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Cornell SCE: The PreCollege Studies Experience

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

The Ezra Cornell statue on campus of Cornell University

Cornell SCE: The PreCollege Studies Experience

Starting on the journey through high school, the path forward is often laden with questions about the future. For the ambitious student looking to get a glimpse of college life, Cornell University’s School of Continuing Education (SCE) PreCollege Studies program could be your golden opportunity. This comprehensive guide will explore the essence of the program, detailing what it is, the benefits of attending, the application process, and the enriching experience it offers to high school students worldwide.

What is the Cornell SCE Pre-College Studies?

Cornell SCE PreCollege Studies is an acclaimed program that invites high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors to experience college life at Cornell University. This is the opportunity to gain an Ivy League educational experience through Cornell University’s pre-college programs before you begin your college studies.

The program provides a range of college-level courses in various disciplines, including STEM, social sciences, humanities, and the arts, which are taught by Cornell faculty. Beyond academics, students engage in a vibrant campus life and get a taste of the independence that comes with college living.

The Origins: Why It’s Called Cornell SCE and the History of Pre-College Studies at Cornell

The “SCE” in Cornell SCE stands for School of Continuing Education, which reflects the program’s commitment to providing educational opportunities beyond traditional undergraduate and graduate studies. Cornell SCE represents a bridge between high school and college, emphasizing lifelong learning and accessibility to Cornell’s resources for a broader audience.

Cornell University has long recognized the importance of preparing high school students for higher education. The inception of the PreCollege Studies program under the SCE was a natural extension of this philosophy, intending to offer a genuine taste of college life to the youth poised for academic and personal development.

Two students talking on a table.

Courses Offered in Cornell SCE: The PreCollege Studies Experience

Seize the opportunity to accelerate your path to college through Cornell’s online credit-earning program. Engaging in this prestigious Ivy League offering empowers you to:

  • Delve into captivating courses at Cornell University
  • Collaborate directly with eminent members of the Cornell faculty
  • Secure a competitive edge by accruing 3 to 8 credits, reflected on an authentic Cornell transcript
  • Hone your academic skills through challenging, meticulously crafted classes
  • Navigate the college application process with personalized admissions guidance
  • Forge connections with high school international students

This initiative serves as an ideal platform to dive into the realm of college academics, investigate potential fields of study, and carve out a strategic plan for your academic future—all from the comfort of your own home.

a female student in a virtual class but is looking at the camera

During the summer months, choose from an extensive catalog of over 100 standard undergraduate courses at Cornell that span disciplines such as Architecture and the Arts, Business and Hospitality, Health and Humanities, International Relations, Science and Technology, Social Change, Veterinary Medicine, and beyond. Online offerings are also available during the winter, spring, and fall seasons.

The majority of online courses are facilitated through Canvas. Your interaction with instructors and peers typically occurs through email, discussion boards, interactive chat rooms, video conferences, and occasionally phone calls.

Courses are presented in two formats: synchronous, with live sessions held at scheduled times, and asynchronous, allowing you to access pre-recorded material at your own pace.

The grades and credits garnered through this program are documented on an official Cornell transcript and are generally transferable, potentially counting towards a degree at Cornell or other academic institutions.

Recently, the courses outlined below were made available during the summer and/or winter sessions. They are mentioned to give you an idea of the typical offerings you might expect.

a professor looking at the output of his students

List of Course Offerings

  1. Applied Economics and Management
  2. Agriculture and Life Sciences
  3. American Studies
  4. Animal Science
  5. Anthropology
  6. Architecture
  7. Art
  8. Arts & Sciences
  9. Asian Studies
  10. American Sign Language
  11. Africana Studies and Research Center
  12. Astronomy
  13. BIO: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
  14. BIO: General Courses
  15. BIO: Molecular Biology and Genetics
  16. BIO: Microbiology
  17. BIO: Shoals Marine Laboratory
  18. Civil and Environmental Engineering
  19. Chemistry and Chemical Biology
  20. Classics
  21. Cognitive Science
  22. Comparative Literature
  23. Communication
  24. Computer Science
  25. Design and Environmental Analysis
  26. Electrical and Computer Engineering
  27. Economics
  28. English
  29. Engineering: Communications
  30. Engineering: Distribution
  31. Engineering: General Interest
  32. Engineering: Introduction
  33. Entomology
  34. Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
  35. Fiber Science and Apparel Design
  36. Global Development
  37. Government
  38. Hotel Administration
  39. Human Development
  40. Human Ecology Nondepartmental
  41. History
  42. ILR: Interdepartmental
  43. ILR: Labor Relations, Law, and History
  44. ILR: Social Statistics
  45. Information Science
  46. Landscape Architecture
  47. Law
  48. Linguistics
  49. Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
  50. Mathematics
  51. Materials Science and Engineering
  52. Music
  53. Management: Business Administration
  54. Nutritional Science
  55. Natural Resources
  56. Operations Research and Information Engineering
  57. Policy Analysis and Management
  58. Physical Education

Please note that this list does not include specific course numbers and titles but rather the main subjects or departments under which various courses are categorized.

