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UC San Diego Offers Unique Summer Programs for High School Students


In an increasingly competitive world, properly preparing for the rigors of college is critical to future success. The University of California San Diego’s pre-college programs provide an opportunity for high school students to get a jump start on the college experience.

In an effort to help students overcome learning barriers and prepare for college, UC San Diego offers two summer programs geared toward high achieving college-bound high school students in grades 9 through 12.  

The flagship program is Academic Connections, a three-week residential program on the UC San Diego campus that allows students to get a first-hand experience to what college life is like by living on campus in the residence halls. UC San Diego doctoral and post-doctoral students design and instruct courses. Students also have the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of activities including SAT prep courses, sports, arts and crafts, music, dances, talent shows and more.

The Global Environmental Leadership and Sustainability (GELS) programs offer a course of study in a variety of locations including Hawaii, Arizona, Catalina Island (for middle school students) and Washington D.C. The curricula are designed to engage students on critical issues related to the environment in an effort to develop future leaders in the area of sustainability. Academics and scientists in the field serve as GELS instructors and students study topics ranging from aquaculture in Hawaii to lobbying on environmental issues on Capitol Hill to the effects of climate change in Arizona.

Students in both the Academic Connections and GELS programs earn college prep credit and the programs are designed to help enhance participants’ college admission applications.

Ed Abeyta, associate dean for community engagement and director of pre-college and career preparation programs for UC San Diego Extension, said that Academic Connections is part of the university’s larger mission to help prepare students for the rigors of college and to ensure a diverse and socially engaged campus.

“UC San Diego Extension is committed to being a partner in helping prepare students to succeed in college and beyond,” he said. “These programs are designed to be both educationally and socially enriching to ensure that students can take advantage of all that university life offers.”

The rigorous program is open to students with a 3.3 GPA, allowing them to receive college prep credit in such subjects as science, technology, engineering, art and math.

Applications for all programs are now open until June 2018 (or until courses are full) and can be accessed by visiting or