Top 50 Best Pre-College Summer Programs 2018

Residential pre-college summer programs have become a popular way for high school students to test drive the college experience, and for colleges to show off their wares to potential applicants. It’s way more immersive than just touring a college, but a little less intense than the real freshman year (you probably won’t put on 15 pounds in a week or two). We’d call it college with training wheels, but training wheels aren’t cool, and pre college programs definitely are.

There are pre college programs for every interest – STEM and the performing arts, business and medicine – and from every kind of institution – public and private, huge and tiny, traditional and radical. Every pre college program is different, whether they’re focused on academics or research, personal growth or course credits, but they have a lot of things in common in approach and purpose.

Above all, pre college summer programs are about giving high school students a meaningful, maybe even life-changing experience.

What Makes the Best Pre-College Summer Programs?

In a lot of ways, a pre college summer program is an extreme form of advertising for a school; high schoolers get an idea of how they would live and what they would do if they were students at University XYZ, and if the school does it right, every summer program student will be applying to University XYZ as soon as they get home.

More importantly, though, a good summer program is enriching for the students and the school. While some pre college programs are intended for high-achieving, super-ambitious students, many others are for the underrepresented student: first-generation, low-income, immigrant, or minority. And these programs are invaluable, showing students that college – and the financial and professional benefits that come with a college degree – is in their reach. And it helps the school find promising students that might have missed out without the pre college program.

So, a really great pre college summer program will showcase everything that makes that institution special. A major, world-renowned research university should give high school students access to current technology and introduce them to contemporary research. A beloved small liberal arts college should envelop a young person in support, motivation, community, and mentorship.

So what should you look for in a pre-college program? We’d say four things are ideal:

For-Credit Courses – All pre college programs feature classes, workshops, labs, and seminars, but not all help students earn transferable college credits. The ones that do may be more expensive, but some will allow students to earn as much as 6 or 12 credits – a serious jump start on the freshman year, whether you go to the same school or not.

Realistic Residential Experience – One of the keys to a great residential pre college program is the “residential” part. Often, the pre college program is designed to simulate the freshman year residential experience (even the US Coast Guard Academy does an approximation of their punishing “Swab Week,” though not quite as extreme). Giving students a taste of college life (even with an early curfew for high schoolers) is a big plus.

Reasonable Tuition and Scholarship Opportunities – Pre college programs can be very expensive, or seem expensive at first glance, but Value Colleges is always about weighing the elements to find a balance. Many program offers full or partial scholarships based on merit or need, and some are free altogether. Others keep tuition low to begin with to attract students who might be dedicated, but not wealthy.

Mentorship from Experts – If high school students are going to go to a residential pre college summer program, it’s fair to expect courses to be taught by real experts. Many summer programs are taught by graduate students who are immersed in the latest research, or by actual faculty members who are doing that research.

How We Choose the Best Value

All of the pre college summer programs we feature here come from regionally-accredited, highly reputable colleges and universities. We are featuring only residential programs that include housing, meals, and other essentials. Most of these institutions are regularly featured in the Value Colleges Best Value rankings.

Programs are ranked by overall affordability, based on their cost per week and what students get for that price.

Rank School Name Description
1

Arizona State University - Tempe, AZ

Arizona State has long been named the most innovative university in the nation by publications like U.S. News & World Report, and for good reason. Coming into the 21st century, ASU radically revised how we think of a major public research university, opening the doors, reaching out to underrepresented populations, and embracing change. That commitment can be seen everywhere, including ASU’s INSPIRE program, an intensive, week-long pre college summer program designed for Arizona’s Native American students.

Inspire motivates American Indian youth to enroll in college by exposing them to college life, including living in residence halls, learning about majors, meeting American Indian ASU faculty and students, and practicing writing and learning skills. Students get to live in the residents halls of the Tempe campus, getting the full college experience. Inspire is open to native students entering grades 10-12, and for qualified students, the program is entirely free. Students get to share their experience in the Closing Showcase, and in Red Ink, a publication of student poems and stories. With Native Americans underrepresented in college, Inspire is a powerful pre-college program from Arizona State University.

  • Registration: March 15
  • Length: 1 week
  • Cost: Free
2

Bowling Green State University - Bowling Green, OH

As one of Ohio’s large, public research universities, Bowling Green State University has a big challenge and a crucial mission to provide education, spread knowledge, and do good for the community. BGSU started small and simply in 1910, training teachers for Ohio’s rural schools, and the vision to bring education everywhere it is needed continues to drive Bowling Green State. Ranked in the top 100 public universities by U.S. News & World Report, Bowling Green State is well-known throughout Ohio and the Midwest for its student support and outreach to students, especially underrepresented rural and minority students.

BGSU’s College and Career Readiness Camp is a 1-week residential pre college program for students who are graduating from high school and applying to Bowling Green State. In addition to living for a week on-campus and experiencing a preview of college life, students meet with advisors and professionals to learn about career options and the majors they will need to achieve their career goals. The program is competitive; students must write about their career goals and be interviewed to be accepted into the College and Career Readiness Camp. Those who are accepted pay nothing at all, since all costs are covered by a grant. Bowling Green State’s pre college summer program can be a life-changer for Ohio students.

  • Registration: April 13
  • Length: 1 week
  • Cost: Free
3

Johnson & Wales University - Providence, RI

Johnson & Wales University is the first name in higher education in the culinary arts and the hospitality business. With four campuses, JWU is the largest food-service educator in the US, and from its founding in 1914 (as a small business school) it’s been one of the most prominent hospitality schools in the nation as well. For high-school students who are interested in the areas Johnson & Wales specializes in, JWU offers the Careers Explorations program. Students can drive in or fly in (with airfare paid) for a weekend seminar at Johnson & Wales’ main campus in Providence, RI. Students will meet faculty, stay on-campus, and learn about Johnson & Wales from current students.

Three options are available for the pre college program, depending on students’ interests: Culinary Arts; Baking & Pastry Arts; or Hospitality. All is included in the costs: not only lodging, but meals, instructional materials, tours of the city and campus, and whatever extracurricular activities help visiting students get the fullest sense of life at JWU. For students who are flying in, airfare and transportation are also included. Only students in the contiguous US state are eligible for the fly-in option, however. Johnson & Wales is known for hospitality, so their pre college summer programs should be no different – they’ll make students feel at home.

  • Registration: June 15
  • Length: 3 days
  • Cost: $275 (drive-in); 550 (fly-in)
4

Catholic University of America - Washington, DC

Catholic University of America is a unique institution – the only national Catholic university in the US, founded by American bishops and chartered by the Pope in 1887. With that special mission, Catholic University is dedicated to representing the best of modern Catholicism in America, especially nurturing and developing the most innovative young Catholic minds. That mission extends well beyond Catholic faith and theology, to business, engineering, arts, and more, as their Special and Pre-College Summer Programs demonstrate. Students can attend 1-week or 3-week institutes at Catholic University’s Washington, DC campus to learn more about their future at CU.

Catholic University offers six residential opportunities for students interested in attending at CU. Students can choose from 1-week programs in Business, Theology, Engineering, or Math, living on campus, getting to know faculty and students, and participating in the kinds of classes and hands-on learning projects they will experience as students. Three-week intensive camps in Architecture and Drama are also available for students who want a deep dive in their prospective major. Catholic University keeps the summer experience fun, immersive, and, most of all, active, showing students the possibilities of Catholic higher education in a pre college program.

