Do you know of any good programs outside of school?

This is one of the most common questions we receive from students and parents. Our FIRST answer is always for current 10th and 11th graders to consider the Virginia Summer Residential Governor's School (SRGS) programs for Academics or Arts because they provide opportunities for enrichment and acceleration with the top students in the state at a college-like setting. Admissions for these programs are rigorous but the cost for the participant is limited to a program-specific activity fee that ranges from $30-175. We recommend looking only at our websites to the left of this page and at the PWCS website for SRGS. Contact Mr. Watkins or Mr. Bredbenner for school specific application process information, materials and due dates. (
There is also the VDOE’s official website for Governor’s Schools, which has a wealth of info – but please don’t use any application materials found there.)

Separate from "Gov School," but with many similar benefits, the Governor's Foreign Language Academies are also excellent, inexpensive opportunities for elite VA students. Basic info and the link for FLA are also available on the right side of the VDOE's official Governor's School page as explained above.

For students who are looking for other programs, we will provide links here to the programs that come to our attention, along with known admissions deadlines. If you have feedback about one of these programs or would like to suggest a program that is not listed, please contact Mr. Bredbenner.


Did you know that there are special Saturday programs offered for gifted students during the school year by the College of William and Mary and the University of Virginia? They have now become virtual:

W&M's Fall 2020 Saturday Enrichment Program has four different options for classes which meet Oct 31, Nov 7 and Nov 14 for two hours each time. Cost is $100.

The SEP at UVA is usually for students in elementary school, but has been shifted to grades 5-10 this year. Classes are every Saturday from October 3-November 7 and cost $275, but full or partial scholarships are available to students on free or reduced lunch or if there are special circumstances. As of Oct 1, 2020, the website stated "APPLICATIONS REMAIN OPEN AND ALL APPLICANTS WILL BE GIVEN A SPACE IN THE PROGRAM."

General Lists of Summer Programs

The Virginia Association for the Gifted publishes an annual list of summer enrichment opportunities in the state and also maintains a Summer Opportunities page with links to that list, but also many other Resources for Students.

The College Lists Wiki for Summer Programs - General has a large list of databases and links.

Hoagies Gifted website's list of Virginia Summer Programs has some familiar and some more obscure options.

Miscellaneous and Non-College Programs

Boys State
 for rising seniors is one of the oldest and most established programs for young leaders.

Girls State is a fantastic chance for young ladies going into their senior year to learn about governance and politics.

Fauquier Health Medical Camp
Fauquier Hospital in Warrenton,Va offers a popular 2-day
 summer medical camps to area teens interested in learning more about a career in medicine. Experiences may include hands on simulations of surgical procedures and emergency care. Applications will be available for the 2021 camp in Feb or March, 2021. Scroll down on the Fauquier Health Community Support page to Medical Camp. 
If you need more information, email or call 540.316.2619.

In association with
NASA, the Virginia Space Grant Consortium has multiple incredible programs for students interested in science, technology, engineering and math. There are multiple programs on the link above, but we know that Forest Park students have participated in and loved:

Virginia Aerospace Science and Technologies Scholars (VASTS) for Juniors and Seniors: The highest performers from a series of online training modules are invited to a one-week on-site program at NASA Langley! Past programs have centered around planning and presenting a Mars Landing Mission. Application deadline: October 25, 2020

Virginia Earth System Science Scholars (VESSS) for 11th and 12th graders features "NASA scientific research and data." Students may be able to earn up to 5 dual enrollment college credits and can be selected to attend a summer academy program at NASA Langley Research Center. Application deadline: October 25, 2020 

Virginia Space Coast Scholars (VSCS) is a free program for 10th grade students with two parts: the strongest participants in a 5-module online class that begins in November will be selected to an participate in on-site summer experience at NASA Wallops Flight Facility on Virginia's Eastern Shore! Applications close October 25, 2020.

The Building Leaders for Advancing Science and Technology (BLAST) is a partnership between the Virginia Space Grant Consortium, ODU, UVA, VT and the Commonwealth of Virginia. Hosted by the universities listed, these are 3 day residential programs open to current 8th and 9th graders with "at least a C+ average and a desire to explore STEM opportunities."  Applications become available November 13, 2020 and closes February 8, 2021. And it's free!

