Skidmore College Pre-College Program: A Deep Dive

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

two young psychology major students studying

Skidmore College Pre-College Program: A Deep Dive

As you stand on the threshold of your college journey, preparation is key. The choices you make now can set the trajectory for your academic and personal success in higher education. Skidmore College’s Pre-College Program might be what you’re looking for.

In this article, we’ll delve deeper into the offerings of Skidmore’s Pre-College Program. From its unique features and benefits to the application process and available resources, we’ll provide a comprehensive overview. So, let’s dive in and explore what makes this program a top choice for many.

Understanding the Importance of Pre-College Programs

In today’s competitive academic landscape, students are constantly seeking opportunities to distinguish themselves and gain an edge. Pre-college programs have emerged as a pivotal stepping stone in this quest, playing a crucial role in shaping both the academic and personal trajectories of young scholars.

These programs, often hosted by esteemed institutions, offer high school students a taste of college life, both inside and outside the classroom. They serve as a bridge, helping students transition from the familiar confines of high school to the broader horizons of college, all while nurturing their intellectual curiosity and fostering personal growth.

Enter Skidmore College. Nestled in the heart of Saratoga Springs, New York, Skidmore has long been recognized for its commitment to liberal arts and its dedication to cultivating creative thought leaders.

Saratoga Springs, New York

Its reputation is not just limited to undergraduate programs; Skidmore’s Pre-College Program has garnered attention for its comprehensive curriculum, immersive experiences, and the promise of academic exploration in a supportive environment.

For students on the cusp of their college journey, this program offers a unique blend of rigorous academics and enriching extracurriculars, all designed to prepare them for the challenges and opportunities of higher education.

A Closer Look at Skidmore College

Now, let’s delve deeper into what makes Skidmore’s Pre-College Program a top choice for many.

History and Reputation

Skidmore College, with its picturesque campus and vibrant academic community, stands as a beacon of excellence in the realm of liberal arts. Founded in 1903, the institution has consistently championed a holistic approach to education, emphasizing not just the acquisition of knowledge but the cultivation of creativity, critical thinking, and a lifelong passion for learning.

Its liberal arts curriculum, known for its breadth and depth, encourages students to explore a diverse range of subjects, from the sciences to the humanities, all while honing their analytical and problem-solving skills.

Fostering Creativity

At the heart of Skidmore’s academic ethos is its unwavering commitment to fostering creativity. The college believes that creative thought isn’t limited to the arts; it’s an essential skill that permeates every discipline, be it economics, biology, or history.

This philosophy is evident in the college’s interdisciplinary courses, collaborative projects, and the celebrated “Skidmore Creativity Fund”—an initiative that supports innovative ideas from students and faculty alike.

Notable Alumni

Skidmore’s reputation is further bolstered by its illustrious alumni who have left indelible marks in various fields. Take, for instance, Jon Fishman, the drummer for the iconic band Phish, who honed his musical talents at Skidmore.

In the world of literature, novelist and essayist Adam Haslett, a finalist for both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, attributes much of his literary prowess to his formative years at the college. The realms of business, science, and public service also feature Skidmore graduates who have risen to prominence, underscoring the institution’s role in shaping leaders and innovators.

The college’s dedication to academic excellence, combined with its nurturing environment, has made it a sought-after destination for students from across the globe. Its alumni’s achievements serve as a testament to the quality of education and the transformative experiences Skidmore offers.

Unpacking the Skidmore Pre-College Program

With such a strong foundation, it’s no wonder Skidmore offers an exceptional pre-college experience. The Skidmore Pre-College Program is more than just a brief introduction to college life; it’s a deep dive into the academic and social experiences that define higher education.

View of students smiling at each other.

Designed specifically for high school students eager to get a head start on their college journey, this program offers a unique blend of challenging coursework, enriching extracurriculars, and invaluable life lessons.

