The 12 Best Pre-College Summer Programs

9. American Law and Litigation at the University of Chicago 

Students who will be sophomores, juniors or seniors during the 2014-15 academic year are able to take a law course for three weeks at the University of Chicago. Attendees get the opportunity to see how the law system works by reading real cases and preparing for court. This program allows students to practice oral advocacy and includes a trip to the federal court in Chicago.

Application deadline: Session I: April 15, 2014, Session II: May 1, 2014

Program Dates: Session I: June 23-July 11, 2014, Session II: July 14-August 1, 2014


  • Tuition: $3,440
  • Room and board (if in residence): $1,707
  • Residential program fee (if in residence): $290
  • Student life fee (required for all students): an estimated $335
  • Student health insurance (optional): an estimated $1,007

To apply: On the website, add the program to your shopping cart and begin the application.

General Studies

10. PreCollege Summer Program at Pratt Institute

This four-week program is held at Pratt Institute in New York and allows students to study art, design, architecture or creative writing. High school students who are 16 to 18 years old and have completed their sophomore year of high school take three classes and one course of their choice for college credit. Students are able to enhance their portfolios, listen to guest lecturers in the field and attend social and cultural events. All levels of experience are welcome.

Application deadline: April 1, 2014

Program dates: July 7–Aug. 1, 2014

Cost: $3,298 plus fees: $866 for housing,
$740 for a meal plan, $112 for local transportation fee (30-day MetroCard for Brooklyn residential students only), $175 optional board (lunch) only for commuters

To apply: Submit a letter of recommendation, a letter of intent detailing why you want to attend the program, and a completed application form (found on the program website).

11. National Student Leadership Conference

The National Student Leadership Conference offers a range of topics for students to study, from sports and entertainment management to forensic science. The locations and lengths of the programs vary by subject, and all high school students are able to apply. These programs are held for motivated, dedicated and ambitious students who want to develop leadership skills, experience life on a college campus and explore future career options.

Application deadline: Rolling

Program dates: Vary by program

Cost: Varies by program

To apply: Fill out the application on the program website.

12. Brown University Pre-College Programs

Each summer, Brown University offers almost 200 courses for students who have completed their freshman year of high school. Students can take multiple courses, getting the feel of receiving an Ivy League education without the pressure of grades. From African studies to medicine, the program offers a variety of subjects so that students can see what interests them.

Lauren Timlin, a freshman at the University of Florida, studied critical writing through this program. “I met people from all over the world, like Colombia and Hong Kong, and learned about their cultures,” she says. “I also learned expressive writing skills from excellent professors and got to learn in an Ivy League environment.”

Application deadline: Rolling

Program dates: Multiple sessions between the dates of June 16 and Aug. 8, 2014

Cost: Varies depending on course length

To apply: Submit your high school transcript, an essay and the application found on the program website.