If those weren't enough STEM options, NASA's Robotics Alliance Project keeps a list of engineering and Robotics Summer Camps. Still want more? See all of the possibilities at the NASA Education List of All Student Grades K-12 and Higher Education Projects.

Local or Noteworthy College-Based Summer Programs

James Madison University Summer Honors Institute 
Registration Deadline: Mid May
Program Dates: Two separate one-week sessions in early-mid July at the JMU campus
For rising juniors or seniors
Cost: $1000, partial scholarships may be available for those with demonstrated need

College of William and Mary School of Education Summer Enrichment Programs
Registration Deadline: near the end of May
Program Dates: Multiple one-week sessions, morning or afternoon classes in Williamsburg, Richmond, or Washington, DC
For rising freshmen and sophomores
Cost: about $400 per class per session

University of Virginia Curry School of Education Summer Enrichment Programs
Application Deadline: mid-February
Program Dates: 2-week sessions in Late June, Early July, or Late July
Cost: $1490 as of 2020. Financial Aid is available.

George Mason University College of Science Aspiring Scientists Summer Internship Program
This is a mentored research internship program utilizing facilities at GMU. A chance to do "real" scientific research.
Application Deadline: mid-February
Program Dates: late June to mid-August, 5 days a week
Cost: free

George Mason University Fairfax Campus 
Northern Virginia Writing Project - Student Summer Institute 
Application Deadline: Late March 
Program Dates: typically mid-July Mon-Fri 9:00 AM- 1:00 PM
Cost: approx. $480 for rising grades 5-10, approx. $530 Rising grades 11-12 (w overnight and extra activities) There are also 1-day, small-group writing workshops during the school year in Feb, March and April!

Virginia Tech Pathways for Future Engineers
An amazing opportunity for 1st generation college students that begins during high school and continues into college for VT students.

Summer Programs at United States Service Academies

Just up the road in Annapolis, MD, the US Naval Academy has a few different USNA Summer Programs. There are one week programs for STEM (rising 9th-11th graders) and the Seminar for rising 12th graders planning to apply to the USNA as seniors.
Application Deadline: Late March for Seminar, probably the same for STEM 
Program Dates: Three different one week sessions in June.
Cost: $600 for STEM, $550 for Seminar

The US Military Academy at West Point, NY has the similar Summer Leaders Experience for highly motivated and qualified juniors interested in pursuing appointment at the USMA.
Cost is $400. Applications open in January.

The US Coast Guard Academy in New London, CT has the AIM Summer Program for those who may be cut out for life as a cadet.
Application opens in Feb and closes April 1. Tuition is $525.

If you can get out to Colorado Springs, CO, the US Air Force Academy runs its version too: the Summer Seminar.
Application window is Dec 1 - Jan 15 and the cost is around $300.

Other College Based Programs

Indiana University of Pennsylvania Honors College
Summer Honors Program for High School Students
Deadline for application: usually mid-April
Program Dates: usually mid-July in Indiana, PA
For rising juniors and seniors ("and the exceptional rising sophomore")
Cost: $250 (all admitted students get a $1000 scholarship!) when last viewed

Telluride Association Programs at University of Michigan, Indiana University and Cornell University 
(***Update*** These programs are suspended for 2021 but plan to resume for 2022.)
Summer Programs for rising seniors (TASP) and rising juniors (TASS)
Deadline for Application: mid to late January
Program Dates: 6 week programs covering all of July and some of June and/or August
Cost: All costs are paid by the Association. This is highly competitive and the application is extensive.

Questbridge College Prep Scholars Program - "A pathway to top colleges for outstanding low-income high school juniors." The College Prep Scholars Program is directly connected to a program associated with many of the very top US colleges and universities and offers an extraordinary opportunity for students with limited means.
Application Window: Opens in February and closes in late March
Eligibility: Unweighted GPA 3.5 or higher in most challenging courses offered; lower income (<$65,000 annually for a family of four); current junior
Cost: Low to none as the program provides many students with Full Scholarships to summer programs and much more.