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Terp Young Scholars Program - Our Review

Participating in a pre-university program can serve as a strong foundation for college-level education. These programs prepare you for campus life and offer an opportunity to engage in advanced academic studies before applying to colleges.

The Terp Young Scholars Program is a pre-university program tailored for high school students. Recognized for its faculty, rigorous curriculum, and access to university resources, it's a great option for those aiming to kick-start their academic journey.

In this review, we'll delve into the Terp Young Scholars Program, discussing its expenses, benefits, drawbacks, and its standing in the academic community.

What is the Terp Young Scholars Program?

The Terp Young Scholars Program at the University of Maryland is an intensive three-week summer program for high school students entering 10th through 12th grade. This program offers a unique opportunity for motivated students to experience college life firsthand. Participants have the chance to explore their academic interests across STEM, social sciences, and business, interact with passionate professors, and earn three university credits.

The Terp Young Scholars Program is academically rigorous and competitive. Students are accepted as non-degree-seeking learners for the University of Maryland's Summer Session and receive graded credits that become part of their academic record. This program provides a valuable opportunity for high school students to gain a head start on their college education while engaging in college-level courses that can showcase how well they can handle the pressures of higher education even at a younger age.

How is the Terp Young Scholars Program structured?

The Terp Young Scholars Program offers two flexible learning pathways: in-person (commuter) and online, so you can choose one depending on your summer schedule. We will talk about both these offerings and who they are perfect for further down in the blog.

Participating students must select a three-credit course aligned with their interests and career aspirations. Each day, participants commit several hours to coursework, including classes, study sessions, project work, and exam preparation. The credits earned and grades achieved become part of their academic history, recorded on their UMD transcripts.

Classes are held Monday through Friday, with specific schedules determined by the chosen course.

In addition to academic coursework, the commuter option includes interactive afternoon activities that offer a taste of UMD's campus life.

Here’s a glimpse of the range of courses you can take through the Terp Young Scholars Program:

  • Introduction to Forensic Sciences (In-Person)

  • Discovering Architecture (In-Person)

  • Introduction to Economics and the Environment (In-Person)

  • Introduction to Computing (In-Person)

  • International Political Relations (In-Person)

  • Modern Medicine (Online)

  • Creative Coding for Digital Media (Online)

  • Multicultural Psychology in the U.S. (Online)

Where is the Terp Young Scholars Program held?

The Terp Young Scholars Program is held at the University of Maryland campus in College Park, Maryland. Students choosing the commuter option must find accommodations in College Park, as on-campus housing is unavailable.

Those requiring an F-1 visa and I-20 should note that this option is unsuitable, as the University does not provide the necessary paperwork. B visas are not permitted for this program.

Alternatively, students opting for online courses can access the program from anywhere in the world, offering flexibility and accessibility regardless of location.

Who is eligible for its programs?

Students about to enter the 10th, 11th, or 12th grade or graduating high school seniors are eligible to apply. Additionally, applicants must have a solid academic performance, with a GPA of 3.0 or better, to qualify for participation in the program.

What is the cost of applying and participating?

The application and tuition costs for the Terp Young Scholars Program are as follows:

  • $75 Application Fee

  • Commuter Session: $2500

  • Online Session: $1500

Terp Scholars provides a limited selection of partial scholarships. These scholarships differ in amount, involve a competitive selection process, and are contingent upon the availability of funds. None of the scholarships granted exceed 30% of the total program package cost.

Dates and deadlines you should keep in mind before applying

Deadlines are usually the same year on year, so the 2024 dates should be similar to 2023.

Here are the 2023 session dates and deadlines for your reference:

  • Application Deadline: May 1, 2023 (Applications ran from Jan 10, 2023 till May 1, 2023)

  • Program Dates: July 10, 2023 - July 28, 2023

Is the Terp Young Scholars Program prestigious? Is it competitive?

Although the Terp Young Scholars Program doesn't disclose exact acceptance rates on its website, it tends to be more inclusive owing to its paid nature, unlike some fully-funded programs.

If you're aiming for a more prestigious pre-college experience, you might want to explore opportunities such as research fellowships, fully-funded immersive programs, or government-sponsored mentorship initiatives - like the RSI or the Anson L. Clark Scholars Program. These options often provide a more distinguished and competitive experience, owing to their highly selective nature and national or international acclaim.

Pros and cons of attending the Terp Young Scholars Program

Here are some potential benefits and drawbacks to keep in mind when considering this program:


  • You can live like a college student: You stand to gain valuable exposure to college-level courses and campus life, preparing them for the transition to higher education. This encourages self-sufficiency, helps you handle responsibilities, highlights areas for personal growth, and teaches you how to balance courses, extracurriculars, and your well-being. Attending on-campus classes also lets you interact with professors and peers naturally, helping you feel comfortable in a college setting.

  • The program focuses on academic rigor: As a high school student, demonstrating your engagement with college-level coursework may indicate to admissions officers that you have a strong motivation to learn, exhibit a genuine passion for the subject you wish to pursue at a higher level, and that you have a skill set that sets you apart from your peers.

  • It is relatively affordable: The Terp Young Scholars Program’s commuter session comes at a more affordable rate compared to other pre-college programs, which may often end up exceeding $3000 for a 2-3 week program. This provides an opportunity for those seeking a pre-college experience without the burden of steep expenses.

  • You can earn college credits: Successful completion of the program results in college credits that are recorded on your UMD transcript, enhancing your academic record. You can accumulate credits equal to multiple high school honors or AP courses in one summer. This showcases your ability to handle college-level work early on and may leave a good impression on future admissions counselors.


  • You will have to work with a demanding schedule: The Terp Young Scholars program schedule is intense, requiring effort to balance lectures, assignments, and exploring campus life independently. The fast pace might leave little time for reflection or relaxation. Your acceptance indicates your ability to manage the program's rigor.

  • You will not get admission into UMD on the basis of your participation: Participating in TYSP doesn't guarantee admission to UMD’s undergraduate program. However, it's not without value. It can positively impact your application if you can effectively show how you've learned and grown from this experience.

  • Limited to Commuters: Only those who can commute from College Park can attend on-campus courses, as there's no residential option. This may also limit the full college experience for some students.

Our Review

The Terp Young Scholars Program at the University of Maryland offers a promising opportunity for high school students seeking a glimpse of college life. It caters to a diverse range of academic interests and schedules with flexible in-person and online learning options. The program's strengths lie in its provision of challenging college-level courses, interaction with dedicated professors, and the chance to earn university credits, all at a relatively low cost when compared to most pre-college programs.

Additionally, participants benefit from a structured daily schedule and engagement with fellow high school students and UMD undergraduates.

However, there are a few drawbacks to consider. Admissions are competitive, and not all applicants are accepted. For those opting for in-person classes, on-campus housing is unavailable, potentially limiting the full college experience.

The Terp Young Scholars Program is a great fit for motivated high school students looking to explore their academic passions and get a head start on their college journey. If you’re looking for a fully-funded program or a more prestigious pre-college experience, you can browse through more such opportunities here. It's essential to weigh these factors carefully before investing time and money in the program.

One other option – Lumiere Research Scholar Program

If you are passionate about 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.

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