two students walking up the steps of brookings hall

About A&S Pre-College

Prepare for college success

When our pre-college students step on to campus, we want them to truly experience WashU both inside and outside of the classroom.

    Why Arts & Sciences?

    There are many reasons an Arts & Sciences pre-college program stands apart from other summer experiences. Select a reason below to learn more.

    Commitment to academic success

    Whether students choose to attend a for credit or noncredit program the academic benefits are the same. Students gain invaluable experience managing time, studying for exams, writing papers, and collaborating with peers.

    Development of college readiness skills

    Through our challenging and innovative programming, students develop skills to be successful in college. And while academic readiness is key, we also believe that social and emotional preparedness is just as important. We create an environment that encourages exploration and self-reflection.

    Collaborative and engaged community

    All of our students, whether in-person or virtual, are part of our pre-college community a network of students and staff from across the country and around the world. Students discover what it means to be part of a community, and learn to embrace each others' differences. Our programs create spaces for students to ask questions, make mistakes, try new things and learn in a supportive environment.

    Dedicated support

    We know that attending a pre-college program can be an exciting, but sometimes challenging experience. We also recognize that each student will have their own individual needs during the program. This is why we have a dedicated team to provide individualized support. Staff are available to discuss questions and concerns, provide insight on campus resources, and promote physical and mental well-being.

    Students walking in front of Brookings

    Our Students

    Our pre-college students are from across the country and around the world. They come from a variety of cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds, and all share a similar academic motivation. They are mature, collaborative, intellectually curious, and creative thinkers. Many of our students have an interest in WashU for undergraduate studies and use their participation in our programs as a way to explore the educational and social experience at WashU. Most students choose to spend just one summer at WashU, but some do return for several summers. Students are welcome to participate in our programs until they graduate from high school.

    Skill Development

    We focus on ten specific college readiness skills in our programs: critical thinking, self-advocacy, networking, independent living, time management, self-reflection, decision-making, group collaboration, communication, and cultural understanding. These skills are the foundation for all of our enrichment programming from nightly social events to college advising workshops. 90% of our program attendees reported an increase in three or more of these skill areas with independent living, communication, time management, and self-reflection being the top reported areas of growth.

    Mission and Goals

    Our mission is to provide motivated students the opportunity to challenge themselves in a supportive and encouraging atmosphere. We commit ourselves to the following goals: 

    • To develop challenging and innovative programming that aligns with the overall WashU mission and goals.
    • To provide academic support to enable all students to experience growth in their academic abilities.
    • To create a positive, collaborative community by implementing educational, cultural, and social activities for all students.
    • To create a safe, respectful environment for all students.
    • To offer a variety of enrichment opportunities to support students with the college application process and to prepare them for success both inside and outside of the classroom.
    • To introduce students to the undergraduate experience through Arts & Sciences at WashU.
    • To support the mental, social, and emotional health of our students and staff.
    • To promote behaviors that contribute to the physical and psychological well-being of our community.

    Beyond the Classroom

    Our programs offer so much more than a classroom experience. They are opportunities for students to connect with peers, making friendships and memories that last a lifetime, and develop key college readiness skills that help them prepare for success in college and beyond.

    What do students say about our programs?

    "One of my favorite parts about the program were the people. Everyone came from different places all around the world with different races, religions, ethnicities, socioeconomic statuses, sexual orientations, and ways of thinking about problems. Despite our differences, we all shared a common interest in learning about the problems that face the world. The wide variety of viewpoints that I encountered during the two weeks I spent at WashU have shaped some of my own viewpoints, and that is something I will forever cherish." 
    -- Caroline, rising junior, High School Summer Institute student from Evanston, Illinois

    "My favorite part about the program has been collaborating with my classmates. We all come from a variety of backgrounds and bring unique experiences and perspectives to the table. Not only have we learned a great deal about engineering, but we have had the opportunity to learn a lot about each other as well."
    -- Joel, rising junior, High School Summer Institute student from Cincinnati, Ohio

    "Attending this program was one of the best decisions of my life. The courses were engaging and challenging, and the professors were always willing to help with any questions. The support I got from my peers and from the staff both academically and socially made it easier to transition to the college-like environment. Also, the diversity within the program allowed for an inclusive environment for everyone and the opportunity to see things and learn from different perspectives. The experiences, relationships, and knowledge I've gained will not be forgotten."
    -- Jasmine, rising senior, High School Summer Scholars Program student from Houston, Texas

    "My time here at the WashU has truly been an amazing experience. I came into this class knowing close to nothing about philosophy, neuroscience, or psychology, but I came out of it with a deep desire to pursue it even further and learn so much more about each subject. The professor was amazingly insightful, with the lessons incorporating a blend of lectures and class discussions, and overall it was just an academic experience that is unlike any other in the St. Louis area."
    -- Louis, rising junior, High School Summer Institute student from St. Louis, Missouri

    Students Reading a Notebook

    “Being surrounded by people with similar minds with vastly different personalities and backgrounds was an incredible immersion into the college experience that I will not soon forget."

    ―AJ2017 and 2019 WashU Pre-College Student, Current WashU undergraduate

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