Pre College Summer Programs with Financial Aid

 Written by Dana Scott

 Published on April 13, 2021

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. Each entry includes a link to the program’s website, as well as information on program dates, application deadlines, and eligibility requirements.

Programs are listed alphabetically.


Adelphi University Summer Pre-College Program

Garden City, New York (virtual)

Application Deadline: Rolling admission until full (usually by the end of May)

Program Dates: July 11-24 (all courses)

Description: Students (rising high school sophomores, juniors, or seniors) select either a one-week, non-credit course, or a two-week, for-credit course. Working with our professors and instructors, students in the Pre-College Program will participate in hands-on, high impact learning under the guidance of industry experts, and will also participate in social programming, college readiness workshops, and excursions to nearby New York City.

Financial Aid: Partial scholarships (up to $1,000) are available by application. Students are invited to apply for a scholarship after they apply and are accepted to the Pre-College Program. For info: [email protected].

Students who participate and later enroll at Adelphi are eligible for the Adelphi Advantage Award ($1000).



Various locations (15+ campuses) and dates. Virtual.

Application deadlines vary by location.

AI is everywhere. Help create the future by learning how to use AI to solve problems you care about. At AI4ALL Summer Programs, you’re immersed in hands-on learning, mentorship by top AI practitioners, and supportive peer networks at top universities. We aim to serve the following high school students from groups historically excluded from AI.

Financial Aid: All AI4ALL Summer Programs are either free or offer extensive tuition assistance, and the majority of our students receive tuition assistance in the form of scholarships. Read about financial aid and fees on each program’s website.


Amherst College The Commons Summer Writing Program

Amherst, MA (virtual) 

Application Deadline: May 8, 2021

Application Fee: Free

Program Dates: July 19-31, 2021

Description: The Common Young Writers Program welcomes high school students passionate about creative writing to join us for two inspiring weeks dedicated to the craft of fiction. Students will learn and experiment with the building blocks of fiction (scene, character, plot, image) and be guided through the process of writing and revising their own short stories. Students will learn to read like a writer, by closely examining short stories published in The Common, and engage with their peers. At the end of the program, students will emerge more confident in their skills and more connected to a supportive writing community.

Financial Aid: Tuition waivers will be awarded to students with strong applications who cannot attend the program without financial assistance. In the application, students will have the opportunity to briefly describe their financial circumstances and state the amount they could afford to pay, if any, if accepted into the program. No tax returns or other documentation is required.


Barnard College Pre-College Summer Programs

New York City, NY (virtual)

Application Deadline: Rolling basis until April 15, 2021

Application Fee: $75

Program Dates: June 27-July 16; July 18-August 6, 2021

Description: Students enroll in one 3-credit course taught by a member of Barnard's world renowned faculty. Courses are held synchronously via Zoom, run for 4 weeks long and are fast paced and rigorous. Outside of the classroom students are part of our virtual Barnard community and will participate in college readiness workshops, career exploration panels, and evening social activities such as paint nights, virtual scavenger hunts, and social justice discussions.

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 and have their own deadline.


Bard College Young Writers Workshop

Great Barrington, MA

Application Deadline: Rolling admissions beginning in January until the program is full (usually in May)

Program Dates: July 11-July 31

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: Tuition is $3,025, and covers room and board, shuttle transportation to and from Bradley International Airport (or the Gt. Barrington bus stop). Modest financial aid is available for students with demonstrated financial need. Requests for financial aid should be submitted along with the rest of the student’s application materials. Students of color with demonstrated financial need are eligible to apply for the Dorothy West Scholarship. This externally endowed scholarship covers the full cost of tuition and room and board. A number of runners-up will also be chosen and will be eligible for lesser financial aid awards.


Camp College

University of Illinois – Urbana Champaign

Application Deadline: TBA

Program Dates: TBA

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.

Financial Aid: Generous support of IACAC and other sponsors mean there is no cost to students. A $20 deposit is required to hold your seat and will be refunded at the end of the program.


Carleton College Summer Program

Northfield, MN (virtual)

Application Deadline: Until program is full

Program Dates: all programs start July 12 and run for 2 or 3 weeks

Description: Programs for rising juniors and seniors offered in Applied Sustainability, Art, Computer Science, Humanities, Exploring Global Pandemics and Liberal Arts.

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.


