Pre-College Programs

A Note to Parents and Guardians

Pre-College Programs at Brown University

Attending a summer academic program at a college or university is a significant event for a high school student—and no less so for their parents. We are mindful that in addition to the vicarious excitement and exhilaration they share with their children, many parents also share their anxieties—and have concerns of their own as well. We hope that this web site communicates not only the excitement of the program but also addresses your concerns. And we are always happy to talk to parents and guardians to answer any questions that may not find an answer on our pages.

For local accommodation and activity information, visit our "Enjoying Providence" page.

Are Brown's Pre-College Programs the Right Fit?

Brown’s Pre-College Summer programs are a unique opportunity for bright, motivated, responsible young people to experience life and learning in a university environment. The students who attend have demonstrated not only exceptional intellectual ability but also possess a degree of maturity, self-motivation, and a seriousness of purpose in their chosen course of study. 

At the same time, exercising these skills in a new environment can be a challenge. We do our best to create opportunities for students, and look to the students to take advantage of them. Our instructors are passionate about their subject matter, work hard to impart this passion to their students, but also demand much of them. When students are not in class or engaged in homework, study groups or work on class assignments, they are encouraged to take advantage of a full calendar of co-curricular activities and academic and social events. Participation in these activities is not mandatory; rather, we expect students to take the initiative and to find meaningful ways to engage intellectually and socially with other students in the program. 

Indeed, we encourage students to look at these activities not only as a way to engage in something familiar and fun but also as a way to explore the unknown—to attend a talk about something they know nothing about, to engage with students they do not know, to find out what else there is to know and do beyond what they already know and do. This takes a certain degree of courage, but our experience has been that the rewards of such risk taking are great.

What to Study?

Summer@Brown is first and foremost an academic program, and the course of study undertaken by a student should be one that simultaneously plays to his or her strengths and to a deep and motivating interest in a subject area. The Summer@Brown curriculum is designed to reflect the broad curriculum of Brown University, and we aim to bring together in classes students who share a common intellectual passion — and to invite them into a community of students where they will find an exceptionally diverse array of intellectual passions among their peers as well.

Taking More Than One Course

Many accepted students choose to attend multiple sessions throughout the summer, stringing together a series of one-, two- and three-week courses. This option offers students the opportunity to create their own course of study or to immerse themselves in a variety of subjects all summer long. Some also consider taking two courses during the same or overlapping terms, and we would encourage students considering this option to consult with us first, to ensure that the combination of courses represents a manageable course load and that together they match the student’s interests and preparation.

Maturity and Independence

Independence is central to the Brown summer experience, and for many students, this level of independence will be a new experience. They will need to find within themselves self-discipline to manage their time, set their priorities, and to be mindful of such things like eating balanced meals, getting enough sleep and doing their own laundry—all without parental assistance. Summer at Brown is a great opportunity for your bright, motivated young person to practice managing his or her daily life in a supportive environment. 

This combination of rigorous academics and personal independence most certainly prepares pre-college students for the challenges of college life.  Indeed, students and their parents have often said that the best part of the summer program was the personal growth that occurred. When pre-college students successfully complete a Summer at Brown program, they emerge with renewed confidence that they will be able to make a successful adjustment to college life.


Students will learn quickly how—and how necessary it is—to balance their academic responsibilities with responsible living in a community of like-minded students. They do so with the help of a team of carefully selected and trained Residence Directors (RDs) and Resident Assistants (RAs), who also live in the residence halls. These skilled and caring live-in professionals—the majority of whom are Brown undergraduate students—help students learn how to balance the competing demands of an exceptionally rich and rewarding academic and social life and serve as a resource for everything from guiding students to resources around campus to aiding them in negotiating roommate conflicts. Our primary goal is to create a safe atmosphere which supports student success, and the residential staff's emphasis on community-building and individual responsibility encourages students to develop the necessary skills and capacities in a way that is as enjoyable as it is rewarding.

Contacting Your Student

We know that you will want to be in touch with your child—and they with you—and we encourage you to talk to your son or daughter about when and how much to be in touch. It frequently happens that within hours of parents’ departure, the students are so immersed in the experience that their sense of time—of when they last spoke to their parents—is very different from their parents’ sense. Telephone service is available in all rooms, but students must bring their own telephone and answering machine. Most students and their parents find that cell phones are a more convenient alternative. Except in emergency situations Summer at Brown staff cannot generally honor requests to track down a student; hence, our request that you arrange regular times to be in touch with your child.

Emergency Contact: Brown Department of Public Safety: (401) 863-3322


Please read over our Policies page, which, in addition to outlining policies specific to academic and residence life, financial policies and matters of health and safety, also provides substantial additional information. Students and their families are expected to review them together and to sign the Code of Conduct section of the acceptance forms.

In accordance with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (Clery Act), the Department of Public Safety is required to publish an annual security report, which includes statistics mandated by the Clery Act. You can obtain a copy of this report by contacting Public Safety at 401-863-3103 or accessing the following web site:

We are looking forward to having your child on our campus this summer, and thank you for allowing us that privilege!