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153 Pre-College Summer Programs for High School Students


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 over 150 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.

In addition, 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.



If you want to go to one of the more expensive programs, you might want to grow a money tree.


How Did I Create This List of College Summer Programs for High School Students?

To make the following list of summer programs for high school students, I relied on information from US News and College Consensus, both of which help locate various summer programs. I also 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 152 US colleges, organized alphabetically by state.



School Location
Auburn University Auburn, AL
Tuskegee University Tuskegee, AL
University of Alabama Tuscaloosa, AL




School Location
Arizona State University Tempe, AZ
University of Arizona Tuscon, AZ





School Location
California College of the Arts Oakland, CA
Loyola Marymount University Los Angeles, CA
California State University Monterey Bay Monterey, CA
Otis College of Art and Design Los Angeles, CA
Stanford University Stanford, CA
UC Berkeley Berkeley, CA
UC Davis Davis, CA
UCLA Los Angeles, CA
UCSB Santa Barbara, CA
UCSD La Jolla, CA
USC Los Angeles, CA
University of the Pacific Stockton, CA




School Location
Colorado College Colorado Springs, CO
UC Boulder Boulder, CO
UC Colorado Springs Colorado Springs, CO
UC Denver Denver, CO
US Air Force Academy Colorado Springs, CO




School Location
Connecticut College  New London, CT
Eastern Connecticut State University Windham, CT
University of Connecticut Storrs, CT
University of New Haven West Haven, CT
US Coast Guard Academy New London, CT
Yale University New Haven, CT




School Location
Delaware State University Dover, DE
University of Delaware Newark, DE



District of Columbia

School Location
American University Washington, DC
The Catholic University of America Washington, DC
The George Washington University Washington, DC
Georgetown University Washington, DC




School Location
Florida International University Miami, FL
Florida State University Tallahassee, FL
University of Florida Gainesville, FL
University of Miami Coral Gables, FL
University of South Florida Tampa, FL




School Location
Emory University Atlanta, GA
Georgia Tech Atlanta, GA
Savannah College of Art and Design Savannah, GA
Spelman College Atlanta, GA
University of Georgia Athens, GA




School Location
Illinois Institute of Technology Chicago, IL
Northwestern University Evanston, IL
University of Chicago Chicago, IL
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Champaign, IL




School Location
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




School Location
University of Iowa Iowa City, IA




School Location
Kentucky State University Frankfort, KY
University of Louisville Louisville, KY
Western Kentucky University Bowling Green, KY




School Location
Louisiana State University Baton Rouge, LA
University of Louisiana—Lafayette Lafayette, LA
Xavier University of Louisiana New Orleans, LA




School Location
Colby College Waterville, ME
Maine College of Art & Design Portland, ME
University of Maine Orono, ME




School Location
Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, MD
Maryland Institute College of Art Baltimore, MD
St John's College—Annapolis Annapolis, MD
University of Maryland College Park, MD
US Naval Academy Annapolis, MD






School Location
Babson College Babson Park, MA
Bentley University Waltham, MA
Berklee College of Music Boston, MA
Boston University Boston, MA
Brandeis University Waltham, MA
Dean College Franklin, MA
Emerson College Boston, MA
Hampshire College Amherst, MA
Harvard University Cambridge, MA
MIT Cambridge, MA
Smith College Northampton, MA
Springfield College Springfield, MA
Tufts University Medford, MA
University of Massachusetts--Amherst Amherst, MA
Worcester Polytechnic Institute Worcester, MA




School Location
Michigan State University East Lansing, MI
Michigan Tech Houghton, MI
University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI




School Location
Carleton College Northfield, MN
Minneapolis College of Art and Design Minneapolis, MN




School Location
Maryville University St. Louis, MO
Saint Louis University St. Louis, MO
University of Missouri Columbia, MO
Washington University in St. Louis St. Louis, MO



New Hampshire

School Location
Dartmouth College Hanover, NH
University of New Hampshire Durham NH



New Jersey

School Location
Centenary University Parsippany, NJ
Drew University Madison, NJ
Fairleigh Dickinson University Teaneck, NJ
Monmouth University West Long Branch, NJ
Princeton University Princeton, NJ
Rider University Lawrence Township, NJ
Rowan University Glassboro, NJ
Rutgers University New Brunswick, NJ
Stevens Institute of Technology Hoboken, NJ



New Mexico

School Location
New Mexico Tech Socorro, NM
St. John's College—Santa Fe Santa Fe, NM
University of New Mexico Albuquerque, NM



New York

School Location
Adelphi University Garden City, NY
Alfred University Alfred, NY
Barnard College New York, NY
City College of New York New York, NY
Columbia University New York, NY
Cornell University Ithaca, NY
Hofstra University Hempstead, NY
Ithaca College Ithaca, NY
Marist College Poughkeepsie, NY
Mercy College Dobbs Ferry, NY
New York Institute of Technology New York, NY
NYU New York, NY
Parsons The New School of Design 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) West Point, NY
Vassar College Poughkeepsie, NY



North Carolina

School Location
Duke University Durham, NC
NC State University Raleigh, NC
UNC Asheville Asheville, NC
UNC Charlotte Charlotte, NC
UNC Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, NC
UNC Greensboro Greensboro, NC
Wake Forest University Winston-Salem, NC




School Location
Bowling Green State University Bowling Green, OH
Columbus College of Art and Design Columbus, OH
The Ohio State University (not offered Summer 2024) Columbus, OH




School Location
The University of Oklahoma Norman, OK
Oklahoma State University Stillwater, OK




School Location
Lewis & Clark College Portland, OR






School Location
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
University of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh, PA



Rhode Island

School Location
Brown University Providence, RI
Bryant University Smithfield, RI
Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) Providence, RI



South Carolina

School Location
Clemson University Clemson, SC



South Dakota

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




School Location
Sewanee: The University of the South Sewanee, TN
Vanderbilt University Nashville, TN




School Location
Rice University Houston, TX
Texas Tech University Lubbock, TX
University of Houston Houston, TX
UT Austin Austin, TX




School Location
Landmark College Putney, VT




School Location
College of William & Mary Williamsburg, VA
Hollins University Roanoke, VA
University of Virginia Charlottesville, VA
Virginia Commonwealth University Richmond, VA
Virginia Tech Blacksburg, VA




School Location
University of Washington Seattle, WA




School Location
Beloit College Beloit, WI
University of Wisconsin-Madison Madison, WI




School Location
University of Wyoming Laramie, WY



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 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 high school. Also, you can make friends, experience a taste of 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 with 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 likely enjoy, 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, such as 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!




What's Next?

Thinking of becoming 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.



Have friends who also need help with test prep? Share this article!

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Justin Berkman
About the Author

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.

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