Affordable Pre-College Summer Programs

For many students, the process of applying to pre-college summer programs can feel just as important (and just as complex) as applying to college. These programs typically run for a week or more, provide rigorous academic opportunities, expose students to college life, and establish a larger network of like-minded college-going peers. Students who have good experiences at pre-college programs are more likely to feel like they belong on college campuses. They also inspire other students in your program who might be apprehensive about applying. Ultimately, pre-college programs should open doors to more college and career options.

Understanding your student’s goals and limitations for attending a pre-college program improves your ability to guide them to an appropriate and affordable option for the summer. Empower them to continue researching programs before they decide where to apply and be sure they know the red flags to look out for in this process. The cost of attending (or applying to) a program, should never outweigh the benefits – and students should never go into debt to participate in a program!

To help students in your college readiness program find the ideal summer program, consider creating a survey for tenth and eleventh grade students and their families. Here are a few questions to ask:

  • What is your goal for attending a pre-college program?
  • What academic topic(s) do you want to learn about?
  • How far away would are you comfortable going for a program?
  • How long of a program are you comfortable attending?

Application and financial aid deadlines for pre-college programs vary a lot. So, staying organized and making a plan is critical for securing a spot in a free or well-funded program! Our list of affordable pre-college summer programs is a great place for you and your students to start your search. Visit the websites below to find more information about course options, program eligibility, start and end dates, program costs, financial aid criteria, required materials, housing, additional activities, and more.

How to Use This List

View the full list in this window or click ‘view larger version’ in the bottom right corner of the table for an expanded view. The list can be filtered, sorted, or grouped based on the following characteristics:

  • Host institution
  • Location
  • In-person, hybrid or virtual format
  • Month when program occurs
  • Duration of program
  • Month when the application opens
  • Program cost
  • Academic focus
  • Grade level
  • Residential component
  • College credit offered