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Top 10 Pre-College Summer Programs for High School Students

5 minute read

Summer is an excellent time for high school students to explore their interests, gain new skills, and get a taste of college life. Pre-college summer programs offer a wide range of opportunities, from academic enrichment to creative exploration. Remember to choose a summer program that aligns with your interests and goals. Pre-college summer programs can be a transformative experience that sets you on the path to a successful and fulfilling future.

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1. Stanford University Pre-Collegiate Studies

Location: Stanford, California

Cost: Varies by program

Dates: Multiple sessions throughout the summer

Stanford University's Pre-Collegiate Studies program provides high school students with a unique opportunity to engage in rigorous academic coursework in a collegiate setting. Participants can explore a wide range of subjects, from computer science to the humanities, and experience campus life in the heart of Silicon Valley. Beyond academics, students have access to a variety of extracurricular activities and events that foster personal growth, critical thinking, and a deeper understanding of their fields of interest.

2. Harvard Pre-College Program

Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts

Cost: Approximately $5,000 for a seven-week session

Harvard's Pre-College Program is a highly competitive and intellectually stimulating experience for high school students. The Harvard summer school program allows participants to take college-level courses taught by Harvard faculty, living on or near the historic campus. Students not only delve into their chosen areas of study but also engage in a vibrant community of fellow scholars, gaining a taste of the world-renowned educational environment that is Harvard University during the summer term.

3. Yale Young Global Scholars

Location: New Haven, Connecticut

Cost: Approximately $6,250 for a two-week session

Dates: Multiple sessions throughout the summer

The Yale Young Global Scholars program is designed to nurture the next generation of leaders and critical thinkers. Participants explore international relations, global issues, and leadership. This summer leaders experience is not just about academic growth but also offers a unique opportunity to preview life on Yale's beautiful and historic campus while interacting with a diverse group of students from around the world.

4. Brown University Pre-College Programs

Location: Providence, Rhode Island

Cost: Varies by program

Dates: Multiple sessions throughout the summer

Brown University's Pre-College Programs offer a diverse range of academic courses, making it an ideal choice for any high school students looking to explore their passions. Whether you're interested in engineering, entrepreneurship, or environmental studies, Brown provides a supportive environment to immerse yourself in your chosen field. Participants are encouraged to challenge themselves academically, connect with like-minded peers, and experience the vibrant culture of Providence.

5. NYU Precollege Program

Location: New York City, New York

Cost: Approximately $7,000 for a six-week session

The NYU Precollege Program provides high school students with a unique opportunity to experience college life in one of the world's most dynamic cities, New York. Beyond the classroom, students can explore a rich cultural tapestry, gain exposure to various fields of study, and forge connections with professors and fellow students. This program empowers participants to grow academically and personally, offering a glimpse into the exciting world of higher education in the heart of Manhattan.

6. Cornell University Summer College

Location: Ithaca, New York

Cost: Varies by program

Cornell University's Summer College program offers an array of courses that cater to a wide range of interests, from architecture to veterinary medicine. High school students can live on campus, experience the academic rigors of college-level coursework, and enjoy the breathtaking natural beauty of the Finger Lakes region. Beyond academics, students can participate in various extracurricular activities and make lifelong friends.

7. MIT LaunchX

Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts

Cost: Approximately $6,000 for a four-week session

MIT LaunchX is the ideal pre-college summer program for aspiring entrepreneurs. For four weeks, students receive a comprehensive introduction to entrepreneurship and innovation. They work closely with experienced MIT professors and mentors to develop business ideas, build prototypes, and understand the intricacies of the startup world. The program culminates in a pitch event where students can present their ideas to real investors and industry professionals.

8. California College of the Arts Pre-College Program

Location: San Francisco, California

Cost: Approximately $4,000 for a three-week session

For budding artists and designers, the California College of the Arts Pre-College Program is a unique opportunity to explore their creative potential. Participants engage in hands-on studio experiences, develop their portfolios, and experience the vibrant art scene of San Francisco. Under the guidance of experienced faculty, students gain exposure to a wide range of artistic disciplines and learn to express themselves through visual arts.

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9. Emory University Pre-College Program

Location: Atlanta, Georgia

Cost: Approximately $4,000 for a three-week session

Emory University's Pre-College Program provides high school students with a taste of college life in the heart of Atlanta. Participants can choose from a variety of courses that align with their interests and future goals. Beyond academics, students explore the vibrant cultural scene of Atlanta, engage in extracurricular activities such as university events, and make lasting connections with fellow students.

10. The Washington Journalism and Media Conference

Location: George Mason University, Virginia

Cost: Approximately $2,000 for a one-week session

For aspiring journalists and media enthusiasts, the Washington Journalism and Media Conference is an immersive experience that offers hands-on training and insights into the dynamic world of journalism. Participants meet and learn from industry professionals, visit news organizations in the nation's capital, and develop their reporting and communication skills. This program empowers students to make informed decisions about their future careers in the ever-evolving field of journalism and media.

The best summer programs for high school students provide them unique opportunities to enhance their academic and personal growth, explore their passions, and gain valuable experiences and professional development, as well as maybe earn some college credit, before heading off to uni. Be sure to check each program's website for specific details, application deadlines, and scholarship opportunities, as these factors may vary from year to year.