Tufts College Experience
Get a taste of what it is like to study at Tufts University and try-out life as a college student! Enroll in 6 to 8 credits of real Tufts Undergraduate-level courses and gain experience with the excitement, freedom, and challenge of college-level academics. Participate in our hallmark College Prep 101 program each Friday and gain insights from Tufts' staff on how to prepare for the college experience, learn what it's like to be an undergraduate from real Tufts students, and attend campus tours at some of the leading higher education institutions around Boston. This program is designed to mirror the Undergraduate experience, allowing highly motivated students to select their own course schedule and mix college-level study with fun activities and the opportunity to build college and life skills. Balancing the rigorous academic courses, most taught by Tufts faculty, with expert-led workshops, and field trips designed to take advantage of the Boston area, Tufts College Experience can help students prepare for college both academically and socially.
Just five miles northwest of Boston, Tufts University’s Medford/Somerville vibrant campus sits on a hill overlooking the city. Tufts’ location offers the optimal combination of a relaxed and safe campus environment that is close enough to the city that everything Boston has to offer is at the fingertips of Tufts’ students.
Join us for your summer studies and share the Tufts experience!
- Top-ranked University just minutes from Boston
- Earn college credit in 65+ Undergraduate-level courses, most taught by Tufts faculty
- Get help with Standardized Test Prep or College Essay Writing
- Attend our hallmark College Prep 101 that
- Teaches students the skills they need to succeed in college (and life) and
- Explores some of our country’s leading Universities through Campus Tours (past schools have included: Tufts, Harvard, MIT, Boston College, Northeastern, Brown, Amherst, and Brandeis; not all schools are visited each summer)
- Have fun on weekend field trips, afternoon ice cream socials, and so much more!
- Make lifelong friends with students from all over the world!
- Excellent academic experience
- Earn Tufts college credit
- Official Tufts transcript upon request
- Enhanced understanding of studying and life at college
- Skills to navigate the Undergraduate experience
Want to enroll as a commuter student? Learn more.
Courses and professors are great! They are kind, approachable, understanding, and helpful. I also love the lifestyle here. I love the library as there are many nice areas that motivate me to study. I have got many new experiences and perspectives about living and my interests.
The program really provided me with a college experience that was totally different from high school. Having more free time and more work really improved my time management. Also I love the atmosphere in college so much that I’m sure this is the right place for me to shine.
I loved the diversity in the people at this program and this program introduced me to people from all over the world.
I love the classes I’ve been taking and my residential life. I made lots of good friends here that I’ll cherish for the rest of my life.
I like the freedom and the fact that this felt a lot like college… Additionally, I was really fond of my classes and my professor. The classes were amazing and it was a new and better learning experience for me
It is a complete introduction to college life… You enjoy every bit of time, you are free and helped by everyone around you, nothing is competitive you seem to grow in a peaceful environment.
[This program] is the best thing a rising senior or junior could do with his/her summer.
A scintillating academic experience that I'm extremely lucky to have had.
“[Your] student will grow a lot in this program, and will become a more mature student and adult for their future studies.
Our program begins with an orientation and opening dinner on Sunday, June 28 at 5:00pm in Dewick-MacPhie Dining Hall. During this required orientation, we will review the overall program schedule, discuss policies and safety, and answer questions. Students will also have the opportunity to confirm their course schedules and staff will be on-hand to address any issues.
Orientation will continue on Monday with a campus tour to orient students to our Undergraduate Campus. After this, students will receive an introduction to college-level academic work and students will have the opportunity to review their course schedule with our staff. The rest of the day will be filled with fun activities as our students get to know each other and prepare to begin courses on Tuesday. Schedule-dependent, students may also take an admissions tour of Tufts on the first Monday rather than the first Friday of the program.
Monday-Thursday: Course Work
The Tufts College Experience is designed to reflect the typical experience a Tufts student might have during their Freshman year of college. Each day is structured into three blocks: Morning, Afternoon, and Evening. Within each block, students will have the option of taking a course (TCE students must take at least 6 credits) or having free-time, and can build-in meals, workshops, and other activities to their schedule throughout the day.
Course Work: The foundation of the program is the opportunity to take courses at Tufts University. Students have the opportunity to build their own course schedule* from our extensive list of lecture courses, with something for every student! Students may choose from 65+ courses offered in 25+ departments in the School of Arts & Sciences and the School of Engineering. All students must take between 6 and 8 credits during the program (typically two lecture courses) and the courses must be taken for Tufts credit.
