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10 Cool Virtual Camps High School Students Can Join Over Winter Break

Winter academic camps are unique opportunities to boost your résumé for college. Check out these 10 great programs that could transform your winter break.

Summer is typically when high school students focus heavily on résumé building to stand out to colleges. They attend programs, do intensive volunteer work, or focus on passion projects. However, many students miss out on a key time to find experiential opportunities: winter break. With most students having two or three weeks off school, this is a prime opportunity to do something productive. Get a jump-start on gaining hands-on experience in your desired field of study by attending a winter break camp! You’ll continue building on your experiences and make yourself more competitive for top summer programs. There are quite a few opportunities for students to take advantage of. Better yet, all these recommendations are virtual, so you can still travel for the holidays, spend time with friends and family, or juggle a few weeks of overlap with second-semester classes.

1. Medicine: An Inside Look at Treating Patients

  • Host: Georgetown University
  • Dates: December 17–31; January 7–February 4; January 21–February 4
  • Cost: $1,495–$1,795
  • Age requirements: 13+ years old
  • Deadline: December 10; December 31; January 14
  • Overview: Georgetown’s pre-college medicine program gives students insight into the patient journey, including an overview of the different roles of a health care team and an exploration of various treatment plans. If you’re thinking of doing the Pre-med path, this is the program for you.

2. Myths Revisited: Unraveling Ancient Tales in Modern Times

  • Host: Great Books Summer Program
  • Dates: December 27–29, 1:00–5:00 pm ET
  • Cost: $450
  • Age requirements: 9th–12th grade
  • Deadline: Rolling admission
  • Overview: This Great Books Winter Break course is taught by Academic Director Michael Harrington, a PhD candidate at Princeton University in the Department of English. It covers how narratives continue to influence our lives in the modern era. Students will talk about the myths of Greece and Rome as well as works by Anne Carson, Virgil, Sylvia Plath, and more. If you’re a night owl, you can also check out “Nature: How Do We Fit In?”—an international class taking place December 28–30 from 8:00 pm–12:00 am.

Connect me with Princeton!

3. Molecular Medicine workshops

  • Host: Rosetta Institute of Biomedical Research
  • Dates: December 26–31
  • Cost: $570 (virtual) or $1,590–$1,790 (in person)
  • Age requirements: 11–18 years old
  • Deadline: Rolling admission
  • Overview: Rosetta Institute offers two virtual winter options: The Medical Bioinformatics and the Medicinal Chemistry workshops. Two commuter options are also available, allowing students to take the Biomedical Research workshop at their facility in Alameda, California, and the Cancer Research at their facility in Berkley. All camps, virtual or otherwise, take place on the same dates.

4. Rising Researchers

  • Host: Moon Prep
  • Dates: Every Tuesday and Friday from December 19–January 12, 7:00–8:30 pm ET
  • Cost: $3,200
  • Age requirements: 9th–12th grade
  • Deadline: Rolling admission (space is limited)
  • Overview: A sister company of Moon Prep, Rising Researchers offers a four-week virtual camp where students study social determinants of health in cardiovascular disease and learn how public health impacts medicine. You’ll work alongside peers in a small class cohort under the guidance of a research mentor.

Related: Easy Ways to Find Research Experience in High School

5. BioImaging & 3D-Printing (BI3DP)

  • Host: University of California, San Diego
  • Dates: January 20–March 9
  • Cost: $2,500
  • Age requirements: 10th–12th grade, 14+ years old
  • Deadline: Rolling admission
  • Overview: UC San Diego’s Bioengineering Broad Overview and Techniques (BE-BOAT) courses require students to commit about four to 10 hours per week over six weeks. The lectures and discussions will take place on Saturdays, and students will have one to three hours during the week with the program assistants. You’ll learn hands-on skills related to biomedical imaging and 3D printing and get an at-home kit to perform exercises, including remote 3D printing of plates and medical models.

6. Personalized Medicine: Customizing Care Through Genetics

  • Host: University of Rochester
  • Dates: December 17–31
  • Cost: $995
  • Age requirements: 13+ years old
  • Deadline: December 10 (closed for this winter, but there are summer and winter opportunities next year!)
  • Overview: This course from the University of Rochester teaches students how our genetic codes make everyone unique. Learn how traits are passed on and how genetic breakthroughs can change medicine. The course covers stem cell therapy, gene editing, and how designing traits can affect treatment and health outcomes. At the end of the course, students will create a capstone project identifying a particular disease and discussing how personalized medicine might be used to treat it.

Connect me with Rochester!

7. energymag internship program

  • Host:
  • Dates: Varies between one to nine months
  • Cost: Free
  • Age requirements: 10th–12th grade
  • Deadline: Rolling admission
  • Overview: This free internship program from energymag teaches students how to research and analyze scientific and business issues. Throughout their internship, students will produce a draft analysis report that will be published on the blog at the end of the program. Interns are expected to work eight hours a week, and applicants should have at least a 3.5 GPA.

8. Center for Talented Youth online courses

  • Host: Johns Hopkins University
  • Dates: Varies
  • Cost: $695–$2,130
  • Age requirements: 2nd–12th grade
  • Deadline: Varies depending on class
  • Overview: The Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth offers a wide variety of online courses for elementary, middle, and high school students to take over winter break, including Arabic Language, Art Meets Science: Literature, Interdisciplinary STEM Essay Writing, Chess, Introduction to Forensics, and Storytelling through Art, Film & Media.

Connect me with Johns Hopkins!

9. Beaver Works Summer Institute

  • Host: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Dates: February 1–June 16
  • Cost: Free
  • Age requirements: 9th–12th grade
  • Deadline: Rolling admission
  • Overview: Registration for Beaver Works Summer Institute online courses opened in December. Nominations from teachers or counselors are not required, and students are encouraged to self-register. Course topics include Serious Game Development With AI, Embedded Security & Hardware Hacking, Autonomous RACECAR Grand Prix, Quantum Software, Cyber Ops, and much more.

10. Precollege Studies online courses

  • Host: Cornell University
  • Dates: January 2–19
  • Cost: $1,750 per credit
  • Age requirements: 11th and 12th grade, 15+ years old
  • Deadline: December 4 (Winter Session applications are now closed; sign up to be alerted about the Summer Session or future Winter Sessions.)
  • Overview: A wide variety of options are available through Cornell University Online Courses, including Global Business Strategy, Digital Platforms & Public Engagement, Biomedical Terminology, and Change-making: Designing Healthy & Hospitable Environments. All courses will earn you a Cornell transcript to be transferred wherever you choose to attend college.

Related: 5 Benefits of Pre-College Summer Programs

Participating in a virtual camp through a college or professional organization is sure to keep you sharp over winter break and strengthen your high school résumé. Free options are available, and you may be able to apply for scholarships to help bring down the cost of the more expensive programs. Whatever you do, have an enjoyable and productive vacation, and be sure to take some time to relax as well!

Don’t sweat the cost of these programs! Instead, head over to our Scholarship Search tool to apply for awards that could help you pay for them.

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About Lindsey Conger

Lindsey Conger

Lindsey Conger is a college counselor and tutor at Moon Prep.


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