There is no better way for college-bound students to get a feel for the future than participating in summer pre-college programs. Students gain valuable work experience, build relationships and boost their admissions chances through these opportunities.
Not every program in the U.S. offers sufficient financial aid for under-resourced students, but we have compiled a list of programs that fix that problem. Each entry includes a link to the program’s website, as well as information on program dates, application deadlines, and eligibility requirements.
If you know of any programs that we’ve missed, please let us know in the comments below.
Programs are listed alphabetically
New York City, N.Y.
Application Deadline: Rolling admissions
Program Dates: June 25-July 21
Description: Students select two courses, a morning class and an afternoon class to be attended Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. On Wednesdays, students participate in our Beyond The Gates series. Areas of study include acting, literature, political science and journalism, among others. See the website for more details.
Financial Aid: Barnard offers a number of partial scholarship awards, as well as one full scholarship for the program. All scholarships are based on financial need. Find out more and apply here.
Bard College at Simon’s Rock – Great Barrington, Mass.
Deadline: Rolling admissions beginning in January until the program is full.
Date: July 9-July 29
Description: Students in grades 9-11 have the opportunity to build their writing skills in the Young Writers Workshop at Bard College at Simon’s Rock. This three-week program is designed to build confidence and develop greater fluency in writing in areas ranging from fiction to nonfiction. The program consists of small groups of students meeting in three, 90-minute sessions each day. Portfolio progress checks occur each week. Students live on campus in the dorms along with the staff and are able to experience campus life.
Financial Aid: Financial aid and certain scholarships varying from $12,000-$20,000 are available to assist students in attending the program. Find information on financial aid and scholarship options here.
George Washington University, Washington, D.C.
Deadline: March 1
Date: July 2-July 21
Description: This summer scholarship program is for motivated high school juniors going into their senior year. The program cultivates leadership potential in students who want to shape the political, economic and social issues that affect Hispanic and Latin communities.
Four Illinois Locations:
Western Illinois University
Application Deadline: May 12
Program Dates: July 11-14
Description: Camp College is a free opportunity for rising seniors to learn about aspects of a college search and application process from college and high school counselors. Students live on a college campus while attending sessions on the college-application process. Students will be provided food and lodging.
Feb. 13 – First-round deadline for general and scholarship applicants and final deadline for international applicants
March 27 – Second-round deadline for general and scholarship applicants (this is the last day to apply for a scholarship for summer 2017)
May 16, 2017 – Third-round deadline and all applications close
Program Dates: Varies, refer to the college’s website (link is above)
Liberal arts – Introduces black students to the strengths of a liberal arts education through a variety of courses in science, art, social sciences, and technology.
Quantitative reasoning institute – College-level experience in how social scientists think about the world. Students measure important variables of study, prepare research and present their findings.
Science institute – Learn how different areas of science link together. Students have the opportunity to complete a guided research project and earn college credit.
Writing program – High school juniors with strong reading and writing abilities, the program teaches students how to compose academic papers similar to those they will write in college
Financial Aid: Financial Aid is available for these programs. Each program has different qualifications for financial aid and scholarships, so check Carleton’s website for details. The liberal arts program is free for all accepted applicants.
Application Deadline: April 1
Program Dates: July 1-Aug. 11
Description: These pre-college programs will show you what life at Carnegie Mellon is all about — from the classroom to what’s happening on weekends. You’ll meet people from all over the world, be inspired by our world-renowned faculty, and have the opportunity to explore the city of Pittsburgh.
Financial Aid: Some financial and merit-based scholarships are available to select students who have been accepted into the art and design program. They must complete the scholarship application and submit a digital portfolio by April 1.
Application Deadline: The deadline for all programs is March 3, and the deadline for all supporting documents is March 15.
Program Dates: Registration and opening day are Saturday, July 1. The program closes on Saturday, Aug. 12.
Description: This program is for rising high school seniors. Participants will engage in hands-on learning and research via science and engineering projects, which will help them build the academic and personal skills required for admission to competitive colleges and universities.
Financial Aid: There will be no tuition, housing or dining fees for students selected to attend the Summer Academy for Math and Science.
Fort Collins, Colo.
Application Deadline: TBA 2017
Program Dates: July 31-Aug. 5
Description: The Native Education Forum is a five-day summer program for rising high school juniors and seniors. Students will gain university classroom experience, earn one academic credit, research issues critical to Native American/indigenous communities and get valuable assistance from professionals in the university application process. While on campus, students will have the chance to interact with university faculty, staff and currently enrolled students as they discuss and evaluate important issues that affect indigenous communities.
Fort Collins, Colo.
Application Deadline: March 3
Program Dates: June 13-17
Description: The purpose of the Black Issues Forum is to provide students — completing their junior year of high school — a vehicle to demonstrate their written and oral communication skills and to enhance their leadership potential. Participants will have the opportunity to interact with university faculty, staff and currently enrolled students as they discuss and evaluate the important issues of today that affect the black community at the local, state, national and/or global level.
