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The Top Summer Pre-College Programs for High School Students

List produced by the Experts more info

  • Barnard College (New York, NY):
    The Barnard Pre-college Programs let students experience summer in New York City while learning in distinct fields ranging from entrepreneurship to STEM. High schoolers explore an area of interest on a deeper level through both in-class discussions and city exploration. The NextGen Leadership Institute is the College's signature summer experience that embraces and explores the complex relationship between gender and leadership. Students will be pushed in new directions as they develop leadership skills through a feminist lens. Learn more about the Barnard Pre-College Programs!
  • Boston College (Chestnut Hill, MA):
    The Boston College Experience provides motivated high school students the chance to gain early exposure to a rich and rewarding college experience through coursework, extracurricular activities, and reflection. Built into the programs are activities that help to prepare students for their college search and transition into college life. Students participate in lectures and workshops ranging from the college admission process, résumé writing and networking, and social outings all while enjoying the beautiful city of Boston over the summer. Learn more about the BC Experience!
  • Brown University (Providence, RI):
    The Brown Pre-College Programs invite high school students to step off the summer-as-usual path and set a course for adventure at Brown University. These one- to six-week programs are designed for students to explore the challenges and opportunities of the college experience with the excitement and responsibility that comes from balancing challenging academics and enriching social activities—without the pressure of formal grades. Learn more about Brown Pre-College Programs!
  • Carleton College (Northfield, MN):
    The Summer Liberal Arts Institute (SLAI) is an immersive summer learning program for high school sophomores and juniors to explore liberal arts through a rigorous and experiential curriculum. The Institute offers interdisciplinary pre-college programs for a truly unique experience, such as the Storytelling Through Different Lenses program that explores the art of storytelling through the lenses of cognitive psychology, American studies and creative writing, and film music. Learn more about the Summer Liberal Arts Institute!
  • Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, PA):
    Carnegie Mellon’s Pre-College Programs mirrors the undergraduate experience, allowing rising high school juniors and seniors to explore their interests and passions while receiving instruction from acclaimed Carnegie Mellon faculty and staff. The programs provide a holistic and robust experience with both academic and personal development happening inside and outside of the classroom. Learn more about Carnegie Mellon Pre-College Programs!
  • College of William and Mary (Williamsburg, VA):
    The Pre-College Online Program allows high school students ages 13 and up to take pre-college courses designed and taught by renowned William & Mary faculty. The programs include psychology, venture capital, medicine, and law—all of which provide dynamic and flexible online learning and mentorship opportunities as well as a Certificate of Completion, which will be a mark of distinction on college applications. Learn more about the Pre-College Online Program!
  • Columbia University (New York, NY):
    The Columbia Pre-College programs are thoughtfully designed to help students succeed beyond college applications. With options online and on campus and during the summer or academic year, you can learn the way that works best for you. Summer programs are an excellent way to continue your momentum once the academic year is complete. On-campus sessions are available beginning in late June, with online sessions beginning in early July. Learn more about the Summer Program for High School Students!

    The Columbia Scholastic Press Association (CSPA) Summer Workshop provides training to the members of student media and their advisers. From writing and editing basics to leadership and guidance on issues facing student newsrooms today, CSPA is at the forefront of training the next generation of journalists. Learn more about the CSPA Workshop!
  • Cornell University Precollege Studies (Ithaca, NY):
    Cornell University’s Precollege Summer Programs are for motivated high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors. They provide a special opportunity to study with a world-renowned Ivy League institution that comprises 16 private and public colleges and schools in three-, six-, and nine-week sessions. You'll get to Experience the excitement of college study at a great Ivy League university while still in high school, take fascinating undergraduate courses with top Cornell faculty, build college study skills during rigorous classes, explore potential majors and careers, prep for college applications with one-on-one admissions counseling, and connect with a diverse group of high school students from around the world. Learn more about the Precollege program!
  • Emory University (Atlanta, GA):
    The Emory Pre-College Program is a summer academic program for high school students. It gives current sophomores and juniors an exciting glimpse of academic and/or residential life at a top-ranked national university with more than 100 courses available. Learn more about the Emory Pre-College Program!