Structure of the Program

At its core, the Skidmore Pre-College Program is structured to mirror the college’s undergraduate experience. Spanning five weeks during the summer, students have the opportunity to enroll in two college-level courses, earning up to eight transferable college credits.

These courses, taught by Skidmore’s esteemed faculty, cover a wide range of subjects, from the arts and humanities to the natural and social sciences. Whether a student is passionate about molecular biology, eager to delve into the intricacies of modern art, or curious about the dynamics of global economics, there’s a course tailored to their interests.

The program’s format is immersive, with classes held on weekdays, allowing students to experience the rhythm of a typical college day. Beyond the classroom, participants are encouraged to make use of Skidmore’s state-of-the-art facilities, including its libraries, labs, and art studios, further enhancing their academic journey.

A Holistic Approach to Development

While the academic component is rigorous, the Skidmore Pre-College Program recognizes that college life isn’t solely about hitting the books. As such, a significant emphasis is placed on extracurricular activities and personal development.

Students can join various clubs, participate in workshops, attend guest lectures, and even venture into Saratoga Springs for cultural excursions. From theater productions and musical performances to sports and community service projects, there’s no shortage of avenues for students to explore their passions and discover new ones.

Moreover, the program fosters a sense of community. Living in Skidmore’s residence halls, students get a taste of dorm life, building friendships and learning the importance of collaboration and mutual respect.

Weekend activities, ranging from group outings to on-campus events, further cement these bonds, ensuring that by the program’s end, students leave with not just academic insights but lifelong memories and friendships.

Preparing for the Future

One of the standout features of the Skidmore Pre-College Program is its focus on future preparedness. Recognizing that many participants are on the cusp of their college application process, the program offers guidance sessions, college prep workshops, and one-on-one counseling.

These sessions cover everything from essay writing and interview techniques to college selection and application strategies. By the program’s conclusion, students are not only academically enriched but also better equipped to navigate the complexities of college admissions.

In essence, the Skidmore Pre-College Program is a microcosm of the college experience. It offers high school students a chance to challenge themselves academically, explore new interests, build meaningful relationships, and prepare for the next phase of their educational journey.

It’s a program that understands the multifaceted nature of growth, ensuring that every participant emerges more knowledgeable, confident, and ready for the challenges of college and beyond.

Unique Features of the Skidmore Pre-College Program

But what truly sets this program apart? Let’s explore the unique features.

Every pre-college program promises a glimpse into the world of higher education, but Skidmore’s offering stands out, thanks to a suite of unique features that elevate it from a mere academic exercise to a transformative experience.

View of students talking in a table.

Hands-On Learning Experiences

At Skidmore, learning isn’t confined to lectures and textbooks. The Pre-College Program emphasizes experiential learning, ensuring that students not only grasp theoretical concepts but also see them in action.

For instance, science students might find themselves conducting experiments in state-of-the-art labs, while those studying art could be sculpting or painting in professional studios. This hands-on approach demystifies complex topics, making them accessible and engaging.

Moreover, it prepares students for the practical aspects of their chosen fields, giving them a competitive edge in future academic and professional endeavors.

Real-World Applications

Skidmore believes that education should resonate beyond the classroom. To this end, many courses in the Pre-College Program incorporate real-world applications.

Business students might analyze current market trends or devise strategies for hypothetical startups. Those in social sciences could explore pressing global issues, from climate change to social justice, and brainstorm solutions.

By linking classroom teachings to real-world scenarios, Skidmore ensures that students not only learn but also understand the relevance and impact of their knowledge.

Earning College Credits

One of the standout features of the Skidmore Pre-College Program is the opportunity to earn college credits. Students who successfully complete their courses receive credits that are transferable to many colleges and universities across the nation.

This not only gives students a head start in their college journey but also showcases their commitment to academics, making them attractive candidates for admissions. Furthermore, the experience of undertaking college-level coursework instills confidence, preparing students for the rigors of undergraduate studies.

