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Your Cornell Summer: 5 Cool Programs for Summer Learning

Your Cornell Summer: 5 Cool Programs for Summer Learning

Cornell University was founded in 1865 by Ezra Cornell and Andrew Dickson White. It is a renowned Ivy League University and ranks in the top 30 of the world’s best universities.

While you probably know Cornell is a great university, what you may not know is that Cornell also offers some noteworthy summer programs and pre-college offerings.

If you’re interested in finding out about some of the best summer programs out there and you want to get a taste of what life would be like as a student at Cornell while you’re still in high school, Cornell has residential and online summer adventures in store for you!


Here’s a closer look at 5 of the best summer programs Cornell offers:

1. Pre-College Studies

Students in grades 10 through 12 are eligible to participate in the Cornell Pre-College Residential Summer Program and can choose from some fifty undergraduate courses across a wide range of disciplines.

“You can select from more than 50 Cornell courses in Architecture and the Arts, Business and Hospitality, Health and Humanities, International Relations, Science and Technology, Social Change, Veterinary Medicine, and more…”

Whatever pathway you apply for, the program is a great way to experience college-level learning with opportunities that span three to six weeks. You’ll also earn real college credit for the courses you complete, receive a prestigious Cornell transcript, and improve your academic and social skill sets.

In the past, the program included opportunities to study on campus, but in 2023, the courses were offered online only and cost $1,750 per credit. Sign up for the program email list to keep up to date about next summer’s options and offerings

Financial aid is available to eligible US and International students. For more information on this Cornell high school summer learning opportunity, take a look here

2.Engineering Catalyst Academy

Talking about the best summer programs out there... For an amazing inclusive experience in engineering that’s open to all genders, you can join the Catalyst Academy at Cornell. This one-week residential program in engineering is a great opportunity for intensive learning and to really discover what it’s like to go to Cornell — including staying in dorms and networking with peers, faculty, and current Cornell students. 

“The Academy seeks primarily to develop literacy surrounding engineering as a major course of study in college, showcase career and graduate school pathways in engineering, and demystify the admissions process…”

During this action-packed week-long summer adventure in engineering, you’ll attend classes led by Cornell engineering faculty, work on a research project with students and staff alike, and participate in ten academic field sessions as well as one administrative session.

Students from underrepresented STEM groups are encouraged to apply and will automatically be considered for a fee waiver. See if you meet the eligibility criteria for these groups here. Costs without a fee waiver are just $1450.

Required application materials include an essay, along with an official transcript and counselor report. 

Cornell’s Catalyst Academy Summer Program is a fantastic opportunity to get a feel for life on campus, experience immersive learning, and decide if engineering is a good match for you.

 3. Online Pre-College Courses

The summer online courses for high school students at Cornell are two-week intensive academic programs that will give you a taste of college coursework with more than 100 regular undergraduate courses to choose from! 

From Architecture to Veterinary Medicine, these courses are delivered by an expert team of Cornell academics and can earn you between three and eight college credits in addition to a Cornell transcript. 

What else can you get out of a pre-college summer program like this?...

  • Make rewarding connections online with a diverse group of other highly motivated students from around the US and the world
  • Boost your study skills
  • Get a leg up with individualized admissions counseling designed to help you with the college application process

“It's a great chance to experience college academics, explore potential majors, and plan for your future, all without leaving home…”

Prices begin from $1750 per credit and there are options for financial aid. If you can’t make the summer then these courses are also offered in Spring, Fall and Winter. 

Why not expand your horizons with an amazing academic offering like this one next summer?

Visit SummerApply! anytime for resources that make it easy to find a summer opportunity that’s right for you!

4. CURIE Academy Summer Program

Do you excel in math or science?..

Are you a female in grades eleven or twelve?...

Interested in engineering but haven’t had much exposure to it?...

If so, then the CURIE Academy Summer Program at Cornell could be a great choice for you…

Running for one week in the summer, the CURIE program aims to showcase graduate school and career pathways in engineering, help high school women develop engineering literacy, and provide participants with counseling that demystifies the college application and admissions process.

The academy especially supports young women who are underrepresented in the STEM fields and may not have had an equitable learning experience so far:

“CURIE Academy recognizes that not all students have equitable access to STEM educational opportunities and resources.  Therefore, we strongly encourage girls whose backgrounds and lived experiences are traditionally underrepresented in STEM fields, or who may not have access to robust, STEM-related curricular resources, to apply for CURIE Academy.”

What you’ll do…

  • Reside on campus for one week
  • Attend classes daily, led by Cornell engineering faculty and designated graduate students
  • Participate in nine field studies across engineering majors offered at Cornell
  • Join one field session focused on the college application process

Costs are $1450 for the week and scholarship options can be found here. 

You do not have to be a US citizen or resident for this course, but pending any future updates to eligibility requirements, you do need to live in the US and attend high school in the US. Check the Cornell University program page for next summer’s program information and updates.

5. English for International Students and Scholars

Do you want to enhance your English Language skills and explore US culture?

Are you thinking of studying in the US or using English for a new job or career?

If so, then the English for International Students and Scholars (EISS) program at Cornell is a wonderful choice.

There are two three-week sessions running in the summer. Students may attend either session, or both sessions. The courses are online and focus on project-based learning, incorporating students' academic interests and professional topics.

Your teachers will be ESOL professionals, and you’ll have a great opportunity to improve your spoken and written English with this comprehensive program. The program costs $2270 and requires an online application form and an English proficiency test. Here is what some recent students had to say about the program: 

"If you are new to the United States and excited about this upcoming journey, EISS is simply the best way to learn English and experience a new culture, Ithaca and Cornell."

— Phil Park, Korea (MBA '21)

"Through the EISS program, I had great preparation before the start of my Master's Degree. I improved my pronunciation, writing, and discussion skills. Also, I met wonderful friends with whom I am still in contact and made long-lasting friendships."

— Dayris G. Arias Bravo, Perú (MBA '20)

You can attend EISS online from anywhere in the world, connect online with other highly motivated and diverse international students, and take your English language proficiency to a new level.

Your Next Steps…

We hope that you’ve had fun reading about these amazing Cornell summer programs.

Hopefully we’ve made it a bit easier to find a summer program or pre-college opportunity that’s a great match for you.

Remember, experiencing life as a university student and joining a community of fellow students is a great way to have fun while you build advanced communication, networking, and social skills. Each of these outstanding high school, pre-college programs at Cornell University can help you do just that!

In addition, you’ll be rewarded with insights and accomplishments that make it easy to put some extra shine on your college applications down the road! 

So whether you decide Cornell is the place for you next summer, or you’re still checking out other summer enrichment options, what are you waiting for?

SummerApply! has all the resources you need at your fingertips, with tools that make it easy to search, find, and explore the best summer opportunities ever — for learning, enrichment, and adventure!