18 Pre-College Summer Programs for Students

Summer is only four months away, and Pre-College Summer programs admission are gradually opening!
Pre-College Summer Programs

High School Pre-College Summer Programs are immersive, collaborative, and transformative summer experiences, because they allow high school students to experience college life at their dream school while exploring their passions in an immersive setting.   

Before going into all high school pre-college summer programs, we will introduce the purpose and outcome of Pre-College Summer Programs, and discuss how you can select the right program for your interests and passions.   

What Is Pre-College Summer Programs?

Pre-College Summer Programs are organized by colleges, offering high school students a traditional college experience by taking college classes, performing cutting-edge research, and connecting with students worldwide.   

‘Graduating’ from the program, students will receive hands-on learning from renowned professors in their field of expertise, explore suitable future careers and be more prepared for the college admission process. By attending a Pre-College Summer Program at your dream school, you will have a huge advantage in the college application process, because you will get to know the best aspects about your dream school as well as gain insights into the academic and social life at the school.   

For 2021, due to the continued COVID-19 pandemic, many Pre-College Summer Programs have transitioned into online learning and have altered their admission process. Students should check the program’s website for further information about admission requirements and selections.   

Below, we will provide information about the top 18 Pre-College Summer Programs by category and rank them based on:   

  • Location 
  • Length  
  • Cost  
  • Eligibility  
  • Number of students who attend  

All Program Costs are in US Dollars (USD). 

1. Business

Overall Ranking: 5/5  

Description: The University of Pennsylvania Wharton Summer High School Program is a highly selective summer program for high school students in Grades 9-11. Led by Wharton faculty members and instructional staff, the programs explore topics that align with Wharton’s research and teaching.   

For students with an interest in business and entrepreneurship, Wharton offers a variety of sub-programs, such as: entrepreneurship, finance, sports business, data sciences, business and technology innovations. 

  • Program Selectiveness: Very high 
  • Program Length: 2 to 6.5 weeks depending on the program 
  • Program Cost: Ranging from $2,000 – $7,500. For more details, HERE. The cost includes tuition, housing, most meals, extracurricular activities, and trips. 
  • Program Requirements: TOEFL, SAT/PSAT/ACT (optional), Essay/Short Answers, Transcript, Recommendation Letter, minimum 3.3 GPA  

Overall ranking: 4.5/5 

Description: Summer @ Stern through NYU Precollege offers rising high school juniors and seniors the opportunity to learn fundamental business concepts—including accounting, finance, economics, marketing, and psychology—from NYU Stern’s world-renowned faculty.    

  • Program Selectiveness: High 
  • Program Length: 6 weeks 
  • Program Cost: Ranging from $3,652 – $13,300 depending on how many credits total  
  • Program Requirements: TOEFL, SAT/PSAT/ACT (optional), Essay/Short Answers, Transcript

Overall ranking: 5/5 

Description: LaunchX brings together top aspiring high school entrepreneurs from around the world each summer, supporting you through the process of launching an actual startup. Schools don’t organize LaunchX, but LaunchX organizers collaborate with top-ranking schools like MIT, Northwestern University, the University of Pennsylvania for hosting locations.   

  • Program Selectiveness: Very High 
  • Program Length: 5 weeks 
  • Program Cost: $5,980 
  • Program Requirements: Transcript, Videos Introduction, Portfolio 

Overall Ranking: 4.5/5 

Description: Babson Summer Study is an experiential program (currently online-only due to the pandemic) for rising high school juniors and seniors to develop as entrepreneurial leaders. You will cultivate core career skills and a sharp entrepreneurial mindset for overcoming challenges in any organization, in any role—all while working with peers from around the globe and earning 4 college credits from the top-ranked college for entrepreneurship. 

  • Program Selectiveness: High 
  • Program Length: 3.5 weeks 
  • Program Cost: Ranging from $3,652 – $13,300 depending on how many credits total  
  • Program Requirements: TOEFL, Essay/Short Answers, Transcript, Recommendation Letters 

2. Science/Engineering

Overall Ranking: 4.5/5 

Description: Tufts Summer Research Experience allows students to learn about research methods, laboratory techniques, data collection, and analysis under active mentorship by Tufts’ world-class researchers and their teams. Full list of lab programs can be accessed HERE 

  • Program Selectiveness: High 
  • Program Length: 6 weeks 
  • Program Cost: $7,500  
  • Program Requirements: TOEFL, Personal Statement (experience and interest in research), Statement of Interest for the preferred lab, Transcript, Recommendation Letters

Overall ranking: 4/5 

Description: The Smith Summer Science and Engineering Program (SSEP) is designed for exceptional young women with strong science and engineering interests. You will engage in hands-on research with Smith faculty in life and physical sciences and engineering. The program accepts young women entering grades 9, 10, 11 and 12 in Fall 2021. 

  • Program Selectiveness: Medium 
  • Program Length: 2 weeks 
  • Program Cost: $3,750 (online), $4,285 (in-person)
  • Program Requirements: TOEFL, Essay/Short Answers, Transcript, Recommendation Letters

Overall ranking: 5/5 

Description: Explore Engineering Innovation (EEI) is an exciting, college-level, summer program for motivated high school students with an aptitude in math and science and an interest in (or curiosity about) engineering.  Students complete hands-on projects in a variety of engineering disciplines and learn to think and problem-solve like engineers.  

  • Program Selectiveness: High 
  • Program Length: 3 weeks 
  • Program Cost: $3,050 
  • Program Requirements: TOEFL, Essay/Short Answers, Transcript, Recommendation Letters

Overall ranking: 4.5 / 5  

Description: This four-week intensive summer research program for high school students is designed to expose students to a broad range of molecular, microbiological, and cellular biological techniques currently used in research laboratories. Within the session, students will be immersed in the research experience, giving them a taste of life at the bench. 

