Pre-College Exploratory Workshops

Eligible Students: 
Young women (ages 15-18) entering grades 10-12 

Program Fee:  
$1,850 per workshop*
(Includes tuition, room, board, and activities)

Application Fee: 
$50 Domestic

Application Deadline:
June 14

$150 off tuition if deposit paid by April 1st

10% off tuition of second workshop

College Credit: 
Not applicable 

International Students:
No Visa support provided

*Financial aid is not available 
for pre-college programs.  

Get a taste of what college will be like

Our one-week residential Pre-College Exploratory Workshops offer a first step into the college experience. Explore what it is like to live and study at Wellesley College while studying a subject taught by our renowned faculty.

  • Study a subject of your choice in the liberal arts, math, or science
  • Learn in a small, friendly, class setting taught by renowned faculty
  • Cultivate connections with a community of women from all around the globe
  • Live in a historical residence hall with 24/7 residential directors and assistants
  • Take-in the tranquil beauty of Wellesley College's award-winning architecture
  • Stroll the rolling hills of campus and sit along the shores of Lake Waban
  • Explore college life with activities on campus and in the Boston area

Want to stay for both weeks? Meals, housing and activities are provided during the lay-over weekend.   


2019 Workshops 

Week 1 Workshops | July 27 - August 2

HUMANITIES: Exploring Children's Literature
This workshop will introduce students to young children’s literature and its importance to the development of language and pre-literacy skills. We will explore classic children’s books, the importance to young children of seeing themselves in the books they read, and contemporary examples of children’s books that provide positive images and stories for all children. Students will discuss assigned readings in the morning half of the workshop, and analyze selected children’s books. In the afternoon, students will have hands-on relevant experiences to put their morning work to use such as visiting a local bookshop or the town library. Assigned readings will be required for class discussion.
HUMANITIES: Alternative Photographic Processes (Just Added!)
Before photographs were taken or snapped, they were made. Early photography was a process that involved a great deal of time, labor, and costly materials. This workshop will explore nineteenth-century photography methods in the darkroom studio in order to get back to the materiality, the craft, and the event of photography in its earliest iterations. Processes explored will include pinhole, cyanotype, and salted print techniques. In addition to working in the darkroom we will consider questions of how photography is practiced today and how it operates in our everyday lives.
HUMANITIES: Representing Women in Ancient Greece

In classical Athens, ideally women were secluded at home, a practice which restricted the ways women could be represented in public. Focusing on the role of the priestess and the courtesan across a range of genres, we will explore how these figures relate to the construction of gender in antiquity. Through close readings of Greek drama, philosophy, and oratory, we will analyze the way women at ritual and on the street were used in the construction of ancient identity.

LEADERSHIP: Leadership for Young Women | Forging Your Path (Just Added!)
There’s no better place to discover your voice, your strengths and who you are as a leader than at Wellesley.  In this workshop, we’ll begin by taking a look at successful women leaders and role models throughout history to better understand leadership and some of the barriers women have faced. Then we will explore many different types of leadership behaviors such as relationship building, teamwork, empathy, resilience, self-expression, navigating conflict, communication styles, learning from mistakes and more. During the week, you will participate in a variety of self-assessments, and fun yet thoughtful activities designed to help identify interests and strengths. You will learn a lot about yourself and your impact on those around you. You’ll leave with a visual representation of your pathway and some great insights about yourself as a present and future leader.
STEM: Introduction to Abnormal Psychology

This workshop will provide an introduction to the topic of abnormal psychology. Specifically, we will first discuss how to diagnose mental illness, including ethical considerations, and then we will cover several different categories of mental disorder (e.g., neurodevelopment disorders such as autism and attention deficit disorder, depressive disorders, anxiety disorders, psychotic disorders like schizophrenia, personality disorders), with an emphasis on diagnosis and intervention (prevention and treatment). We will use video clips, movies and stories to highlight the way that different forms of mental illness are expressed. We will conclude the workshop by exploring current mental health legislation.