Application Deadline: April 7 for financial aid, May 5 for summer college program
|Three-week, session 1||June 24-July 15|
|Three-week, session 2||July 16-Aug. 5|
|Six-week programs||June 24-Aug. 8|
Description: These pre-college programs are for talented high-school students. Experience the excitement of college life, take college courses with renowned faculty, and enjoy an “unforgettable, life-changing summer.”
Financial Aid: Summer College offers a limited number of partial scholarships that are awarded based on a family’s demonstrated financial need, a student’s academic achievement and promise and availability of funds.
Application Deadline: March 31
Program Dates: July 2-22
Description: July experience, which takes place July 2-22, is a powerful pre-college summer academic experience for rising high school juniors and seniors who are highly motivated, academically oriented and self-disciplined. It takes place on the campus of Davidson College.
Financial Aid: Scholarships might be available to students with financial need. This financial aid is awarded on the basis of need and academic achievement. Financial aid requests should be submitted at the time of your application and are due March 31.
Application Deadline: TBA March 2017
Program Dates: TBA 2017
Description: The academy is a two-week program for students between their junior and senior years in high school who are considering careers in areas such as mathematics and natural and physical science. In classes and seminars, you’ll sharpen your math skills, explore important topics in science and master a variety of computer programs.
Financial Aid: Scholarships are available
Application Deadline: Rolling admissions
Session A (noncredit): June 18-July 1
Session B (noncredit): July 2-July 15
Session C (noncredit): July 16-July 29
Infectious Diseases Institute (noncredit): June 18-July 8
Session 1 (credit): May 15-June 23
Session 2 (credit): June 26-Aug. 4
Description: The program gives college-bound rising juniors and rising seniors a glimpse of academic and residential life. High-school students can explore topics with professors who are the leading experts in their fields, enroll in classes with college students and earn transferable college credit.
Financial Aid and Scholarships: Awards range between $500 and $1000, depending upon need and academic merit. Awards will not cover the full program cost. Financial aid deadline is April 15.
Grand Rapids, Mich.
Application Deadlines: March 3
Program Dates: June 16-July 13
Description: High school juniors and seniors can enroll in a 3-4 credit college course in areas such as English, history, biology or psychology. Social outings, such as a beach trip to Lake Michigan, also is available during this program, which include a talent night, group devotions, and use of Calvin’s state-of-the-art fitness facilities.
Financial Aid and Scholarships: A $4,200 scholarship applied to full cost of attending; some scholarships for the $500 fee
Application Deadline: March 2
- Atlanta, Ga.: July 10-July 28
- Cambridge, Mass.: July 10-July 28
- Chicago, Ill.: July 17-Aug. 4
- Los Angeles, Calif.: July 10-July 28
- Mountain View, Calif: July 10-July 28
- New York City, N.Y.: July 17-Aug. 4
- Pittsburgh, Pa.: July 17-Aug. 4
- Seattle, Wash.: July 10-July 28
Description: Kick off your college studies in computer science with a summer program at Google. Google’s seventh annual Computer Science Summer Institute (CSSI) is a three-week introduction to computer science for graduating high school seniors with a passion for technology — especially students from historically underrepresented groups in the field. Students participate in an intensive, interactive and hands-on program that seeks to inspire the tech leaders and innovators of tomorrow by supporting the study of computer science, software engineering and other closely related subjects.
At CSSI, students study programming fundamentals with Google engineers, get an inside look at some of Google’s most exciting, emerging technologies, and design and develop their own application with fellow participants.
Attendees will enjoy a unique residential experience in dorm-style housing at local universities.
Financial Aid and Scholarships: CSSI is an all-expenses-paid program. Google will provide housing, meals and transportation for invited students.
For financial aid: Feb. 1
Regular deadline: TBA
- SESSION I: June 25-July 7
- SESSION II: July 9-21
- SESSION III: July 23-Aug. 4
Description: Join other intellectually curious high school students on campus at Harvard, where you can explore topics as wide ranging as American law, philosophy, computer programming and public speaking. During your two weeks at Harvard, you attend class for three hours a day and participate in college readiness workshops or team-building events. In the evenings, you eat in the dining hall, finish homework in your dorm and attend social activities.
Financial Aid: Scholarships are available to students with outstanding academic records who demonstrate financial need. Financial aid application deadline is Feb. 1.
Application Deadline: May 26
Program Dates: June 5-9
Description: Rising juniors and seniors from historically underrepresented ethnic groups can participate in a weeklong program designed to give students hands-on experience seeing what holding an engineering job is like.
Financial Aid: $250 registration fee includes room and board, supplies and all activities.
