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Our Review of NYU’s Pre-college Program - Should You Do It?

Participating in a pre college program can serve as a solid stepping stone to college-level education. Not only do these programs prepare you to live and thrive in a campus setting, but if you are looking to engage in college-level academics before applying, participating is a solid option you can consider.


NYU's Precollege Program is a popular pre-college program for high school students, known for its faculty, challenging curriculum, and comprehensive access to the university's resources.


For prospective scholars seeking a head start in academia, let's navigate the comprehensive landscape of the NYU Precollege experience.


We will be covering the program in depth, as well as its costs, pros, cons, and its prestige.


What is NYU Precollege?

Joining NYU's summer program offers high school students a unique chance to learn at a global university with diverse peers.


The 6-week NYU Precollege program enables high school juniors and seniors to take college-level courses for credit while experiencing NYU student life. The program covers over 30 subjects from computer science to creative writing, supplemented by social events fostering camaraderie.


Will participating in NYU Precollege gain me an acceptance to NYU?

Participation in this program should not be confused with a guarantee of college admission. The summer programs are usually non-competitive and are run by a different group in the university than the admissions office. That said, these programs can help you showcase your interest in the subject and can help show “demonstrated interest” in the university (meaning if they accept you, you are likely to matriculate). Your ability to leverage this experience to showcase your development and progress will ultimately be what determines its impact on your college application.


How is NYU Precollege structured?

NYU Precollege students can earn up to 8 credits (two classes) during the summer term (6 weeks).


As an NYU Precollege student, you can access a diverse range of online and in-person undergraduate courses spanning all academic domains. The choices are extensive, whether exploring journalism, diving into engineering and design, or venturing into business and finance.


In addition to coursework, precollege participants can participate in the College 101 workshop series, featuring online information sessions and training in essential skills and knowledge for college success. This includes learning about the admissions process, financial aid, and crafting exceptional essays.


Beyond the classroom, students can partake in a comprehensive calendar of on-campus social events and organized excursions to events such as Broadway shows, baseball games, museum tours, and much more.


In addition to the Summer Term, NYU also offers Precollege in the Fall and Spring terms as well.



What is the acceptance rate? Is it prestigious?

While specific acceptance rates for NYU's high school summer programs aren't published on the official website, they are more welcoming rather than highly selective owing to its paid nature, as opposed to other fully-funded programs.


If you're seeking a more prestigious pre-college experience, consider applying to research fellowships, fully-funded immersion programs, or government-sponsored mentorship initiatives.



Where is NYU Precollege held?

Most courses take place at the NYU Washington Square campus, though Tandon School of Engineering classes could be held at the NYU Brooklyn campus.


Residing on campus is exclusively an option for students enrolled in NYU Precollege during the summer term. Campus housing is not accessible to students attending classes in the fall or spring terms.



Who is eligible for its programs?

The NYU Precollege Summer term allows applications from ambitious high school students who will be entering either the 11th or 12th grades in the upcoming summer.

Students enrolled in the 11th and 12th grades are eligible to apply for the fall and spring semesters. Additionally, having a cumulative GPA of 3.0 is advised.



What is the cost of applying and participating?

The NYU Precollege Program entails various costs. The costs for the Summer session are as follows:

  • Application Fee: A non-refundable $50 fee is required to apply.

  • Tuition: Tuition depends on the number of credits you take. Typically, you can determine NYU Precollege tuition by multiplying the credit cost with your desired credit count. It starts at 0 credits ($700 in Fees). The costs of credits range from $1,844 (1 credit) to $14,752 (8 credits).

  • Housing and Dining (for residential students): $3,827

  • Program Fee (for all students): $300


The provided totals don't cover specific charges tied to individual courses, like lab or equipment fees.


Students can choose to take 0 to 8 credits, equivalent to 1-3 classes.

The maximum credits allowed are 4 during fall or spring semesters and 8 during the summer.


A select number of scholarships are available to students who demonstrate academic excellence and financial need.



Dates and deadlines you should keep in mind before applying

The 2023-2024 Program Dates are:

  • Summer 2023: July 5 - August 16, 2023

  • Fall 2023: September 5 - December 22, 2023

  • Spring 2024: January 22 - May 14, 2024

  • Summer 2024: TBA


The applications for Summer 2023 are already closed.

