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7 University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) Summer Programs You Should Check Out

If you are looking for pre-college offerings in a higher academic setting, you should consider opting for summer programs offered by popular universities, such as Harvard, Stanford, and the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn).


In this blog, we have covered 8 of the more popular (and well-known) summer programs UPenn has to offer, along with their cost, program dates, structure, and eligibility.


We have divided these into general summer programs for high school students, as well as subject-wise academic programs, known as Academies.

Please keep in mind the following information is for 2023, though dates tend to be similar from year to year.


Are UPenn summer programs prestigious?

You should note that all of the opportunities we cover below do not carry the same amount of prestige - program prestige typically depends on paid vs. unpaid nature, rigor, and overall selectivity. You can safely assume that programs like the Summer Academies are notably less selective and less prestigious than extremely rigorous, fully-funded offerings such as the Summer Mentorship Program.


Will participating in these programs grant me an acceptance to UPenn?

No! While participating in one (or more) of these programs can serve as a good indicator of interest and motivation in a particular program, they do not grant you acceptance to UPenn! You can leverage your experience in these programs to indicate your interest in UPenn and your comfort with the faculty and teaching style at the university. Additionally, from an admissions point of view, admissions officers may not view your participation in these programs favorably, but your takeaways and further research are based on your experience.


Who is it for?

High school students residing in Philadelphia who are looking for an intensive program that dives deep into a specific subject.

Application deadline: January 31, 2023, after which applications are reviewed on a rolling basis

Eligibility: Students in grades 9 - 11

Program dates: July 9, 2023 – July 29, 2023 (with the exception of the American Sign Language and Deaf Culture which starts on July 10, 2023)

Location: Residential (The American Sign Language and Deaf Culture Academy is online)

Fee: $9,700 ($5,500 for the American Sign Language and Deaf Culture Academy)

Financial assistance: Philadelphia residents who attend a School District of Philadelphia public or charter high school are eligible for a scholarship


Led by experienced faculty, these courses blend theory with practical applications in both science and social fields. As a participant, you will spend three weeks exploring a topic in-depth using a combination of lectures, group discussions, lab work, and site visits. Of course, the curriculum for each academy will differ. Options range from physics, neuroscience, mathematics, and biomedical research to social justice and global culture.


Who is it for?

Students looking to earn college credit and sit in on actual undergraduate lessons. Since the program has a residential and an online track, this is suitable for students across the globe.

Application deadline: January 31, 2023 after which applications are reviewed on a rolling basis

Eligibility: Students in grades 10 and 11 (international students need to enroll for a minimum number of credits)

Program dates: June 27, 2023 – August 5, 2023

Location: Residential and online options available

Fee: Ranging from $13,444 - $20,962 for the residential program and $8,044 - $13,056 for the online program, depending on number of credits.

Financial assistance: Philadelphia residents who attend a School District of Philadelphia public or charter high school are eligible for a scholarship

During UPenn’s pre-college program, you will get the opportunity to actually experience life as an undergraduate student. You will take classes and work alongside undergraduate students and can even earn up to 2 college credits. There is a wide range of courses to choose from, including biology, economics, calculus, ethics, linguistics, and gender studies. You can expect daily assignments, required readings, midterms and finals as part of the curriculum. Depending on individual instructors, the online track could be synchronous, asynchronous, or a mix of both.


Who is it for?

Students in and around Philadelphia who want to get an introduction to undergraduate-level studies while learning across multiple disciplines.


Application deadline: January 31, 2023, after which applications are reviewed on a rolling basis


Eligibility: Students in grades 9, 10 and 11


Program dates: July 9, 2023 – July 22, 2023


Location: On campus


Fee: $5,700


Financial assistance: Philadelphia residents who attend a School District of Philadelphia public or charter high school are eligible for a scholarship


Penn Summer Prep is a two-week residential program designed to give high school students a taste of college life and university academics. It is an opportunity for you to explore your interests by choosing two modules from various disciplines, with the choices ranging from medicine and genomics to digital media and literature. The goal of the coursework is to hone your critical thinking and analytical skills, in turn preparing you for college life. On completion of the program, you will receive a certificate and can even ask for a letter of recommendation.


Who is it for?

Students in Philadelphia are looking for support with college applications and career paths.

Application deadline: April 15, 2023

Eligibility: Students in grades 9 and 10. Those from underrepresented backgrounds are encouraged to apply

Program dates: July 10, 2023 – August 4, 2023

Location: On campus

Fee: Free

Essentially meant to prepare students for college life, the Summer Mentorship Program aims at increasing college access to students from underrepresented backgrounds. The program offers hands-on activities that allow participants to explore career options. Digital literacy, SAT test prep, financial literacy, and personal growth are a few of the program’s focus points. As a participant, you will also be matched with one of Penn’s five professional schools (Dental, Engineering, Law, Medicine, and Nursing) for an internship.

Subject-Specific Summer Programs

Who is it for?

Students living in and around Philadelphia who have a keen interest in law and would like to get a glimpse of law school.