  • Registration: N/A
  • Length: 1 week
  • Cost: $300
5

US Air Force Academy - Colorado Springs, CO

Founded in 1954, the US Air Force Academy is the Air Force’s official undergraduate college and service academy, training students to serve as commissioned officers in the Air Force. For high school students who want to join the USAF in leadership positions, the Air Force Academy is the highest goal, and the most competitive. Students can only be accepted with a Congressional recommendation, and out of 1200 cadets, only around 1000 will graduate as officers. High schoolers who are ready to take on this tremendous, but rewarding, challenge should look into the Summer Seminar, which gives students one week to experience the academy.

The USAFA Summer Seminar, a pre college summer program, is for rising high school seniors who display leadership abilities and who are seriously considering the Air Force Academy; however, attending the Summer Seminar does not guarantee being accepted to the Academy, and is not a prerequisite for applying. For just $300, students are housed and fed at the Academy, get seminar uniforms, and attend workshops and labs to learn about the Academy. They may even get to see a little of the Academy’s notoriously rigorous Basic Training, which happens each summer. It’s an informative immersion in the Air Force Academy that only a few get to experience, making it one of the most unique pre college programs out there.

  • Registration: January 15
  • Length: 1 week
  • Cost: $300
6

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Urbana, IL

Illinois’ flagship public research university, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has been bringing higher education to the people of Illinois for over 150 years. Illini started as an agricultural and mechanical school, but in a century and a half the university has expanded to lead Illinois in nearly every field. STEM is still central to Illinois’ mission, though, and the University of Illinois Extension partners with the 4-H Club to offer the Illini Summer Academies. This series of week-long, residential pre-college summer programs give students between the ages of 14 and 19 the chance to experience life at Urbana-Champaign while learning something cool.

Students can choose from 17 different subjects, all generally in the area of STEM, including aerospace engineering, game design, and veterinary medicine. The tuition costs for the programs range from $220 to $450, depending on a lot of factors (such as material costs and competitiveness). However, scholarships are available to students under certain conditions: for those who will be the first in their family to attend college, or students who are underrepresented in a field (such as men in human development, or women in computer engineering). Students get to stay on-campus, with all needs met, and students from all over Illinois are eligible. It’s a great STEM summer program and a great pre college program, built to change lives.

  • Registration: May 15
  • Length: 1 week
  • Cost: $220-$450
7

Fairleigh Dickinson University - Teaneck, NJ

Fairleigh Dickinson University, New Jersey’s largest private university, is not only known for its educational excellence, but for its outreach to students in the US and around the world. Founded in 1942, FDU became a 4-year college in 1948 to provide for returning WWII veterans; FDU was the first American college to open an international campus (Wroxton College, in Oxfordshire, England); and FDU opened the Metropolitan Campus in a suburb of New York City to offer opportunity to minority and international students. It should be no surprise, then, that Fairleigh Dickinson makes outreach to high school students a priority through pre college summer programs

Students in Fairleigh Dickinson’s Summer Pre-College Program have the chance to earn real, transferable college credits during the summer while experiencing a real college atmosphere at FDU’s Metropolitan Campus. Students can choose from courses like Digital Design, Cybersecurity, Sports Management, or Robotics, taken in 2-week intensive format. With morning and afternoon classes, and two summer sessions, dedicated students can earn as many as 12 credits in just 4 weeks – a serious head start on their college career. At just $699 per course, FDU’s pre college summer program is also a real value.

  • Registration: N/A
  • Length: 2 weeks
  • Cost: $699 (per course)
8

Eastern Kentucky University - Richmond, KY

Eastern Kentucky University is proud to call itself the University of Opportunity, and in over a century of service, EKU has more than lived up to that name. EKU started in 1906 by making sure schoolchildren in rural eastern Kentucky would have trained teachers. Today, as a large, regional university, EKU’s mission is providing education to any and all Kentuckians who want to make a better life or get ahead in their careers. EKU is recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of the top regional colleges in the South, and the Carnegie Foundation has given EKU its prestigious Community Engagement Classification for its outreach to the people of the Bluegrass State.

EKU’s Summer Bridge Program is a prime example of Eastern Kentucky University’s community spirit. The Summer Bridge is a special transitional pre college program for students who show promise and have a desire to go to college, but whose standardized test scores of GPAs do not quite meet EKU’s requirements. With a 6-week residential experience, enrichment programs are designed to help students catch up and understand the academic and financial demands of college. The Summer Bridge is for rising seniors or recent graduates who have never been to college. EKU is making good on their motto, providing opportunity for some of Kentucky’s next generation of leaders in a top-notch pre-college summer program.

  • Registration: June 1
  • Length: 6 weeks
  • Cost: $2315
9

University of Washington - Seattle, WA

The University of Washington is the state of Washington’s flagship public research university, and one of the most influential and important universities in the west. In fact, UW – or U-Dub, as locals and alumni affectionately call it – is one of the biggest forces in making Seattle what it is today. Founded in 1861, when the city was just beginning, UW laid a foundation for learning and research that made it possible for Seattle to develop the technology and business scene that has made it a household name. With the highest classification for research universities, one of the highest rates of research funding in the US, and top 20 ranking for public universities, the University of Washington is a national leader.

One characteristic that has helped get UW to that point is recognizing excellence, which is the purpose of the Summer Institute for Mathematics. The Summer Institute is one of the best possible opportunities for students who excel in mathematics. Students get to learn about sophisticated, advanced mathematical concepts like game theory and hyperbolic geometry, while hearing from guest lecturers, taking part in hands-on projects, and getting a taste of college life in a residential program. The 6-week program is $2500, but students are recommended to apply no matter their income level – thanks to donations, all accepted students will get to attend, regardless of whether they can pay. Coming from one of the nation’s top STEM universities, UW’s Summer Institute is a prime example of a pre college summer program.

  • Registration: March 1
  • Length: 6 weeks
  • Cost: $2500
10

University of Alabama - Tuscaloosa, AL

The University of Alabama is an iconic, historic university, the first public university founded in what was then the southwestern frontier of the US in 1820. ‘Bama, the name most Alabamians would give the university, is the state’s flagship public research university and one one of the top 50 U.S. News & World Report-ranked public universities in the nation. It’s one of the top destinations for Alabama’s high school students, not only because of the Crimson Tide – one of the most winning college athletics programs in history – but because ‘Bama’s reputation and influence is gold in the Deep South.

The University of Alabama’s Summer On Campus pre college program is a perfect opportunity for Alabama’s high school students to fulfill their dream of going to ‘Bama, even before graduating. The Summer on Campus program gives high school students the chance to live on campus for 4 weeks during the summer, attending and earning credit for two college courses. For the full college experience, students also take part in cultural enrichment trips, social activities, lectures, and all kinds of other on-campus activities – like eating in the dining hall. With courses, residence, meals, and all other needs taken care of, students get to feel like real college students – the best hope for a pre college summer program.

  • Registration: April 9
  • Length: 4 weeks
  • Cost: $2100
11

US Coast Guard Academy - New London, CT

The US Coast Guard Academy dates back to 1876, when it was founded as a 2-year apprenticeship to what was then the Revenue Cutter Service – an anti-piracy and customs enforcement service. The smallest of the American military academies, the Coast Guard Academy is also one of the most selective; while a Congressional recommendation is not required, as it is for other academies, the Coast Guard Academy typically only accepts 400 out of thousands of applicants. Cadets in the Academy earn a bachelor’s degree and enter the Coast Guard, usually as commissioned officers, and have their education paid in full in exchange for service.

The Coast Guard is an attractive service for many young people, which make the Academy Introduction Mission (AIM) Summer Program a valuable way for high school students to decide if the Coast Guard Academy is right for them. For one week in the summer, rising high school seniors get to experience the Academy, living on campus, taking part in cadet life, and testing themselves for service. The Academy’s AIM program takes pride in providing a realistically demanding and intense approach, from rigorous training and exercises to the challenges of the classroom. It’s all the team-building, leadership training, and productive stress of Coast Guard bootcamp in one of the most valuable pre college summer programs imaginable.

