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Best Acting Summer Programs for High School Students

If you are planning to venture into acting as a career, it is important to know that going to an acting summer program will be important as it will expose you to the important things that will enable you to know if the career will be fit for you or not.

In this article, we have compiled the 10 best acting summer programs for high school students. Try to read it to the end.


Many high school students will log an impressive quantity of hours binging Netflix shows this summer.

If there’s a particularly exciting summer action feature, some might even trek to a movie theater to don 3D glasses and indulge in copious amounts of buttered popcorn.

The next best Actors or actresses, however, will likely be attending one of the top acting summer programs for high school students we’re about to discuss. See Best STEM Summer Programs for High School Students.

Attending an acting summer program puts participants in the literal acting chair… and their producer’s chair…and the screenwriter’s chair…okay, a lot of chairs!

Seeking to expose youth to the realities of bringing an idea to life in the form of a movie, summer acting programs prioritize hands-on experiences, and many charge participants with writing and acting at least one film within the time they attend.

Acting is one of those fields where it can be challenging to get experience in an academic setting, and another great aspect about some of the top acting summer programs is that many do not require previous experience.

Acting programs often take place on college campuses or nonprofit sites and transport students to exciting locations like Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago, and Atlanta.

Completing an acting summer program as a high school student is also advantageous in that your final academic work can serve as an artifact for your admissions portfolio, should you need to submit one in order to apply for elite institutions known for their excellent acting majors.

We are excited to introduce the top 10 acting summer programs for high school students in the United States.

While you might not walk away with an Oscar just yet, you’ll emerge with the confidence and experience needed to apply for competitive undergraduate film programs.

Here are the 10 acting summer programs for high school students in the United States

  • NEXUS at Texas State Musical Theatre Pre-College Intensive
  • Acting & Performance Summer Institute at UCLA
  • Florida State University Musical Theatre Institute
  • University of North Carolina School of the Arts Drama Summer Intensive
  • University of Michigan MPulse Summer Performing Arts Institute
  • Boston University Summer Theatre Institute
  • Southeastern Summer Theatre Institute
  • Carnegie Mellon’s Pre-College Drama
  • NYU Tisch Summer High School Program
  • Northwestern University National High School Institute “Cherubs”

NEXUS at Texas State Musical Theatre Pre-College Intensive

NEXUS’s ten days summer program intensive is open to rising 9th through 12th graders.

NEXUS is one of the more selective intensives that accepts a maximum of 48 pre-college theater enthusiasts.

Texas State isn’t just seeking students who want to pursue a career in theater – they’re looking for true artists who demonstrate a love for learning and dedication to service through art.

In their applications, candidates are asked to provide multiple videos that convey two contrasting songs, a one-minute monologue, and techniques in some form of jazz, musical theater dance, or ballet.

As soon as they arrive at Texas State, NEXUS participants will be supported by an award-winning faculty of Broadway stars, film and television actors, radio personalities, voiceover artists, and other working professionals.

Students receive training in a variety of areas, such as voice workshops, dance classes, and audition preparation.

A refreshing component of their curriculum is devoted to wellness – participants practice ways to reduce stress, build confidence, and combat imposter syndrome.

In performance workshops, students work individually and as an ensemble. They indeed will find themselves at the nexus of innovative thinking in modern theater!

Acting & Performance Summer Institute at UCLA 

Acting & Performance Summer Institute 3 weeks program is open to current 8th to 12th graders.

Designed to prepare committed high school students for entrance into a rigorous university-level theater program or career in the performing arts, the UCLA Acting & Performance Summer Institute grants four units of credit to all successful participants.

Participants begin their days with tai-chi classes, followed by lessons in movement and acting. After a break for lunch, students engage in a performance workshop with their peers.

Together, they brainstorm ideas for a student-led production, assist in the script development, determine stage directions, and rehearse each scene.

The intensive culminates with a final showcase, which the participants’ guests may attend. Naturally, students in the program can expect full days, nights, and weekends as they prepare for the final production.

Living on-campus is mandatory for the three-week session, and applicants are required to submit the following: a resume detailing relevant theatrical experiences, a letter of recommendation from an adult who can speak to the applicant’s strengths and areas for growth, a 500-word essay, and a video monologue.

The video should be 1 to ½ minutes in length and come from a theatrical production or otherwise improvised scene.

Florida State University Musical Theatre Institute

Florida State University Musical Theatre Institute 3 weeks summer program is open to rising junior or senior high school students.

Frequently labeled as one of the best theater programs in the nation, Florida State University’s School of Theatre operates the Summer Music Theatre Intensive annually.

The program is geared toward college students who wish to pursue a degree in musical theater. See Florida State University Acceptance Rate.

Interested students should know that this intensive is not a typical summer. Participants can expect to spend time in rehearsal on a nightly basis from 7:15-10, and after weeks of hard work, they get to show off their skills in a cabaret show that is open to the public.

All applicants are reviewed through a pre-screening process and must submit a headshot, theater-focused resume, a contemporary monologue, a ballet or jazz dance combination, and a video of two different songs – one ballad and one that is more upbeat in tempo.

While the school welcomes students of all levels, it is clear that candidates should have enough experience to submit the required materials.


To this end, we have been able to list out the best 10 acting programs for high school students in this article to help you in making the right decision on the area of specialization that will be fit for your future academic pursuit. You can share your thoughts with us using the comment section if you find this article useful.

Last Updated on June 7, 2023 by Admin

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