A pre-college summer program enables you to spend time on a college campus and sometimes take classes from college professors. These programs can help ease the transition to college life when a student eventually enrolls at a college. While admission officers say attending pre-college programs matter little in the admission process, there are notable benefits for your consideration. These structured programs away from home allow attendees to experience what college life may be like, discover new or existing passions, meet other young people from around the country, and most practically, provide a growth experience that shows colleges they are curious about trying new things.
Though not exhaustive, the following links provide a launching point for families when considering pre-college programs. Make sure to check individual sites for the most accurate information as program details often change from year to year:
Architecture & Engineering
Environmental Science & Sustainability
World Languages, Language Intensive
Math & Computer Science
Sports and Exercise Science, Sports Communication/Business
Political Science & Public Policy
Summer Study Abroad
Writing & Journalism
We will also list programs that are shared with our office directly. Check back often!
Boston University Summer Residential Program
BU’s long-running Summer Term pre-college offerings include a choice of one-, two-, three-, and six-week programs that prepare you for success in college. With five exciting and challenging pre-college summer programs to choose from, you can earn college credit, discover a new subject area, perform cutting-edge research in University labs, or immerse yourself in hands-on learning. Summer is a great time to push yourself academically while experiencing college life, making new friends, and engaging in fun social activities around Boston and on campus. We invite you to join other motivated teens from 50 states and 87 countries in our summer programs for high school students—a great introduction to college life and academics.
Another program is the the Berkeley Changemaker residential summer program. The program draws from, and builds on, elements that make UC Berkeley unique, including a singular history for leading inclusively and an agency for making society better. Our curriculum, centered on critical thinking, communication, and collaboration, activates our students’ passions and helps them to develop a sharper sense of who they want to be and how to make that happen.
The goal of the Berkeley Changemaker pre-college experience is to inspire students to think more entrepreneurially and critically to impact positive change, no matter where their aspirations may lead them! In addition to a sound curriculum, students will also have the opportunity to participate in social activities, scavenger hunts and local excursions while building an amazing network of friends and colleagues from around the world. Learn more online.
Carnegie Melon Summer Residential Programs
Carnegie Mellon’s Pre-College Programs give rising juniors and seniors the opportunity to explore their interests and passions while receiving instruction from Carnegie Mellon faculty and staff. Programs are intended to be provide academic and personal development both inside and outside of the classroom in order to prepare students for the future.
Academic offerings span architecture, design, computer science, to writing.
Colorado College Summer Programs
Colorado College Summer Session invites rising juniors and seniors to enroll in courses offered on subjects ranging from environmental science and the study of epidemics, to marketing and entrepreneurship, to cross-genre writing. CC’s summer session provides students with a rich opportunity to explore challenging academics, get inspired by the wondrous Rocky Mountain Region, and be supported by faculty that are invested in your success.
High School students have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the rhythm of the Block Plan and experience living on Colorado College’s campus.
Denison Reynolds Writers Workshop
The Reynolds Young Writers Workshop at Denison is an 8-day program for motivated high school students (rising juniors and seniors) who love to write. For nearly 30 years, the Reynolds Workshop has brought together young writers who are passionate about writing and eager to connect to a close-knit community of writing friends. The workshop is held each June on the beautiful campus of Denison University, a leading liberal arts college, in the village of Granville, Ohio.
Lehigh University Summer Program
Join a group of emerging leaders from across the U.S. and around the world to create diverse teams and solve a real problem facing a company or organization. Through the entrepreneurship intensive, rising juniors or seniors will be able to do a dive deep into focus areas like sustainability, population health or business.
The curriculum is led by Lehigh University faculty across disciplines and throughout the worldwide Iacocca Institute network. It also includes contributions from and collaboration with Lehigh’s Baker Institute for Entrepreneurship, Creativity & Innovation, the [email protected] and the Mountaintop Initiative.
Students live on campus in residence halls during the 4-week program that spans June 25 to July 22, 2023.
MIT Summer Programs
If you’re the kind of student who would like to spend much of your summer learning as much hands-on math, science, and engineering as you can, you might be a good fit for MIT. They offer an array of summer programs that students have found enriching and enjoyable.
