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!
Bucknell Academy Summer Experience
Bucknell Academy Summer Experience is a collaborative residential experience where students are invited to explore the value of a liberal arts perspective in making challenging decisions to improve today’s world. At BASE, students will experience interdisciplinary study from top tier professors while challenging their thought processes. This year’s theme is The Anthropocene: How have humans permanently changed the planet, and what do we do about it?
Cornell Summer Residential Program
Through the Cornell University Precollege Summer Residential Program, you can take fascinating college courses, study with top Cornell faculty, earn college credits, enjoy the gorgeous campus, and make friends from around the world.
You’ll choose from three- or six-week undergraduate courses, in which you’ll earn transferrable credits in subjects from architecture to business, hospitality, engineering, health, international relations, science, social change, veterinary medicine, and more. Courses are taught by Cornell faculty, giving you an unrivaled learning experience with some of the university’s best professors.
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.
Yale Young Global Scholars
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.
Carnegie Mellon Summer Programs
For over 100 years, Carnegie Mellon has offered students unique and hands-on educational programs from the fine arts to technology and everything in between. Through Carnegie Mellon’s Pre-College Programs, rising juniors and seniors in high school have the opportunity to experience a world-class education on a beautiful, vibrant college campus. The programs prepare students for their upcoming college experience, help them narrow their career focus, and build critical knowledge and skills.
Learn more about the array of options online. Applications are due in February.
Notre Dame Summer Programs
Notre Dame is offering an array of summer programs, including study abroad and on-campus experiences, to high school students of all grades. Learn more about their pre-college offerings online on their website.
Reynolds Young Writers Workshop
A week-long creative writing program held in-person at Denison University just outside Columbus, Ohio. June 19-26.
At the Reynolds Young Writers Workshop, beginning writers of poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction get the chance to develop their talents and hone their skills. Participants spend mornings in small multi-genre workshop groups led by faculty. Afternoon classes focus on a choice of topics, supplemented by sessions with visiting writers and on-on-one faculty conferences. Students are house in Denison residence halls.
Drexel Environmental Science Leadership Academy – Summer
Drexel’s weeklong Environmental Science Leadership Academy is one part adventure travel, one part leadership training, and two parts environmental science field experience. Students will habitat-hop from seaside, to salt marsh, to maritime forest, all along the New Jersey coastline, gaining hands-on experience in a range of research areas, including beach, marsh and Pine Barren ecology, botany and paleontology. Students will gain a broad understanding of what it means to be an environmental scientist and what it takes to be a leader in the field.
Based at the Barnegat Bay Field Station in Ocean Township, NJ, the Environmental Science Leadership Academy opens with a canoe trip through the Pine Barrens and ends with a fossil dig with Drexel paleontologist Dr. Ken Lacovara, whose world-class Mantua dig site has been featured on the Discovery Channel. Through a combination of theory-based courses and a lot of hands-on experience—the heart of a Drexel education—students will bond together through a research-rich summer adventure that will open the door to a future in environmental science and related fields.”
Eligibility: rising juniors and seniors
University of Chicago Summer Immersion Programs
University of Chicago offers a variety of summer programs covering an array of topics. They draw from the multidisciplinary emphasis and intellectual richness of the College’s Core curriculum. Whether it’s creative writing, economics, or molecular engineering, students can find a formative college-level experience on campus this summer. To learn more, visit their website at summer.uchicago.edu
Wake Forest University Summer Immersion
The Summer Immersion Program is an immersive, week-long experience for rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors in high school and incoming college freshmen designed to provide an introduction to college life and the opportunity to explore a potential career pathway or field of study.
Stevens Institute of Technology (NJ) School of Business
The School of Business at Stevens Institute of Technology is offering a paid virtual summer research program for high school students. In this six-week program, students will have the opportunity to work alongside a faculty member from the School of Business and assist them with research in their area of study such as entrepreneurship, marketing, management, economics, and finance. The program will run from July 1, 2022 – August 12, 2022, and students will receive a $500 stipend after completing the program.
Eligibility – Applicants must currently be in their junior year of high school.
CLICK HERE for application form.
Georgetown University Online Programs
Georgetown is offering a selection of their popular online courses designed for students ages 13 and older to help them prepare for college and beyond during their time off.
“Established in 1789, Georgetown is ranked among the top U.S. universities. We follow the Jesuit tradition of cura personalis—care for the whole person. Students deserve the opportunity to develop their own talents and dreams, and we believe our program of Pre-College Online Courses will help them do that.”
Learn more online.
University of Rochester Online Programs
The University of Rochester is offering a selection of popular online courses designed for students ages 13 and older to help them prepare for college and beyond during their time off.
“We promise your students a stimulating experience. Rochester is a leading research university, with a tradition of breaking boundaries—always pushing and questioning, learning and unlearning. We transform ideas into enterprises that create value for our changing world.”
Learn more online.