Is Emory’s Pre-College Program Worth It? A Comprehensive Guide

This comprehensive guide delves into the key aspects of Emory's Pre-College Program, providing valuable insights to help parents and students make an informed decision and determine whether this program aligns with their goals.

Posted October 30, 2023

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Choosing the right pre-college program is a crucial decision for high school students looking to gain academic enrichment, explore potential fields of study, and experience campus life before heading off to college. Emory University, known for its prestigious academic offerings, offers a Pre-College Program designed to provide an immersive college experience for high school students. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the key aspects of Emory's Pre-College Program to determine whether it is worth the investment of time, effort, and finances.

Emory Pre-College Program Application Overview


  • Minimum 15 years of age by session start date
  • Current 10th or 11th graders in high school
  • Highly motivated and committed to engaging in college-level work during the summer
  • Minimum GPA for admission is 3.0

International applicants must also meet the following requirements:

  • Above average secondary school grades
  • Proficient English language skills demonstrated by test scores
    • TOEFL score of approximately 100 on the IBT
    • Cambridge score B2 and C1
    • IELTS minimum score 7.0
  • Zoom interview
  • For credit courses:
    • must currently hold an F-1 visa for on campus courses
    • all applicants are eligible for online courses
  • For noncredit courses:
    • All international applicants are eligible (housing is available)

Application Checklist

  • $70 non-refundable application fee
  • Online application questionnaires (demographic, parent/guardian, educational information, course selection)
  • Official high school transcript
  • Test scores: PSAT, PreACT, SAT or ACT scores are all acceptable standardized tests
    • Pre-College Program (noncredit) Course: optional
    • Summer College Program (credit) Course: required
  • Recommendation from a teacher or counselor
  • Note: Applicants will enter information for primary parent/guardian in the online application. The primary parent/guardian is required to complete the parental consent.

International applicants must also meet the following requirements:

  • English writing sample
  • English language test score
    • TOEFL score of approximately 100 on the IBT Cambridge and IELTS scores also are accepted
  • Demonstrate proficient English language skills by Zoom interview

Application Deadline

Applications are currently not being accepted, but are anticipated to open again in Spring 2024 for Summer 2024 matriculation. Note that all application materials are due two weeks before the start of the session.

Program Overview

Emory University's Pre-College Program is an intensive, two week summer program for 400+ rising high school juniors and seniors. The program aims to offer a taste of college life, enabling students to take college-level courses and participate in a wide range of activities on Emory's campus. Students have the opportunity to select from 100+ non credit bearing courses spanning various disciplines, from humanities to STEM subjects, all of which are taught by Emory faculty members. Here are a few of the many courses that Emory offers for its program attendees:

  • Abnormal Psychology
  • Introduction to Branding and Marketing: Strategies & Tactics to Succeed in Business
  • Rome, Interrupted: Reconstructing the Last Days of Pompeii
  • Thinking Like a Lawyer
  • American Crime Fiction
  • Clinical Trials: Think Like a Medical Researcher
  • Economic Inequality: Friend or Foe?
  • Intro to Bioethics
  • Intro to Environmental Sciences
  • Learning Probability and Statistics Using R Programming Language

Daily Schedule

Here is what a daily schedule looks like for program members:

7:00am – 9:00am: Breakfast

9:00am – 11:00am: Class

11:30am – 1:00pm: Lunch

1:00pm – 2:30 pm: College 101 *

2:30pm – 5:30pm: Free/Study Time

5:30pm – 7:00pm: Dinner

8:00pm – 11:00pm: Free/Study Time

Weekdays Curfew: 11:00pm

Weekend Curfew: 12:00am

* Pre-College students will engage in College 101 afternoon sessions, specifically crafted to assist high school students in readying themselves for the college journey and the college admissions process.

Please also note that on Saturdays, students will join full-day activities based in Atlanta; Sundays are typically more relaxing with optional activities being offered.

Housing and Campus Experience

Emory's Pre-College Program offers students an authentic college experience by providing access to the university's state-of-the-art facilities, resources, and amenities. Living on campus and interacting with peers from diverse backgrounds fosters personal growth, independence, and an understanding of campus life. The sense of community that emerges during the program can also be invaluable. Students develop lasting friendships and engage in extracurricular activities, further enriching their overall experience. This camaraderie can translate to a smoother transition into college life once they graduate high school.