    Candler’s Youth Theological Initiative (YTI) provides opportunities for youth to explore theology and its real-world implications in a space that welcomes students from all different walks of life. They offer a variety of programs for high school students, including workshops, travel seminars, online programs, and a residential summer academy with Candler students as mentors. Learn more about the YTI Summer Academy!
  • Georgetown University (Washington, DC):
    The Georgetown Hoya Summer High School Sessions offer the opportunity to explore your academic interests, meet classmates from around the world, and earn college credit—all while experiencing the excitement of college life. Students can join either the College Prep Program to develop the tools needed to gain a competitive edge on college admission in this five-week credit program; or the Summer College Program to earn official university credit, learn from world-renowned faculty, and engage in challenging coursework through undergraduate courses. Learn more about the High School Sessions!
  • Harvard University (Cambridge, MA):
    Harvard Summer School is an academically rigorous experience for learners of all ages. Students can choose to attend on campus, study online, join an international program, or take one of our 300+ courses for college credit. Join the summer experience that’s right for you knowing all are taught by Harvard faculty and visiting experts, offering a challenging yet rewarding pre-college experience. Learn more about Harvard Summer School!
  • Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, MD):
    Johns Hopkins Engineering Innovation Pre-College Programs has students collaborate with like-minded peers while experimenting, designing, creating, and learning to think like an engineer. In the past, high schoolers have improved the efficiency of wind energy and designed spaghetti bridges to hold upwards of 200 pounds. This research University blends collaborative and fun activities that will broaden student thinking about what’s possible with engineering. And to top it all off, students will earn college credit! Learn more about the John Hopkins Engineering Innovation Programs!
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge, MA):
    The MIT Women's Technology Program is a rigorous four-week summer experience that introduced rising high school seniors to engineering through hands-on classes, labs, and team-based projects. WTP is designed for students who have demonstrated ability in math and science in their high school classes, little to no background in Engineering, and few alternative opportunities to explore these fields. Learn more about the WTP!

    Minority Introduction to Engineering and Science provides transformative experiences to high school (and younger) students that bolster confidence and build an exciting foundation in STEM. MIT offers this opportunity to highly motivated students from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds in an effort to advance equity and access through hands-on programs that are free to participants and their families. Learn more about Minority Introduction to Engineering and Science (MITES)
  • New York University (New York, NY):
    The Tisch Summer High School Program is a tuition-based opportunity that culminates in four to six college credits. Open to high school sophomores and juniors from around the world, this program includes projects, professional training, and collaboration in classes based around the Tisch undergraduate curriculum. Students apply to one of these artistic tracks: Dance, Drama, Production & Design, Dramatic Writing, Filmmaking, Game Design, Photography & Imaging, or Recorded Music. Learn more about the Tisch Summer High School Program!
  • Northwestern University (Evanston, IL):
    The National High School Institute at Northwestern has brought outstanding students to the Evanston campus for immersive educational experiences since 1931. The goal of the Institute is to bring together gifted young people and superior teachers in an atmosphere of affection, knowledge, and trust. NHSI is not only the oldest but also largest university-based program of its kind and offers studies in Theatre Arts, Film & Video, Debate, and Playwriting. Learn more about the NHSI Cherubs (you gotta be there to know)!
  • Pomona College (Claremont, CA):
    The Pomona College Academy for Youth Success (PAYS) enrolls 90+ high school students and prepares for admission to highly selective colleges and universities. PAYS scholars engage in college-level courses, cultural events, workshops, projects, and field trips during the intensive, four-week, residential program—as well as throughout the academic year, for three consecutive years upon acceptance into our program. PAYS focuses support on rising sophomores through seniors who are underrepresented, first-generation, and/or low-income students. Learn more about PAYS!
  • Princeton University (Princeton, NJ):
    The Princeton Summer Journalism Program (PSJP) is housed in the Emma Bloomberg Center for Access and Opportunity at Princeton and is a free, year-long, one-of-a-kind opportunity for high school juniors from limited-income backgrounds. The college preparation and journalism program's mission is to diversify the fields that impact our democracy through the exploration of the important connection between journalism and critical sociopolitical events. Every May, up to 40 students are admitted from across the country and complete a rigorous summer intensive after junior year before continuing to work with a dedicated college adviser on college applications and selection through the end of senior year. Learn more about the Princeton Summer Journalism Program!
  • Stamps School of Art & Design—University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI):
    The Summer Engineering Exploration (SEE) Camp is a one-week, residential camp hosted by the Society of Women Engineers at the University of Michigan. This camp is for high school students entering grades 10 and 11, especially those with limited access to engineering resources. Campers will learn about various engineering disciplines and industries, as well as learn more about engineering at the University. Learn more about SEE Camp!

    The Michigan Math and Science Scholars (MMSS) program is designed to introduce high school students to current developments and research in the sciences and to encourage the next generation of researchers to retain a love of mathematics and science.Learn more about Michigan Math and Science Scholars!
  • Stanford University (Stanford, CA):
    The Stanford Summer Sessions provide high-achieving and ambitious students with a transformative educational experience at a world-class university. By combining challenging academics with a rich array of extracurricular programming, the University’s culture of innovation, academic excellence, and global responsibility is at your fingertips. Learn more about the Stanford Summer Sessions!

