For years, colleges and universities nationwide have offered a large selction of summer courses for academically ambitious high school students, sometimes for college credit. You can find these pre-college summer programs on the nation's most prestigious campuses (e.g., Harvard, Stanford, Univeristy of Chicago, Boston University) along with smaller private colleges (e.g., Colorado College). If you want to investigate these possibilities, simply type the name of the college or university that interests you into Google Search, along with the phrase "summer programs for high school students." If you want to see what's available close to home, enter the name of a local colleges and university, along with the phrase "summer programs for high school students." These local searches will often turn up special summer on-campus opportunities for low income and minority studens, for example in relation to subjects like engineering or leadership development.
High school students who meet federal low-income or first-generation college-bound guidelines have long had the opportunity to polish academics and experience college life through the federally-funded Upward Bound (UB) program. There is no national directory of Upward Bound programs, alas. The best search tip is to type in the name of the city or region where you live, followed by the phrase "Upward Bound." If there is a UB program in your city/area, it will come up. Some UB programs, like the one at University of Massachusetts-Boston (in operation since 1965), offer multiple opportuntities—in its case, a traditional UB summer program, another targeted at math and sceince, anda non-residential summer institute for Boston-area middle and high schools students.
Here we provide a list of national programs, almost all located on college or universty campuses, that offer special summer programs for high school students (e.g., in the arts, engineering, journalism)—some of which target females, minorities, and low income students.The programs targeting females are in PINK; minorites are in GREEN; low income are in ORANGE. Financial aid is often available for programs not taregeted specifically at low-income or minority students; it varies from program-to-program.
We hasten to add that this directory is far from complete, but includes some of the best-known programs. Admission to many of these programs is competitive, especially those that are free.
Here, as well, are three up-to-date online directories.
Top Summer Pre-College Programs
"Want to preview your dream school and improve your admission credentials this summer? Check out these summer programs for high school students at some of the country's most selective colleges and universities." The collegexpress.com list includes 42 "top" programs located on colleges and universities nationwide.
Usummer Pre-College Summer Program Directory
Usummer is a pre-college summer program directory sponsored by Blueprint Summer Programs. The directory includes links to over 100 on-campus programs—one of the most complete lists we know—as well as to pre-college summer programs affiliated with Blueprint.
The 12 Best Pre-College Summer Programs
The programs noted in this huffingtonpost.com article are held at universities in the top of their field. The list is broken up by area of interest: business, journalism /writing, theater, and fashion.
ASA Summerfuel Pre-college and Cultural Immersion Programs
Pre-college programs at UMass/Amherst, UC/Berkeley, Oxford and Cambridge Universities; College Admissions Prep at Columbia, Tufts, UC/Berkeley.
Barnard Pre-college Program
One- and four-week coed liberal arts program; one-week Young Women’s Leadership Institute.
Boston University Summer Term
Six-week high school honors program offering college credit courses and scientific research projects. Two-week summer challenge program to preview college life and coursework.
Brown University Pre-College Programs
Experience college, prepare for academic success, and make new friends from around the world in Brown Pre-College Programs. Throughout the summer Brown offers multiple sessions 1-7 weeks in length, and more than 300 courses to choose fro —on campus, online, and abroad.
California State Summer School for Mathematics and Science (COSMOS)
Four-week intensive summer residential program for students completing grades 8-12 in science, technology, engineering and math held at UC Davis, UC Irvine, UC San Diego and UC Santa Cruz.
Carleton Liberal Arts Experience
The Carleton Liberal Arts Experience (CLAE) selects 50 high school students who just completed their sophomore year and brings them to Carleton, all expenses paid, for a one-week summer program. The CLAE program introduces the strengths of a liberal arts education through an array of courses in science, art, social sciences, and technology.
Civic Leadership Institute (Northwestern University & Johns Hopkins University)
Three-week summer service-learning programs for outstanding high school students completing grades 9 through 12 in Chicago, Baltimore & San Francisco. CLI combines hands-on education, meaningful service, powerful speakers and seminars and an unforgettable residential experience for a summer that students often describe as “life-changing.”
Cornell Catalyst Program
Summer residential program for high school students from severely underrepresented groups who excel in math and science and want to learn more about careers in engineering.
Cornell Curie Academy
One-week residential pre-engineering program for current sophomore or junior girls who excel in math.
Junior Statesmen Summer School
Three- and four-week summer courses at Georgetown, Stanford, Princeton, or Yale for rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors who have a passionate interest in politics, government and current events.
MIT: MITES (Minority Introduction to Engineering and Science)
Six-week program that prepares promising rising seniors for careers in engineering and science.
Notre Dame Seminars
African American Scholars, Latino Community Leadership Seminar, Global Issues Seminar.
Summer Journalism Program for low income sophomores or juniors with at least a 3.5 GPA. Cost is free including travel.
Sarah Lawrence College Summer Program
Three- and six-week courses in writing, film, visual arts, and music, and a six-week program composed of three two-week courses in history, theatre, and literature. Filmmaking intensive available to current juniors and seniors.
Summer Discovery Pre-college Enrichment for High School Students
Programs at UCLA, UC Santa Barbara, UC San Diego, Michigan, Georgetown, Northeastern U., Cambridge, and various locations in Spain and Italy.
Summer Study Programs
Programs at Penn State University, Colorado State University, Fordham Univertsity in NYC, and The Sorbonne in Paris, France.
Syracuse University Summer College
Six-week, credit-bearing courses, and two week, non- credit programs in art and music.
University of Maryland, College Park: Women in Engineering
A collection of one-week summer programs and one-day academies for female high school students who are considering engineering as a possible major and career.
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