Application Deadline: Feb. 1
Program Dates: TBA 2017
Description: Since 1975, this six-week residential program has leveraged a demanding academic atmosphere to help students develop the skills and confidence needed for success in technical fields. Along with calculus, physics, natural science and humanities courses, students take a hands-on elective course and participate in lab tours and social events. MITES serves up to 80 student per year.
Financial Aid: This program is free for all accepted students
Application Deadline: Students must submit their applications by March 24.
Program Dates: Vary according to classes selected
Description: 25 high school juniors are selected from Chicago Public Schools every summer to enroll in summer classes and earn college credit. Courses vary from three to eight weeks in length.
Financial Aid: Tuition and textbooks are free.
Application Deadline: Students must submit their applications by April 15
Program Dates: The program begins on Sunday, June 17 and end dates vary depending on the courses selected.
Description: This program allows high school sophomores and juniors to enroll in undergraduate courses on campus for college credit or enroll in a specialized two-week seminar.
Financial Aid: A limited number of scholarships are available for high school juniors who demonstrate financial need and hold strong academic and extracurricular achievement. Applications are due March 1.
New York, N.Y.
Application Deadlines: Vary by discipline. See website for details, but most priority deadlines are between March 18 and April 18, and most final deadlines are between April 1 and May 15
Program Dates: Vary by discipline
Description: Every summer, high school to graduate students participate in NYU’s varied and exciting music and performing arts programs. Their programs vary from several instrumental performance programs including brass, Broadway percussion, improvisational jazz and piano, to vocal performance, music business and music technology.
Financial Aid: NYU offers several performance- and need-based scholarships to accepted applicants. Please see their website for more details.
University Park, Pa.
Application Deadline: May 1
Program Dates: July 16-22
Description: The Penn State Honors Music Institute is an intensive, weeklong immersion in the art of music making for talented high school students. As one of the most exciting summer music camps of 2017, specific areas of study include chamber choir, jazz ensemble, piano and wind ensemble. Students entering ninth grade in the fall of 2017 through students who will graduate in the spring of 2017 are eligible to audition.
Financial Aid: Partial scholarships are available to qualified students upon acceptance to the institute. Scholarship Information will be sent with registration materials to accepted participants.
Application Deadline: Feb. 24
Program Dates: Aug. 4-14
Description: About 40 high school juniors from low-income backgrounds will have the opportunity to participate in a 10-day seminar on journalism at Princeton’s campus. Reporters teach students and are from major publications such as the Washington Post and The New York Times. Students must have a minimum unweighted 3.5 GPA, and all expenses, including travel, are included.
Application Deadline: March 24
Program Dates: July 9-22
Description: PREFACE is a two-week residential summer experience at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute for talented high school sophomores and juniors who will enter the 11th or 12th grade in the fall of 2017. It is open to students from groups that have been historically and traditionally underrepresented or under served in science, engineering and technological fields and are interested in pursuing careers in engineering and technological professions.
The PREFACE Selection Committee reviews each application and makes its recommendation to the project director. Selection is based on high school academic performance, standardized test scores, quality of essay and recommendations. Since all programs are taught in English, students must have a strong understanding of the English language.
Financial Aid: PREFACE subsidizes each participant’s round-trip transportation to Rensselaer, tuition, fees (including laundry) and room and board for the two-week session
Application Deadline: May 15
Program Date: July 9-Aug. 5
Description: A four-week, residential program for exceptional young women with strong interests in science, engineering and medicine. Central to the program is a learning environment that is rich in role models, hands-on, cooperative, investigative and challenging — where girls get all of the faculty’s attention as well as the opportunities and encouragement to achieve their best.
Financial Aid: Available to students with demonstrated need. Financial Aid deadline is March 1.
Application Deadline: March 15
Program Dates: Orientation June 17-18; classes meet June 19- July 7.
Description: Students selected for this program can participate in one of two summer sessions: Awakening Into Consciousness and Contagion: Infectious Agents and Emerging Diseases. Applicants who share the program’s commitment to the Hispanic and Latino communities are invited to apply.
Financial Aid: Program participants receive a full scholarship, which includes course tuition, housing and dining, Student Life Fee, and the cost of travel to and from campus.
Application Deadline: March 15
Program Dates: Depends on summer courses selected
Description: Rising juniors and seniors from Chicago public high schools with a minimum 3.6 GPA are eligible for this program. Students are given the opportunity to take courses at the university for college credit.
Application Deadline: April 3
Program Dates: June 17-July 28
Description: The UW-Madison Engineering Summer Program helps students explore career options, prepare for the rigors of college and develop strong skills in math and science. Best of all, students will experience first-hand what it is like to be an engineering student at UW-Madison.
Financial Aid: The program is completely sponsored. There are no costs to the students once they arrive on campus. Students and families are required to finance and make travel arrangements to and from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.