Camp 4 Scholars at Kenyon College

Gambier, Ohio

Application Deadline: April 1

Program Dates: June 13-July 2

Description: Camp 4 Scholars is open to both rising seniors and juniors. The program uses the disciplines of Neuroscience, History, English Composition and the Visual Arts to develop critical thinking, reading, writing, and oral presentation skills.  Students are introduced to college-campus culture and life in the dormitory. During the program, students also attend workshops and receive individual counseling on the college admissions process.

Financial Aid: Financial aid is available for students who demonstrate financial need as part of their application.


Colorado State University Native Education Forum

Fort Collins, Colo. (virtual)

Application Deadline: TBD

Program Dates: June 21-June 27

Description: The Native Education Forum is a 6-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.

Financial Aid: No cost.

Students who participate in the Native Education Forum and are admitted as freshmen to Colorado State University with a high school cumulative GPA of 2.8 or higher, and meet specific course requirements may be eligible to receive the Partnership Award.


Colorado State University Black Issues Forum

Fort Collins, Colo. (virtual)

Application Deadline: N/A

Program Dates: June 21-25

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.

Financial Aid: There is no cost to attend this program.

Students who participate in Black Issues Forum and are admitted as freshmen to Colorado State University with a high school cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher, and meet specific course requirements may be eligible to receive the Partnership Award.


Cornell Engineering Experience

Ithaca, NY (virtual)

Application Deadline: April 2

Program Dates: various sessions from June 1-August 3

Description:  Introduction to several engineering fields, such as: bioengineering, chemical engineering, civil engineering, computer science, earth sciences, electrical and computer engineering, engineering physics, materials science, mechanical engineering, operations research. Hands-on experience in weekly labs, as well as design projects to introduce concepts of the engineering design process.

Financial Aid: Summer College awards a limited number of partial scholarships based on family income and other available resources, family size, the number of siblings in college, exceptional family medical expenses, and/or geographic differences in the cost of living.


Cornell University Summer College

Ithaca, NY (virtual)

Application Deadline: Rolling until classes are full.

Financial Aid deadline is April 2.

Program Dates:

Three-week Session 1 (June 1–June 17, 2021)

Three-week Session 2 (June 21–July 9, 2021)

Three-week Session 3 (July 12–July 30, 2021)

Six-week Session (June 21–August 3, 2021)

Description: Choose a three- or six-week program, where you’ll earn transferrable credits from Cornell University in subjects such as architecture, business, engineering, human rights, science, and veterinary medicine. Courses are taught by Cornell faculty, giving you an unrivaled learning experience with some of the university’s best professors.

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.


Cronkite Institute for High School Journalism: Summer Journalism Institute at Arizona State University

Tempe, Arizona (virtual)

Application Deadline: April 10

Program Dates: June 6-18

Description: For two weeks every summer, the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication brings top-performing high school students to ASU for two weeks of intensive, hands-on experience in broadcast and digital journalism.

Financial Aid: no cost.


Emory Pre-College Program

Atlanta, GA (virtual)

Application Deadline: June 1

Program Dates:

Two-Week Noncredit Courses:

Session A: June 28 - July 9, 2021

Session B: July 12 - July 23, 2021

Credit Courses:

June 28 - August 6, 2021 (Deadline: June 9)

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: Dependents of Emory University employees may be eligible for the Courtesy Scholarship. The Scholarship only applies to six-week credit courses. 


Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program


Application Deadline: mid-March

Round 1: June 21 - July 2, 2021

Round 2: July 12 - July 23, 2021

Round 3: August 2 - August 13, 2021

The Virtual Summer Immersion Program is a 2-week virtual introductory computer science course for current 9th - 11th graders (rising sophomore, junior and senior girls and non-binary students).

Students will learn how to apply computer science concepts to engaging projects during our virtual programming. The Virtual SIP will run for two weeks for up to four to five hours a day and will include a combination of both partner-sponsored and Girls Who Code virtual engagement opportunities. Each day, you log into your virtual classroom to attend daily instruction with the entire class, learn from your Teaching Team and practice concepts in smaller breakout groups.


Hampshire College Summer Studies in Mathematics

Amherst, MA

Application Deadline: No official deadline, however, last year they ran out of spaces in April.

Program Dates: June 27-August 7

Description: HCSSiM is an intensive six-week encounter with college-level mathematics for talented and highly motivated high school students. It is demanding and expanding. Participants spend a major portion of each day actively engaged in doing mathematics (not simply learning the results of mathematics). HCSSiM students live in the dorms at Hampshire College in Massachusetts for six summer weeks, and study and play in its fields, woods, and academic buildings (not typically in that order).

