Pre-College Program





Pre-College Program

Pre-College ProgramJune 28 - August 6, 2016

The Pre-College Program is designed for academically curious students interested in the intellectual challenge and residential freedom of a true undergraduate experience. Pre-College students reside in campus dorms, enroll in summer courses alongside Penn undergraduates, and receive college credit for coursework completed.  Our program offers more than thirty undergraduate courses in exciting disciplines taught by Penn faculty, staff, and visiting scholars. Academic advising, access to university learning resources, and college admission workshops are also provided.

How to Apply

The Academic Experience

College Credit Courses

Once accepted into the Pre-College Program, students work in consultation with a Penn academic advisor to select one of three challenging curricula:

  • 1CU: One college-credit course and one non-credit course
  • 1.5CU: Biology 101 with lab
  • 2CU: Two college-credit courses

For complete course descriptions see the Pre-College Course guide.

Students earn one course unit (1 CU, or the equivalent of 4 college credit hours) for each course taken. Biology 101 counts as 1.5 CUs due to the rigorous laboratory component. Summer courses are typically smaller in size and taught by Penn faculty, staff, and visiting scholars. Most classes meet 2 to 5 times weekly, Monday through Friday, and assign homework, research papers, midterms, and/or finals. Textbooks and additional course materials may be required for class.

Registration in a desired course is not guaranteed and many courses fill; early application is strongly advised. 

Non-credit courses

Students enrolled in one college credit course must also enroll in a non-credit enrichment course designed to complement and enhance undergraduate study. Courses may include public speaking, critical reading and academic writing, online research techniques, digital photography, community leadership, and SAT/ACT preparation. These courses are taught by learning specialists with extensive experience preparing students for Ivy League coursework. (Students enrolled in two college courses are considered fully subscribed to academic work and will not be enrolled in a non-credit course.) Enrichment courses typically meet four times weekly, Monday through Thursday.

Grades and Evaluations

Students are evaluated by the same academic standards and procedures as undergraduate students. Completed college credit courses result in an official college grade. Upon completion of the program Pre-College students may request official transcripts from Penn’s Registrar (fee based). Non-credit courses are not subject to credit or grading; nonetheless, regular attendance and work is expected.

The Residential Experience

The Pre-College Program offers a complete residential experience.

  • Housing
    • Students live together in one of Penn’s undergraduate dormitories
    • Historic, fully-air-conditioned dorm features study and social lounges, laundry facilities, vending machines, and hi-speed internet access
    • Single, double, and triple occupancy rooms typically available
  • Dining
    • Meal plan included
    • Three meals Monday through Friday; two meals on Sundays
    • Wide selection of dietary choices, including vegetarian and kosher options
  • Health and Safety
    • Full-time support staff within the dorms
    • All students assigned a Residential Counselor (RC) for mentorship and supervision
    • Residential Counselors live within the dorms and are available 24/7 if needed
    • Students provided access to Penn’s Student Health Services for non-emergency care
  • Extracurriculars
    • Evening and weekend  activities provided
    • Weekend day trips included: previous locales include Washington, D.C., New York City, Hershey Park, King of Prussia Mall, and the Jersey Shore
    • Admissions workshops, study sessions, and campus lecture series available