The application for our virtual Summer Portals courses is open!

We will offer a full suite of virtual academic enrichment courses, but due to changing public health conditions and protocols, we will not host on campus programs in 2021. Please see program and course specific information below.

If you have not yet applied, please complete this inquiry form to let us know which programs are of greatest interest to you. We look forward to hearing from you!

Summer 2021 Programs

Cultivate your passion.

Spend each day immersed learning something that excites you — the arts, science, literature, or debate — and find new friends who are just as passionate and curious as you are.

Hotchkiss Summer Portals offers middle and high-school age students the opportunity to hone a talent or try something new while experiencing the unique learning community that is Hotchkiss. In each two or three-week session, our dedicated faculty members share their expertise and passion with students from all over the world. 

The school year may end, but the learning continues at Summer Portals. Whether you are a budding scientist, have the discerning eye of an artist or the desire to refine your voice as a writer, we hope you will join us and explore your interests.



Our Programs

Big Business On Trail: From Standard Oil to Amazon

Big Business will examine a series of primary sources about the rise of big businesses during the Gilded Age, looking at business titans such as John D. Rockefeller. Students will also draw connections between the Gilded Age and our modern era monopolies, specifically Amazon. Learn More

Digital Photography Design

This two week program introduces students to the fundamental technical principles of photography, visual design concepts, and how to critique photographs. Learn More

DNA Science

Learn more about DNA science through our beginner or intermediary programs. These courses provide students with an in-depth framework of DNA structure and function, using the latest technologies to clone genes and more. Learn More

ITI Leadership

The ITI (innovate, transform, inspire) Student Leadership Institute is designed to develop student leaders who can design creative solutions to complex problems, strengthen their communities, build effective teams, and positively influence those around them. Learn More

Language and Culture Institute

The Hotchkiss Language Department is pleased to offer introductory courses in Chinese, French, German, Latin and Spanish. These courses provide a deep dive into the culture and language of the student’s choice. Learn More


Young pianists thrive during our intensive Piano program, which provides a unique opportunity to practice and learn under the tutelage of renowned teachers. It's the perfect opportunity to deep-dive into your craft and culminates with the chance to perform in front of a live audience at the world class facility. Learn More

Studio Art - Drawing From Observation

This instructive and scaffolded course will introduce students to the fundamentals of observational drawing. Using still life, interior spaces, landscape and the figure, students will learn how to create the illusion of depth, manipulate perspective, and develop value contrast and volume through the use of graphite, charcoal, pastel and ink. Learn More

Studio Art - Painting the Observed World

This one-week intensive workshop explores the development of light, space, color and form through the genre of still life. Starting with small quick studies and limited palettes, students will build up to longer one-day paintings. Learn More

Software Engineering

Interested in software design? Our multi-session Software Engineering summer program will give you a taste of this field. You'll even have the chance to create your own mobile app. Learn More

Speech & Debate

Our Speech and Debate Summer Portal brings your debating skills to the next level. You'll participate in ample public speaking opportunities and hone your argumentation skills. Learn More

Speech & Debate | Advanced

The Advanced course builds on the introductory speech and debate program, and students may enroll for the advanced session immediately following the 2-week introductory session. Experienced debaters may enroll in the advanced program as a stand alone course. Learn More

Structural Engineering - Race Car Design

Prototype, test, and revise your ideas in a collaborative space designed to stimulate real-world creativity and innovation. You'll use our state-of-the-art lab to design a final project. Learn More


The Hotchkiss Theatre Virtual Portal seeks to cultivate theatrical skills that will prove equally valuable in life, namely personal discipline, awareness, and creativity. Through various exercises, discussions, reflective writing, and multiple performances, students will analyze what makes effective storytelling and practice methods of achieving it. Learn More

Writers and Writing

This Portal will focus on writing that students may do both for school and on their own. Through close reading of non-fiction and short fiction, as well as daily freewriting, discussions, and revision work, we will consider writing as a series of decisions and choices that follows inspiration. Learn More

An International Student Body

Students from across the globe apply to our Connecticut summer program. Whether you're a current Hotchkiss student or hail from the other side of the world, there's a place for you here. Students have the chance to learn alongside peers from different backgrounds and nationalities. There's no better way to develop strong friendships with fellow students from around the world!

Where are Portals students from? All over the world!

Loading from Vimeo...

Learn by living in a community of friends:

  • Take part in a wide range of activities
  • Experience dorm life with the support of caring and fun teachers and advisors
  • Make new friends
  • Enjoy the lakes, trails, and woods of the Berkshire-Taconic landscape

Apply to Summer Portals

Abigail Gusa '24

Alumni Spotlight: Abigail Gugsa '24

This former Portals software engineering student has been named a 2021 Connecticut Winner of the Aspirations in Computing Award from the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) CT state affiliate. Congratulations! Read more...