The deadlines for the upcoming sessions are as follows:

  • Fall 2023 Application Deadline: August 15, 2023

  • Spring 2024 Application Deadline: January 1, 2024

  • Summer 2024 Final Application Deadline: June 12, 2024



Pros and Cons You Should Consider

While assessing the NYU Precollege Program, it's essential to consider your personal priorities and circumstances. Here, we highlight several benefits and possible drawbacks for your consideration:


Pros:

  1. Access to expert faculty and NYU’s resources: Gain an advantage from NYU's connections with prominent institutions and experts in New York. Your film class might feature guest lectures by a film director, while your Art History course could include a curated tour of the Met. As a Pre College student, you'll enjoy individual academic guidance and access to NYU's resources, events, and services. You can use the NYU Library System for research, connect with peers through events, and maximize your learning with NYU's educational tools.

  2. Diverse peer connections: NYU Precollege provides an opportunity to connect with a diverse and global cohort, fostering bonds among individuals from various backgrounds and interests. This intense summer experience turns classmates into collaborators and friends, expanding your horizons through new perspectives and cultural exchanges. Building personal and academic connections becomes as valuable as any other aspect of the program.

  3. Enrichment of college applications: Enrolling in NYU Precollege demonstrates your dedication to academic excellence, highlighting your readiness to embrace challenges, keep up with college-level studies, and thrive in an academically competitive environment.

  4. Immersive college life: The experience of living independently delivers practical benefits like encouraging self-sufficiency, navigation of responsibilities, and active engagement in campus life. This period of autonomy aids in self-discovery, pinpoints areas for growth, and hones your skills in balancing courses, personal well-being, extracurriculars, and relationships.

  5. Earn college credits: NYU Precollege provides an avenue for you to gain transferable credits. In a single summer, you can accumulate credits equivalent to multiple honors or AP high school courses, which stand as a testament to your adeptness in handling collegiate-level work far earlier than expected. Moreover, future admissions counselors view your ability to thrive in a college setting favorably, further enhancing your prospects.


Cons:

  1. Significant financial commitment: Commuters face an initial program cost of over $1,500, while those residing on campus encounter a starting point that goes over $5,500. These financial implications can potentially dilute the prestige often linked with such programs, particularly since admission officers tend to favor initiatives that offer compensation for participation rather than the opposite.

  2. Demanding schedule: The intensity of the program's schedule should not be underestimated. Balancing lecture attendance, assignment completion, study commitments, and the opportunity to explore campus life independently requires significant effort. The pace can feel accelerated, leaving minimal room for reflection or relaxation. Adequate preparation, including utilizing NYU’s available resources, is essential for effectively handling challenges, setbacks, and the demanding nature of the environment. It's important to note that your acceptance indicates your academic prowess to handle the program's rigor.



Final Review

The NYU Precollege Program offers a comprehensive and enriching experience for high school students seeking a taste of college life in the heart of New York City. With a diverse range of courses taught by accomplished faculty, participants benefit from exposure to rigorous academics and a vibrant campus culture. The program's urban location provides greataccess to cultural resources, networking opportunities, and a preview of city living.


Pros include access to NYU's top-notch facilities, engagement with like-minded peers from around the world, and a chance to earn college credits early. The program's emphasis on independence fosters personal growth and prepares students for the demands of higher education. Plus, gaining college credits in one's areas of interest demonstrates academic prowess as high schoolers tackle college-level material.


However, potential downsides include the cost, which can be prohibitive for some families, and the intensity of coursework that might overwhelm those unprepared for a rigorous academic load.


The NYU Precollege Program is ideal for motivated, academically curious students eager to explore college life and the cultural offerings of NYC. Conversely, those seeking a more rigorous, prestigious, and cost-effective summer experience might not find the program as worthwhile.


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. 


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



If you are passionate about conducting research, you could also consider applying to the Lumiere Research Scholar Program, a selective online high school program for students I 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.

Stephen is one of the founders of Lumiere and a Harvard College graduate. He founded Lumiere as a PhD 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: NYU logo


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