top of page
Post: Blog2_Post

10 Winter Pre College Programs You Should Check Out

As a high school student, it’s smart to get started on your academic journey early. And while summer pre-college programs are plenty in number, if the timing doesn’t work for you, you can consider ones held in the winter months! Whether it’s virtual or in-person, enrolling in winter pre-college courses will help your application and resume stand out. These specialized courses, often offered by renowned universities or institutions, allow you to delve into subjects of interest, gaining exposure to college-level curriculum. 


These winter programs typically offer a condensed yet intensive academic experience, providing you with the opportunity to explore niche subjects, engage in dynamic discussions, and tackle challenging coursework. Whether it's an introduction to advanced mathematics, an exploration of literature, or a foray into scientific research, these programs  are worth exploring.


Participating in these winter pre-college courses will not only deepen your understanding of a subject but also significantly bolster your college applications. Admissions officers value the initiative and intellectual curiosity demonstrated by students who choose to engage in academic experiences outside of the high school curriculum. It shows them that you’re willing to challenge yourself, you can adapt to the college environment, and pursue intellectual passions independently.


So, if you have the time this winter, check out these winter pre-college programs listed below! 


Location: Online (this includes live sessions and offline work)

Cost: $1,750 per credit (3 credit course)

Application Deadline: December 4th, 2023

Course Dates: January 2–19, 2024

Eligibility: All high school students are eligible. Different courses may have different criteria, do check before you apply. 


The Cornell Pre-college Program's winter session offers high school students a unique opportunity to engage in enriching academic experiences during the month of January. With a diverse range of course options, students can choose from subjects in biomedicine, economics, ethics and more. These courses provide a valuable introduction to college-level academics while letting you dive into subjects that interest you.


For instance, Biomedical Terminology introduces students to the intricate language of the biomedical field, equipping them with the vocabulary necessary to navigate the complex world of medicine and healthcare. Introductory Microeconomics offers a foundational understanding of economic principles, helping students comprehend the dynamics of supply and demand, market behavior, and consumer choices. In Ethics in New Media, Technology, and Communication, students delve into the ethical considerations surrounding modern media and technology, exploring critical topics like privacy, information dissemination, and digital ethics. These courses can not only deepen your knowledge in subjects of interest, but also provide a glimpse into college-level academics, preparing you for the academic challenges you will face in college.


Location: Online

Cost: $1,153 for one credit

Application Deadline: November 27

Course Dates: January 2-5

Eligibility: At least 15 years old and no older than 18 years old before the first day of the program


The Pratt Institute Winterim Pre College will give you the chance to explore the world of visual communication and design. Tailored to engage high school students, these courses provide a condensed yet comprehensive introduction to the principles and practices of graphic design.


Throughout the program, you will be exposed to the fundamental concepts of graphic design, including typography, layout, color theory, and visual communication strategies. Practical assignments and hands-on projects allow you to apply these principles to real-world design challenges, fostering a blend of technical proficiency and creative problem-solving skills. From conceptualizing design ideas to executing them using industry-standard software, you will gain a holistic understanding of the graphic design process.


Engaging in this program not only equips you with tangible design skills but also provides a glimpse into the life of a graphic designer. From exploring career pathways to understanding the role of design in various industries, you will gain valuable insights that can inform your future academic and career decisions. Additionally, completion of the course provides a tangible asset for college applications, showcasing a student's proactive engagement with their academic and creative pursuits.


Location: Medford/Somerville Campus

Cost: Varies

Application Deadline: Rolling

Course Dates: January 12 to April 29

Eligibility: High school students who are 11th or 12th graders

The Tufts Precollege Program's winter session offers you an enriching academic experience, allowing them to engage in unique courses that explore various subjects. One example course, "The Portrait: Face and Figure," focuses on the art of portraiture and the intricate details that bring a subject to life. Students in this course delve into the nuances of the human face and figure, exploring the general proportions, structural elements, and design considerations that make each portrait a unique work of art. The course emphasizes the importance of capturing not only the physical characteristics but also the individual's presence and personality, including how they sit and hold themselves. 


