Summer programs provide high school students with opportunities to explore their academic interests and spark new passions. They also allow high school students to get a taste of college life and meet other students from all over the world.
In this article, I'll provide a list of 129 colleges throughout the United States that host summer programs for high school students. Furthermore, I'll give you information about what pre-college summer programs are like and how you can select the right program for you.
What Is a Pre-College Summer Program?
A pre-college summer program offers high school students the opportunity to take classes at a college and experience college life during the summer. Most programs range from one to seven weeks long.
You can take programs that focus on a number of diverse subjects, such as writing, leadership, entrepreneurship, and engineering. Many summer programs offer both residential and commuter options. Students can stay in dorms with their peers or commute from home if they live close to campus.
Furthermore, not only are students able to take classes from college professors or visiting scholars, but they’re also able to listen to lectures from alumni and participate in social activities. Many selective private colleges, including Stanford, Harvard, and Columbia, offer pre-college summer programs for high school students.
Some pre-college summer programs are open enrollment (anyone can attend), while others require admission through an application process. The selective programs typically require teacher recommendations, application essays, and standardized test scores. Check a specific program's website for its admission requirements.
While these programs can be fun and educational, most of them are expensive. There are some free programs and many programs that offer financial aid for qualified students, but summer programs often cost thousands of dollars.
Pictures of Money/Flickr
How Did I Create This List of College Summer Programs for High School Students?
I relied on information from Summer Program Finder, which helps locate various summer programs, to create this list. I looked up the programs in each region of the country and listed the colleges that host programs. In addition to the listed programs, there are summer programs for high school students that are not housed at colleges.
Because programs are always evolving, note that there might be programs at colleges that aren't listed below. That said, you can always look at a specific college's website to see whether it offers summer programs for high school students.
List of Summer Programs
Below is an extensive list of summer programs at 129 US colleges, organized alphabetically by state.
|University of Alabama||Tuscaloosa, AL|
|Arizona State University||Tempe, AZ|
|California College of the Arts||Oakland, CA|
|UC Berkeley||Stanford, CA|
|UC Davis||Berkeley, CA|
|UCSB||Los Angeles, CA|
|UCSD||Santa Barbara, CA|
|USC||La Jolla, CA|
|US Air Force Academy||Colorado Springs, CO|
|Johnson & Wales||Denver, CO|
|Yale University||New Haven, CT|
|Delaware State University||Dover, DE|
District of Columbia
|American University||Washington, DC|
|The Catholic University of America||Washington, DC|
|George Washington University||Washington, DC|
|Georgetown University||Washington, DC|
|Johnson & Wales||North Miami, FL|
|University of Miami||Coral Gables, FL|
|Emory University||Atlanta, GA|
|Georgia Tech||Atlanta, GA|
|Savannah College of Art and Design||Savannah, GA|
|Northwestern University||Evanston, IL|
|University of Chicago||Chicago, IL|
|University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign||Champaign, IL|
|Indiana University Bloomington||Bloomington, IN|
|Purdue University||West Lafayette, IN|
|Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology||Terre Haute, IN|
|University of Notre Dame||South Bend, IN|
|Eastern Kentucky University||Richmond, KY|
|Colby College||Waterville, ME|
|University of New England||Biddeford, ME|
|Johns Hopkins University||Baltimore, MD|
|Maryland Institute College of Art||Baltimore, MD|
|University of Maryland||College Park, MD|
|US Naval Academy||Annapolis, MD|
|Babson College||Babson Park, MA|
|Bentley University||Waltham, MA|
|Berklee College of Music||Boston, MA|
|Boston University||Boston, MA|
|Brandeis University||Waltham, MA|
|Emerson College||Boston, MA|
|Hampshire College||Amherst, MA|
|Harvard University||Cambridge, MA|
|Smith College||Northampton, MA|
|Springfield College||Springfield, MA|
|Tufts University||Medford, MA|
|Worcester Polytechnic Institute||Worcester, MA|
|Michigan State University||East Lansing, MI|
|University of Michigan||Ann Arbor, MI|
|Carleton College||Northfield, MN|
|Washington University in St. Louis||St. Louis, MO|
|Dartmouth College||Hanover, NH|
|Caldwell University||Caldwell, NJ|
|Centenary University||Parsippany, NJ|
|The College of New Jersey||Ewing Township, NJ|
|Drew University||Madison, NJ|
|Fairleigh Dickinson University||Teaneck, NJ|
|Monmouth University||West Long Branch, NJ|
|Princeton University||Princeton, NJ|
|Ramapo College||Mahwah, NJ|
|Rider University||Lawrence Township, NJ|
|Rowan University||Glassboro, NJ|
|Rutgers University||New Brunswick, NJ|
|Stevens Institute of Technology||Hoboken, NJ|
|Adelphi University||Garden City, NY|
|Alfred University||Alfred, NY|
|Barnard College||New York, NY|
|CCNY||New York, NY|
|Columbia University||New York, NY|
|Cornell University||Ithaca, NY|
