Attending an Ivy League pre-college summer program would be an exceptional opportunity that would allow you to immerse yourself in an environment renowned for academic excellence and unparalleled resources.
The Ivy League represents a group of eight prestigious, world-renowned universities in the United States, known for their academic rigor and distinguished faculty.
By participating in an Ivy League University’s summer program, you would gain access to top-tier education, engage with like-minded peers, and receive invaluable insights into the college experience.
This experience would not only enhance your knowledge and skills but also provide you with a unique platform for personal growth and a glimpse into the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead in your academic journey.
In this blog, we will cover 10 of the best Ivy League summer programs open to high school students.
Harvard’s Pre-College Program for high school students is an intensive two-week summer program designed to give you a glimpse of college life. Harvard’s Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics or “STEAM” pre-college courses offer classes on Astronomy, Biology, Computer Science, Math, Physics, Statistics, and Social Science over a two-week period. During said program, you will live on the Harvard campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts and get to experience what it’s like to live on the oldest college campus in America, attending classes every day, studying, and participating in program activities. You will be challenged by Ivy League scholars as you immerse yourself in one subject in an average class size of 15 students.
Who can apply: You must be 16 years old by June 22, 2024, and will not turn 19 years old before July 31, 2024.
Registration: January 10th to February 14th, 2024
Participation costs: The total fee for a 2024 Harvard Pre-College Program session is $5,550. The program fee includes tuition, room and meal plan, activity costs, and an accident and sickness insurance plan for the full two weeks. There is also a non-refundable $75 application fee.
Dates & location: June 23-July 5, 2024, July 7-19, 2024, July 21-August 2, 2024 in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Yale hosts this four-week program for international high school students with strong English skills who want to prepare for undergraduate study at an American university with the goal of helping you improve your overall abilities in both spoken and written English, as well as your understanding of U.S. academic culture. The courses include: Academic Reading and Writing, Academic Listening and Speaking, Academic Coaching, Critical and Creative Thinking, and Evening Elective Classes. As a participant, you are given the opportunity to visit a variety of American university campuses in the northeastern part of the United States. There will be at least 4 college visits planned during this week- with past visits including: Harvard, Brown, Quinnipiac and the University of Connecticut.
Who can apply: Must be entering the senior year of high school (summer after junior year) or freshman year of college (summer after senior year) and at least 16 years of age.
Registration: May 8, 2023
Participation costs: Tuition is $4,620, with a $75 nonrefundable application fee.
Dates & location: July 3 – July 28, 2023, New Haven, Connecticut.
Princeton University’s Laboratory Learning Program is a free research experience for high school students interested in the sciences or in engineering. As a participant, you are included in ongoing research programs where you will work closely with Princeton faculty and research staff. The participation dates are customized according to the schedules of the research personnel and the specifics of the project and internships typically span 5-6 weeks during regular 'office hours' over the summer (with no evening or weekend activities). Each research opportunity has its own unique schedule. However, the Laboratory Learning Program does not include housing, transportation, social activities or entertainment. LLP students are not eligible to lease or sublease Princeton University housing.
Who can apply: You must be between 16 and 18 years old and currently enrolled in high school.
Registration: February 15 to March 15, 2024.
Participation costs: Princeton University’s Laboratory Learning Program is a free program.
Dates & location: Each research program has its own schedule but will take place on Princeton’s campus in Princeton, New Jersey.
Something unique about Brown’s pre-college programs is that you can choose to study on campus, online, or at a variety of unique domestic and international locations. These programs are designed for high school students to explore the challenges and opportunities of the college experience- without the pressure of formal grades. There are many different summer programs to choose from, however, Brown’s Summer@Brown program offers 300 non-credit courses for high school students while also offering an on-campus option. With courses ranging from Biological and Natural Sciences to Business, Economics, and Legal Studies, to Literature, Writing and Communications, this summer program has a class for any interest you may have.
Who can apply: Students completing grades 9 to 12, ages 14 to 18 by June 18, 2023
Registration: January 17th - May 10, 2024
Participation costs: Cost is determined by the number and duration of courses to be taken.
Dates & location: Sunday, June 25 to Friday, July 28, 2023 at Brown University’s campus in Providence, Rhode Island
Dartmouth Bound is a summer program open to rising high school seniors currently living and attending a high school in the U.S., regardless of citizenship status. While the application is open to all students, the program is especially geared towards students from underrepresented backgrounds and communities- including students of color, students who are the first in their families to attend college, and students from low-income families- to apply. Dartmouth will cover travel expenses, housing, and meals for students who are selected for the program. As a participant, you will get to stay in Dartmouth’s residence halls, and have meaningful conversations with current student mentors and other Bound participants. Something unique and important about Dartmouth’s Bound program is that as a member, you will get to hear from admissions officers, who will explain Dartmouth’s individualized review process and provide tips for completing college applications. You will also have the chance to review sample applications to the College as part of a mock admissions committee exercise. Admissions officers will be available throughout the program to address individual questions about the college application process. This would be very helpful for any students applying to any of the Ivy league colleges.