Cultural and Recreational Activities

While academics are a cornerstone of the Pre-College Program, Skidmore recognizes the importance of cultural and recreational pursuits in shaping well-rounded individuals. The college’s location in Saratoga Springs, a hub of arts and culture, offers students a plethora of opportunities.

They can attend concerts, visit museums, or partake in the town’s famed arts festivals. On campus, recreational facilities like the sports center, swimming pool, and riding stables ensure that students can pursue physical activities, fostering a healthy balance between work and play.

These cultural and recreational engagements not only enrich the student experience but also provide avenues for relaxation, reflection, and personal growth.

In sum, the Skidmore Pre-College Program is more than an academic endeavor; it’s a holistic experience that caters to every facet of a student’s development. From hands-on learning and real-world applications to earning college credits and indulging in cultural activities, the program offers a comprehensive suite of features designed to nurture, challenge, and inspire.

How to Get into Skidmore’s Pre-College Program

Embarking on the Skidmore Pre-College journey begins with the application process. While it may seem daunting at first glance, understanding the steps and requirements can make the journey smoother. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help prospective students navigate their way to becoming a part of this transformative experience.

Side view shot of students studying and writing together in a library

Step-by-Step Application Process

  1. Application Form: Begin by visiting Skidmore’s official website to access the Pre-College Program application form. This form will require basic personal information, academic details, and your course preferences.
  2. Academic Transcripts: Skidmore requires applicants to submit their high school transcripts, showcasing their academic performance. This gives the admissions team insight into the student’s academic journey and achievements.
  3. Letter of Recommendation: A recommendation letter from a teacher or school counselor can provide a deeper understanding of the applicant’s capabilities, character, and potential. Ensure that the recommender highlights specific qualities and instances that showcase the student’s aptitude.
  4. Personal Statement: This is the applicant’s chance to shine. Skidmore requires a personal essay where students can express their motivations for joining the program, their academic and extracurricular interests, and what they hope to gain from the experience.
  5. Application Fee: There’s a nominal application fee, details of which can be found on the college’s website. Some students may qualify for fee waivers based on financial need.
  6. Interview (Optional): While not mandatory, some students may opt for an interview. This provides an opportunity to further demonstrate enthusiasm for the program and clarify any queries.

Qualities Skidmore Values

Skidmore seeks students who exhibit a genuine passion for learning, a curiosity that extends beyond the classroom, and a commitment to personal growth.

While academic achievements are essential, the college also values extracurricular involvement, leadership qualities, and a demonstrated ability to contribute positively to a community.

Tips to Strengthen Your Application

  • Authenticity: In your personal statement, be genuine. Share your unique story, aspirations, and what drives you.
  • Diverse Interests: Highlight any extracurricular activities, hobbies, or projects that showcase a well-rounded personality.
  • Engagement: If possible, attend Skidmore’s information sessions or virtual tours. This demonstrates a keen interest in the program.
  • Proofread: Ensure that all documents, especially the personal statement, are free from errors and are well-articulated.

In conclusion, while the application process requires diligence and attention to detail, it’s a valuable exercise in self-reflection and goal-setting. Skidmore’s Pre-College Program is a gateway to unparalleled academic and personal growth, and the application is the first step in that journey.

Skidmore’s Support and Resources

Once accepted, what can students expect in terms of support and resources?

Skidmore College’s commitment to its students doesn’t end at providing a top-tier academic experience. The institution believes in nurturing every student, ensuring they have the tools, resources, and support needed to thrive.

The Pre-College Program, in particular, is designed with a holistic approach, offering a plethora of resources to aid students in their academic and personal journey.

Mentoring and Guidance

From the moment students step onto Skidmore’s campus, they are enveloped in a supportive environment. Each participant is paired with a mentor, typically a faculty member or an experienced college advisor, who provides personalized guidance throughout the program.

These mentors assist students in navigating academic challenges, offer insights into college life, and provide valuable feedback on coursework. Additionally, regular check-ins and counseling sessions ensure that students have a platform to voice any concerns, seek advice, or simply discuss their experiences.

