What Are Pre-College Programs?

students at pre-college programPre-college programs are awesome!  They are typically held on a college campus during the summer,  and they can last from a few days to several weeks. Colleges often offer these programs to provide extra educational opportunities to high school students, opportunities that you cannot get at your high school.  In this way, you can learn about totally new subjects, or you can gain extra skills to improve your high school performance.  Let’s talk about some of the different types and aspects of these great programs!
Provide gifted kids with enrichment opportunities
Lots of pre-college programs are designed to challenge students in ways that enhance their passions and interests, and stretch them beyond what they can get in the classroom.  These programs tend to be very hands-on and focused on problem-solving, creativity and teamwork.  Most colleges offer some type of summer enrichment programs, and you don’t have to be labeled a “gifted” kid to go–if you are interested, just apply!
Bring kids up to grade level
Many pre-college programs will help you catch up in a skill area where you might need some extra work or help.  These programs can help you in math, reading, writing and even science.  Colleges offer these sorts of programs, and these are excellent ways for you to build your skills and your confidence so that when you go back to school in the Fall you are really feeling ready, with a solid foundation!
Encourage girls to study STEM
Colleges are very interested in recruiting girls to study Science, Tech, Engineering and Math (STEM), so many campuses will host summer pre-college STEM programs for girls.  These programs are fabulous ways for girls to explore these really cool careers and be inspired by female faculty and scientists.  STEM programs will often be hands-on and focused on problem-solving, and you get to meet other really fun girls from all across the country.  Inspiring!

Learn about an area that interests you
Many of these pre-college programs are “field of study” specific, which means that you can focus on a particular subject area that you would like to learn more about, like writing, computer programming, business, etc etc.  These programs exist in nearly all subject areas–some college somewhere will be offering some program in an area of interest to you!  Search the CollegeMapper Summer Programs directory to see what is available, and always check the website of the colleges near you.
Experience a college campus
Not all but many pre-college programs are held on college campuses and you take classes in the college buildings while living in the dormitories with other kids from around the country.  This is a great way to get a taste of what college will be like, and to make new friends, all while learning fun subject matter.
How to apply
Start researching in January and February so that you can apply in February and March.  Many of the pre-college summer programs have early deadlines, so make sure you get your application submitted in time.  They will often offer scholarships, too, if the cost is prohibitive for you, so be sure to ask!  Don’t be shy.  The college would rather have you attend the program than not, so call and explain your situation and ask.  It never hurts to ask!  These programs are really fun and educational, so definitely check them out!


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