5 Pre-College Programs for Liberal Arts

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Diverse group of young people chatting in college library

5 Pre-College Programs for Liberal Arts

For students interested in liberal arts – which includes subjects like literature, history, philosophy, and the social sciences, Pre-college programs can be a valuable opportunity to delve deeper into their passions and explore potential college majors. Here, we highlight 5 Pre-College Programs for Liberal Arts, each offering unique experiences and learning opportunities to help students broaden their horizons and prepare for their future academic journeys.

The following 5 pre-college programs offer high school students a chance to explore their interests and gain a taste of college life, especially in the field of liberal arts. These programs often include a mix of academic coursework, interactive workshops, and social activities, providing a well-rounded experience.

1. Liberal Arts Experience at Carleton College

  • Location: Carleton College, Northfield, Minnesota.
  • Cost: To be announced.
  • Program Dates: To be announced.
  • Application Deadline: To be announced.
  • Eligibility: Black or African American, or who has an interest in African American culture. High school sophomores.

Carleton College offers the Carleton Liberal Arts Experience (CLAE), a week-long, cost-free program designed just for students like you. This program, held at Carleton College near the Twin Cities, offers an in-depth look into subjects like science, art, social studies, and technology. It’s ideal for students curious about liberal arts or those who identify as Black or African American, focusing on African-American culture and community. Participants will experience college life by staying in dorms and attending courses on various topics, including the African American experience and the science of forensics.

Entrance sign and Skinner Memorial Chapel on the campus of Carleton College.

CLAE is more than just classes; it includes activities in the college town and trips to the Twin Cities, offering a taste of college life and the chance to make new friends. Additionally, the program prepares students for college applications with workshops on writing successful applications, understanding the application process and financial aid, and navigating college life. These sessions provide insights into the uniqueness of a liberal arts education and practical advice for future college students.

2. Summer Liberal Arts Institute at Carleton College

  • Location: Carleton College, Northfield, Minnesota.
  • Cost: $4,500 ($75 for application fee)
  • Program Dates: July 6- July 26, 2024
  • Application Deadline: First: February 5, 2024, Second: March 11, 2024
  • Eligibility: 10th and 11th grade students

The Summer Liberal Arts Institute (SLAI) at Carleton College is a three-week program starting from July 6th to July 26th in 2024, ideal for high school juniors and seniors interested in liberal arts. It’s more than just a summer course; it’s an intensive experience to deepen your knowledge in various academic fields. Located in Northfield, Minnesota, Carleton College provides a serene setting for your summer studies.

Laird Hall on the campus of Carleton College

If you’re in your sophomore or junior year of high school and are passionate about subjects like science, philosophy, or the arts, SLAI is for you. The program values academic diversity and enthusiasm for interdisciplinary studies. SLAI offers an immersive learning environment where you can explore different subjects, engage in debates, and contribute to the academic community.

3. Reimagining Society Program at Carleton Summer Liberal Arts Institute

  • Location: Carleton College, Northfield, Minnesota.
  • Cost: $4,500 ($75 application fee)
  • Program Dates: July 6- July 26, 2024
  • Application Deadline: First: February 5, 2024, Second: March 11, 2024
  • Eligibility: 10th and 11th grade students

The Reimagining Society Program at the Carleton Summer Liberal Arts Institute is a three-week intensive course designed for high school students interested in sociology, environmental studies, or German studies. If you’re a sophomore or junior keen on understanding and addressing societal issues, especially in the context of capitalism and climate change, this program is tailored for you. Held at Carleton College’s scenic campus in Northfield, Minnesota, it offers an immersive environment for both academic and personal growth.

a group of student having a debate

During the program, students will delve into how capitalism shapes our lives and our relationship with nature and society. Through intensive study and discussions, you’ll explore these complex topics and develop critical thinking skills. The program emphasizes the importance of close reading, effective communication, and proper source citation, preparing you for future academic endeavors. It’s an opportunity to challenge your views, gain new insights, and join a community of learners passionate about making a difference. If you’re ready to dive deep into societal issues, consider applying to this transformative program.

4. Summer Humanities Institute at Stanford University

  • Location: Stanford University, Stanford, California.
  • Cost: $8,250 ($65 application fee)
  • Program Dates: First: June 23- July 12, 2024; Second: July 14- August 2, 2024.
  • Application Deadline: February 1, 2024 at 11:59 pm Pacific Time
  • Eligibility: 10th and 11th grade students

The Stanford Summer Humanities Institute is a three-week residential program offering high school juniors and seniors a unique opportunity to delve into the humanities. Hosted at Stanford University, known for its academic excellence, the program runs in two sessions: from June 23 to July 12, and from July 14 to August 2, 2024. It’s designed for students with a strong academic record and a keen interest in humanities, providing an environment to explore subjects like literature, philosophy, history, art, and cultural studies.

The Hoover Tower and view above Stanford at sunset in Palo Alto in California

During the program, students will engage with a variety of courses taught by Stanford professors. These include topics like major historical revolutions, the Roman Empire and its legacies, differing perspectives on happiness, America’s enlightenment era, racial identity in American history, magical realism in literature, ancient Greek philosophy, and the debate over African cultural artifacts. Alongside classroom learning, students will participate in discussions, write college-level essays, and join field trips and cultural excursions, offering a comprehensive understanding of humanities in both theoretical and practical contexts. This immersive experience not only fosters academic growth but also allows for personal mentorship and intellectual camaraderie among peers.

5. BIMA at Brandeis University

  • Location: Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts.
  • Cost: $5,535
  • Program Dates: July 7, 2024 to July 26, 2024.
  • Application Deadline: May 1, 2024
  • Eligibility: Jewish or non-Jewish students aged 15-18

BIMA at Brandeis University is a summer arts institute designed for high school students aged 15-18 who are passionate about the arts and interested in social justice and diversity within a Jewish context. Running from July 7 to July 26, 2024, on the Brandeis University campus, BIMA offers a three-week program that allows students to explore their creative talents. It’s an ideal environment for students from various backgrounds, including different Jewish communities, unaffiliated Jews, and those of other faiths, who are academically curious and open-minded.

Brandeis University in Waltham, USA

The program provides an immersive experience in creative arts, viewed through the lens of Judaism. Students will participate in a variety of activities, including courses, spiritual rituals, social activism, and workshops, facilitated by the university’s renowned institutes and centers specializing in Jewish studies. BIMA emphasizes personal growth, helping students find their unique voice and pursue their passions in a diverse and inclusive setting. It’s more than just an arts program; it’s a community that nurtures artistic talent and offers deep connections to Jewish culture and social justice values, making it a perfect choice for students seeking both artistic development and a meaningful summer experience.

Final Thoughts

The 5 Pre-College Programs for Liberal Arts offer unique opportunities for high school students to explore and deepen their understanding of various subjects. Each program provides a distinct experience, from the intensive academic focus of the Stanford Summer Humanities Institute to the creative and socially conscious environment at BIMA at Brandeis University. Programs like the Carleton Liberal Arts Experience and the Reimagining Society Program at Carleton College combine academic rigor with critical thinking about societal issues.

Cheerful multicultural students posing together

Whether you’re interested in broadening your knowledge in the humanities, engaging in creative arts, or understanding complex societal dynamics, these programs offer valuable experiences to enhance your intellectual growth and prepare you for college. They are ideal for students seeking to challenge themselves academically and personally in a supportive and enriching environment.



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