Using a laptop while typing.

Why should you go to the Cornell SCE Pre-College Studies?

Cornell SCE PreCollege Studies is an exceptional program that opens doors to advanced learning and personal development for high school students around the world.

It is a stepping stone to higher education, providing a competitive edge in college admissions and a head start in the journey of lifelong learning.

For those who aspire to walk the halls of academia and leap towards their future, Cornell SCE PreCollege Studies is an opportunity not to be missed.

How to get into the Cornell SCE Pre-College Studies?

Admission to the Cornell SCE Pre-College Studies is selective and aims to identify students who demonstrate strong academic potential and intellectual curiosity. Here’s what you need to pack for the adventure:

Age Requirement: Be 15 years old or older when the virtual summer session doors swing open for you. You must complete your sophomore year before joining the program.

Scholarly Readiness: Show off your academic prowess, a mature mindset, and a zest for learning that’s as vast as the digital universe you’re about to explore.

Course-Specific Checkpoints: Each course has its own map of prerequisites – make sure to chart your course accordingly!

View of a female attending an online class while sitting on the floor.

Selecting Courses

Unless otherwise stated, all pre-college classes are regular, credit-bearing Cornell undergraduate classes and must be taken for credit and letter grade only. You may not take courses on a pass/fail or satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis. There is no audit option.

Prepare to dive into a fast-paced academic journey with the three- and six-week summer sessions. These courses demand the same commitment and deliver the same content as the standard fifteen-week semesters. Before deciding on a course, ensure you meet the prerequisites.

Remember, the bar is high; you’ll be assessed with the same criteria as full-time undergraduates. In these classrooms, you’re a Cornell student among peers and pre-college scholars alike.

a male student speaking with someone through a headset

Online Course Formats

Step into the digital classroom with ease by understanding how your course comes to life online. Look up your desired course in the catalog and spot the “instruction mode” to see how you’ll connect with your learning. Let’s unpack the instruction modes for this program:

OL/Online Learning (Combined Approach)

This format marries the flexibility of watching pre-recorded lectures at your pace with the vibrancy of live, scheduled discussions. Tune into a lecture at a time that suits you, followed by joining your peers in real-time debates and dialogues. Keep in mind you’ll need to mark your calendar for these live sessions, which will be held within the learner-friendly hours of 8:00 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. in your time zone.

View of student attending an online course.

AD/Online – Asynchronous (Self-paced)

Enjoy the ultimate flexibility with this format, featuring on-demand, expertly crafted course content. Engage with classmates and your instructor on your terms through the Canvas platform. Plus, many instructors offer virtual office hours, bringing personalized guidance to your fingertips.

SD/Online – Synchronous (Scheduled Interaction)

This interactive format invites you to join a live, online educational experience with a set timetable for all course activities like lectures and group discussions. You’ll be in the virtual company of your instructor and peers at specific times—for instance, a summer course might meet every weekday morning with discussions twice a week in the afternoon. Remember, these real-time sessions are expected to be attended as long as they fit within the local time frame of 8:00 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Young woman looking like she is thinking while sitting on a yellow floor.

How do I apply to the Cornell SCE Pre-College Studies?

Although the application window for Summer 2023 has closed, it’s valuable to understand the steps for future opportunities.

1. Select your Course

Begin by acquainting yourself with the course selection guidelines. Locate your desired course, noting its number and title, which are essential for the next phase.

Confirm that you fulfill the prerequisites for your chosen course. If you opt for a synchronous course, ensure your availability aligns with the class schedule provided (times listed in Eastern Time) before proceeding.

2. Enrollment Approval Request

  1. Start the process by creating your enrollment account online.
  2. Then, use the account to submit the necessary documents for a Pre-college Student applying to your chosen course.
  3. Craft an essay (maximum 250 words, in English) thoughtfully, as it is a critical element of your application.

Young woman using a laptop in a table.

Essay Prompt: Reflecting on Ezra Cornell’s post-Civil War vision for an inclusive institution, describe how your experiences within a community significant to you would contribute to our commitment to diversity and the ethos of “… any person … any study.” Consider the term ‘community’ in its broadest sense, encompassing various social and familial groups.

  • Include a PDF of your high school transcript.
  • Provide a PDF of your latest grades.
  • For students from non-English speaking backgrounds, submit proof of English proficiency as detailed on the English Language Proficiency webpage. Without the complete test documentation, your application will remain incomplete.

The director of Precollege Studies will examine your request and notify you of the outcome via email. Along with your application and documents, a non-refundable fee of $75 is required.

