Summer programs provide high school students with opportunities to explore their academic interests and spark new passions. Also, they 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 colleges throughout the United States that host summer programs for high school students. Furthermore, I'll give information about what pre-college summer programs are like and let you know how to 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 1-7 weeks.
You can take programs that focus on such diverse subjects as writing, leadership, entrepreneurship, and engineering. Many summer programs offer both a residential and commuter option. Students can stay in dorms with their peers, or they can commute from home if they live close to the college.
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) and 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 the list. I looked up the programs in each region of the country and listed the colleges that host programs by state.
In addition to the listed programs, there are also summer programs for high school students that are not housed at colleges. Additionally, especially because programs are evolving, there may be programs at colleges that aren't listed. You can look at a specific college's website to see if the college offers summer programs for high school students.
Also, many colleges allow high schoolers to take classes during the summer term. Again, if you're interested in a certain college, you can look on its website to find available summer opportunities for high school students.
List of Summer Programs
|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|
|Air Force Academy||Colorado Springs, CO|
|Johnson & Wales||Denver, CO|
|US Coast Guard Academy||New London, CT|
|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|
|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 College||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|
|Alfred University||Alfred, NY|
|Barnard College||New York, NY|
|CCNY||New York, NY|
|Columbia University||New York, NY|
|Cornell University||Ithaca, NY|
|Fashion Institute of Technology||New York, NY|
|Ithaca College||Ithaca, NY|
|Marist College||Poughkeepsie, NY|
|Mercy College||Dobbs Ferry, NY|
|NYU||New York, NY|
|NYIT||New York, NY|
|Parsons 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|
|Skidmore College||Saratoga Springs, NY|
|Stony Brook University||Stony Brook, NY|
|SUNY Oneonta||Oneonta, NY|
|Syracuse University||Syracuse, NY|
|Union College||Schenectady, 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|
|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 Erie||Erie, 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|
|Johnson & Wales||Providence, RI|
|Clemson University||Clemson, SC|
|South Dakota School of Mines & Technology||Rapid City, SD|
|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. 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 whether or not you’d want to attend a specific school.
On the negative side, most college summer programs for high school students are expensive, and they may 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 may stimulate your academic and personal growth, and it can help you determine your future goals.
If you know 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 may want to do a program on that school's campus to get a better feel for the college and demonstrate your interest in that school. Also, you may want to save money by going to a program close to home. Or you may want to be able to spend a few weeks living in a 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 may need to consider the cost and length of the program. If you have a limited budget, you may have to focus your search on cheaper programs that you'll be able to afford. If you have other obligations or activities you're hoping to do during the summer, you may 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.
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.