Fine Arts, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Cirque du Soleil, Broadway in Boston shows.
- Population Destinations: Beach towns, hiking trails, festivals. Examples: Martha’s Vineyard, Newport, Provincetown, Middlesex Fells hiking, Harborfest.
- Recreation: Amusement parks, sporting events, etc. Examples: Canobie Lake, Red Sox games, laser tag.
- Recreation / Education: Guided tours, aquarium, etc. Examples: duck tour, whale watch, Arnold Arboretum, guided walking tours of Boston, Museum of Science, New England Aquarium.
- Summer Servers: Group public service volunteer opportunities with local and Boston-area organizations