High school is a really important time for young people to decide their college and career paths. Many summer learning opportunities can help teens identify an area of study, explore a career choice and experience on-campus life.

In Michigan, Oakland University is one such college. Its Career Exploration Camp helps kids discover their unique talents, skills and interests as camp counsellors guide them to a range of possible careers. It also offers specialized camps in criminal justice, engineering and health care, exposing kids to opportunities in each field through hands-on activities and company visits.

“It’s a great idea to offer kids a window into college life,” says Sara Plachta Elliott, Ph.D., executive director of the Youth Development Resource Center. “Sometimes kids are invited to stay on campus, so they can experience more aspects of being in college. It also may enable them to develop relationships with people who can help them with the college application process or even offer a priority application.”

Another option is to consider summer learning programs that provide job opportunities. “Finding a program where a teen can earn a stipend or wage and learn to experience a career path is a bonus,” says Elliott. “It’s important to check those out quickly because a lot of programs hire in the spring.”


5 Summer College and Career Prep Programs

On the Summer Spark Program Finder, there are a host of programs to spark your child’s college and career prep this summer. Here are a few to consider:

  • Work Arts. Heritage Works offers teens all sorts of summer job opportunities, including events management, audio visual, camp counselling, arts education and more.
  • Criminal Justice Camp. Oakland University helps high schoolers investigate a career in law enforcement, corrections, homeland security, juvenile justice, the judicial system and more.
  • Healthcare Professions Camp. Campers explore health-related professions in nursing, medicine, laboratory science, radiology, public health and exercise science at Oakland University.
  • Keep Growing Detroit. This organization offers paid internships for youth ages 14-18 who want to get their hands dirty and challenge themselves to dig into the world of food and urban agriculture.
  • Veterinary Science Camp. At this Michigan State camp, participants gain animal handling experience, use veterinary tools and technology, practice physical exams and explore various animal-related career fields with visiting veterinarians.

What to Look for:

  • Colleges that offer immersion summer experience on campus
  • Summer job opportunities within camps–hurry, many are hiring now!
  • Programs that offer a stipend and insight into a career path


Ready to find



Your child's program?


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