  • Registration: April 1
  • Length: 1 week
  • Cost: $525
12

University of North Carolina at Greensboro - Greensboro, NC

Founded in 1891 as a women’s college focused on teacher and career training, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro is one of the South’s top public universities. UNCG has long been named a best value by publications like the Princeton Review and Kiplinger’s, and the university is known for doing what regional public universities do best – reaching out to the public. In fact, UNCG has been given the rare Carnegie Foundation Community Engagement classification. UNCG excels in areas like teacher education, nursing, and the arts, and the College of Visual and Performing Arts is the largest and most comprehensive arts school in North Carolina.

The CVPA sponsors one of the South’s premier pre college summer programs in the arts, the UNCG Summer Arts and Design Intensive. For one week, high school students from 8th-12th grade get to experience a college-level arts education, including the college experience of living on-campus. Students can choose from a variety of arts, including Paint, Animation, Photography, and Filmmaking, as well as more technical forms like Graphic Design and Interior Architecture. Museum tours, lectures by local artists, and interactive presentations add to the experience. It’s one of the best pre college programs available for the arts, and reasonably priced.

  • Registration: N/A
  • Length: 1 week
  • Cost: $600
13

University of Houston - Houston, TX

The flagship of the University of Houston System (which includes 3 schools), and a Carnegie Foundation R1 classified public research university, the University of Houston is a recognized leader in Texas and nationally. UH began as a junior college meeting in a local high school in 1927, but in less than 100 years Houston has become Texas’ 3rd-largest university and a model of urban higher education. Located in the heart of Texas’ largest city, the University of Houston is in a prime location for business and culture alike, and both the Bauer College of Business and the McGovern College of the Arts are considered among the most prominent schools of their kind.

The University of Houston offers several compelling, unique residential pre college summer programs. The Bauer College offers the Business Summer Institutes for High School Students, three 1-week long summer programs: EXPLORE Entrepreneurship, EXPLORE Business, and EXPLORE Energy & Sustainability. These programs are free for accepted students, but highly competitive – only 30 students are accepted into each institute. For the more theatrically inclined, the McGovern College, in partnership with the Houston Shakespeare Festival, offers the HSF Summer Conservatory for high school actors. This intensive, 2-week residential camp prepares students to develop their stage skills and perform in the summer festival. Scholarships are available for students in need, so anyone who wants can benefit from this pre college program.

  • Registration: May 14 (Business); May 15 (Shakespeare)
  • Length: 1 week (Business); 2 weeks (Shakespeare)
  • Cost: Free (Business); $1400 (Shakespeare)
14

Virginia Tech - Blacksburg, VA

The Virginia Polytechnic Institute – better known as Virginia Tech – is one of the South’s most prominent STEM-centered public research universities. Founded in 1872 as a land-grant agricultural and mechanical school, Virginia Tech grew into Virginia’s 3rd-largest university and highest in research spending, building world-class programs in engineering, computer science, business, and other STEM-related fields. Virginia Tech is ranked by U.S. News as the #25 public university in America, and in recent years Tech has helped lead the national call to attract more women and minorities to the STEM fields, introducing numerous initiatives for that very purpose.

Virginia Tech’s C-Tech2: Computer and Technology is an intensive, 2 week-long pre college summer program for high-school-aged girls in their junior or senior year. In addition to giving students a realistic on-campus experience, living in the dormitories, eating meals together, and socializing, the C-Tech2 program gives girls the chance to experience real engineering. Students get to perform hands-on activities applying engineering concepts to real life; meet working engineering professionals to learn about their career options; and attend useful seminars about making a college choice and applying to college. Scholarships are available for students who cannot afford the $1500 tuition, so money should be no stopping point. Virginia Tech wants to see more women in STEM, and the C-Tech2 pre college program is helping make it happen.

  • Registration: March 26
  • Length: 2 weeks
  • Cost: $1500
15

Hollins University - Roanoke, VA

One of the oldest women’s colleges in the US – and the first in Virginia – Hollins University dates back to 1842, and stands today as one of the South’s most unique, most beloved small liberal arts colleges. Hollins is especially known for the arts and creative writing, and offers unusual programs like a rare graduate degree in children’s literature and children’s book illustration. Some of the nation’s most celebrated and acclaimed writers and artists have called Hollins their alma mater, from Annie Dillard and Lee Smith to Margaret Wise Brown, writer of Goodnight Moon.

Hollins encourages young women to find themselves, and their pre college programs for high schoolers make a big impact. The annual Hollinsummer programs bring rising 9th-12th grade girls to one of the South’s loveliest locations, in the valleys of the Blue Ridge and Allegheny Mountains, for inspiration and practice. Four summer programs are offered, in STEM, theater, equestrian, and creative writing. Students get a taste of real college life in a small liberal arts setting, with hands-on experience in whatever their chosen field, time to socialize and explore, and mentorship from faculty, students, and professionals. Hollinsummer is the kind of pre college summer program that can change young women’s lives.

  • Registration: March 15
  • Length: 1 week
  • Cost: $900
16

Alfred University - Alfred, NY

Alfred University is one of the most prominent small, liberal arts universities in the North, ranked by U.S. News & World Report as a top 50 regional college. Access and outreach have always been central to Alred’s character; when it was founded in 1832 by the Seventh-Day Baptists, a small Protestant denomination, it was a rarity for being non-sectarian. Alfred was also one of the first coed colleges, and the second racially-integrated college in American history. Today, Alfredy continues that tradition in numerous ways, from generous financial support to pre college programs like the Residential High School Institutes.

Alfred’s yearly Residential High School Institutes bring high school students from across the US to Alfred’s rural, western NY campus for a wide variety of courses. Students have the opportunity to learn and practice their favorite subjects, ranging from Art and Astronomy to Robotics and Western Equestrianism. Living on campus, students get to experience something very much like college life at a top-notch liberal arts college, making friends, having fun, and learning about the next stage of their life. Prices for the residential programs vary, but more are generally from $900 to $950 for a week; art and theater offers 2-week options as well. Alfred’s pre college summer programs give high school students a safe way to explore their college options from a college long ranked a best value.

  • Registration: May 1
  • Length: 1 or 2 weeks
  • Cost: $900-$950
17

Sewanee, The University of the South - Sewanee, TN

Sewanee, The University of the South is one of the most prestigious and traditional liberal arts institutions, not only in the South, but nationally – Sewanee is regularly ranked among the top 50 liberal arts colleges by U.S. News & World Report. Founded by the Episcopal Church in 1857, Sewanee is especially known for its writing programs, and the university has been a center for literature and creative writing in the South for generations, including the acclaimed Sewanee Review. In addition, Sewanee is a regional and national leader in sustainability and environmental studies, using its dedication to the South to not only provide for the people and the culture, but the land as well.

Sewanee offers high school students several options for residential pre college summer programs, tied to the university’s greatest strengths. High schoolers who are interested in the sciences and research will want to take part in the Sewanee Environmental Institute’s Pre-College Field Studies Experience, in which students take two weeks to learn about the environment. The program is mostly hands-on field experience in Sewanee’s legendary 13,000-acre mountainous campus, known as The Domain. The BRIDGE Program in Biomedical Sciences gives students a preparatory experience in research and personal development toward a career in medicine. The Sewanee Young Writers Conference, in turn, takes high school students through the kinds of work they will do as creative writing students, with lectures and talks by nationally-recognized authors associated with one of the nation’s leading literary lights.

