Pre-College Program

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July 2 - August 10, 2019

Dates include move-in and move-out days

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

International student application deadline: April 1, 2019
Application deadline: May 1, 2019

Get application information >


Earn college credit from an Ivy League university and take classes with Penn undergraduates!

There’s no shortage of places to eat on campus. From all-you-can-eat cafés to quick and easy markets, Penn dining plans have everything to fit your palate and budget.

Penn Summer offers on-campus housing options for students. Enjoy state-of-the-art facilities perfect for relaxing, studying and making lifelong friends.

As the only American city to be named a World Heritage City, Philadelphia has endless sights to see and is the perfect place to spend your summer. (Photo Credit: Photo by Bob Krist for the PHLCVB)

College-level courses

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

  • One college-credit and one non-credit course (1 c.u.)*
  • Biology 101 with lab (1.5 c.u.)
  • Two college-credit courses (2 c.u.)

Summer 2019 course offerings are now available in the Pre-College course guide.

Students earn one course unit (1 c.u., the equivalent of 4 college credit hours) for each course taken. Biology 101 counts as 1.5 c.u. 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 two to five times weekly, Monday through Friday, and assign homework, research papers, midterms and/or finals. Textbooks and additional course materials may be required for a class.

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

Enrichment courses

Students enrolled in one college-level course must also enroll in a non-credit enrichment course designed to complement and enhance undergraduate study. Courses offered include Introduction to Critical Reading and Academic Writing and SAT Preparation Skills. These courses are taught by learning specialists with extensive experience preparing students for the Ivy League. Enrichment courses typically meet three to six hours weekly. Students enrolled in two college courses are considered fully subscribed to academic work and will not be enrolled in an enrichment course.

Grades and evaluations

Students are evaluated by the same academic standards and procedures as Penn undergraduates. Upon successful completion of the program and all coursework within, students may request official transcripts from Penn’s Registrar (fee-based). Enrichment courses are not subject to credit or grading; however regular attendance and work are expected.

Students planning to transfer these grades to their future undergraduate record or institution should be aware that transfer credit is awarded at the discretion of the institution, including the University of Pennsylvania. Learn more about Penn’s transfer credit policies for pre-baccalaureate coursework

International students

The Pre-College Program welcomes international applicants. Any student that is not a US citizen or permanent resident will require an F-1 student visa to study in the US. Once admitted, you will receive an e-mail from the International Student and Scholar Services office with instructions for applying for your I-20. The I-20 is the form you need to apply for an F-1 student visa at your closest US Embassy or Consulate. The F-1 visa requires students to enroll in a full-time course load of two c.u.s (undergraduate courses.)

The residential experience

The Pre-College Program offers a complete residential experience.

  • Students live together in the heart of Penn’s campus in undergraduate dormitories
  • Fully air-conditioned dorms feature study and social lounges, laundry facilities, vending machines and hi-speed internet access
  • Single, double and triple occupancy rooms typically available
  • Meal plan included
  • Two 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 in the dorms and are available 24/7 if needed
  • Students provided access to Penn's Student Health Services for non-emergency care
Extracurricular activities
  • Evening and weekend activities that introduce scholars to student life at Penn and in the City of Philadelphia
  • Weekend day trips have included: 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

*Academic credit is defined by the University of Pennsylvania as a course unit (c.u.). A course unit (c.u.) is a general measure of academic work over a period of time, typically a term (semester or summer). A c.u. (or a fraction of a c.u.) represents different types of academic work across different types of academic programs and is the basic unit of progress toward a degree. One c.u. is usually converted to a four-semester-hour course.

Pre-College Program



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Penn Summer

3440 Market Street, Suite 100
Philadelphia, PA 19104-3335

(215) 898-7326

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