Student using a laptop in a room with a glass window.

3. Parental Consent Submission

Once admitted, the next step is to submit the electronic Parental Consent form:

  • Access the form and enter your parent/guardian’s name and distinct email address from your own.
  • Fill out the “Student” section.
  • Skip to the end, bypassing the “Parent/Guardian” section, and click “Next” to prompt an A confirmation email will be sent to you after your parent/guardian submits their portion.

4. Registration and Enrollment

Should you receive approval to enroll, visit the page designated for Visiting Students/General Registrants to follow through with registration steps.

An enrollment code from the Precollege Studies director will be sent to you to finalize your online registration.

View of a mother teaching er kid in the living room.

Program Tuition

The online courses provided by Cornell are fully accredited Cornell University courses, and the credits and grades you earn are reflected on your official Cornell transcript. Given their status, these online offerings adhere to the Cornell University tuition rates established by the Board of Trustees.

For the academic period from Fall 2023 to Summer 2024, the tuition rate is set at $1,750 per credit hour.

For instance, the total tuition for a course that carries three credits would be $5,250, calculated at $1,750 per credit.

Additional Charges

Certain online courses might include additional, non-refundable fees that cover compulsory resources, such as reading materials and other essential course supplies. Payment Due Dates for Online Courses

Deadlines for the Summer Session

To secure your enrollment in a course, full tuition payment must be submitted within two days after you receive your acceptance letter. Should your application be submitted within one week prior to the application deadline, your payment must be made on the same day you receive your acceptance letter.

Female student attending an online course.

How hard is it to get into the Cornell SCE Pre-College Studies?

The selectivity of the Cornell SCE Pre-College Studies varies from year to year, depending on the pool of applicants. While it’s competitive, don’t let this discourage you. Your academic record, the quality of your essays, and your demonstrated interest in your chosen subject areas will significantly influence your chances of admission.

When is the deadline to apply to the Cornell SCE Pre-College Studies?

The application deadlines are typically set a few months before the start of the summer session, around May to June, depending on the duration of the session you will be choosing,

It is important to check the SCE Pre-College Studies website for the specific dates, as they can change annually.

Students lined up and waiting on a chair.

When do I find out about my application to the Cornell SCE Pre-College Studies?

Admission decisions are usually released a few weeks after the final deadline. Cornell SCE communicates the outcomes to students via the email provided in the application. You and your legal guardian will be sent an email detailing how to access the Student Services platform, so keep an eye on your inbox. Ensure to check your spam or junk folders so you do not miss the notification.

Where is the Cornell SCE Pre-College Studies?

The stunning campus of Cornell University is located in Ithaca, New York. The campus is not only known for its beautiful gorges and lush green spaces but also for its outstanding academic facilities.

The Cornell SCE Pre-College Studies, however, is a virtual learning session.

A view of Cornell University.

When does the Cornell SCE Pre-College Studies take place?

Cornell’s SCE Pre-College Studies is typically held during the summer, with sessions ranging from three to six weeks. During the 2023 Summer session, it was held on:

  • Three-week Session 1 (May 30–June 16, 2023)
  • Three-week Session 2 (June 20–July 7, 2023)
  • Three-week Session 3 (July 10–28, 2023)
  • Six-week Session (June 20–August 1, 2023)

For the dates and application openings for the summer 2024 session, stay updated by checking the Cornell SCE website!

Young woman attending and online course using a computer.

How long is the Cornell SCE Pre-College Studies?

The duration of the program can vary depending on the courses you choose. Some are three weeks long, while others may extend up to six weeks. This flexibility allows students to plan for an immersive experience that fits their summer schedules.

The PreCollege Studies at Cornell’s School of Continuing Education is an immersive journey that prepares you for the rigors of college life and beyond. Through challenging courses, vibrant community engagement, and access to the wealth of resources Cornell has to offer, you are not only exposed to university-level academics but are also given a taste of the independence and self-discovery that are hallmarks of the college experience. Whether it’s through synchronous or asynchronous learning, the program fosters a diverse and dynamic environment where intellectual curiosity is ignited and potential is unlocked.

Three students walking in front of a school building.

Once you finish the program, you will carry with you not just credit on an official transcript but an experience that will influence your academic and professional pathways for years to come.

Cornell SCE’s PreCollege Studies is truly a pivotal stepping stone to higher education, embodying Ezra Cornell’s vision of offering ‘…an institution where any person can find instruction in any study’ and shaping the innovative leaders of tomorrow.

Looking for expert advice on pre-college program applications? Partner with experienced college admissions consultants like AdmissionSight. Our seasoned team has a track record of guiding many students toward securing spots at prestigious universities around the world. Embark on your educational journey today – schedule a consultation with us and begin your path to academic success!

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