Our Summer 2020 course list will be available on November 16, but here is the list of Summer 2019 Courses open to TCE students!
|Undergraduate Lectures||These are real Tufts University Undergraduate courses, majority taught by Tufts faculty. TCE students will be in class with Tufts Undergraduate and Graduate students, giving them real exposure to the college learning environment. These courses are offered for credit, each worth between 3 and 5 credits per course. Please note that only students entering Grade 11-12 are eligible to take these courses.|
|Pre-College Lectures||These are college-level courses that are designed specifically for high school students. As rigorous as undergraduate courses, the instructors of these courses are familiar with teaching to high school students and their pedagogical style may offer a bridge for students to a regular Undergraduate course. Pre-College lectures are offered for credit (typically 3 credits) and can be transferred into Tufts University as pre-matriculation credit (akin to the credit you get from AP courses). Students in Grade 10 are eligible to take these courses. See the full list here: Pre-College Lectures|
|Labs / Recitations||Some of the lecture courses - including many of the sciences and humanities - require either labs or recitations (or both). If your lecture course requires a lab or recitation, we will do our best to note it on our course schedule along with their days and times. Typically, these labs and recitations do not offer credit independently of the lecture with which they are associated.|
Choosing Courses: During the application process, students will be asked to select the 6 lecture courses that they are most interested in taking. Our student success advisors are here to help and can answer basic questions about courses, scheduling, and more. Ultimately, it is up to students to determine whether they believe they can succeed in a given course environment.
* When the student is admitted to the program, we will tentatively admit them to specific courses based on their preferences, schedule, and availability. Just like with real undergraduates, sometimes courses fill up, are cancelled or scheduling conflicts arise (too many exciting courses at one time). Similarly, after their first class, students often find that they would prefer to make a schedule change. Such changes are permitted through the end of the first week of classes. In all cases, if a change needs to be made to a student's schedule after admission, we will work with that student to find a new lecture course.
Students should consider these changes, including changes outside the 6 original preferences, as a part of their expectations when signing up for the program. Rest assured, while schedule changes occur frequently - for all sorts of reasons! - we have always found a way to offer an excellent academic experience for our students!
Once a student has set his / her schedule, attendance at each event on that schedule will be mandatory, including all meals.
Rounding out Your Schedule: TCE students, just like Undergraduates, will have schedules that appear to have a lot of free time built in to them! While it is critical that students ensure they have enough time for homework, reading, projects, and other activities related to their courses, we also want to be sure they are living balanced lives while they are here with us. To this end, we offer many other types of activities!
|College Prep Workshops||TCE students have the opportunity to select from two College Prep Workshops: Standardized Test Prep and College Admissions Essay Writing. These workshops have limited spots available, are open only to students without lectures occurring at the same time, and fill on a first come first served basis. Although they do not offer credit, students register for and attend workshops as they would any other course.|
|Meals||The program includes a regular Tufts student dining plan, with access to our main dining facility: Dewick MacPhie. Students should plan trips to the dining hall into their schedule, as not all classrooms are nearby! More on Dining is in the Life at Tufts section below.|
|Exercise||TCE students have access to the exercise equipment at Tufts athletic facilities and may choose to spend their time spinning, running, playing tennis, etc.|
|Free Time||Students can socialize and have fun! Students may study, explore Davis Square, or enjoy the sunshine. Our residential life vendor, Summerfuel, offers a wide range of activities that students can enjoy during this time as well. If exploring off-campus, students must use the buddy system and check-in with staff during this time. Note: safety measures like check-ins and supervision will be in-place; efforts are made to enable student independence in the context of a safe environment.|
Fridays: College Prep 101
Each Friday morning, students will attend our hallmark College Prep 101 workshop during which students will explore topics like career/major planning, interview skills, resume building, and library research with real Undergraduate students and field experts. Each afternoon, students will attend a college tour and admissions session at one of the many leading Universities in the Boston area. In previous years, colleges visited have included: Harvard, MIT, Boston College, Boston University, Northeastern, Brown, Brandeis, and Amherst. Please note that on Friday, July 3th, due to a university holiday, programming may be subject to change.
Saturday and Sunday are FUNdays, with downtime and exciting field trips. Each year, the schedule of trips off-campus changes. In the past trips have included, trips to Boston, museums, historic sites, or Six Flags New England, baseball games, improv shows and more. See the Activities section below for more information.
Please note: the below represents a sample schedule of one week in the program for a single student. Each student's schedule will vary as they take different classes and plan their open blocks different. Additionally, the evening and weekend activities that take place as a part of the program are subject to change
Students are required to attend all elements of the program schedule and any expected absences must be communicated to program staff in advance. Tufts takes the safety of its students very seriously. As such, our current policy for pre-college students states that students cannot be in a classroom or lab or leave campus during their program without the supervision of a staff member or explicit parental permission received through official processes.