Here are the On-Campus living arrangements:

  • All students in noncredit courses are eligible
  • Housing fee and meal plans are included in program cost
  • Reside in an air-conditioned community in Turman Hall or Hamilton Holmes Hall
  • Access to communal refrigerator
  • Pre-assigned to a residence hall and roommate by the Residence Life staff
  • Supervision and academic support provided by Resident Advisors, who are current Emory undergraduate students

Importantly, though, Emory does offer a commuter option for students who are more comfortable living at home during the duration of the program. Here are the commuter requirements:

  • Must live or have living arrangements in metro Atlanta area
  • Able to travel to and from campus each day for class
  • Access to the residence halls until curfew (11 pm on weeknights and midnight on weekends)
  • Participate in all activities and excursions (included in program cost)
  • Dining options are available on campus for students to purchase their own meals
  • Access to Emory’s state of the art academic and recreational facilities

Program Cost

The two week pre-college program is broken down into 3 different cost brackets:

  • Session A, B & C (Residential): $4,667
  • Commuter: $3,292
  • Online: $2,992

As mentioned prior, there is also a $70 non refundable application fee along with a $350 non refundable enrollment deposit.

Financial Aid

Finally, Emory offers financial aid options for families who may not be able to afford the entire cost of the program:

  • Financial Aid (Deadline TBD for 2024)
    • Eligibility
      • U.S. citizens or U.S. permanent residents
      • International students are NOT eligible
      • Must complete and submit all application items including the $70 application fee
      • Must complete the Pre-College Financial Aid application and submit parent's current tax return
    • Review Criteria
      • Demonstrated financial need is primary consideration
      • Academic merit is secondary consideration
      • Grade point average, test scores, and faculty/guidance counselor recommendation are considered
      • Financial Aid applications are reviewed upon acceptance into the program
    • Awards
      • Award amounts will vary and cover a portion of tuition
      • Awards are granted on a rolling basis
      • Award notifications are emailed to applicants
      • Award acceptances must be returned by email

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Common Questions + Answers

  • Q: Will participating in the Emory Pre-College Program help me get into Emory University as an undergraduate first-year or transfer student?
    • A: While Emory cannot guarantee program participants’ admission to Emory University for first-year or transfer admission, successful participation in a pre-college summer program may enhance a student’s portfolio for application to selective universities.
  • Q: How long will it take to receive a decision about my application?
    • A: Once your application is complete and there is no other documentation needed, the decision is rendered within three to five business days. The decision is sent to the email address provided in your application.
  • Q: What do Pre-College students do in their free time?
    • A: During free time students study, complete assignments, attend trips, and make long lasting memories.
  • Q: How much do books and course materials cost?
    • A: Ranges from no cost to a maximum of $50
  • Q: Will there be homework outside of class?
    • A: Yes, most courses will have assignments outside of class. The amount of daily homework will vary among courses and may take up to several hours per day, but previous Pre-College students have found these assignments manageable and rewarding.
  • Q: Can I miss a few days of my course due to other commitments?
    • A: In most cases we do not allow or advise students to miss any days. Please send an email to to explain and discuss your circumstances.
  • Q: What should I do after being accepted into the program?
    • A: The next step is to pay the non-refundable $350 enrollment deposit. Please wait 3 business days after you receive your final acceptance email before paying your deposit in OPUS. Review the following questions on how to pay the deposit.
  • Q: Do you provide accommodations other than academic? What if I need housing or dietary accommodations?
    • A: Please be sure to complete the accommodations questionnaire in the application portal to specify any needs and/or restrictions, which is accessible to accepted students only. Should you need to discuss needs prior to applying, send an email to
  • Q: Are students graded?
    • A: Students will be graded on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis. Assessments will be uploaded for your review in September.
  • Q: Can Pre-College students schedule an admissions interview or schedule a tour of the campus?
    • A: Emory does not conduct admissions interviews. Students and parents can schedule a virtual tour of the campus and attend an Admissions Information Session.

The Final Verdict – Is It Worth It?

Determining whether Emory's Pre-College Program is worth it depends on individual circumstances and goals. For highly motivated students wanting a sneak peek at an immersive college experience and a challenging academic environment, the program can be an exceptional investment. It can enhance college readiness and provide a preview of college life, setting students on a path toward academic and personal growth. Additionally, the chance to build a network of connections with peers and faculty can be instrumental in shaping future academic and career paths.

However, for students who might find the cost prohibitive or are seeking a more laid-back summer experience, alternative options may be worth exploring. Additionally, students outside of the Atlanta area who are looking for an in-person experience may want to check out pre-college programs at local institutions.

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