Middle School Summer Challenge

Build a strong academic foundation

Program Overview

Our Middle School Summer Challenge program is designed to expand students' critical thinking skills in an exciting and innovative environment. Students participate in an arts and humanities themed course, leadership and team building activities, and a STEM course creating a well-rounded summer experience. This program is noncredit.

This program is ideal for students looking to build a strong academic foundation and engage with peers from across the St. Louis area.

Middle School Summer Challenge participants commute to campus. We provide a daily schedule that includes classes, lunch, and social activities. Students are supervised at all times by our dedicated program staff. 


Each week of Middle School Summer Challenge is divided by grade-level as follows. The grades listed are the grade your child is in during the 2023-2024 academic school year.

  • 5th and 6th grade: June 17-21, 2024
  • 7th and 8th grade: June 24-28, 2024


To be eligible for Middle School Summer Challenge students should:

  • Be a current fifth-, sixth-, seventh-, or eighth-grade student from the St. Louis area during the 2023-2024 academic school year.

We are looking for mature, academically motivated students. Students who are collaborative, intellectually curious, and creative thinkers thrive in our program.


We review applications on a rolling basis until spaces are filled. Students and families interested in applying should submit an application, copy of their current grade report, contact information for a teacher recommender, and signed parent liability waiver and release to our office no later than April 1, 2024. Once the application is reviewed, an admission decision will be sent. If admitted, the admission decision will include directions on submitting the program fee due no later than May 3, 2024. The teacher recommendation is waived for previous attendees of the program.

Space is limited, so we encourage families not to wait until the deadline to apply.

Fees and Scholarships

The 2024 program fee for Middle School Summer Challenge is $785. The program fee includes all activities, course materials, and boxed lunch with snack. Need-based scholarship assistance is available. Children of WashU employees and returning students are eligible for a 10% discount. Additional details on fees, need-based scholarships, and discounts are available here.


Middle School Summer Challenge is a noncredit program. Grades are not issued. Students are evaluated based on interaction with peers, engagement during activities, and work produced. Students who have met all expectations will receive a certificate of participation. A performance evaluation will be emailed to parents within one week of the program's conclusion.

Acceptance and participation in Middle School Summer Challenge does not imply or guarantee acceptance into a degree program at WashU. For questions about the undergraduate admission process, please contact Undergraduate Admissions.

Courses and Activities Schedule

Middle School Summer Challenge is designed to expand on students' current knowledge and challenge them to explore further topics that interest them.

View 2024 Program Details

Applications for the 2024 summer will open November 1, 2023.