Tufts makes reasonable efforts to secure background checks and to provide Title IX training to every staff person responsible for students in its Pre-College Programs.
Want to enroll in this program as a commuter student? Click Here.
Tufts College Experience students are registering for real Undergraduate-level courses, which can fill up quickly during the summer. We highly recommend applying to as early as possible to save a spot in your top choice courses.
|Application Opens||Deadline: All Materials||Deadline: Payment||Deadline: Enrollment Forms|
|December 1||May 1||May 15||June 8|
- Entering high school grades 10-12 *or* a Spring 2020 high school graduate
- Please note that students entering grade 10 are eligible only to take Pre-College Lecture courses through this program
- Course-level eligibility and pre-requisites may apply and are typically listed in the course description
Students electing to live in the dorms or to attend a residential program must be at least 15 and no older than 17 at the start of the program.
Both domestic and international students are welcome to apply to and attend our pre-college programs, although please note we cannot sponsor visas for this program.
Non-Native English Speakers
If you indicate that English is not your primary language, you will be asked to submit evidence of English Language proficiency. Please see our "How to Apply" page for details.
Step 1: Complete an Online Application
The online application will ask you for the following information:
- Basic personal information, including parents/guardians and emergency contact (if you are under 18, we will contact a parent for permission to enroll)
- Course preferences - 6 lecture course preferences in at least 2 different time blocks; optional indication of preference for College Prep Workshops
- Contact information for 1 individual to submit a Letter of Recommendation - this individual can be a teacher, counselor, or mentor. We will contact this individual on your behalf
- Test scores - optional, unless you must submit scores as evidence of English proficiency
- Warrants and signatures
If you need to log back into this application after starting, click here: return to my application.
Step 2: Email or Mail your High School Transcript
After submitting your online application, you must contact your high school and ask them to send a transcript to us. They can send us this information in two ways: by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail to Tufts Pre-College Programs, Dowling Hall, 419 Boston Avenue, Medford, MA 02155.
Step 3: Parental Consent and Letter of Recommendation
As a part of your application, you will be asked to provide contact information for both a parent/guardian and a recommender. Once you submit your application, our systems will automatically email the parent/guardian and recommender you listed in the application with instructions for how to fill out the online permission or recommendation form.
Please note your application will not be considered submitted and review of your application will not begin until the materials from Step 2 and Step 3 have been received by Tufts Pre-College Programs.
Pre-College Admissions Decision
Once an applicant has submitted an application and all required admissions documents are received, the applicant will be considered for admission by the Tufts Pre-College Programs review committee for the specific program(s) to which they applied.
Decisions are made on a rolling basis and students will typically receive an official email informing them of their admissions status within 10 business days of Tufts receiving all required materials.
If you do not receive your email within two weeks of all materials being submitted, please contact us at email@example.com or 617-981-7008.
Disclaimer: This program is not related to Tufts University Undergraduate Admissions. Participation in this program does not result in admission to a Tufts University degree program. Tufts reserves the right to admit as requested, to deny admission, or to offer provisional admission. The program will not provide feedback to applicants if admission is denied.
Admitted students must do the following prior to the start of the program:
- Submit a deposit to hold your seat; this program requires a deposit within 10 business days of the date on which the admissions decision was posted
- Pay your balance in full prior to the stated deadline
- Complete all enrollment forms and/or follow-up requests prior to the stated deadline
Should the above not be completed prior to the stated deadlines, the student will be automatically withdrawn from the program.
Program Fees - Summer 2020
Residential Program Fee: TBD (Summer 2019: $11,000)
- Tuition portion: TBD
- Includes: tuition for between 6 and 8 credits worth of Tufts University courses, room, 3 meals per day (brunch / dinner on Sundays), use of select campus facilities, included program and residential excursions and daily activities, bed linens, pillow and towels, 24-hour residential care and support, staff accompanied airport transfer during specified windows.
- Excludes: course textbooks and materials, airfare/transportation to and from home city, courses and activities shown to have an extra fee, laundry, spending money, souvenirs, meals eaten away from program, airport transfers outside of specified windows, trip cancellation insurance, medical insurance, required vaccinations, medical and dental expenses, any non-program-related transportation needs, and anything not explicitly stated above.