  • Program Selectiveness: High 
  • Program Length: 4 weeks 
  • Program Cost: $4,400 
  • Program Requirements: TOEFL, Essay/Short Answers, Transcript, Recommendation Letters

3. Math

Overall ranking: 5/5 

Description: SUMaC leads participants on a journey in advanced mathematics through lectures, guided research, and group problem-solving. In an online environment centered on mathematics, participants explore current lines of mathematical research, the historical development of important areas of mathematics, and applications across scientific disciplines. 

  • Program Selectiveness: Very High 
  • Program Length: 3 weeks 
  • Program Cost: $3,250 
  • Program Requirements: Essay/Short Answers, Transcript, Recommendation Letters

Overall ranking: 4.5/5 

Description: PROMYS is a six-week summer program at Boston University designed to encourage strongly motivated high school students to explore in-depth the creative world of mathematics in a supportive community of peers, counselors, research mathematicians, and visiting scientists. 

  • Program Selectiveness: High 
  • Program Length: 6 weeks 
  • Program Cost: $5,150 
  • Program Requirements: Essay/Short Answers, Transcript, Recommendation Letters

4. Arts

Overall ranking: 4.5/5 

Description: The Tisch Summer High School Program allows students to gain practice and knowledge in the artistic track they are enrolled in. Students apply to one of these artistic tracks: Dance, Drama, Production & Design, Dramatic Writing, Filmmaking, Game Design, Photography, and Imaging, or Recorded Music.  

The summer program is open to high school sophomores and juniors from around the world. Filmmaking is only open to high school juniors. 

  • Program Selectiveness: High 
  • Program Length: 4 weeks 
  • Program Cost: $12,000 
  • Program Requirements: varies for tracks

Overall ranking: 4/5 

Description: For six weeks, students will follow a college-level curriculum with day-long studio classes, critiques, and final projects. You’ll work alongside hundreds of other creative, highly motivated students from around the world who will challenge, inspire and encourage you to push your limits and produce your best work. You’ll live like a RISD student, access renowned resources and instructors, strengthen your portfolio, and forever change the way you approach art and design. 

  • Program Selectiveness: Medium/High 
  • Program Length: 6 weeks 
  • Program Cost: $9,000-$10,000 
  • Program Requirements: TOEFL, Essay/Short Answers, Transcript

Overall ranking: 4/5 

Description: Introduction to Architecture is a rigorous six-week program that introduces high school and college students to architectural ideas, principles, and methods of exploring architectural problems in a studio setting. 

  • Program Selectiveness: High 
  • Program Length: 6 weeks 
  • Program Cost: $1,575 per credit
  • Program Requirements: TOEFL, Essay/Short Answers, Transcript, Recommendation Letters

Overall ranking: 4/5 

Description: Exploring traditional tools and new technologies in a variety of media leads to the development of conceptual and technical skills–excellent preparation for applying to and succeeding in a competitive college-level art program. Students will be introduced to the spirit and substance of the CMU School of Art culture through challenging courses, critique, portfolio development, and energetic interaction with dedicated faculty and talented peers. 

  • Program Selectiveness: High 
  • Program Length: 4 weeks 
  • Program Cost: $3,800 
  • Program Requirements: TOEFL, Essay/Short Answers, Transcript, Recommendation Letters

5. Humanities/Social Science

Overall ranking: 4.5/5 

Description: Stanford Summer Humanities Institute allows rising high school juniors and seniors to dive deep into the humanities, exploring rich fields of inquiry that are rarely taught at the high school level. The Stanford Summer Humanities Institute’s goal is to bring together high school students who are particularly interested in the humanities so that they can experience what a humanities class and what humanities research is like at a top university. 

    • Program Selectiveness: Medium/High 
    • Program Length: 2 weeks 
    • Program Cost: $3,000 
    • Program Requirements: Essay/Short Answers, Work Sample, Transcript, Recommendation Letters

Overall ranking: 4/5 

Description: Yale Young Global Scholars (YYGS) is an academic enrichment program for outstanding high school students worldwide. Each summer, students from over 130 countries (including all 50 U.S. states) participate in one interdisciplinary, two-week session at Yale’s historic campus. Immerse yourself in a global learning community at Yale University. 

  • Program Selectiveness: Medium/High 
  • Program Length: 2 weeks 
  • Program Cost: $3,500 
  • Program Requirements: TOEFL, Essay/Short Answers, Work Sample, Transcript, Recommendation Letters

Overall ranking: 4/5 

Description: Participants select one curricular option for an in-depth examination of a specific subject area. Students refine their academic skills through a variety of activities—class discussions, debates, simulations, individual and group projects, and more. During the midday break and after class, students participate in extracurricular and co-curricular activities, including college preparedness programming, community outreach, and awareness activities, and special lectures. 

  • Program Selectiveness: Medium 
  • Program Length: 1 or 3 weeks 
  • Program Cost: $1,986-$4,500 
  • Program Requirements: TOEFL, Essay/Short Answers, Work Sample, Transcript, Recommendation Letters

Overall ranking: 4/5 

Description: Experience what it’s like to be a college student for seven transformative weeks. You’ll get a true taste of college life as you thrive in an academically rigorous environment and engage with fellow high school and college students in and out of the classroom. 

  • Program Selectiveness: Medium/High 
  • Program Length: 7 weeks 
  • Program Cost: $3,400–$6,800 
  • Program Requirements: TOEFL, Essay/Short Answers, Work Sample, Transcript, Recommendation Letters

For the full list of pre-college summer programs by category, please sign up with email below and we’ll send you a document containing all the information you need to know! 

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