This workshop is currently full. If you would like to be added to the waitlist please email

STEM: Math and Politics

How can a candidate in a political race win the majority of votes yet lose the election? How can two competing candidates interpret the same statistic as being in their favor? Can we measure and quantify the power the President of the United States has? In this workshop, we will look at the mathematics behind these and related questions that arise in politics. We will touch upon topics such as fairness, voting paradoxes, social choice, game theory, apportionment, and data interpretation. The goal of the workshop will be to illustrate the importance of rigorous reasoning in various political processes while providing a fun introduction to some fascinating mathematics. The prerequisite is a solid command of algebra. No background in political science is required.

STEM: The Future of Energy: Society, Environment, & Paths to a Sustainable Future

This course offers an interdisciplinary introduction to environmental studies, with a focus on a climate change. Major concepts that will be examined include: the state of scientific research, the role of science, politics, and economics in environmental decisionmaking, and the importance of history, ethics and justice in approaching environmental issues. The central aim of the course is to help students develop the interdisciplinary research skills necessary to pose questions, investigate problems, and develop strategies that will help us address our relationship to the environment.

WRITING: Are We What We Eat? Writing About Food & Culture
This workshop will explore food as an essential ingredient in the making of selves, families, communities, regions, and nations. We will explore the ways that we celebrate food traditions, create new habits and tastes, and also respond to food problems (e.g. food scarcity and safety, climate change and land use, and the complex networks of food producers, servers, and consumers). Our readings will draw on literature, sociology, and environmental studies, and we'll study various genres of food writing, including the personal essay, the recipe, the restaurant review, and scholarly essays on the intersections between food and culture.
WRITING: Reflective Writing in a Selfie Culture

Did you know 1,000 selfies are posted to Instagram every 10 seconds? In fact, over 93 million selfies are posted each day. That represents 2,583,333 rolls of film!

Through the use of social media platforms such as Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Tumbler, to name just a few, we are continually forming and transforming our identities by recording our lives moment-by-moment.  This seismic shift in human behavior is not only changing the nature of human experience, but also reformulating age‐old questions: How do we discover who we are? How do we show the world who we are?

This one-week writing course will explore how the selfie culture is changing how we see ourselves, how we present ourselves to the world, and ultimately, how we fundamentally relate to others around us.

Week 2 Workshops | August 4 - August 11

HUMANITIES: Culture @ Hand | Digital Storytelling & Cultural Anthropology
This one-of-a-kind course combines elements of expository writing, creative non-fiction writing, anthropology, cultural geography, public speaking, audio/video production, and storytelling to create a learning experience like nothing else. Using a variety of media (video, audio, writing, photography) this course allows students to analyze the ways that digital media has shaped—and continues to shape—how society writes itself into existence at the beginning of the 21st century. Utilizing a variety of hands-on practices, students will gain a new understanding of how writing and digital technology influence the stories that we tell ourselves about ourselves. Here, students will also be creating personal critical digital narratives about the world around them. Questions to be examined include: Cross-culturally, who uses technology, and for what purpose? Who are the producers and consumers of media? How does technology relate to writing, now and in the past? How is our experience of the world mediated through the digital realm? How and why has the role of writing changed in an increasingly virtual society? This unique course examines how and why digital technology is changing the way that we interact and communicate. Here, digital technology becomes a method of constructing narratives as well as a acting as a primary focus of cultural critique. In an era of everything-all-the-time, it is increasingly important to step back and consider the past, present and future of the stories that make up our everyday lives.
HUMANITIES: Friendship | A Philosophical Examination
We all have friends and we tend to regard friendship as an important good. This workshop undertakes a philosophical examination of the nature and value of friendship. Two main questions will animate the course: What is a friend? And, why are friends valuable? We will examine different types of friendships and the features that characterize and sustain them. Many philosophers have argued that the best kind of friendship is one in which the friend is loved for her own sake; we will investigate whether this is truly possible or whether all friendships are ultimately instrumental. We'll also examine how the partiality inherent in friendship conflicts with the demands of standard moral theories. Finally, drawing on examples from literature and film, we will consider whether one has to be a good person in order to be a good friend.
HUMANITIES: Seeing Ourselves Through Our Relationships With Animals
This workshop explores the many different types of relationships we have with animals and analyzes what these relationships tell us about our own humanity. Why do people who salivate over hot dogs consider it unthinkable to eat their own puppy? Why do we love some animals yet despise others? In this workshop, we consider these questions and the social origins of our attitudes toward other species, as well as how we balance the idea that animals exist for our benefit in juxtaposition with the notion of animal rights.
LEADERSHIP: Adulting 101 | The Business Etiquette & Financial IQ Advantage

Gain social confidence and competence with foundational skills that will not only carry you through life, but also provide you with a competitive advantage as you kick start your grown-up life.