Non-Refundable Program Deposit: $550, applied to the Program Fee
- A pre-payment on program fees is required to reserve space in the program within 10 business days of admission to the program
- This deposit will be applied toward program fees and is not an additional fee
- The balance of payment for program fees is due upon notification of charges, and no later than May 15
- This deposit is non-refundable in the event of withdrawal from the program
Health Fees - Summer 2020
Health Insurance: TBD, only if evidence of valid U.S.-based health insurance is not presented (Summer 2019: $358)
- Coverage Dates: TBD
- Students carrying sufficient, valid U.S.-based health insurance do not need to pay this fee
- All high school students enrolled in Tufts Pre-College Programs must carry valid U.S.-based health insurance
- Students will be asked to provide evidence of sufficient insurance during the enrollment process. If your student has sufficient insurance, no further action will be necessary
- Those who do not have sufficient insurance will be asked to purchase a plan during the enrollment process
Vaccinations: TBD, only if evidence of required vaccinations is not presented (Summer 2019: $100-$300 per vaccine)
- Students who can demonstrate that all required vaccinations were received prior to the program start date do not need to pay these fees
- All high school students enrolled in Tufts Pre-College Programs must show evidence of required vaccinations during the enrollment process. If your student has all required vaccinations, no further action will be necessary
- Those who do not have all required vaccinations will be asked to provide further documentation or will be required to receive the vaccination, with parental consent, while on campus. If a student receives the vaccination while on campus the student will be responsible for the associated fee and grades / transcripts will be with-held for non-payment. If a student does not provide appropriate documentation or agree to receive the vaccination while on campus, Tufts reserves the right to remove the student from the program
Other Key Financial Policies
Availability of Awards
Tufts Pre-College Programs are committed to welcoming students from all backgrounds to Tufts’ campus. Although we have only limited financial aid available, we do our best to distribute the funds to students for whom it can make the greatest difference in their ability to attend.
Each of the programs offering financial aid in this way offers a very limited number of scholarships, typically covering 75—100% of the program fee based on demonstrated need.
- Fall: we will distribute any available aid in August
- Spring: we will distribute any available aid in December
- Summer: we will typically distribute two awards in February and will continue to issue awards once a month in March and April, until all available funds have been distributed
- International students are not eligible for financial aid at this time. Families should expect to contribute to the remaining portion of the program cost as well as other expenses like travel, books, etc.
- This program is not available for Tuition Remission or Reimbursement
- Complete the Admissions Application for the pre-college program you would like to attend.
- After submission, you will have the option of completing a financial aid application in your student portal
- We will review your financial aid application only after you have been admitted to the program. Once admitted, your financial aid application will be considered for the next monthly aid award(s).
- If you receive an award,
- You will be notified by email of the amount of the award
- You will have 10 business days to accept the award by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
- Tufts Pre-College Programs will then credit your student account with the amount of financial aid you received
- Please note: Your enrollment in the program is still contingent on payment of any remaining balance after the award is applied to your account, and on receiving your enrollment forms
- If you do not receive an award, your application will be automatically considered in the next application cycle for the program term in which you are applying, unless funds are no longer available.
- Once all of our funds have been distributed, we will notify all remaining applicants.
Please see the policies section of this website for a complete list of applicable policies.
Life at Tufts
Whether you commute to our program or live with us on-campus, we endeavor to make each moment of the student experience at Tufts memorable for our students. Every piece of the student-life experience, from our dorms to our dining halls, our athletic facilities to our check-in and orientation is designed to inform and enable students to have a healthy, fulfilling, and safe summer.
Students will have full access to the university’s facilities including the libraries, computer lab and student center. Students will also have full access to Tufts’ Steve Tisch Sports and Fitness center, featuring racquet courts, a swimming pool and cardio and weight-training equipment.
In addition, SMFA Studio Art Intensive students will have access to supervised studios and resources including, the W.Van Alan Clark Library, the media stockroom (where you can borrow any equipment necessary for your art), the School Store, the computer lab. See more details about our studios.
Health & Wellness
Tufts works hard to ensure the health and well-being of all of its students. Once accepted to the program, Tufts will ask all students to submit information related to their health and will collect details regarding allergies and accessibility concerns. Tufts and Summerfuel staff will work together to ensure students’ routine medical needs are met.
Tufts also has procedures in-place for students with urgent or emergency needs, illnesses, or injuries. Our procedures combine on-campus and hospital-based care depending on the nature and severity of the issue. A student’s emergency contact will be notified, if one is provided, in the event of an issue. Please see our Health & Wellness Services page for additional information.
In any type of health & wellness emergency, students should immediately contact Tufts University Police at (617) 627-6911.
Please note: medical fees of any kind will be billed to the student and are not included in program fees.