These are small, specialized programs on campus. If studying the human genome, building a robot, or scoping out the stars sound like a rad way to spend your summer, then visit their website to learn more.
Northeastern Accelerate Pre-College Summer Programs
Northeastern University’s Pre-College Programs are designed for talented high school students. Their residential Boston campus programs are taught Northeastern faculty, allowing you to experience true collegiate learning in a world-class environment. Students gain extensive, hands-on, experiential education in subjects including engineering, health sciences, ethics & emerging technologies, entrepreneurship, and more.
University of Notre Dame Pre-College Summer Programs
Summer Scholars participants spend two intensive weeks on Notre Dame’s campus taking a challenging college-level course taught by Notre Dame faculty. The coursework is a true preview of college academics—it is both rigorous and rewarding, and students earn one transferable college credit upon the completion of a program track. Students collaborate on coursework outside designated class times as they would in any college setting. There is also ample time to enjoy the social facets of college life, especially those unique to Notre Dame.
There are two Summer Scholars sessions in Summer 2023. Session I will run June 10 – June 24, 2023 and Session II will run July 1 – 15, 2023. Applications are live and are due February 20, 2023.
Pratt Institute Summer Programs
For those intending to pursue studies in art, design, architecture, or a related area, this is a valuable chance to build the portfolio of work that will serve as an important component of their college application process. This July, Pratt PreCollege students will explore creative careers and develop their artistic skills with support from experienced faculty. The month-long experience combines college-level courses and cultural enrichment opportunities for high school students on their Brooklyn campus. Courses allow students a unique opportunity to be immersed in the creative process and get a sneak peek into the undergraduate experience at Pratt Institute.
During the program students will:
1. Study art, design, architecture, or creative writing at a college level.
2. Create work suitable for use in a college admissions portfolio.
3. Join a creative community of like-minded students.
4. Explore undergraduate majors and discover the Pratt Institute experience.
Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) Summer Residential Program
RISD Pre-College offers rising high school juniors and seniors the chance to experience life as a RISD undergrad. For five weeks you’ll follow a college-level curriculum with day-long studio classes, critiques and projects. You’ll work alongside hundreds of other creative, highly motivated students from around the world who will challenge, inspire and encourage you to push your limits and produce your best work. You’ll live like a RISD student, access renowned resources and instructors, strengthen your portfolio and forever change the way you approach art and design.
Rose-Hulman Summer Programs
Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, the #1 undergraduate only engineering program in the United States, offers five immersive opportunities for high school students to deepen their interest in STEM disciplines. Learn more about their programs online.
Smith College Residential Summer Programs
Smith College, a highly reputable all womens liberal arts college, offers one to four week residential summer programs for students in 9, 10, or 11 grade. Learn more about their offerings online.
Stanford Pre-Collegiate Summer Programs
Stanford University offers summer online programs in an array of disciplines—including business, computer science, humanities, math, science, social justice, and more—allowing students to investigate advanced topics beyond the typical high school curriculum. Students engage in discussion-based classes with instructors who are scholars in their fields and passionate about teaching.
Stanford Pre-Collegiate Summer Institutes
Current Grades 8–11, Application Deadline: March 15, 2023
Session One: June 19 – June 30, 2023
Session Two: July 10 – July 21, 2023
Stanford Summer Humanities Institute
Current Grades 10–11, Application Deadline: February 1, 2023
Session One: June 25 – July 14, 2023
Session Two: July 16 – August 4, 2023
University of Wisconsin – Madison Summer Immersion Programs
Badger Precollege welcomes students completing grades 9-12 to pursue their academic passions and meet new friends this summer. Badger Precollege encourages students to:
- Challenge their curiosity and expand academic interests
- Learn from experienced educators, UW faculty and other experts
- Participate online or in person on the UW–Madison campus
- Meet like-minded peers from around the world
- Enjoy the resources and reputation of a top-ranked university
- Explore their personal path to college
Courses this summer include Forensic Science (ALP program), Music, Art & Technology (Badger Precollege Online) and Human Language & Identity and Satellite Science & Programming for Meteorology (Badger Summer Scholars) — just to name a few!
Yale Young Global Scholars