This hands-on workshop includes interactive activities and role-playing to help you polish your presence and build basics in financial literacy.

Lessons will cover a broad range of topics, including college & career interviewing skills, email writing, social media etiquette, table manners, budgeting basics, hand-shakes and introductions.

LEADERSHIP: Leadership for Young Women | Forging Your Path

There’s no better place to discover your voice, your strengths and who you are as a leader than at Wellesley.  In this workshop, we’ll begin by taking a look at successful women leaders and role models throughout history to better understand leadership and some of the barriers women have faced. Then we will explore many different types of leadership behaviors such as relationship building, teamwork, empathy, resilience, self-expression, navigating conflict, communication styles, learning from mistakes and more. During the week, you will participate in a variety of self-assessments, and fun yet thoughtful activities designed to help identify interests and strengths. You will learn a lot about yourself and your impact on those around you. You’ll leave with a visual representation of your pathway and some great insights about yourself as a present and future leader.

STEM: Engineering Design Adventure
The Arduino is an affordable micro-controller that makes it easy to use electronics in a wide variety of projects that can interact with the world through sensors, displays, motors, and more.

In this hands-on workshop you'll learn by doing: we'll start off with simple projects to introduce the micro-controller, its programming environment, essential electronics skills like building circuits, and learn to use sensors. Over the first few days, these projects will quickly gain complexity until you're ready to create and execute a project of personal interest to you toward the end of the week.

Along the way you'll learn a bit about the engineering design process, programming, creativity, and teamwork. The Arduino kit and final project that you create will be yours to bring home and continue working with at the end of the session.
STEM: Exploring the Cosmos | Introductory Astronomy
This course provides an overview of the Universe through the lens of the physical principles that help us to probe it from right here on our puny planetary perch. Topics include stars and their planetary companions, the lives and deaths of stars, black holes, galaxies, and the origin and fate of the Universe. Hands-on activities will cover both naked-eye astronomy (e.g. the motions of the Sun and stars) and techniques of modern astronomy (e.g. digital imagery).
STEM: Furniture Fabrication | CNC Machine & Steam Bending

Chairs are one of the most challenging and rewarding of all furniture forms. In this one-week workshop, students will create a chair based on Danish Modern ascetics involving steam bending and danish cording for the seat.   Professor Reid will share his extensive knowledge of design processes, ergonomics, engineering, and construction. Techniques covered include, CNC routing, CAD, Danish Cording, and steam bending. As students develop this design, they will explore visual elements, structure, and comfort through drawing, models, and mock-ups.

STEM: Mathematics of Gerrymandering
For the purpose of electing representatives to the United States Congress, each state is divided into a number of congressional districts. This number depends on the population, as measured by the most recent census. But what is the most fair way to draw the boundaries of these districts? The topic of gerrymandering (constructing district boundaries in order to give one party an advantage over another) has been the subject of recent litigation in a number of states. This workshop will provide an overview of some of the mathematical ideas that can be brought to bear on this important problem. No advanced mathematical knowledge will be assumed.
STEM: Mathematics of Infinity
One of the questions mathematicians have struggled with for a few thousand years is how to make sense of the notion of infinity. During this 1-week workshop we attempt to present the modern take on this classical question. We answer questions such as: how does one discuss when one infinite quantity is "the same as" another, or "larger" than another? For some of the infinite sets we're familiar with, which ones are "large" and which ones are "small"? Is there a "largest infinity"? The answers to many of these questions are quite surprising, and represent some of the most interesting mathematics that was developed in the last 150 years. This course is structured through an inquiry based learning approach, which means that students will be given problems that guide them through the foundational definitions and theorems. Students will work through these problems individually and in teams, and they will share their solutions with each other and attempt to come to some consensus on what is right and what is wrong.
WRITING: Flash Fiction | Writing the Very Short Story

