University Offers On-Campus and Online Summer Camp Options for K-12

Students can enhance love of learning and stay sharp with UM summer programs

Archive Photo: During summer 2018, students enjoy hands-on learning activities such as art projects and science experiments through summer programs offered by the UM Office of Pre-College Programs. Summer 2021 programs for rising K-12 students are open for applications for both on-campus and online experiences. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi‘s Office of Pre-College Programs is offering a range of summer program options for students in kindergarten through 12th grades. Through a wide variety of classes on both the Oxford campus and through virtual options, summer programs combine academic benefits with plenty of fun and excitement for participants.

Students are invited to join an online class or come to campus to explore and expand their intellectual world while developing confidence in their skills and making new friends.

Families looking for summer learning opportunities for their K-12 students have many choices to fit most interests and learning levels, said Wendy Pfrenger, the associate director of pre-college programs.

“This summer can offer students a chance to start feeling what it’s like to get back into a normal routine and get them fired up about their interests again as they remember how much fun it is to learn and interact with other students,” Pfrenger said.

“Summer programs are about taking the subjects you love and going deeper. There is more time to dig into fun activities that really help students learn.”

Through these programs, students can gain ideas for career options, make connections with Ole Miss faculty and staff, and foster a love of learning and creativity to propel them for the future, Pfrenger said.

To facilitate live interactions, the university’s on-campus summer programs are following safety protocols to help keep students healthy as they come to campus. Masks will be required inside buildings, class size limits will be implemented, and larger rooms and auditoriums will be used to help participants spread out. Prescreening will take place outside of the building each morning to check for symptoms.

Archive Photo: Elementary school students create their own artwork in a summer camp at the university. Photo by Nathan Latil/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

The popular Rebel Quest day camps are back on campus this summer for rising first- through sixth-graders. These weekly programs allow families to mix and match weeks that work for their summer plans, all while giving students fun, learning experiences.

Seven weeks of sessions will run from June 1 through July 23. This year’s weekly themes include “Mad Scientist,” “Space is the Place” and “The Weird and Wonderful Wild.”

Elementary school students also have an opportunity to explore the great outdoors for Ecology Day Camp, taking place at the UM Field Station near Abbeville. This is a great opportunity for students to investigate nature as they study birds, bugs, amphibians and more.

Rising sixth- through eighth-graders also have several options for exciting summer learning starting with two virtual workshops for budding artists.

The Creative Writing Workshop, offered online June 7-18, and the Figure Drawing Workshop, online June 14-25, both will help students learn about tapping into their creative sides to bring stories to life.

Several science, technology, engineering and mathematics options will give middle schoolers hands-on experience with STEM fields as they participate in unique activities and experiments.

Conservation Camp, taking place June 14-18, and Let’s Build a Zoo, from June 28 to July 2, will offer rising sixth- through eighth-graders an opportunity to dig into ecology and wildlife of the region as they explore the UM Field Station and learn more about the world and creatures around us.

Space lovers will enjoy exploring what life could be like in the future during Living on Mars, offered July 12-16 on the Oxford campus.


FIRST LEGO Robotics Camp will be held on the Oxford campus July 19-23, allowing students to engage in research, problem-solving, coding and engineering to build and program a LEGO robot that will navigate the mission of a game.

Archive Photo: Ole Miss student Maggie Craze (right) helps participants at a STEM-themed summer camp launch paper rockets they designed and constructed during the program. The university’s Office of Pre-College programs offers several summer options to give middle schoolers hands-on experience with STEM fields as they participate in unique activities and experiments. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

For high school students looking to get a head start on college, UM Summer College for High School Students and the JumpStart program for incoming freshmen are both taking applications for summer 2021 enrollment. These programs offer a taste of college life as students live on campus and complete two college courses for academic credit.

Online classes through SCHS are also available for students who need to stay close to home.

High schoolers also can get immersed in some of their favorite subjects through noncredit options offered both online and on campus.

In the Reading and Illustration Workshop, students will dive into the novel “Ready Player One” as they spend two weeks in online discussions of the text while also developing images inspired by the book.

Participants will hear from Ole Miss students and faculty in the art department as they discuss the study of art and career opportunities in the field. The class will meet online for two-to-three hours per day from May 31 to June 11.

Other online options to help students expand their writing skills include Creative Writing, from June 14 to 25, and Writing for College Success, also offered June 14-25.

Another new digital camp experience, Journalism in the Age of Social Media, will shine a light on the art of sharing journalistic stories for the next generation. Sharin Chumley, print media adviser and teacher at Tupelo High School, is the instructor for this course.

Media outlets have seen a huge shift over the past year in how news stories are spread and shared, and this course will help students learn about the new tools available to them, Chumley said.

Archive Photo: Participants in a Crime Scene Investigation Camp practice lifting fingerprints from objects. The camp, for middle and high school students, is hosted by the UM Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry’s forensic chemistry program and the Division of Outreach and Continuing Education. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

“The pandemic has changed so much about our world,” she said. “Storytelling and news information sharing is no different. The tools and techniques that we utilize in this course can be used not only for journalism, but also for many other tasks like creating interesting, interactive reports for schools.”

Students who want to dive deeper into Gothic literature can join the virtual course, Here There Be Monsters, from July 12 to 23. The class will take a journey through different variations of the genre to investigate more about these thrilling works.

The popular Crime Scene Investigation Camp will return online this year July 12-21 to help students increase their understanding of forensic sciences and other related science fields.

Budding scientists also have live program options to help them discover the world around them, including Environmental Engineering ­– Water Quality from July 19 to 23. Students will collect water samples and run tests, perform data analysis and more.

To learn more about materials engineering, students can participate in hydraulic press testing during Blast Lab, taking place July 26-30 on the Oxford campus.

Find out more about these and more summer program offerings on the Office of Pre-College Programs website.