|Ithaca College||Ithaca, NY|
|Marist College||Poughkeepsie, NY|
|Mercy College||Dobbs Ferry, NY|
|The New School||New York, NY|
|NYU||New York, NY|
|NYIT||New York, NY|
|Pratt Institute||Brooklyn, NY|
|Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute||Troy, NY|
|Rochester Institute of Technology||Rochester, NY|
|The Rockefeller University||New York, NY|
|Sarah Lawrence College||Bronxville, NY|
|School of Visual Arts||New York, NY|
|Skidmore College||Saratoga Springs, NY|
|Stony Brook University||Stony Brook, NY|
|SUNY Fashion Institute of Technology||New York, NY|
|SUNY Oneonta||Oneonta, NY|
|Syracuse University||Syracuse, NY|
|Union College||Schenectady, NY|
|University at Buffalo||Buffalo, NY|
|University of Rochester||Rochester, NY|
|US Military Academy||West Point, NY|
|Vassar College||Poughkeepsie, NY|
|Duke University||Durham, NC|
|University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill||Chapel Hill, NC|
|University of North Carolina-Greensboro||Greensboro, NC|
|Wake Forest University||Winston-Salem, NC|
|Bowling Green State University||Bowling Green, OH|
|Columbus College of Art and Design||Columbus, OH|
|The Ohio State University||Columbus, OH|
|Lewis & Clark College||Portland, OR|
|Bucknell University||Lewisburg, PA|
|Carnegie Mellon University||Pittsburgh, PA|
|Drexel University||Philadelphia, PA|
|Gettysburg College||Gettysburg, PA|
|Lehigh University||Bethlehem, PA|
|Penn State Berks||Reading, PA|
|Penn State New Kensington||New Kensington, PA|
|Penn State University Park||State College, PA|
|Penn State York||York, PA|
|Susquehanna University||Selinsgrove, PA|
|University of Pennsylvania||Philadelphia, PA|
|Brown University||Providence, RI|
|Clemson University||Clemson, SC|
|South Dakota School of Mines & Technology||Rapid City, SD|
|Sewanee: The University of the South||Sewanee, TN|
|Vanderbilt University||Nashville, TN|
|Texas Tech University||Lubbock, TX|
|University of Houston||Houston, TX|
|University of Texas at Austin||Austin, TX|
|Middlebury College||Middlebury, VT|
|Hollins University||Roanoke, VA|
|University of Virginia||Charlottesville, VA|
|Virginia Commonwealth University||Richmond, VA|
|Virginia Tech||Blacksburg, VA|
|William & Mary||Williamsburg, VA|
|University of Washington||Seattle, WA|
|University of Wisconsin-Madison||Madison, WI|
Should You Attend a College Summer Program?
Really, it’s up to you whether or not you decide to attend a summer program. You can check out our post on whether or not you should do a pre-college summer program for a detailed explanation of the pros and cons.
On the plus side, summer programs can provide you with a good opportunity to explore your academic interests or take a class in a subject that’s not offered at your school. Also, you can make friends, experience college life, and get a better idea of whether or not you want to attend a specific school.
On the negative side, most college summer programs for high school students are expensive, and they might not provide much help getting into college (unless it’s a highly selective program that’s offered at no or minimal cost). Do your research, and if a program is something you can afford and would enjoy, then you should go for it. It might stimulate your academic and personal growth, and can help you clarify your future goals.
If you know for sure that you want to do a pre-college summer program, there are a number of factors to consider to help you select the right program for you.
The location of the program is an extremely important consideration for many students. If you have a dream school or a college you're strongly considering, you might want to do a program on that school's campus to get a better feel for the college and to demonstrate your interest in it. You might also want to save money by going to a program close to home, or perhaps you'd like to be able to spend a few weeks living in a big city like New York or Boston.
Additionally, be sure to select a program that's in line with your interests. If you have a passion for creative writing, then you can cultivate that passion in a writing program. If you're fascinated by business, you can hone your business skills in an entrepreneurship program.
Finally, you might need to consider the cost and length of the program. If you have a limited budget, you'll likely have to focus your search on cheaper programs that you can actually afford. If you have other obligations or activities you're hoping to do during the summer, you might want to choose a shorter program.
You can use this list and the Summer Program Finder to identify programs that match what you're looking for. Good luck!
Do you want to become a doctor? Maybe you'll be interested in doing a medical summer program.
If you want to explore your interests during the summer without leaving home or paying to attend a summer program, perhaps you can get an internship.
Are you interested in other ideas for summer activities? Learn more about what you can do during the summer.
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Justin has extensive experience teaching SAT prep and guiding high school students through the college admissions and selection process. He is firmly committed to improving equity in education and helping students to reach their educational goals. Justin received an athletic scholarship for gymnastics at Stanford University and graduated with a BA in American Studies.