What sets this course apart is its commitment to personalized learning. Students have the flexibility to choose from a variety of drawing materials, including pencil, charcoal, pastel, water-based paints like gouache and acrylic, and even oils. This tailored approach allows students to work with their preferred medium, providing them with the freedom to express their creativity and artistic sensibilities. Throughout the course, students engage in a process of trial and error, experimentation, and critical observation, moving beyond mere symbolism to create compelling and meaningful portraits.


Location: Virtual

Cost: Free

Application Deadline: Rolling

Course Dates: Varies

Eligibility: All high school students are eligible


HarvardX Courses offer you the opportunity to engage with intellectually stimulating and rigorous academic content from one of the world's most prestigious institutions. An exemplary course within this program is "CS50x," Harvard's introduction to computer science and programming. This course caters to both majors and non-majors, regardless of prior programming experience. Taught by the renowned David J. Malan, CS50x equips students with the foundational skills to think algorithmically and solve problems efficiently. The course covers a wide array of topics, including abstraction, algorithms, data structures, encapsulation, resource management, security, software engineering, and web development, providing a comprehensive introduction to the field of computer science. Students also have the opportunity to work with programming languages such as C, Python, SQL, JavaScript, CSS, and HTML, allowing them to gain proficiency in various programming languages. With problem sets inspired by real-world domains like biology, cryptography, finance, forensics, and gaming, CS50x offers a dynamic and hands-on learning experience that prepares high school students for the ever-evolving world of technology and computer science.


Another compelling course in the HarvardX Courses program is the "Fundamentals of Neuroscience" series, which explores the intricate structure and function of the nervous system. This three-course series delves into the inner workings of nerve cells and the astonishing complexity of the human brain, providing students with a comprehensive understanding of the nervous system's role in enabling social interactions. Through this series, students gain insights into neuroscience, from the cellular level to the broader societal impact. This multidisciplinary approach enables students to explore the intersections of biology, psychology, and sociology, fostering a holistic understanding of the human experience. 


Location: University of California, San Diego, CA

Cost: $2500

Application Deadline: Rolling

Course Dates: January - March

Eligibility: Students who are at least 15, in grades 10-12, and have a minimum GPA of 3.0


UC San Diego's Academic Connections Research Scholars program offers an exceptional opportunity for you to immerse yourself in a variety of research-focused tracks. With a range of intriguing tracks, including Bioengineering, Business Research, Design Lab, Life Sciences, Marine Science, and School of Medicine, students can explore their academic interests and engage in meaningful research experiences.


For example, in the Life Sciences track, you will embark on a comprehensive journey through fundamental molecular biology topics and modern laboratory techniques. You will learn to synthesize life science fundamentals, conduct fieldwork, formulate hypotheses, design experiments, collect and process samples, execute experiments, and analyze data. This immersive experience culminates in students showcasing their research findings through poster presentations attended by local scientists and industry leaders, providing a platform for sharing their work and gaining insights into the broader scientific community. Whether delving into bioinformatics, statistical applications, or fieldwork, you will develop valuable research skills and gain a deeper understanding of the scientific process, preparing you for future academic and professional pursuits in the field of life sciences. 


Location: Virtual

Cost: Free

Application Deadline: Rolling

Course Dates: Varies

Eligibility: All high school students are eligible


PennX Courses offer high school students a gateway to explore intellectually stimulating subjects and gain valuable knowledge from the esteemed University of Pennsylvania. One notable course within this program is "Intellectual Property Law and Policy." This two-part series delves into the fascinating world of intellectual property, an essential component of modern society. In Part 1, learners receive a comprehensive introduction to intellectual property laws, the underlying theories, and an in-depth exploration of patent law. Part 2 of the course takes students further into the realm of intellectual property, exploring copyright and trademark law. Additionally, it delves into alternatives to intellectual property and offers insights into the future of this dynamic area of the law. Through this course, you will gain an understanding of the legal principles and policies governing intellectual property, preparing them for further exploration in the field of law and policy.


Another captivating course offered by PennX is "Big Data and Education." In this course, students embark on an exciting journey into the world of educational data mining and learning analytics. You will learn how to utilize key methods for analyzing educational data and gain insights into the methods developed by researchers in fields such as educational data mining, learning analytics, artificial intelligence, and more. Students also acquire hands-on experience with standard data mining techniques frequently applied to educational data. The course not only teaches students how to apply these methods but also when to apply them, recognizing their strengths and weaknesses for different educational applications. By participating in "Big Data and Education," high school students not only become proficient in data analysis but also gain a deeper understanding of the role of data in shaping education, preparing them for future academic and professional endeavors in this evolving field. 