Financial Aid: There is offered financial aid, with all decisions based on need. Financial concerns should not discourage applications, and they will not let money issues prevent a student from accepting an invitation.


Harvard University Summer Programs

Cambridge, Mass. (virtual)

Application Deadline: May 14

Program Dates:

Session I: June 27-July 9

Session II: July 11-July 23

Session III: July 25-August 6

Description: The Harvard Pre-College Program is an immersive, collaborative, and transformative experience. Alongside peers from around the world, you’ll thrive in a dynamic and supportive academic environment.

Financial Aid: A limited number of scholarships are available to assist students who demonstrate financial need. Awards vary based on need, and a typical award covers a portion of the tuition.


Howard University School of Business Summer Enrichment Program

Washington, D.C.

Application Deadline: April 10 (priority); May 20 (regular)

Program Dates: July 19-23

Howard University’s School of Business Summer Enrichment Programs introduce students to college life, teamwork, and fundamentals in four growing areas of business: Accounting, Information Systems, Actuarial Science, and Entrepreneurship. Each identified area provides significant opportunities for students to explore careers and progressive opportunities for professional development. The program combines classroom learning from the School of Business faculty, company site visits, and group presentations to prepare students with the practical skills and critical thinking abilities needed to benefit them in their future academic and professional endeavors. Each student in the Summer Enrichment Program will gain access to leadership, team building, college, and cultural enrichment activities.

In addition, each will register for one of the four distinctive tracks: Accounting, Information Systems, Actuarial Science, and Entrepreneurship. In each track, students will gain valuable exposure to important business topics and methods of analysis from Howard University School of Business professors and professionals in the field. Throughout the program, students will be placed in groups to create a business and/or product that solves a problem in their respective fields.

Financial Aid: TBD


Katie School of Insurance and Risk Management: Midwest High School Scholars Analytic Academy for Underrepresented Groups

Normal, IL

Application Deadline: April 30

Program Dates: July 11-16

Description: The one-week program is designed especially for academically talented African-American, Hispanic, and Native American high school students who excel in mathematics, enjoy learning, and like to solve complicated problems.

Financial Aid: No cost.


Missouri University of Science & Technology Summer Camps

Rolla, MO (virtual)

Application: Deadline: TBA

Program Dates: There are multiple sessions for students throughout June and July.

Description: Attending camp from home is exciting with Missouri S&T. Curious rising sophomores, juniors and seniors have the opportunity to build a microsatellite at home and watch it go to the edge of space, learn about explosives, tour a nuclear reactor, explore diverse engineering careers, and make art. Our summer camps are all about discovering and exploring what it takes to have a future career in the science, math, technology, and engineering fields.

Financial Aid: Contact the office of Professional and Continuing Education at [email protected] or 573-341-6222.


Northwestern University College Bridge Program

Evanston, IL (virtual)

Application Deadline: April 9

Program Dates: Dates vary according to classes selected, however, all students must attend the College Bridge Orientation and Advising session on May 16

Description: Thanks to a partnership between the Chicago Public Schools and Northwestern University, 25 high school juniors from Chicago Public Schools to the College Bridge Program each summer. Students enroll in courses as part of the Northwestern Summer Session and students earn college credit for satisfactorily completed courses. Courses vary from three to eight weeks in length, and are offered at Northwestern’s Evanston and Chicago campuses.

Financial Aid: Tuition and textbooks are free.


Northwestern University College Preparation Program

Evanston, IL (virtual)

Application Deadline: May 1

Application Fee: $60 (waivers available)

Program Dates:

IN-FOCUS Sessions

Session I: June 21-July 2

Session II: July 5-16

Session III: July 19-30

Course for Credit: Most programs begin on June 21

Description: This program allows high school sophomores and juniors to enroll in undergraduate courses on campus for college credit or enroll in a specialized seminar.

Financial Aid: Deadline has passed.


NYU Steinhardt Programs

New York, NY (virtual)

Application Deadline: Varies by discipline

Program Dates: Varies 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. See individual programs for details.

Other NYU Summer Programs:


Otis College of Art and Design: Summer of Art

Los Angeles, CA (virtual)

Application Deadline: TBA

Program Dates: July 6-30

Description: This intensive, four-week, pre-college program is for individuals 15 and older who wish to study at one of the top art and design colleges in the country. Serious young artists seeking to strengthen and enhance their art and design skills, as well as students with limited art training, are invited to participate.

Financial Aid: Summer of Art scholarships are available to students who, for financial reasons, would not otherwise be able to attend. Awards are based on family financial information, portfolio, and grade point average. Application deadline is April 2.