Academic Resources

Skidmore’s state-of-the-art facilities are at the disposal of Pre-College Program participants. The college’s expansive library, equipped with a vast collection of books, journals, and digital resources, serves as an academic haven for students.

Research enthusiasts will find the modern labs, complete with cutting-edge equipment, to be a boon. Whether conducting a chemistry experiment or exploring digital art, students have access to the best resources to complement their learning.

Recreational Facilities

Recognizing the importance of a balanced lifestyle, Skidmore ensures that students have ample opportunities for recreation and relaxation. The sports center, with its gym, swimming pool, and courts, is perfect for those looking to stay active.

For nature enthusiasts, the college’s green spaces and nearby parks offer a serene escape. Additionally, the arts center, with its theaters and studios, hosts a range of cultural events, allowing students to indulge in their artistic passions.

In essence, Skidmore’s Pre-College Program is not just about rigorous academics; it’s about creating a nurturing environment where students can grow, explore, and excel. The college’s vast resources, combined with dedicated mentoring, ensure that every student is poised for success, both within the program and in their future academic endeavors.

Skidmore Pre-College Program Tuition, Scholarships, and Financial Aid

While the Skidmore Pre-College Program offers a wealth of academic and personal growth opportunities, it’s essential for prospective students and their families to understand the financial aspects associated with participation.

View of a woman writing in a table.

Skidmore College, in its commitment to inclusivity and excellence, has put forth measures to ensure that financial constraints don’t hinder deserving students from accessing this transformative experience.

Tuition and Associated Expenses

The tuition for the Pre-College Program covers the core academic offerings, including enrollment in two college-level courses, access to state-of-the-art facilities, and participation in various extracurricular activities.

In addition to tuition, there are charges for room and board, given that students will be residing on campus for the program’s duration. Other associated expenses might include materials for specific courses, personal supplies, and recreational outings.


Understanding the diverse financial backgrounds of its applicants, Skidmore offers a range of scholarships to deserving students. These scholarships, awarded based on both merit and need, can significantly offset the program’s cost.

Students with exceptional academic records, outstanding extracurricular achievements, or demonstrated financial need are encouraged to apply. The scholarship application process is streamlined, ensuring that candidates can put forth their best case without undue complications.

Financial Aid

Beyond scholarships, Skidmore’s commitment to accessibility is evident in its robust financial aid program. Families with demonstrated financial need can apply for aid packages that can assist in covering tuition, room and board, and other associated costs. The financial aid team at Skidmore works closely with families, providing guidance on the application process and ensuring that aid packages are tailored to individual needs.

Skidmore’s dedication to inclusivity is not just in words but in action. The college’s proactive approach to financial assistance, from scholarships to tailored aid packages, underscores its belief that every deserving student should have the opportunity to benefit from the Pre-College Program, irrespective of their financial background.

In conclusion, while the Skidmore Pre-College Program is an investment in a student’s future, the college’s commitment to financial accessibility ensures that it’s an attainable dream for many. With a clear understanding of the financial aspects, let’s wrap up our exploration of the Skidmore Pre-College Program.


As we reflect on the multifaceted offerings of the Skidmore Pre-College Program, it’s evident that this experience is more than just a summer endeavor; it’s a pivotal chapter in the academic and personal growth story of its participants.

From its rigorous academic curriculum, hands-on learning experiences, and real-world applications to the invaluable support, resources, and financial accessibility, Skidmore’s program stands out as a beacon of excellence in pre-college education.

But beyond the tangible benefits, the program’s true value lies in the intangibles: the friendships forged, the mentors who inspire, the challenges overcome, and the countless moments of discovery and self-realization. It’s these experiences that shape character, instill resilience, and ignite a lifelong passion for learning.

For aspiring college students standing at the crossroads of their academic journey, the Skidmore Pre-College Program offers a unique opportunity. It’s a chance to experience college life, challenge oneself, and lay a solid foundation for future success.

Group of students laughing at each other.

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