Summer Courses for High School Students at Top Colleges and Universities

When it comes to college admissions, it doesn’t get more important than high school summers. While other students might be relaxing by the pool or going to the movies, this is your time to get ahead, to make valuable additions to your candidacy, and to get yourself one step closer to the college of your dreams.

During the beginning of your second semester or third quarter at your high school, you should start making a concrete plan for your upcoming summer. While there is a multitude of options—from internships to summer jobs to debate camps—spending your time doing something that you are passionate about, that will be relevant to your likely course of study, and that will eventually support your application persona (or theme to your application) is of the utmost importance.

If you are a student with a serious academic interest or a clear idea of what your dream school is, taking a summer course at a university is a great idea. Nothing says “this student is interested in poetry” like taking a course on poetry at a college over the summer (in addition to writing and publishing your own poems, of course). Nothing says “I want to go to Yale” like taking summer courses at Yale and working to build relationships with Yale professors.

If this sounds like you, below is a list of summer courses for high school students at top colleges in the US:

1. Harvard University

Harvard Pre-College Summer Program Courses

Session 1: June 29-July 10

Session 2: July 12-24

Session 3: July 27–August 7

Application Deadline: April 14

Tuition: $4,200

2. Yale University

Yale Pre College Summer Program Courses

Session 1: June 1-July 3

  • Application Deadline, International Students: April 27
  • Application Deadline, U.S. Students: May 11

Session 2: July 6-August 7

  • Application Deadline, International Students: May 18
  • Application Deadline, U.S. Students: June 15

Tuition for one course: $3,600

Residential Program Fee: $2,975

3. Columbia University

Columbia Pre-College Summer Program Courses

Session 1: June 28-July 18

Session 2: July 20 – August 8

Priority Application Deadline: February 4

Application Deadline: April 1

Tuition: $8,317.00

4. Stanford University

Stanford Pre-College Summer Program Courses

Session 1: June 21 – July 10

Session 2: July 13 – August 1

Session 2E: July 13 – August 8

Early Application Deadline: January 21

Regular Application Deadline: March 4

Extended Application Deadline: April 1

Tuition: Session 1 & 2: $5990, Session 2E: $7,650

5. University of Chicago

University of Chicago Pre-College Summer Program Courses

Session 1: June 20-July 10

Session 2: July 11-31

Application Deadlines:

  • International Students: April 15
  • U.S. students: May 1

Tuition: $3,620 per course

As summer courses for high school students at top colleges are competitive, contact one of our college admissions experts to guide you through the application process!

6. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

MIT Summer Courses: MIT doesn’t offer traditional summer school programs for high school students, but it does offer programs through partner organizations. Be sure to check out the list!

7. Duke University

Duke Pre-College Summer Program Courses:

Summer College Session: July 5-July 31

Summer Academy Session: July 11-July 31


  • Summer College :$7,950
  • Summer Academy: $5,650

8. University of Pennsylvania

UPenn Summer Courses

Session 1: June 30-August 8

Session 2: July 2-August 7

Application Deadline: June 1

Tuition: $10,599 (1 College Course + 1 Non-Credit Enrichment Course)

9. Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins Summer Program Courses

Summer University Sessions:

  • Term I: May 26 – June 26 (commuters)
  • Term II: June 29 – July 31 (commuters)
  • Term II: June 28 – August 1 (residential)

Mini-Term Sessions:

  • MT I: June 21-July 3 (residential)
  • MT II: July 5-18 (residential)
  • MT III: July 19-August 1 (residential)

Discover Hopkins Sessions:

  • Session I: June 21-July 3 (residential)
  • Session II: July 5-18 (residential)
  • Session III: July 19-August 1 (residential)

Application Deadlines:

  • International Applicants: February 15
  • Financial Aid Applicants: March 15
  • Residential Students: April 1
  • Commuter Students: May 18 for Term I; June 22 for Term II
  • Discover Hopkins I & II: Residential: June 1; Commuter: June 15


  • Summer University: $8,890
  • Summer University Mini-Term: $3,325
  • Discover Hopkins: $2,550

10. Northwestern University

Northwestern Summer Program Courses:

Session Dates:

  • 3 week session: June 21-July 11
  • 4 week session: June 21-July 18
  • 6 week session: June 21-August 1
  • 8 week session: June 21-August 15
  • Three 3 week intensive sessions: June 21-August 22

Application Deadlines:

  • Early, international, and tuition scholarship applicants: March 6
  • U.S. applicants: April 10


  • College Credit Course:  $3,903
  • Seminar: $2,000

11. Washington University – St. Louis

Washington University Summer Program Courses

Session A: June 7-July 11

Session B: July 12-August 14

Session A Application Deadline  

  • International applicant: March 20
  • U.S. applicant: May 1

Session B Application Deadline

  • International applicant: March 20
  • U.S. applicant: June 5

Tuition: $7475

12. Cornell University

Cornell Summer Program Courses

Session 1 (3 week): June 20-July 11

Session 2 (3 week): July 12-August 1

6 week program: June 20-August 4

Application Deadline: March 13


  • 3 week: $6,020
  • 6 week: $12,100
  • Additional charge for non-U.S. citizens: $135.69 for 3 weeks, $271.38 for 6 weeks

13. Brown University

Brown Pre College Summer Courses

Brown Summer Session Dates

Tuition: Depends on the program

14. University of Notre Dame

Notre Dame Pre College Summer Courses:

Summer Scholars Session: June 27-July 11

Leadership Seminars Session: July 18-July 29

Application Deadline, Summer Scholar: January 30

Application Deadline, Leadership Seminar: January 23

Tuition: $3,100

Summer courses for high school students at top colleges are an effective way of validating and exploring your passions, learning more about colleges, and expressing your interest in particular schools. For help determining which summer sessions are a good fit for you, contact one of our college admissions experts!


About the Author

Yosepha Greenfield grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from Yale University with a B.A. in Political Science. While at Yale, she was the Captain of the Women’s Basketball team and the starting point guard. Under her leadership, the team advanced to the NIT tournament for the first time in program history.

Throughout her academic, athletic, and professional career, Yosepha has dedicated herself to helping people become the best version of themselves. She has mentored several young female athletes, promoted the importance of fitness through children’s exercise videos and fitness startups, and now works to help as many students as possible achieve their admissions goals.

Yosepha is also a six-time National Champion in Tae Kwon Do.