Who can apply: Rising high school seniors.
Registration: You can expect registrations to open in spring, and close by end of April-May
Participation costs: No cost
Dates & location: July 16th-19th, 2023
Harvard’s pre-college summer program has many options, ranging from STEAM mentioned above, to a Speech, Writing, and Literature Program featuring Creative Writing, English, Expository Writing, Journalism, and Speech. As a member, you have the unique opportunity to test your intellect without the pressure of letter grades as classes are non-credit; meaning you can take a college-level course for learning's sake. Harvard’s Pre-College Program is designed for mature, academically motivated students who are interested in exploring a potential major or simply finding out what college is really like.
Who can apply: Those who will graduate from high school and enter college in 2025 or 2026 and are at least 16 years old by June 22, 2024.
Registration: January 10th - February 14th 2024
Participation costs: $5,550
Dates & location: June 23-July 5, 2024, July 7-19, 2024, July 21-August 2, 2024 in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Cornell University’s Pre-College program would be a great choice for any high school student who is unable to travel but is interested in attending an Ivy League summer program. As a participant, you’ll enroll in regular Cornell University courses alongside undergraduates, earn an official Cornell transcript, and gain undergraduate credits that are generally transferable toward a degree at Cornell or elsewhere. You will study with Ivy League faculty and learn under some of the brightest, most accomplished experts in their field.
Who can apply: Sophomores, juniors, and seniors from any high school in the world.
Registration: May 7th, May 29th, June 18th, and May 29th, 2023.
Participation costs: $1,750 per credit
Dates & location: May 30-June 16, June 20-July 7, July 10-28, 2023, and June 20-August 1, 2023, Virtually.
At Yale University’s Summer Session, your work will earn credit toward your college transcript and enhance your applications. Yale’s Summer Session provides academically rigorous and innovative undergraduate programs and courses to both current Yale students, as well as visiting high school students across platforms and around the world- meaning you will work, learn, and study alongside some of the brightest young minds of your generation. Yale’s Summer Session offers both in-person and virtual courses- meaning any student from anywhere in the world can participate. Yale has hundreds of course offerings, all taught under renowned Yale faculty and all available to check out online prior to committing here.
Who can apply: Must be entering the senior year of high school (summer after junior year) or freshman year of college (summer after senior year).
Registration: Online students must register by May 3rd and June 7th, while on campus students must register by April 3rd and May 8th.
Participation costs: Costs depend on course enrollment. See here.
Dates & location: May 27 - June 28 and July 1 - August 2, 2024
Columbia University’s pre-college program also offers the opportunity to enroll in both online and in-person courses. As a participant, you are invited to attend extra pre-college seminars, workshops, and lectures to prepare for the academic rigors of university life. The Columbia Experience offers many different learning opportunities for high school students, ranging from an outdoor climate course in Vermont to their writing academy on campus. Each course is explained and available for comparison here. Columbia’s pre-college program also puts an emphasis on student life in New York City, boasting of its pre-college co-curricular activities, clubs, events, and other opportunities, designed to strengthen student skills: for college, career and life.
Who can apply: Rising high school juniors and seniors, as well as incoming college first years.
Registration: As there are so many different programs available under The Columbia Experience, the registration deadlines vary. See here for more.
Participation costs: $2,376 per point
Dates & location: As there are so many different programs available under The Columbia Experience, the dates and locations vary. See here for more.
10. University of Pennsylvania’s Pre-College Program
Penn delivers the challenge of an Ivy League curriculum to academically talented high school students seeking a pre-collegiate experience. As a student there, you will engage with leading faculty and build intellectual connections within accelerated two, three, or six week Penn School of Arts and Sciences (or, SAS) High School Summer Programs. Something unique about Penn’s summer program is how they have partnered with Summer Discovery for over 10 years. Summer Discovery oversees all community-building aspects of the summer programming, including student supervision, student activities, and ensuring the health and safety of all students throughout while participating in Penn’s programs while the University of Pennsylvania manages all academic programming, including the application process, advising, and course enrollment.
Who can apply: Current 10th-11th grade students
Registration: Applications for summer 2024 programs open on December 1, 2024.
Participation costs: There is a $1,500 non-refundable deposit for all programs. There is also a nonrefundable application fee of $75.
Dates & location: July 2 – August 10, 2024, either on University of Pennsylvania’s campus in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, or online.
Lumiere Research Scholar Program
If pushing yourself to research academically rigorous opportunities for yourself and others interests you, you could also consider applying to the Lumiere Research Scholar Program, a selective online high school program for students founded with researchers at Harvard and Oxford. Last year, we had over 4000 students apply for 500 spots in the program! You can find the application form here.
Mandy Brenner is a current junior at Harvard University. She is concentrating in History and Literature and loves to read and write in her free time.
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