  • Registration: March 31
  • Length: 2 weeks
  • Cost: $1785-$2400
18

Pratt Institute

A global leader in design, art, information, and creativity, Pratt Institute is centered in one of the world’s most innovative, vibrant locations – New York City. Brooklyn and Manhattan, to be exact. From its founding in 1887, by the philanthropist Charles Pratt, Pratt Institute was designed to be different, admitting students regardless of their gender, race, or background. Pratt’s insight was that education for the new century should be hands-on, practical, and applicable to real life, and that spirit has kept Pratt always on the edge of the new. Whether in digital design or information science, traditional fine arts or architecture, Pratt has always been at the forefront, and it stays there by attracting the most motivated, creative young people.

Pratt’s pre college program keeps those motivated, creative young people coming, attracting high school students to the Brooklyn campus for 4 weeks of intensive learning and practice. With the cultural opportunities of New York all around them, and Pratt’s world-class faculty to guide them, students in the Summer Program take 4 courses modeled on Pratt’s undergraduate curriculum in one of 17 different concentrations. Students can choose from illustration, cultural studies, comics and sequential art, and many more specializations. Plus, students get to enjoy the inspiring spirit of life at Pratt, all in one pre college summer program.

  • Registration: March 1
  • Length: 4 weeks
  • Cost: $3839
19

South Dakota School of Mines & Technology - Rapid City, SD

The South Dakota School of Mines & Technology is known throughout the upper Midwest simply as “Mines,” and if the name is a little plain, the school most definitely is not. SD Mines made history in recent years when its graduates’ average starting salaries passed Harvard’s in surveys, and that’s for one simple reason: Mines rocks. More specifically, SDSMT is focused on some of the most advanced, most in-demand professions in the 21st century, including all sorts of engineering and technology. SD Mines is a comprehensive university, and its laser-sharp focus on engineering emphasizes hands-on learning, applied research, and practical skills – ready to make top-paid professionals out of its graduates.

High school students who aspire to be the next generation of scientific innovators can get a taste of what SD Mines has to offer with Mines’ tech and science summer camps for 9th-12th graders. Students get to take part in week-long, residential camps dedicated to numerous fascinating topics, including weather, civil engineering, mining and explosives, and fossils. In addition to learning about their favorite subjects, students get to live the Mines life, staying on campus and enjoying outings to the attractions and curiosities of Rushmore country. SD Mines welcomes young people from all over the nation, but summer programs are competitive, and scholarships are available to those in need. It’s one of the best STEM summer programs the US has to offer.

  • Registration: N/A
  • Length: 1 week
  • Cost: $975
20

Susquehanna University - Selinsgrove, PA

A small, Lutheran Church-affiliated liberal arts college, Susquehanna University has been committed to providing the very best undergraduate education since it was founded in 1858. With its focus on undergrad education, Susquehanna provides all of the special considerations that small liberal arts colleges are famous for – low student:faculty ratio (12:1), strong student support and mentorship, small class sizes, and a vibrant on-campus community. All Susquehanna students also take part in study abroad, adding a further level of enrichment to a highly nurturing, but challenging, education.

All of those qualities are also part of Susquehanna’s Summer High School Programs. Each summer, Susquehanna brings high schoolers from around the nation to their historic Susquehanna River Valley campus for a week of intensive learning and development. Ten different course options are available, including entrepreneurship, acting, publishing, engineering, and writing. All of Susquehanna’s pre college summer programs feature hands-on learning led by experienced professionals, with students getting the extra benefit of interacting with current Susquehanna students, who can give campers the real story on life at Susquehanna. It must work – in some cases, as much as 90% of campers apply to the university when they graduate. These week-long camps are prime examples of what pre college programs can do.

  • Registration: April 1
  • Length: 1 week
  • Cost: $1025
21

Georgia Tech - Atlanta, GA

When Georgia Tech was founded in 1885, the South was mostly agricultural, and Atlanta was still recovering from the destruction of the Civil War. Georgia Tech brought modern engineering and technology to the South, helping turn Atlanta into one of the world’s most dynamic up-and-coming cities. All of Georgia Tech’s schools and colleges are part of that mission, including the College of Design, one of the most innovative, tech-centered design programs in the world. Georgia Tech’s design programs focus on the interaction of technology with human creativity, completely re-envisioning design for a new age. And every summer, high school students can be a part.

Georgia Tech’s pre college summer programs from the College of Design are called Be the Future of Design, and that is precisely their goal. Students from all over the nation come to Atlanta to experience the College of Design, living on campus and getting the full Georgia Tech experience, from classes to Atlanta’s vibrant culture. There are three specialities available: Architecture, Industrial Design, and Music Technology. Each of these 2-week camps immerses students in their topic, with some of the world’s foremost experts to guide them. Scholarships are available based on both need and merit, making Georgia Tech’s pre college summer programs a value for the most promising young designers.

  • Registration: March 12
  • Length: 2 weeks
  • Cost: $1200
22

Tulane University - New Orleans, LA

Louisiana’s top private research university, Tulane University is often called one of the Southern Ivies, a Southern university every bit as prestigious and respected as the Ivy League. Located in New Orleans, Tulane has been a central part of the city’s life ever since it opened as a medical school in 1834, when the Deep South lacked enough qualified doctors. From that beginning, Tulane has become New Orleans’ academic heart, excelling in everything from science to the arts, and graduating some of Louisiana and the South’s most prominent leaders, artists, scientists, and thinkers. Tulane’s pre college summer programs help ensure that they’ll keep it up in the future.

Tulane offers some of the best pre college summer programs out there, giving students all the experience that a major research university in one of the world’s most exciting cities can offer. Students live on campus in a 2-week residency, taking courses with Tulane’s world-class faculty and meeting experienced professionals in their field of interest. Four programs are available: the Science Scholars, STEM Enrichment Institute, Women’s Leadership, and Architecture, each focusing on hands-on experience working to solve real-life problems. A diverse class in a diverse city gives students a wealth of opportunity from a great pre college summer program.

  • Registration: N/A
  • Length: 2 weeks
  • Cost: $2350
23

Savannah College of Art & Design - Savannah, GA

Savannah College of Art & Design is one of the world’s most innovative, modern institutions in one of America’s oldest, most historical cities. Founded in 1978, SCAD’s purpose from the very beginning was to make waves, providing degrees in areas of art and design that weren’t common in the South at the time. Today, SCAD is still dedicated to whatever is new, exciting, and game-changing, whether it is the first sequential degree in the South, or the international Savannah Film Festival. SCAD is proud to prepare students for professional careers in fields that make parents worry, like animation, fashion, or the arts.

SCAD’s pre college summer program, SCAD Rising Star, offers one of the South’s most exciting opportunities for high school students interested in the creative professions. A rigorous, intensive 5-week program, Rising Star allows high school students to earn two course credits that can be applied to a degree at SCAD, while building their portfolio and skills. Students can choose from SCAD’s Savannah, Atlanta, or Hong Kong campuses for the full SCAD experience, living residentially with other students and enjoying all their host city has to offer in the summer. Scholarships are available based on merit, and are just as competitive as SCAD’s pre college program itself.

  • Registration: May 1
  • Length: 5 weeks
  • Cost: $6000
24

Drexel University - Philadelphia, PA

Ranked one of the most innovative universities in America by U.S. News & World Report, Drexel University has innovation written into its DNA. Founded by philanthropist Anthony Drexel, Drexel University was designed to provide practical, career-focused education to the working class people of Philadelphia. From that beginning Drexel grew into one of the North’s finest private research universities, especially known for their cooperative education program, in which students alternate traditional classroom learning with on-the-job experience with one of Drexel’s many corporate and industry partners.