Flash fictions (sudden fiction, micro fiction) are short stories 750-2000 words in length. We will practice writing flash fictions, revising, and editing them for a final polish. At the end of the week, writers will have a solid portfolio of work. This workshop offers an intensive opportunity to work as real writers work: real writers write, show their work to friendly readers, and revise. This course is for young women who already write fiction and for those who have never written a story, but are ready to take a chance.The class takes as its focus the genre of flash fiction, a very popular contemporary form of the short story. A flash fiction can be only one paragraph or several pages long. Our work together will move back and forth between reading brilliant examples of flash fiction from around the world and writing our very own flash fictions.


This workshop is currently full. If you would like to be added to the waitlist please email

WRITING: Poetry Writing Workshop

Poetry is an elemental force of language. Taking Rita Dove’s idea that, “Poetry is language at its most distilled and most powerful,” we will explore all forms of poetry, both formal and informal. This workshop is both for young women who have already written poetry, as well as those who never have and would like to try.Through writing a range of forms, as well as some free verse, students will get the opportunity to select their preferred forms. Each student will put together a small collection of poems, which represent her best work. This course will offer students the opportunity to immerse themselves in writing poetry; we will work in many different forms; we will share poems, and we will also explore publishing opportunities and produce a final anthology.

This workshop is currently full. If you would like to be added to the waitlist please email

WRITING: Writing for TV
This workshop focuses on writing the television script, including original pilots and episodes of existing shows. We’ll study both one-hour dramas and half-hour comedies, and practice the basics of script format, visual description, episode structure, as well as character and story development.  

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A Sample Pre-College Summer Day

We're often asked what a day in the life of pre-college student looks like. There are so many exciting things that happen it is hard to cram all the details onto one page.  So, we tried to give you an outline below.  The main take-away? It's a lot of fun and there are people here to guide you every step of the way.  



  • Breakfast in the Dining Hall – It's not like a high school cafeteria. The food is really good. We promise!
  • Morning workshops – Start the day off with some powerful learning.


  • Lunch at the Dining Hall – Everyone eats lunch at the same time.  Don't worry.  There's plenty of room and no one gets left out.  
  • Afternoon Class
  • Free time - There are lots of options every day. If it’s hot, we might head to the pool. Other choices might include oversized soccer ball games, disc golf, fitness challenge, ultimate, volleyball, yoga, lake walk, or trips to The Ville!


  • Dinner at the Dining Hall – There are so many options, it's hard to choose. 
  • Planned Activity – Evenings are 100% fun! Activities include game show night, scavenger hunt, movie night, jewelry making, and much more.
  • Back to the Residence Halls by 10 PM curfew – Time to hang out with your hall-mates before bedtime. 



"You are going to grow intellectually and socially [you are] to have an overall really great experience that will prepare you for your future. "

Virginia Pre-College Programs 2018

"Having an all-girls classroom [experience] gives you the comfort of space to express myself.  I am on an even footing and I have even amounts of ability to express my thoughts."

Taylor Pre-College Programs 2018



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Application Requirements

Admissions is on a rolling basis until all spaces have been filled; therefore students are encouraged to apply as early as possible.


Step 1. Complete the online Pre-College Application Form

Step 2. Pay non-refundable application fee: $50 
Once you have submitted all application materials and documents, the Summer Office will review your application and render a decision. If deemed necessary, the Director of Summer Programs may contact you to conduct a telephone interview.

Step 3. Pay a $500 deposit to hold your spot.

Step 4. Submit consent & authorization forms AND immunization records 
More information on health requirements are here.

Step 5.
Register for your course on the MyWellesley Portal's registration system. 
Please note: The course selected on your application form does not equate registration. You must register for your course through the MyWellesley Portal's registration system. 


*June 21, 2019 | All application materials completed and submitted

*July 15, 2019 | Full payment received

*July 27, 2019 | Week 1 Start Date

*August 4, 2019 | Week 2 Start Date 



Please contact us: 

Apply Today!