Penn State Honors Music Institute

University Park, PA (virtual)

Application Deadline: April 26 (priority)

Program Dates: July 12-16

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, specific areas of study include chamber choir, jazz ensemble, piano and wind ensemble. Students entering ninth grade in the fall of 2021 through students who will graduate in the spring of 2022 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.


Purdue University Minority Engineering Programs

West Lafayette, IN (virtual)

Multiethnic Introduction to Engineering (MITE) for rising seniors

Application Deadline: TBD

Program Dates: June 14-July 23

Description: The Multiethnic Introduction to Engineering (MITE) program was initiated at Purdue University in the summer of 1975. Originally a two-week program, MITE is now a five-week college simulation program modeled after the Freshman Engineering Academic Boot Camp. MITE attendees are immersed in first year engineering projects. The agenda includes SAT review, engineering design, time management, and social acclimatization to college life. Student participants build a strong sense of community and are able to return to their high schools with a better evaluation of their potential. We have seen an average improvement in SAT math scores of 90 points. The highest increase was 180 points as measured through pre- and post-testing. All participants apply to Purdue at the close of the program.

Financial Aid: A scholarship application is part of the overall application for the program.



Application Deadline: TBD

Program Dates: June 18-25

PREFACE is a summer workshop for students who are headed into their sophomore or junior year of high school. During this program, participants will learn more about the wide variety of engineering careers and examine career choices as they relate to their own values, abilities, and goals. Students will meet and work with students from around the country and will work to design solutions to some of the world's most pertinent challenges, highlighting engineering majors at Purdue. More importantly participants will leave with new academic skills to help them excel in their classes and on SAT/ACT standardized tests. We have seen an average improvement in SAT math scores of 90-100 points. 

Financial Aid: A scholarship application is part of the overall application for the program.


Rensselaer (RPI) PREFACE Summer Program

Troy, NY (virtual)

Application Deadline: April 16

Program Dates: June 28-July 16

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 2021. 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 2021 program will focus on engineering solutions to create a more sustainable environment. In partnership with Rensselaer, the Troy School District (TSD) Community Greenhouse was initially established to introduce sustainability through agriculture. Since then, it has become an important, ongoing site for senior capstone projects in the Rensselaer Multidisciplinary Design Laboratory (MDL). Six separate capstone teams have proposed possible solutions to a variety of challenges, including the harsh northeast climate and limited water and power sources that diminish the effectiveness of the greenhouse growing season.

Financial Aid: The program provides a limited number of partial scholarships to qualified students on the basis of demonstrated need but is not able to provide full scholarships. Students whose families earn annual wages within the federal poverty guidelines are encouraged to apply for partial aid, but the option is open to all applicants. The financial aid request is part of the student’s online application and applying for a scholarship does not impact the admissions decision.


Smith College Summer Precollege Programs

Northampton, MA (in-person and remote, depending on program)

Application Deadline: TBA; application fee increases to $100 on April 5

Program Date: Varies by program discipline.

Description: Designed by Smith’s professors and staff, these programs give you an inspiring learning experience and you can request a recommendation from Smith faculty to use in your college applications. You will be able to explore what interests you in a risk-free environment. Inside the classroom, a hands-on, collaborative learning environment lets you directly engage with world-class scholars who help you pursue your passions and develop new skills. Outside the classroom, enjoy Smith’s beautiful setting, live in a house on campus, make new friends, talk to current college students and engage in after class activities and outings.

Financial Aid: The deadline has passed.


St. John’s Summer Academy

Annapolis, MD / Santa Fe, NM

Application Deadline: May 1 (financial aid: May 7)

Program Dates:

Annapolis, MD

Power and Politics: The Great and the Good —July 4-10

Exploring Human Nature: Literature, Poetry and Drama —June 27–July 3

Santa Fe, NM

Courage and the Soul: Exploring Human Virtue —July 11-17

Art and Nature: Intersection of Imagination and Ingenuity —July 18-24

The American Experiment: Foundations of Democracy —July 25-31

Description: Our summer program for high school students (ages 15 to 18) is modeled after St. John’s discussion-based, interdisciplinary method of teaching the great books. A hands-on introduction to college life, our program helps students hone their reading, critical thinking, and discussion skills. With engaging workshops and awesome off-campus excursions, the Summer Academy is a blast.

Financial Aid: There is limited financial aid available for these programs, and applications are due on or before May 7.