Drexel offers a huge number of pre college summer programs for ambitious, promising high school students. Students get to interact with Drexel’s top-tier faculty members, have access to some of the most state-of-the-art laboratories and facilities in the world, and make connections with classmates and potential employers alike. While some of the programs are commuter-only, many of the Drexel Summer Institutes are residential, giving students the added benefit of living at Drexel, in the heart of one of America’s most historic and appealing cities. Options abound, from business and entrepreneurship to medicine and engineering; see Drexel’s site for all the details about their fantastic pre college programs.

  • Registration: N/A
  • Length: 1-2 weeks
  • Cost: $1500-$3200
25

University of Maryland - College Park, MD

Recognized as a Public Ivy – a public research university as acclaimed as the Ivy League – the University of Maryland is an important institution for a lot of reasons. At the top of the list is its location; UMD is the largest public university in metropolitan Washington, DC, and therefore has connections and access to the most influential and powerful agencies in the federal government. That means students at UMD are connected to some of the most up-to-date, cutting-edge research in the world, from NASA, the NSA, the NIH, the FDA, as well as world-class faculty and experienced professionals for guidance. And high school students from Maryland and around the globe get the same kind of opportunity from the Terp Young Scholars pre college summer programs.

UMD’s Terp Young Scholars invites students to the College Park campus for a 3-week residential pre college experience. Students take UMD courses, earning 3 college credits, while experiencing the social life and activities of campus living, from yoga classes to a day trip to Washington, DC. The faculty and staff of UMD also introduce students to UMD’s processes, including financial aid and admissions, to get them ready to apply to the university if it fits their interests. Students can choose from a variety of courses, ranging from philosophy or creative writing to computer science or engineering. The opportunities are extensive, and UMD’s pre college programs give high schoolers a chance to make an informed decision while having a great time.

  • Registration: July 1
  • Length: 3 weeks
  • Cost: $3750
26

Spelman College - Atlanta, GA

One of the most prestigious historically black colleges in the US, and a historic model of education for African-American women, Spelman College is a legendary institution, and rightly so. Founded in 1881, Spelman has educated generations of leaders in the African-American community, from authors like Alice Walker to politicians and activists. Students still come to Spelman from around the US and the world, drawn to a heritage that they can turn into a legacy. As a small liberal arts college, Spelman is known for student support and mentorship, and as a socially responsible institution, Spelman prioritizes outreach to the community.

Spelman brings high school students from far and wide to their historic Atlanta campus every summer for the 2-week College Prep Institute. Offered since 2005, the CPI is a pre college program designed for young African-American women, rising sophomores and juniors, who want to go to college and want to learn more about the process. The College Prep Institute is a residential program that gives students the experience of living on campus in an intellectually and academically rigorous, stimulating atmosphere. Students attend workshops and seminars designed to get them ready for college, from applications and financial aid to study habits and motivation. Spelman is recognized for one of the highest graduation rates in the nation, and success starts early, with pre college summer programs like the CPI.

  • Registration: March 15
  • Length: 2 weeks
  • Cost: $2700
27

Rhode Island School of Design - Providence, RI

Regularly ranked as the top art school in the US, and one of the best in the world, by publications like U.S. News and the World University Rankings, the Rhode Island School of Design does what it does, and does it best. Founded in 1877, RISD – usually spoken out loud as “Riz-dee” – focuses on bachelor’s and master’s degrees in the arts and design, from fashion and textiles to graphic design and architecture, as well as the traditional fine arts. RISD is well known for its rigor and challenges, as students are motivated to push their imaginations and technical skills to their farthest – making RISD’s graduates some of the most inspired creatives in the world.

High schoolers who want that kind of opportunity, in a long, immersive format, can apply for RISD’s pre college summer programs. The pre college program emulates the freshman experience for RISD students, putting high schoolers in the drawing and design foundations courses they would take as freshmen, as well as letting them choose a major for other courses. Two dozen possible majors range from animation to industrial design, as well as two new majors combining art with activism and art with science. The residential experience – six weeks living in RISD’s residence halls – give students access to all RISD and Providence have to offer. It’s a big opportunity for creative 16-18 year olds all over the world.

  • Length: 6 weeks
  • Cost: $8385
28

University of California, San Diego - San Diego, CA

The University of California, San Diego, is one of the highest-ranked and most prominent public universities in the world – in fact, it’s widely named as a Public Ivy. UC San Diego is one of the younger of California’s public research universities, founded in 1960 to enlarge the Scripps Institution of Oceanography to a full university. But in less than 60 years, UCSD has become one America’s foremost STEM-centered public institutions, from medicine and engineering to business and global conflict resolution. But UC San Diego is also known for outreach, and has been recognized by publications like Washington Monthly for their impact on social mobility and community service.

The UC San Diego pre college summer program, Academic Connections, is a perfect example of the ways UCSD makes itself open to the people of California, and the world. Designed for high-performing, highly motivated high school juniors and seniors, the Academic Connections pre college program lets young people experience residential life at UCSD, with challenging classes and invaluable cultural and social activities. Courses in the Academic Connections are designed and taught by UCSD doctoral students, bringing the most current knowledge and energy to the classroom. Three weeks at UC San Diego, and students at UCSD’s pre college summer program won’t be able to wait for college.

  • Registration: June 25
  • Length: 3 weeks
  • Cost: $4200
29

University of Massachusetts Amherst - Amherst, MA

New England’s foremost public research university, the University of Massachusetts Amherst more than holds its own among the Ivy League and elite liberal arts colleges that dominate the region. UMass Amherst is a top-tier, Carnegie Foundation R1 classified institution located in one of the top 10 most-loved college towns in the US, and UMass alumni represent some of the best leaders, scientists, and artists Massachusetts has ever produced. As a public university, UMass also make outreach one of its top priorities, attracting students from New England, the US, and worldwide. UMass’ famed pre college summer programs are part of that mission to find and cultivate the best students out there.

The UMass Pre-College program offers residential experiences for high school students, bringing youth from nationwide to the famed Amherst campus. There are a wealth of options available, including 1, 2, and 3-week intensives in a wide selection of subjects – more than 20, including music and technology, genetics, entrepreneurship, and even a study of the Black Lives Matter movement. For highly gifted, ambitious students, there are also extremely competitive 6-week lab intensives, in which students work alongside faculty and graduate students in biology, environmental conservation, psychology, and more. Rising high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors are eligible for UMass’ pre college summer programs.

  • Registration: April 1
  • Length: 1-6 weeks
  • Cost: $1469-$9696
30

Carnegie Mellon University - Pittsburgh, PA

Outreach has always been at the heart of Carnegie Mellon University, a revolutionary higher education institution designed from the beginning to be different. Founded in 1900 by Andrew Carnegie, one of the most generous philanthropists in American history, Carnegie Mellon was intended to provide opportunity to Pittsburgh’s working classes, but its mission has grown widely since then. From its initial focus on practical, applied science, Carnegie Mellon has become one of the world’s leaders in technology, from computer science to design, and draws the most creative, most tech-savvy students from around the world.

Those same students are called by Carnegie Mellon’s pre college summer programs. Students live on Carnegie Mellon’s Pittsburgh campus for 3-week or 6-week intensive residential experiences, taking academically challenging courses and getting the full freshman experience. Programs include some of Carnegie Mellon’s strongest subjects; Carnegie Mellon, after all, had one of the first computer science programs, and pioneered subjects like robotics and artificial intelligence – one of the programs available. Design, architecture, drama, and music are also on offer. With Carnegie Mellon’s resources, students get the best possible freshman year in just a few weeks of a pre college program.

