High School

Penn Summer Scholars Program

Penn Summer Scholars Program

The Penn Summer Scholars Program is a tuition-free opportunity for academically exceptional Philadelphia public and charter high school students to perform study beyond the level offered in high school and to gain a college experience through participation in a three week summer academy at the University of Pennsylvania.

Current academy offerings are the Biomedical Research Academy, in partnership with the Department of Biology, the Experimental Physics Academy, in partnership with the Department of Physics and Astronomy, the Chemistry Research Academy, in partnership with the Department of Chemistry, and the Social Justice Research Academy. Academies meet Monday through Friday, 9am – 4:30pm, and include guided laboratory or research work, guest lectures, discussion groups, and relevant field trips. Qualified students may participate free of charge and will be issued official PennCards, with benefits including access to campus libraries, computer labs, research facilities and resources typical of undergraduate students. In addition, lunch stipends will be provided.

Although each academy sets its own curriculum the guiding principles of the academies are the same:

  • Highest level of academic rigor and quality
  • Combination of traditional content delivery and experiential learning opportunities
  • Capstone project at the end of the program

Penn Summer Scholars Program

Student Profile & Eligibility

  • Attends a School District of Philadelphia public or charter high school
  • Receives Title I funding, as verified by school principal or administrator
  • Maintains a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.3 or equivalent
  • Achieves standardized test scores (PSAT, SAT, or ACT) in the 85th percentile or higher
  • Demonstrates a diverse array of extra-curricular activities
  • Entering grade 10, 11, or 12 in the fall
  • Biomedical applicants ONLY - Completed one year high school Biology
  • Chemistry applicants ONLY - Completed one year high school Chemistry
  • Experimental Physics applicants ONLY – Completed one year high school Physics

Application Process

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Students must complete all of the following to be considered for admission. Applications will be reviewed in early June and selected finalists will be invited to campus for an interview. Scholars will be notified by the end of June.

Application includes:

  • Complete Hard Copy Application
  • 1 letter of recommendation from a teacher or guidance counselor
  • 2 short essays questions
  • Official high school transcript
  • Copy of test scores: PSAT, SAT, or ACT; If not available a second letter of recommendation is required as a substitute.
  • If English is not the student’s primary language they must submit an official TOEFL score report (combined score of 100ibt minimum)