Application deadline: December 20, 2023

Eligibility: Rising juniors and seniors 

Program dates: January 2, 2023 – January 26, 2023

Location: University of Maryland, Baltimore County, MD

Fee: Ranges from $439 - $6,426 depending on the number of credits and whether you are a Maryland resident or not


Another great pre-college option is UMBC's Pre-College Program – Winter Session. You will spend the winter at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), collaborating with talented peers and distinguished faculty members. The Winter Session curriculum is designed to be academically challenging and intellectually stimulating, providing a glimpse into a variety of fields, from STEM disciplines to the humanities and social sciences. Whether you're exploring a potential major or simply expanding your academic horizons, the program encourages critical thinking, problem-solving, and a deeper understanding of the subjects you're passionate about. Beyond the classroom, you'll have the chance to participate in enriching extracurricular activities, fostering personal growth and forming lasting connections. 


Application deadline: Not specified 

Eligibility: Juniors and seniors who are at least 16 years of age

Program dates: January 9, 2023 – March 16, 2023

Location: Online

Fee: $2,285 for one class


Through the SCAD Joint Enrollment Program, you will have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the world of art and design. Envision yourself on the cutting edge of creative education, as this program allows you to enroll in college-level courses at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) while still in high school. You will attend classes taught by industry professionals and renowned faculty members, delving into subjects ranging from animation and graphic design to film production and fashion. The program not only provides a platform to refine your artistic skills but also allows you to experience the vibrant and innovative atmosphere of SCAD's campuses in Atlanta, Savannah, and Hong Kong. With a curriculum that seamlessly integrates theory and hands-on practice, the Joint Enrollment Program ensures that you are well-prepared for the dynamic landscape of art and design. 


Application deadline: Rolling applications

Eligibility: Juniors and seniors 

Program dates: Rolling dates

Location: Virginia Tech, VA

Fee: Not specified


The Fralin Biomedical Research Institute's High School Research Mentorship is a great opportunity for you if you’re passionate about biomedical research. You will work side by side with leading scientists and researchers in state-of-the-art laboratories, gaining hands-on experience in cutting-edge biomedical investigations. Under the mentorship of esteemed faculty, you'll engage in real-world research projects, delving into areas such as neuroscience, cardiovascular biology, and regenerative medicine. This unique mentorship opportunity not only provides exposure to advanced laboratory techniques and methodologies but also emphasizes the development of critical thinking and problem-solving skills. The program goes beyond the laboratory, offering workshops, seminars, and networking opportunities that enrich your understanding of the biomedical field. 


Application deadline: January 31, 2023 

Eligibility: All high school students who have completed the NYS Regents Living Environment or equivalent Biology class

Program dates: Tuesdays and Thursdays from February 2, 2023 – March 28, 2023

Location: Online

Fee: $500

Financial assistance:  Full scholarship available 


The Burke Neurological Institute's Introduction to Neuroscience Course is an enriching experience for students interested in neuroscience. This course offers a comprehensive overview of fundamental neuroscience concepts, from the structure and function of neurons to the complexities of neural circuits and behavior. Through a combination of interactive lectures, hands-on laboratory experiments, and engaging discussions, you'll gain a deep understanding of the principles that underlie neurological function. You will conduct experiments on state-of-the-art equipment, exploring topics such as neurophysiology, neuropharmacology, and neuroanatomy. The course extends beyond the classroom, providing opportunities for collaborative projects and exposure to the latest advancements in neuroscience research. 



One other option - Lumiere Research Scholar Program

If you would like to dive further into research, another way to stand out on applications and resumes, you should 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.


Jessica attends Harvard University where she studies Neuroscience and Computer Science as a Coca-Cola, Elks, and Albert Shankar Scholar. She is passionate about educational equity and hopes to one day combine this with her academic interests via social entrepreneurship. Outside of academics, she enjoys taking walks, listening to music, and running her jewelry business! 


Image Source: University of Pennsylvania logo

bottom of page