  • Registration: April 15
  • Length: 3-6 weeks
  • Cost: $8674
31

Skidmore College - Saratoga Springs, NY

Skidmore College is one of the best-known names in American higher education, a model of the small liberal arts college that makes the Northeast and New England havens for education. Since its beginning, Skidmore has been dedicated to support and community, from the original Young Women’s Industrial Club founded by Lucy Ann Skidmore in 1903, to today, when Skidmore ranks as one of the top 50 liberal arts colleges in the nation. Students come to Skidmore for the opportunity to work closely with some of the best liberal arts faculty in the world, and to develop lifelong relationships while developing their creative intelligence.

Skidmore welcomes a diverse set of high school students from around the world every summer for the Skidmore pre college summer program. Students have the opportunity to live for 5 weeks at Skidmore’s famously beautiful Saratoga Springs, NY, campus, in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains. While living at Skidmore, students will get to take two freshman-level courses, either in liberal arts or studio art (or one of both). Costs vary whether students decide to take one or two courses, but the classes do count for college credit, making them a valuable jump start for a college career. Skidmore is known for a vibrant, creative campus life, and the pre college program is no different – an opportunity like no other for high school students.

  • Registration: April 1
  • Length: 5 weeks
  • Cost: $4810-$7255
32

Rowan University - Glassboro, NJ

Rowan University is a large, public university in Glassboro, NJ, well known for its regional outreach and engagement, and for its impact on New Jersey’s underrepresented, minority, and working-class students. Originally focused on teacher education when it was founded in 1923, Rowan grew to meet the needs of the region around Glassboro, an industrial area once dominated by the glass industry. Today, Rowan is particularly known for its high ranking in the Social Mobility Index, having a major influence on improving social class and professional career opportunity for the people of southern New Jersey. Rowan is highly ranked for STEM and health sciences programs, and is home to the only two public medical schools in New Jersey not connected to Rutgers University.

Rowan has made outreach a central part of its mission, and the Rowan pre college summer programs make a big difference. Rowan’s STEAM Academy – combining STEM and the arts – appeals to college-bound high school students who want a well-rounded, interdisciplinary, and useful education. The STEAM Academy gives students an insider’s preview of college life in a 3-week, residential program. The residential Navigation option offers field trips, leadership training, and career counseling, while the Pathways option offers an intensive research internship for motivated, high-performing high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors. Either option is a solid introduction to college life from a model pre college summer program.

  • Registration: April 30
  • Length: 3 weeks
  • Cost: $4450
33

Worcester Polytechnic Institute - Worcester, MA

One of the first science and technology-centered universities in the US, Worcester Polytechnic Institute has been a pioneer and an innovator since 1865, and it’s not slowing down. If anything, WPI has only been rising in the 21st century, earning all kinds of accolades for its graduates’ starting salaries, its high return on investment (rivaling the Ivy Leagues), and its integration of science and technology with the arts and humanities. With an emphasis on project-based, hands-on learning, WPI has become one of the most celebrated STEM and STEAM universities in the nation – something that they’ve been sharing with high school students for more than 30 years.

WPI’s pre college summer program, Frontiers, is truly a model of the form, immersing rising high school juniors and seniors in the STEM field of their choice. Frontiers gives students the chance to live on-campus at Worcester Polytechnic, taking courses and workshops as well as field trips, social activities, and performances. Students choose a STEM field, and supplement their choice with a humanities workshop, practicing the combination of arts skills and technical knowledge that makes WPI unique. One or two 2-week sessions show students what they could experience as WPI students, and give them the motivation to seek a career in the sciences in an effective pre college program.

  • Registration: April 1
  • Length: 2 weeks
  • Cost: $2995-$4795
34

Smith College - Northampton, MA

The largest of the legendary Seven Sisters – the elite liberal arts women’s colleges of New England – Smith College is widely ranked as one of the top liberal arts college in the nation by publishers like U.S. News & World Report and Forbes. Since 1871, Smith has been a pioneer in women’s education, proving that women’s education could be the equal of men’s at a time when many doubted women’s intelligence. Smith led STEM education, founding the first engineering school at a women’s college and advocating for women in leadership. For young women looking for support and encouragement, Smith is at the top of the list.

Smith makes its excellence available for high school students through its immersive, residential pre college summer programs. High school girls around the nation come to Smith’s historic Northampton campus, in the heart of New England’s network of colleges and universities, to live, work, and socialize for 1 week, 2 week, or 4 week programs. There are several options: a 1-week College Admission Workshop; 2-week Field Studies for Sustainable Futures, Women’s History, and Young Women’s Writing Workshop; and an intensive 4-week Summer Science & Engineering Program. Whatever the choice, students get the full Smith experience from a premier pre college program.

  • Registration: May 1
  • Length: 1-4 weeks
  • Cost: $1650-$5800
35

Yale University - New Haven, CT

There’s not much to be said of Yale University that hasn’t been said before. One of America’s first colleges, alma mater of Presidents and billionaires, and one of the largest cultural influences in American history – Yale exemplifies the Ivy League and prestigious higher education. However, seeing Yale as an elite, unobtainable ivory tower is to miss what lengths Yale goes to to find the best and brightest American young people, no matter where they come from or who they are. Yale is highly diverse in race, social class, nationality, and every other factor, and they’ve gotten to be that way by reaching out and searching the world over to find talent.

Yale’s pre college summer programs allow high-performing high school students to take college courses at Yale for credit. High school pre-college students live on-campus and take courses alongside Yale’s regular students, and are held to the same rigorous standards as a traditional Yale students. Pre-college students must take a full-time load of two courses, with a full set of options (although some summer courses are not open to students). Although participation in the pre college program does not guarantee acceptance into Yale as a traditional student, it’s an excellent introduction to the Ivy League.

  • Registration: May 7
  • Length: 5 weeks
  • Cost: $7900
36

University of Rochester - Rochester, NY

A top-tier, private research university in New York, the University of Rochester is special among universities of its caliber. Though it is classified at the highest Carnegie Foundation level, R1, Rochester is still committed to providing students with the intensive, personal support and mentorship of a small liberal arts college. Even with more than 11,000 students, Rochester maintains a 10:1 student:faculty ratio, and students get personalized attention and access to some of the most cutting-edge research being done across the board. That includes business, the arts, engineering, and more – all of which high school students can participate in during Rochester’s pre college summer programs.

Rochester’s pre college summer programs include their residential Intensive Studies, giving rising 11th and 12th graders 3 weeks to live on the busy Rochester campus and study their interests at a high level, led by world-class experts. Options include pathology, medicine, engineering, business, and short filmmaking. Students interact with current Rochester undergraduate and graduate students who act as mentors, tour guides, and troubleshooters for young people in a new environment. With all that Rochester has to offer, the pre college programs are in high demand, and worth it.

  • Registration: N/A
  • Length: 3 weeks
  • Cost: $4600-$5000
37

Brandeis University - Waltham, MA

One of the most acclaimed, highest-ranked private research universities in the US, Brandeis University came about to meet a need, and stuck around to transform higher education. In 1948, when Brandeis was founded, Jewish students were largely blackballed from the most elite universities. Brandeis began with a vision to start a top-tier university that would welcome Jews, and included Albert Einstein among its first advisors, but over the course of the 20th century Brandeis grew into one of the most admired institutions in the world. Today, Brandeis is a leader in liberal arts education and a haven for international students, as well as one of the most active, engaged universities in the nation for outreach and community engagement.

Brandeis University’s pre college summer programs aren’t quite like any other university’s pre college summer programs, just as Brandeis isn’t quite like any other university. High school students can come to Brandeis for a variety of residential experiences, ranging from 1 to 4 weeks, with a wide range of focuses. Students can sign up for a week-long Seminar on Israel Studies, or two weeks doing community service around Boston with the Service Corps. App Design, Jewish Arts, Jewish Leadership, and the Global Youth Summit on the Future of Medicine are all on tap as well. Living the Brandeis life, even for a week-long pre college program, can make a big difference in a high school student’s life.