The campuses of Tufts University are considered very safe among U.S. college campuses. Although crime on campus is unusual, we do have an open campus in a major metropolitan area and we expect our students to exercise good judgment and responsibility as they navigate the campus. Tufts University maintains its own police department, on the job 24 hours a day, if an emergency arises. Each location is equipped with an emergency blue light phone system and residence halls require a current and valid Tufts ID card for entry and a mechanical key for access to bedrooms. Emergency processes and protocol will be reviewed during orientation.
For more information, please visit our Campus Safety page
Check-in will begin at Houston Hall at 9am on the first Sunday of the program. Students are welcome to arrive on campus and check in anytime on Sunday between 9am and 5pm. During check in, room assignments will be distributed and students will have the opportunity to meet their RAs and roommates and unpack.
For students arriving from out of town on Sunday between 9am and 5pm, there is a shuttle service from the airport and train/bus station for students arriving from out of state. All details about arrival and departure travel will be communicated after you have been admitted to the program.
Students arriving outside of the specified window should be in-touch with us to discuss what accommodations can be arranged. While we make reasonable efforts to accommodate students who need to arrive early or depart late, we cannot guarantee the same services will be available to students arriving or departing outside of the specified windows.
Residential Students will get the full Tufts University experience by living on-campus in one of Tufts Undergraduate dorms: Houston Hall! Tufts partners with Summerfuel, a well-known provider of high school summer programming, to offer top quality residential and social experiences for its students. Rooms are air-conditioned, 24/7 security and hospitality is available, and accessible rooms are available upon request.
Bedrooms will be doubles on a common hall. Halls are divided by gender and age and students are grouped into smaller communities known as Resident Advisor groups. Roommates and RA groups are determined based on the pre-program housing questionnaire and taking into account age and geographic diversity. Full bedding and towels will be provided and will be replaced weekly. Wi-Fi is available throughout campus.
Resident Advisors (RA) will live on each hall and will work to create a strong, supportive residential community. A Resident Advisor’s role is to support students in every aspect of their summer experience while serving as a mentor and active leader. Summerfuel Senior Staff also live in residence and are available to help address student concerns and emergencies, day or night.
The residence is accessible with a current and valid Tufts ID card, which is required for entry into the building and a mechanical key for the bedroom door. Tufts University security is on 24-hour patrol and available to any student that may need assistance. The Summerfuel office is located in the building’s entrance corridor and serves as the information and security hub for students.
A dedicated residential staff oversees student safety during the entirety of the program. Students are honor bound to follow clear safety protocols whether on campus or in the city, and are required to use the buddy system during free time.
See our policy section for additional information and please do not hesitate to contact us with questions and concerns.
Residential staff will support students as they adjust to living in a dormitory and being responsible members of a summer program community. The residence staff will include a director, senior staff and one resident advisor for every ten students. Prior to the program, residence staff will be trained to lead student groups, manage student conflict and resolution and oversee all safety aspects on program. They will begin the program well prepared to meet the needs of all Tufts Pre-College Program students.
This summer's team will be led by George Kinzel, a 20+ year Summerfuel veteran and a long-time summer resident at Tufts. Meet George
Residential program fees include three meals per day and brunch / dinner on Sundays. All meals on the Medford/Somerville campus will be at Dewick-MacPhie Dining Center, conveniently located a few minutes from student housing. Dewick-MacPhie provides a wide variety of menu choices, including vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and an organic salad bar. All meals on the Boston Fine Arts (SMFA), Boston Health Sciences, or Grafton campuses will be provided through boxed lunches or by Tufts staff. Tufts staff will also provide meals for program related activities taking place off-campus. Tufts dining is able to accommodate most dietary restrictions and preferences. Please advise us of dietary needs during the application process.
Activities & Trips
We want your summer to be fun too! It is summer after all! Summerfuel will be planning trips and activities throughout the summer that will allow students to make friends, build relationships, and relax from the world-class academic work they will be doing in the classroom.
Examples of past weekend trips include excursions to Six Flags New England, Crane Beach in Ipswich, downtown Boston, the Museum of Fine Arts, Duck Boat tours, Charles River Cruises, and more! Please note that weekend trips vary from year to year and these are only examples of the kinds of trips this program might include.The cost of any such excursions (including transportation, entrance fees, regularly scheduled meals, and supervision) is included in the cost of the program, although souvenirs, extra food, and other incidentals is not.
Daily activities might include ice cream socials, midnight pancakes, trips to local coffee houses for poetry readings, lectures around campus, visits to Davis Square, etc. The cost of most of these activities will be included, however incidentals like coffee at the coffee house or public transportation fares for an optional activity will not be covered by the program.