The Cooper Union: Summer STEM Program

New York, NY (virtual)

Application Deadline: April 4

Program Dates:

Session 1: Class on July 6-9, July 12-15, and July 19-22 and student orientation June 30, 4:30 - 6:00 pm EST.

Session 2: Class on July 26-29, August 2-5, and August 9-12 and student orientation July 21, 4:30 - 6:00 pm EST.


Summer STEM will offer three-week virtual programs in design, engineering and hands-on problem-solving. Class projects will cover topics from current problems in civil, chemical, electrical, and mechanical engineering. Sophomores and juniors gain knowledge in an engineering field and guidance to address a real-world problem by designing and engineering a solution. Students who attend the program and successfully complete the assignments will receive a certificate of completion from The Cooper Union.

Financial Aid: Complete the financial aid form in the application. For 2021, 60 or more full and partial scholarships will be awarded. Preference is given to students from New York City Public Schools.


Tuskegee University Veterinary Science Training, Education and Preparation Institute

Tuskegee, AL

Application Deadline: April 12

Program Dates:

June 7-11 (rising freshmen and sophomores)

June 21-25 (rising juniors and seniors)

The Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine’s Veterinary Science Training, Education and Preparation Institute (VET STEP) is a one-week residential program designed to introduce minority high school students to veterinary medicine. Students attend stimulating academic classes, participate in hands-on activities and laboratory exercises, prepare presentations, engage in stimulating discussions, and take part in field trips.

Financial Aid: Email [email protected].


University of Chicago Emerging Rural Leaders

Chicago, IL (virtual)

Application Deadline: May 1

Program Dates: Freshman: July 12-16. Juniors: June 14-July 9

Description: In addition to enrolling in a Summer Session for-credit Immersion course, selected students will also participate in a one-week series of online workshops and activities that will give students an insider’s look at the University of Chicago and provide guidance and insight into the highly selective admissions process.

Financial Aid: All expenses are covered for all students.


University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences

Urbana, IL (virtual)

Application Deadline: April 16

Program Dates: July 12-24, 2021

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign – College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) is pleased to invite applications from current high school sophomores and juniors of under-served, economically disadvantaged groups, and urban residents to participate in the Discovering STEM in ACES Program. Students work together in teams based on their area of interests over two virtual weeks of lectures, virtual hands-on activities and virtual demonstrations conducted by ACES staff and students. Students are placed with a related academic discipline with a specific ACES Department.

Virtually during the two weeks, each student team participates in a series of STEM related learning activities designed by the assigned department to help them understand how the program is related to the food, agriculture, human, and environmental systems are connected to their career goals. The program addresses discussions centered around some real-world problems. Students have a unique opportunity to learn from ACES Alumni and leaders of related businesses and organizations.

Financial Aid: program is free.


USDA AgDiscovery

21 sponsoring colleges; various dates; virtual or in-person by location

Application Deadline: March 25 (all locations)

AgDiscovery is a unique opportunity for students to explore agricultural sciences, and gain knowledge about careers in animal and plant disciplines, wildlife management, veterinary medicine, biotechnology, entomology, food safety, food production, agribusiness, forestry, and MUCH more! Students experience hands-on learning workshops, behind-the-scenes tours, laboratory and field exercises, in addition to a variety of cultural and teambuilding activities.

Financial Aid: program is free


Wake Forest University Summer Immersion Programs

Wake Forest, NC (virtual)

Application Deadline: varies by program

Program Dates: vary by program

Are there subjects you’re thinking about taking in college but would like to know more about? The Online Immersion Program, designed for high school students ages 13 and up, has been created for this purpose. It offers exciting topics, covered in depth, through online coursework led by Wake Forest University professors. New this summer: enjoy all the features of our online immersion course PLUS live Zoom sessions on weekdays for our medicine, sports medicine, psychology, bioscience, and cancer medicine programs.

Financial Aid: TBD


Worcester Polytechnic Institute Summer Programs

Worcester, MA (virtual)

Application Deadline: TBA – Fill on a first come, first served basis

Program Date: Dates range depending on program selected.

Description: We are excited to offer three interactive online pre-college summer programs for high school students this summer- Launch, Frontiers, and Frontiers for Credit. In our online virtual STEM summer programs, there will be plenty of opportunities for you to get a taste of college life, from interviews and virtual dinners with WPI deans and community members to workshops with the Career Development Center and a panel with those who know WPI best: current students. 

Financial Aid: Partial or full tuition assistance scholarships are offered to eligible students.