  • Registration: April 1
  • Length: 1-4 weeks
  • Cost: $2180-$6400
38

Marist College - Poughkeepsie, NY

Ranked by U.S. News & World Report as a top 10 regional college for the North, Marist College dates back to 1905, when it was founded by the Marist Brothers (an education-centered Catholic monastic order) to prepare their own members to work as teachers. Today, Marist is an ecumenical school, independent of the Catholic Church and dedicated to the best possible undergraduate, liberal arts education for a diverse student body. Marist has been named a best value by Kiplinger’s, and is well known throughout the North for its community service and welcoming spirit.
Marist College’s pre college summer programs offer two 2-week sessions, allowing high school students to earn college credits in a residential format. In addition to living on Marist’s lovely Hudson River Valley campus, students can take challenging, engaging courses from Marist’s faculty in a wide range of subjects. Students can earn 3 credit hours for a 2-week session, or apply for both summer sessions for 6 credits. Courses range from writing and history to business and game design. Marist College is a trusted name in New York and the Northeast, and their pre college summer programs are a valuable taste of the Marist life.

  • Registration: N/A
  • Length: 2 weeks
  • Cost: $3350
39

Adelphi University - Garden City, NY

Long Island’s oldest college didn’t actually start in Long Island – Adelphi University was founded in 1863 in Brooklyn, NY, but moved to Garden City in 1929 when the student body outgrew their original campus. Adelphi spent the next 90 years becoming an integral part of life in Long Island, earning accolades for their community outreach and service. In fact, Adelphi is one of the relatively few universities to earn Carnegie Foundation Community Engagement Classification, the highest status for service. Adelphi has also been frequently named a best value. That commitment to value an service has made Adelphi a beloved institution, much in-demand among students.

Adelphi’s pre college summer programs are an excellent way for students to get a feel for the college life at a small liberal arts college, while also earning real, transferable college credits. Students can choose from 8 college-credit, residential courses to take over their 2-week Adelphi experience, including Business & Entrepreneurship, Video Game Programming, and even Musical Theater Bootcamp. Plus, students get a full residential experience, from dorm living to dining hall meals, with opportunities to explore New York City and create new and long-lasting friendships. It’s everything a liberal arts college is all about, in a 2-week pre college summer program.

  • Registration: N/A
  • Length: 2 weeks
  • Cost: $3500
40

Johns Hopkins University - Baltimore, MD

Few universities have the worldwide reputation of Johns Hopkins University. JHU, quite simply, introduced the research university concept to the US, creating the model for modern higher education by linking academic education to scientific research. With that heritage, Johns Hopkins is the best of all possible worlds – one of the highest-ranked institutions for undergraduate education, and one of the most productive and influential research institutions as well. Few universities do it all well, and Johns Hopkins offers even high school students the chance to be part of a rich legacy.

Johns Hopkins’ pre college summer programs offer high school students a number of opportunities to experience JHU’s excellence, with programs lasting from 2 to 5 weeks. Students take real JHU courses in different formats. The Discover Hopkins program gives students a 2 week long residential experience taking a variety of Johns Hopkins courses – up to 3 sessions (3 credits) in all. The Summer University allows students to take 2 full-credit courses over 5 weeks, while the Mini-Term condenses the Summer University into an intensive 2-week program. Tuition costs vary, but no matter the choice, it’s Johns Hopkins.

  • Registration: March 16
  • Length: 2-5 weeks
  • Cost: $3600-$10,990
41

UCLA - Los Angeles, CA

One of the most prominent public research universities in America, UCLA is the second member of the University of California System (founded in 1919 as a branch campus of UC). It’s also U.S. News & World Report’s #1 public university, in a tie with UC flagship Berkeley. With its location in one of America’s foremost cities, UCLA has benefited greatly from access to industry, business, and culture. It’s one of the leading universities for the arts, especially music, filmmaking, and animation, thanks to its proximity to Hollywood, and the home of the ULCA Health System, one of the world’s most prestigious academic medical complexes. UCLA does it all, and UCLA graduates and faculty have included some of the most important leaders, entrepreneurs, entertainers, and thought leaders in modern American history.

High school students from California and around the world can be a part of UCLA’s greatness through the Precollege Summer Institutes. UCLA pre college summer programs give students the opportunity to live on UCLA’s comfortable Westwood campus – located in one of Los Angeles’ most elite neighborhoods. Students can choose from a wide range of options, including nanoscience, game design and programming, mock trial and Model UN, and international studies. Of course, it’s UCLA, so arts programs are second to none – filmmaking, dance, acting, writing, and even musical theater (for all the teenagers who know how many minutes to measure a year). Costs for UCLA’s pre college summer program, but at any price, it’s the chance of a lifetime.

  • Registration: May 1
  • Length: 3 weeks
  • Cost: $1774-$6488
42

University of California, Berkeley - Berkeley, CA

The flagship of the illustrious University of California System, the University of California, Berkeley has long been ranked the top public research university in the nation (a distinction it shares with sister UCLA). Berkeley was founded in 1868, when the Gold Rush boom was finally waning and everyone was wondering what to do with this land called California. Berkeley showed the way, and helped shape California from a frontier into the culturally and politically dominant state it is now. Berkeley has been the driving force of no end of innovations, and continues attracting the most promising young people America and the world have to offer.

UC Berkeley’s Pre-College Scholars Program is all about getting those promising young people to Berkeley early – while still in high school. Berkeley’s pre college summer program gives high schoolers the opportunity to take two Berkeley courses while living the residential life on one of America’s most vibrant, culturally rich, and diverse campuses. Students can choose a 6-week or 8-week program. In addition to their courses, students take part in workshops, field trips around Berkeley, and extracurricular events – not to mention eating in the dining halls, hanging out on campus, and making friends with other young scholars. It’s a top pre college program from a household name.

  • Registration: May 1
  • Length: 6 or 8 Weeks
  • Cost: $13,700-$15,000
43

University of Pennsylvania - Philadelphia, PA

The University of Pennsylvania is a private, Ivy League research university, one of the nine colleges founded before the American Revolution (1740), and the only university that can claim Benjamin Franklin for its founder. UPenn literally pioneered higher education in the US, becoming the nation’s first European-style liberal arts and sciences university (colleges before Penn were rooted in theology, philosophy, and the ancient Classics). From the first medical school, the first law school, and the first digital computer (ENIAC), UPenn continues to innovate to this day, seeking out the most motivated and ambitious young people for its flexible, interdisciplinary programs.

High school students who want an early glimpse of life at UPenn are encouraged to apply for UPenn’s pre college summer programs. The Pre-College Program gives motivated high schoolers a real-deal undergraduate experience over 6 weeks during the summer. Students get to take real Penn courses for college credit (the equivalent of 4 credit hours), with a choice of either 1 for-credit class and 1 non-credit class, or 2 for-credit classes. Students live, eat, and learn on Penn’s residential campus, and have the chance to take trips around Philadelphia and as far as Washington, DC, or New York City. The Ivy League life, and transferable courses, make UPenn’s pre college program a real opportunity to shine.

  • Registration: May 1
  • Length: 6 weeks
  • Cost: $11,499-$15,499
44

Wake Forest University - Winston-Salem, NC

Often named among the prestigious Southern Ivies, Wake Forest University is a private research university in Winston-Salem, NC. Founded by the Baptist Church, Wake Forest was originally a labor school, with ministry students and laymen working on the plantation in exchange for their education. That model didn’t last long, but what did last is a commitment to combining traditional liberal arts education with practical, applied knowledge to create value and improvement in the world. Wake Forest’s law, business, and medical schools are among the best in the world, and Wake Forest is regularly ranked one of the top undergraduate educators in the US – and one of the most supportive.

