Penn Summer COVID-19 Update
Penn Summer staff are not onsite, but we are still available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. by phone and online in case you need support: (215) 898-7326 or Visit, the University's dedicated coronavirus COVID-19 web page, for the latest updates.
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Pre-College Program

Pre-College Program

July 1 - August 6, 2021

Dates include move-in and move-out days (if needed).
Applications open on December 1, 2020.


Residential program only (if in-person)

Credit offered

Undergraduate credit offered

Eligibility 10-11th grade

Eligibility: Current 10th-11th grade students

International students

International students welcome

The Pre-College Program has traditionally been an on-campus, in-person experience. Because of COVID-19, the program was delivered entirely online during the summer of 2020, with great success! No decisions regarding delivery (on-campus or online) have been made yet about the summer of 2021.

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 are enrolled 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 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, if on-campus courses are offered. Visas are not required for online courses. Once admitted, you will receive an email 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. (undergraduate courses.)

International student application deadline: April 1, 2021
Application deadline: May 1, 2021

Get application information »


Explore exciting topics in college-level courses

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

• One college-credit and one non-credit enrichment course (1 c.u.)* 
• Biology 101 with lab (1.5 c.u.) 
• Two college-credit courses (2 c.u.) 
• Biology 101 with lab and a second college credit course (2.5 c.u.) 

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

Pre-College Program students enrolled in one college-level course may also enroll in a non-credit critical reading and academic writing enrichment course designed to complement and enhance undergraduate study. This class is taught by learning specialists with extensive experience preparing students for the Ivy League. Enrichment courses typically meet two to four times weekly, Monday through Thursday. Students enrolled in two college courses are considered fully subscribed to academic work and will not be enrolled in a non-credit course. 

View summer 2020 courses in the Pre-College Program course guide.

Earn academic credit from the University of Pennsylvania

Pre-College Program students are evaluated by the same academic standards and procedures as Penn undergraduates. 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. 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

The following program features have traditionally been part of the Pre-College on-campus experience. In summer 2020, the program was delivered entirely online and was not a residential program. No decisions regarding delivery (on-campus or online) have been made yet about the summer of 2021.

The Penn Summer High School Pre-College Program is a residential program that offers the following:  

  • Housing: Students live together in the heart of Penn’s campus in fully air-conditioned undergraduate dormitories featuring study and social lounges, laundry facilities, vending machines, and high-speed internet access. Single, double, and triple occupancy rooms typically available.
  • Dining: Program tuition includes a meal plan with two meals included Monday through Friday and two meals on Sundays. Campus dining features a wide selection of dietary choices, including vegetarian and kosher options, and there is an exciting variety of retail food outlets throughout campus.
  • Health and safety: All Pre-College Program students are assigned a Residential Counselor (RC) for mentorship and supervision. Residential Counselors live in the dorms and are available 24/7 if needed. Students also have access to Penn's Student Health Services for non-emergency care.

In addition to classes, Pre-College Program students enjoy evening and weekend activities that introduce scholars to student life at Penn and the city of Philadelphia. Weekend day trips have included: Washington, DC, New York City, Hershey Park, King of Prussia Mall, and the Jersey Shore. College preparatory admissions workshops, study sessions, and campus lecture series are also 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.