Coronavirus/COVID-19 has dramatically altered the everyday lives of American teens as well as young people all over the globe. It can easily feel as if life is on pause for an indeterminate length of time, and, in many ways—it is. Yet, we still encourage college-bound teens, particularly those eyeing highly-selective institutions, to spend their summers as productively as possible, accounting for the disruptive and rather surreal times in which are presently residing.

Will my summer program be cancelled due to Coronavirus?

Most students have submitted their applications to summer programs by this time and some have already received their acceptances. Will these programs still be offered? Unfortunately, it is impossible to definitively know the answer to that question right now. If they are not, our conversations with our summer program colleagues suggest that some programs will be shifted online, while others, like language immersion programs are highly likely to be cancelled. Experiential and lab-based programs will also have more difficulty shifting to an online format and are at an increased risk for outright cancellation.

Our recommendation: Line-up a backup summer program now

The College Transitions team recommends having a solid backup plan in the event that your summer program is cancelled. Preferably, this backup plan will be a) local or b) online. For example, if you were planning on attending a residential pre-med summer program in another city/state, work on lining up a local opportunity such as volunteering at a nearby hospital or taking a pre-med related course online. On the remote-based front, the good news is that many elite universities allow high school students the opportunity to take summer courses online in a wide variety of academic disciplines. Another positive is that most of these programs accept applications through May or even into June on a rolling basis.

1) Summer @Brown Online

Tuition: 3 week course – $709; 4-week course – $998; 5-week course – $1,309

Eligibility: Ages 15-18, students completing grades 9-12

Application Deadline: Rolling

Summary of courses offered:

Brown offers 14 courses on a wide range of topics including those in the humanities such as Disruptive Thinkers, Ideological Conflict, and Social Revolution as well as STEM courses such as Renewable Energy Engineering and Creative Coding.

2) Cornell University Summer Session Online

Tuition: $1,520 per credit

Eligibility: Current 10th-12th grade students

Application Deadline: Rolling (Starts March 1)

Summary of courses offered:

There are one or more courses offered to high school students in the summer in each of the following ten areas: Anthropology, Asian Studies, Classics, Communication, Economics, Government, Human Development, Nutritional Science, Plant Biology, and Psychology.

3) Rice University Summer Sessions

Tuition: $3,000

Eligibility: Rising 11th, 12th graders

Application Deadline: 5/4/20

Summary of courses offered:

With 10 courses, the selection isn’t vast, but the chance to learn from esteemed Rice faculty in areas like Machine Learning, Programming Languages, Data Visualization, Algorithms, or Principles of Economics is certainly worth strong consideration.

4) Tufts Pre-College Programs

Tuition: $990 per credit

Eligibility: Entering 10th-12th graders

Application Deadline: Rolling

Summary of courses offered:

Tufts offers 26 courses with a nice variety across academic disciplines. Online offerings range from Introductory Statistics to Ancient Egypt to Social Psychology. Foreign language courses at various levels are also available in French and Spanish.

5) Boston University – High School Honors Online

Tuition: $5,760 (for 8 credits)

Eligibility: Rising 11th and 12th graders

Application Deadline: 5/29/20

Summary of courses offered:

A dozen online courses are offered through BU for this upcoming summer. On the foreign language front, high schoolers can tackle Chinese or Spanish. The renowned Questrom School of Business runs an Introduction to Management Course. Microeconomics, Calculus, and Introduction to Statistics are also on the table.

6) Brandeis University Summer Courses

Tuition: $3,000

Eligibility: Rising 12th grade students

Application Deadline: Rolling

Summary of courses offered:

The university has yet to publicize their list of 2020 summer offerings. However, we can tell you that courses are run asynchronously, last for 10 weeks, and generally “rely heavily on written communication with classmates and the instructor” so “strong English skills are imperative.”

7) Purdue University

Tuition: $1,050-$2,850

Eligibility: Age 16 and above

Application Deadline: Rolling

Summary of courses offered:

Offering 35+ courses online, you won’t find a better such selection at any school of Purdue’s quality. There are multiple courses available in the areas of Earth & Atmospheric Sciences, Economics, History, Mathematics, Philosophy, Political Science, Sociology, and Statistics.

8) UC San Diego – Program Your Future

Tuition: $400-$1,000

Eligibility: Rising 10th-12th graders

Application Deadline: Rolling

Summary of courses offered:

For students interested in computer science, the UC San Diego program is an affordable way to learn valuable skills on a remote basis. The two tracks available are: IOS Programming, focusing on the Swift programming language used by Apple, and Front End Web Development which covers HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

9) University of Washington Summer Quarter Online

Tuition: $1,180-$3,700

Eligibility: Rising 9th through 12th

Application Deadline: Rolling

Summary of courses offered:

Roughly 50 courses are available through UW, including options in the Arts, Education, Geography & History; Languages, Literature & Writing; Math & Statistics; Natural Sciences; Political Science, Law & Criminal Justice; and the Social Sciences.

10) Oregon State University

Tuition: $1,850

Eligibility: All high school students

Application Deadline: Rolling

Summary of courses offered:

If you are looking for established university that has a massive number of courses online, look no further that OSU. A leader in online education, Oregon has courses in the Biological Sciences, Business, Chemistry, Computer Science, Education, Engineering; History, Philosophy, and Religion; Language, Culture, and Society; Natural Resources; Public Health & Human Services; Public Policy, and STEM.