Wake Forest’s pre college summer programs offer students an invaluable opportunity to experience what the university has to offer in 15 intensive institutes. The Summer Immersion Program brings students to either Wake Forest’s famously beautiful Winston-Salem main campus, or its newer Charlotte campus, in the heart of the fast-growing Queen City. In these residential programs, students take classes and workshops, engage in hands-on, project-based learning, and experience college life, with all the activities, character-building, and socializing of campus life. Options range from business, law, and medicine, to technology, dance, visual arts, and filmmaking. There’s something for every interest, making Wake Forest’s pre college programs a potentially life-changing opportunity.

  • Registration: N/A
  • Length: 1 week
  • Cost: $1450-$2500
45

University of Vermont - Burlington, VT

Vermont’s flagship public research university, the University of Vermont is also one of the oldest public universities in the US, founded in 1791 (when the independent Vermont Republic was accepted as a state), and one of the original Public Ivies. UVM is a central part of academic and professional life in Vermont, located in the state’s largest city, Burlington, and playing a huge part in educating the state’s leaders, teachers, entrepreneurs, and cultural influencers. Vermont is one of the nation’s most unique and eccentric states, and UVM is a proud national and international leader in fields like environmental sustainability. It’s also well-known for social and community engagement.

The UVM Summer Academy, Vermont’s pre college summer program, is a unique hybrid summer program that combines 2 weeks of residential classes with 2 weeks of online completion. High schoolers who have completed 10th, 11th, or 12th grade are eligible to take courses for college credit, up to 3 credit hours, with the first half on-campus and the remaining half online. In addition, during their 2-week residential program, students get to take part in recreational and developmental activities, from discussions and workshops to barbecues and sports. In UVM’s beautiful Burlington campus, students get to experience all that makes Vermont Vermont in an affordable pre college program.

  • Registration: N/A
  • Length: 4 weeks - 2 residential, 2 online
  • Cost: $3974
46

Loyola Marymount University - Los Angeles, CA

One of the largest, most respected Catholic universities in the West, Loyola Marymount University came about from the merger of Loyola College (a men’s school dating back to a Vincentian academy founded in 1865) and Marymount College (a women’s school founded by the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary). LMU is dedicated to the university’s Catholic values and roots, especially in the commitment to holistic education of the mind, body, and soul, and to the social and community outreach that defines both Jesuit and Marymount religious orders. Loyola Marymount puts learning, faith, and justice at the heart of their education, and their summer programs.

These values are written into Loyola Marymount’s Pre-College Summer Programs, from the residential experience to the course offerings. Students can take college-credit courses during the 2-week residential program, including courses like The Impact of Social Movements, A People’s History of Democratic Thought, and a 4-week course in Social Impact Filmmaking. Besides the socially-conscious programs, students experience living on “The Bluff,” LMU’s Del Rey Hills campus, including workshops, recreation, and outings to Southern California beaches, Los Angeles, and even Disneyland. Loyola Marymount’s pre college programs are a worthy introduction to college life, and a real value for high schoolers finding their way.

  • Registration: March 15
  • Length: 2-4 weeks
  • Cost: $3950-$8000
47

Boston University - Boston, MA

Boston University is a large, private research university in America’s education city, Boston, MA – home to more than 100 colleges and universities. Even in that overwhelming company, BU stands out, ranked a top 50 national university by U.S. News & World Report and known worldwide for a who’s-who of Nobel Prize winners, MacArthur Grant geniuses, and cultural giants. Since 1839, when BU was founded by the Methodist Church, the university has been central to life in Boston. It’s not easy to get into that illustrious company – BU is highly selective – but promising high schoolers from around the world can make their mark at BU’s Summer Challenge.
Boston University’s pre college summer programs are a high-water mark for college programs for high school students. BU offers three 2-week sessions for students to live on-campus in Boston, taking two intensive seminars of their choice; options vary widely, from computer science to creative writing, economics to electrical engineering, philosophy to photography. The opportunity to live on-campus in Boston is a big draw for students; one of the nation’s most historically and culturally rich cities offers no end of activities. BU’s pre college program sets a high bar for the high schoolers who attend, but their future is just beginning.

  • Registration: N/A
  • Length: 2 weeks
  • Cost: $4000
48

Emory University - Atlanta, GA

One of the oldest, most prestigious private research universities in the US, Emory University is usually classed with the Southern Ivies, the elite Southern universities that give the Ivy League a run for their money. Founded in 1836, Emory University has a huge positive influence on Atlanta, from literature and art to business and medicine (Emory Healthcare, Georgia’s foremost medical system). Atlanta is one of the world’s leading cities, growing in size and influence by the year, and Emory offers a diverse crew of students access to that rising wave. As a Carnegie Foundation classified R1 research university, Emory is a leader, seeking the most productive and ambitious students to change the world.

That search could start with the Emory Pre-College Experience, a pre college summer program designed for high-performing, highly motivated high schoolers. Students can choose from a variety of 2-week, non-credit courses designed with the same rigor and depth as Emory’s traditional courses. Options include biology, psychology, creative writing, dramatic writing, economics, business, and many, many more. Students may also want to choose the 3-week Infectious Disease Institute – a natural choice for Atlanta, the home of the CDC. Only around 400 students in total will be accepted, so students get the personal attention from faculty and counselors that they need to succeed in this pre college program.

  • Registration: N/A
  • Length: 2-3 weeks
  • Cost: $4100
49

Georgetown University - Washington, DC

The oldest Catholic university in the US, Georgetown University was founded in 1789, when the end of British suppression made it legal for the Jesuits to establish a school. Their choice of location turned out to be beneficial when the state of Maryland donated land, including Georgetown, to build the national capital. Because of its deep connections to Washington, DC, Georgetown is one of the most powerful universities in the nation, a historic alma mater of presidents, justices, diplomats, and other political figures. It’s also an international leader in business, including the world’s largest student-run credit union and non-profit corporation.

In short, there are very few opportunities as rich for high school students as Georgetown’s pre college summer programs. High-achieving high school students from the world over can come to Georgetown for 1-week institutes, 3-week immersions, and on-campus, for-credit courses. The week-long institutes and 3-week immersions come from some of Georgetown’s most acclaimed programs, including entrepreneurship, forensic science, journalism, counterintelligence, foreign policy, and medicine. Residential students get to live on one of the most historic, most connected campuses in the nation, with access to culture, activities, and all that Washington, DC has to offer.

  • Registration: N/A
  • Length: 1-3 weeks
  • Cost: $2895-$6199
50

Sarah Lawrence College - Bronxville, NY

Sarah Lawrence College is one of the most esteemed liberal arts colleges in America, ranked the top undergraduate educator by the Princeton Review and known worldwide for student support and mentorship. The college is also known for nontraditional education options; rather than conventional majors, students study a more flexible set of four disciplines in a format inspired by the Oxford and Cambridge style, mixing seminars with one-on-one instruction. This unique way of doing education gives Sarah Lawrence students the kind of personalized attention that helps them succeed. High school students in the pre college summer program have the same kind of support.

The Pre-College Programs at Sarah Lawrence give high school students an opportunity to experience the mentorship, community, and educational exploration that Sarah Lawrence is known for. Students learn with Sarah Lawrence’s world-class faculty in courses designed around social responsibility and application, such as coding for assistive programming, the Social Justice Collective, and the Filmmakers Collective. Students live on-campus at Sarah Lawrence’s Bronxville, NY, campus, in Westchester County. It’s a pre college program from one of America’s most fascinating colleges, and a valuable opportunity for the next generation of leaders.

  • Registration: N/A
  • Length: 5 weeks
  • Cost: $6265