Students raising hands in a classroom.
Students sitting in a lecture hall.

In her role as director of University Programs, Kristin Balicki supports NYU’s visiting students and oversees NYU’s Precollege program. Through NYU Precollege, high school students can take courses during the summer and earn college credits. NYU Precollege takes place during the University’s second six-week Summer Session. In summer 2020, that’s July 5 to August 14. NYU Precollege is open to high school students who will be juniors or seniors the following fall. Balicki and her team help students prepare for the program before they arrive, welcome them to NYU once they’re here, and help them get the most out of their experience while they’re on campus.

NYU Precollege students on a tour of the NYU campus.
How can NYU’s Precollege program better prepare high school students for college?

NYU Precollege offers students an amazing opportunity for growth and experience. It is an immersive college experience. You will quickly learn fundamental skills for college like independence, time management, responsibility, and self-agency. Attending NYU Precollege can help you decide which subjects you wish to major in, what you want in a college, and more importantly, how to succeed once you’re in a degree program.

Many students participate in NYU Precollege because they are interested in attending NYU as undergraduates. Sometimes they fall in love and know this is a school they will apply to. That’s great. Other times, they decide an urban campus is not for them. They realize they’d prefer a smaller liberal arts college or a university with Saturday football games. Or they decide business is not what they wish to study, and the course they took on nutrition rings bells. That’s all great, too! Any experience in which you learn more about the world and yourself and what you want out of college and feel encouraged to meet challenges and ask new questions is worthwhile.

NYU Precollege students working together on a project.
What type of courses can you take? Which NYU schools can you take classes in?

NYU Precollege students take the same courses as any other undergraduates enrolled in the summer. Courses are available university-wide—from the College of Arts and Science and Steinhardt to the Stern School of Business and the Tisch School of the Arts. The Wagner Graduate School of Public Service even offers a class.

NYU schools and academic departments review classes they have scheduled during Summer Session II. And if any of the classes are appropriate for NYU Precollege students, they set aside seats within the class for them. For example, if sociology offers Criminology and there are 20 seats total in the class, they may decide to have 16 seats for college students and four for NYU Precollege students. Classes are not adjusted in any way for NYU Precollege students. They complete the course like every other college student in the class, and they receive final grades, a transcript, and college credit they could potentially transfer to a future degree.

What are the students like? Where do they come from?

I may be biased, but I find NYU Precollege students to be talented, impressive, and brave. It takes courage to be an independent college student in New York City for six weeks and dive into NYU with vigor. Students must be academically strong to be admitted into the program and thrive in class, but they also tend to be open-minded, enthusiastic, curious, and determined.

Students come from everywhere. We have over 400 students in the program each summer. They came from 29 states and 18 countries last year.

A group of students smiling and eating pastries.
What kinds of activities do you plan for NYU Precollege students to get to know each other?

An impressive group of residential life staff—including over 60 program assistants (summer program resident assistants)—join our team each summer to help us provide support and foster community for NYU Precollege and other high school program participants. Last year, we offered over 150 events and activities during the summer to give students the opportunity to make connections and explore the city. All students, both residential and commuter, can attend events. They range from trips to city landmarks and museums to activities on campus like karaoke and movie nights. Broadway shows are always the most popular, but there is so much to do beyond Times Square. By the end of the summer, it is common to see students sad to part from friends and return home. But NYU Precollege alumni tell us that they have maintained friendships and remained in contact with one another over the years.

Besides NYU Precollege, what other programs does the University offer for high school students?

Dozens! NYU offers middle school and high school programs throughout the year in various subjects. Summer is the busiest time. In summer 2020, we anticipate having over 60 programs with nearly 3,000 students total on campus. Students interested in coming to NYU have a lot of options. We offer credit-bearing and noncredit programs and programs that span a few days long, one week, or multiple weeks. There are also programs that are open to students living on or off campus, offer scholarships, or are tuition free. If there is a topic you would like to explore, I imagine you can find it here!

If you’re interested in learning more about high school programs at NYU, visit the High School Programs website or contact NYU University Programs at [email protected].

Cindy Nowicki is a writer and content strategist in NYU’s Office of Marketing Communications. She enjoys meeting with students to learn about their experiences and telling the stories of all the wonderful things happening at NYU. Cindy holds a BA in English from the University of Richmond and studied English literature at the University of Bristol, England. A Brooklyn native, she still discovers new things about New York City every day. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two young sons.