Application deadline: June 9, 2023


Eligibility: Students aged 15 – 18 years


Program dates: July 9, 2023 – July 29, 2023


Location: On campus


Fee: $9.499 for residents and $5,999 for commuters


Financial assistance: Limited scholarships are available


Tailored for high-achieving high school students interested in law, this academy provides a comprehensive experience to explore the legal world. The first two weeks will have an introductory focus, looking at contracts, constitutional law, criminal law, and liability. The third week will highlight a specialization such as environmental law or intellectual property. Through the coursework, you will gain exposure to various legal disciplines as well as logical reasoning and leadership skills.


Who is it for?

As an entirely online program, these camps are suited to students who do not live in Pennsylvania or are traveling.


Application deadline: Not specified


Eligibility: Students between the ages of 13 to 18


Program dates: Cohorts available in the fall, spring, and summer


Location: Online


Fee: $2,500


Financial assistance: Philadelphia residents who attend a School District of Philadelphia public or charter high school are eligible for a scholarship


The University of Pennsylvania in collaboration with iD Tech offers this online coding camp for high schoolers interested in the subject. The four pathways available are Python Coding and C++ Coding. C# Coding and JavaScript. Each curriculum will also touch upon related topics like data science or artificial intelligence. Apart from learning the various programming languages, you will also engage in practical usage like developing apps, games, visuals, or web pages. You will leave the program with a solid portfolio and a completion certificate, both of which will enhance your college application.


Who is it for?

Students around the world who are willing to attend a residential program, looking to earn college credit, and are interested in studying a specific engineering track.


Application deadline: April 7, 2023


Eligibility: Rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors who are at least 15 years of age. Each individual course comes with its own academic prerequisites


Program dates: July 9, 2023 – July 29, 2023


Location: On campus


Fee: $8,000


Financial assistance: Need-based financial aid is available


The ESAP is a three-week intensive that allows students to explore university-level engineering. You get to choose one of six offered courses — biotechnology, complex networks, computer graphics, computer science, nanotechnology, and robots. As a participant, you will study theory as well as engage in hands-on practical work. All of your work will be graded and on completion of the program, you will earn 1 credit unit!


And that’s not all. Here’s a bonus option:

Who is it for?

High-achieving students in and around Philadelphia who are interested in business.


Application deadline: April 5, 2023


Eligibility: Rising seniors with a minimum GPA of 3.5


Program dates: Session 1 from June 4, 2023 – June 24, 2023, Session 2 from June 25, 2023 – July 15, 2023, Session 3 from July 16, 2023 – August 5, 2023


Location: On campus


Fee: $9,899


Financial assistance: Various scholarships are available


If learning about entrepreneurship and leadership excites you, then consider applying for this residential Wharton. During these three weeks, you will attend lectures, conduct research, meet industry leaders, and apply real-world practices through digital simulations. The curriculum will cover topics like negotiation, organizational strategy, business model generation, customer centricity, and more. Keep in mind that this is just one option of the Wharton Global Youth Programs, all of which are highly selective.



Our Review

Now that we have covered all major offerings at UPenn that run exclusively for high schoolers in the summer, we should highlight a few points before you make a decision. If you are looking for a research-focused experience that is fully funded and prestigious, you may be better off applying to programs like RSI, SRMP, or HiSTEP. If you are looking for a comprehensive pre-college experience, or wish to gain exposure to a particular subject in a college setting, you can consider applying to these summer programs. Overall, UPenn offers a pretty solid pre-college experience, as well as subject-wise academies, although at a high financial cost. You should combine this experience with components such as a passion project, independent research project, or an internship to ace your college application!


Additionally, you can also work on independent research in AI, through Veritas AI's Fellowship Program!


Veritas AI focuses on providing high school students who are passionate about the field of AI a suitable environment to explore their interests. The programs include collaborative learning, project development, and 1-on-1 mentorship. 


These programs are designed and run by Harvard graduate students and alumni and you can expect a great, fulfilling educational experience. Students are expected to have a basic understanding of Python or are recommended to complete the AI scholars program before pursuing the fellowship. 


The AI Fellowship program will have students pursue their own independent AI research project.


Students work on their own individual research projects over a period of 12-15 weeks and can opt to combine AI with any other field of interest. In the past, students have worked on research papers in the field of AI & medicine, AI & finance, AI & environmental science, AI & education, and more! You can find examples of previous projects here


Location: Virtual

Cost

  • $1,790 for the 10-week AI Scholars program

  • $4,900 for the 12-15 week AI Fellowship 

  • $4,700 for both

  • Need-based financial aid is available. You can apply here

Application deadline: On a rolling basis. Applications for fall cohort have closed September 3, 2023. 

Program dates: Various according to the cohort

Program selectivity: Moderately selective

Eligibility: Ambitious high school students located anywhere in the world. AI Fellowship applicants should either have completed the AI Scholars program or exhibit past experience with AI concepts or Python.

Application Requirements: Online application form, answers to a few questions pertaining to the students background & coding experience, math courses, and areas of interest. 

Stephen is one of the founders of Lumiere and a Harvard College graduate. He founded Lumiere as a Ph.D. student at Harvard Business School. Lumiere is a selective research program where students work 1-1 with a research mentor to develop an independent research paper.


Image Source: UPenn logo

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