    The Stanford University Mathematics Camp (SUMaC) leads participants on a journey in advanced mathematics via lectures, guided research, and group problem-solving. Student participants explore current lines of mathematical research, the historical development of important areas of mathematics, and applications across scientific disciplines. Learn more about SUMaC!
  • The University of Chicago (Chicago, IL):
    The UChicago Summer Session brings together a global community of thinkers to discover diverse program opportunities designed to challenge and engage curious minds. High school students learn across a variety of subject areas and disciplines within a supportive community where they are given the chance to take intellectual risks, dive more deeply into subject matter, and discuss questions that go beyond the realm of their typical curriculum—all while experiencing a dynamic campus situated in scenic Hyde Park in Chicago! Learn more about the University of Chicago Summer Sessions!
  • Tufts University (Medford, MA):
    The Adventures in Veterinary Medicine High School Program is an engaging way for high school students to spend two weeks learning more about the veterinary profession. This exciting and intensive program allows students to explore veterinary medicine and specialty fields through informative lectures by Tufts faculty, staff, and vet students; get hands-on experience on the Cummings School Farm to learn proper animal handling and perform physical exams; and generally develop vet skills while still in high school. Tufts University Adventures in Veterinary Medicine
  • University of California, Los Angeles (Los Angeles, CA):
    The UCLA Sci|Art Lab + Studio Summer Institute combines the scientific method and artistic processes to imagine the impossible. This intensive two-week program sees students making connections between cutting-edge scientific research, popular culture, and contemporary arts. Through historical retrospectives, surveys of current art-science collaborations, and science fiction movie screenings, this program prepares students for interdisciplinary thinking before they begin their undergraduate education. Learn more about the UCLA Sci|Art Lab + Studio Summer Institute!
  • University of California, San Diego (La Jolla, CA):
    UC San Diego Academic Connections offers a pre-college summer residential experience at a top-five, internationally ranked public institution to a diverse population of high-achieving, college-bound high school students. Academically and socially enriching, the program aims to help teens start thinking about their future by exposing them to some of the most exciting fields of research and study. Students will work with committed instructors to examine the world around them as inquisitive scholars. Learn more about UC San Diego Academic Connections!
  • University of Notre Dame (Notre Dame, IN):
    Summer Scholars students spend two 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—both rigorous and rewarding—and classes are small for personal attention from faculty. Students collaborate on coursework outside class and enjoy the social facets of campus life, especially those unique to Notre Dame, for a true feel for the college experience. Learn more about Notre Dame Summer Scholars!
  • University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, PA):
    The Pre-College Programs are designed for academically curious high school students interested in the intellectual challenge of Ivy League academics. Students enroll in credit-bearing undergraduate courses from a wide array of disciplines taught by Penn faculty, staff, and visiting scholars and are in class alongside other Penn undergrads. Learn more about the UPenn Pre-College Program!

    The Wharton Global Youth Program utilizes the extensive opportunities of the Wharton and University of Pennsylvania academic community to educate and inspire pre-collegiate students to explore business practices, analyze the world’s complex challenges, and take the first steps in becoming leaders who will transform the global economy. Learn more about the Wharton Global Youth Program!

    The Summer Academy in Applied Science and Technology welcomes highly motivated and talented high school students to explore Engineering at the college level. The intensive, three-week programs combine theory with hands-on practical experience using cutting-edge technologies. Work with leading faculty while earning college credit, live on Penn’s historic campus, and connect with students from around the world. Learn more about SAAST!
  • University of Southern California (Los Angeles, CA):
    USC Summer Programs extends a tradition of excellence to outstanding high school students through diverse four-week summer courses. As Summer Trojans, students balance academic and campus life to prepare for college and earn credit. Courses are taught by USC faculty and experienced professionals of the academic community to create an engaging academic experience through lectures, hands-on workshops, labs, and guest speakers. Learn more about the USC Summer Programs!
  • Vanderbilt University (Nashville, TN):
    Vanderbilt Programs for Talented Youth is so dedicated to the education of the next generation they offer accelerated courses for advanced and high-achieving students from Kindergarten through 12th grade. PTY offers courses led by Vanderbilt faculty, graduate students, and experts who focus on exposure to a variety of content areas, efficacy in students' abilities as scholars, and in-depth expertise in learning. Learn more about the Vanderbilt Summer Academy!
  • Washington University in St. Louis (St. Louis, MO):
    WashunU's Summer Programs for High School Students are designed specifically to give students a real taste of on-campus life at WashU. While there, you'll be treated like a college student—taking undergraduate courses for college credit, living and studying alongside current undergraduates, and experiencing all WashU & the city of St. Louis have to offer. Washington University High School Summer Scholars Program
  • Yale University (New Haven, CT):
    Yale Summer Session seeks motivated high school seniors who wish to enroll in Yale College courses for credit. While enrolled in Yale courses, qualified students will share the classroom with current college students, do college-level work, and be held to the same set of standards. Learn more about Yale Summer Sessions!

    Yale Young Global Scholars began in 2001 as a small, pre-collegiate summer program called “Ivy Scholars" with the noble purpose of bringing together future leaders from around the world to gain perspective from one another and to use both empathy and innovation when addressing global challenges. Learn more about the Young Global Scholars Program!

Source: CollegeXpress

Want more information on how this list was compiled? Find out more about where our Lists & Rankings come from.

About This List

Want to preview your dream school and improve your admission credentials this summer? Check out these summer programs for high school students at some of the country's most selective colleges and universities. Because you can only binge-watch so much Netflix in one summer.

This list is compiled directly from our CollegeXpress school profiles, and the colleges have been chosen for offering highly sought–after high school experiences as well as a variety of programs dedicated to unique student needs.

Never heard of a pre-college summer program before? No worries! Check out our blog Common Questions About Pre-College Programs to learn more before exploring what specific opportunities colleges and universities have to offer.

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