Pre-College at Colby College

Colby College, Maine

Join a community of motivated and intellectually curious students for one or both sessions of our Pre-College program at Colby College. Choose one seminar per session and take part in engaging discussions and hands-on projects that allow you to explore new interests or dig deeper into existing passions. Get a taste of college life as you become part of an inspiring and supportive community of Putney Pre-College faculty and students.

High School

Grades 9–12
Motivated rising 9th graders will also be considered

Session 1

June 25 — July 7, 2023

Session 2

July 9 — July 21, 2023


$4,990 + airfare

Save $1,000 if you attend both sessions ($800 off tuition + no application fee).

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Safety in a Time of COVID-19

Since Putney’s founding 71 years ago, we have approached each participant’s summer experience with the same attention to safety and security that we give our own children. This summer is no exception. Please read our FAQ to learn more about Putney’s 2022 programs, our refund policy, and our successes in offering programs in this new travel environment.

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Colby College Campus

Based in Waterville, Maine, Colby’s rural nature and collegiate environment make this campus the ideal place to host a Pre-College summer experience—one where students can truly stretch their legs and expand their social and academic horizons. A wide range of facilities, available for student use, give a true taste of college life. Access to vast campus green spaces and possible day trips to the sea coast or Portland provide ample extracurricular activities.

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Choose a seminar and dive deep into a subject that inspires you, from Photography to Farm to Table, Fashion Design to Entrepreneurship. Putney seminars combine experiential learning and global perspective, and are intentionally designed not to be like school, where learning is classroom-centered and text heavy. Instead, Putney Pre-College students learn by doing. Cap off your studies with a final project or installation to share your work.

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Afternoons & Evenings

Take a yoga or dance class, play pick-up basketball, or take the Colby shuttle to the small town of Waterville to get locally made ice cream. Compete in an “Iron Chef”-style cook-off, dive into discussions of climate change and food security, visit the remarkable campus art museum, or learn a new instrument with your friends. Take a day trip to the sea coast, go on a blueberry-picking excursion, participate in an Ultimate Frisbee tournament, or hike the walking trails accessible from campus. In the evenings take in a movie screening at a campus theater, attend a performance at a visiting music festival, or toast s’mores at a bonfire outside your dorm.

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“Our daughter said the seminars blew her mind and that she learned SO much more than she expected. Totally engaging and useful. And we can’t wait to see how this new knowledge and perspective applies to her classes when she returns to school and beyond.”

— Kirsten & Michael Beckwith, Kentfield, CA


Accommodations & Meals

At Colby College, we stay in residence halls in the center of campus, steps from the dining hall and student center. Rooms are typically doubles and triples with shared bathroom facilities. Dorms are equipped with several social common areas, kitchenettes, and laundry facilities. Staff and instructors reside on the dormitory floors with students. Each day we take our meals in the campus dining hall, with the occasional lunch in town or picnic on a field trip.


Find a community of like-minded peers, invested in personal and intellectual growth. Like you, they are curious about the world and eager to have a positive impact on it. Everyone attends Community Meeting each evening, where the group shares ideas, successes, and goals, and sets plans for the coming day. Become part of a community that supports and nurtures your interests, and make lasting friendships along the way.

Guest Speakers

Gain inspiration from the experiences and perspectives of industry leaders and professionals. Guest speakers bring to the program diverse backgrounds with high-level, real-world experiences and insights. Whether a politician or a local entrepreneur, each speaker structures their workshop or lecture to relate to the seminars and their area of expertise. The Colby admissions team will be on hand for anyone interested in learning more about Colby’s programs and the application process.


In addition to your in-depth seminar, explore other interests and topics in elective workshops offered by instructors and students alike. Tap into the unique knowledge, skills, and abilities of your peers and instructors to expand your Pre-College experience, learning on topics ranging from sustainability and renewable energy to photography and creative writing.


Choose a seminar from a wide variety of fascinating topics. Begin with classroom discussions that frame your seminar concepts and identify key issues. Take the learning beyond the classroom with site visits, meetings with local experts, and field trips. With its state-of-the-art facilities, Colby College is an ideal environment to take learning into your own hands, consider your college major, and learn from inspiring, expert instructors.

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Program Structure

Each day on Pre-College at Colby College features a combination of seminars, hands-on activities and elective workshops, lab time, guest speakers, community meeting, and unstructured time for socializing and reflection.

After breakfast, depending on the day, seminar learning may start in classrooms, labs, or meeting spaces on campus. After lunch, seminars continue. Afternoons and evenings offer opportunities for students to explore interests beyond their seminar topic in elective workshops, take part in fun extracurricular activities, or work on their independent projects.

After dinner, students and instructors from all seminars convene for evening activities, which include a nightly community meeting. On the final days of the program, students focus on their independent projects, which they then present to the Pre-College community.

Day in the Life

Due to the dynamic nature of this summer Pre-College program, each day is different. Here is a snapshot of a day at Colby.

Daily schedule

8 AM • Breakfast in the campus dining hall
9 AM • Seminars meet in classrooms, labs, studios, or outdoors
11AM • Lunch and free time
1PM • Seminars continue the day’s activities
3PM • Afternoon activities, workshops, extracurriculars
5PM • Dinner with your group
7PM • Community meeting
8PM • Evening programming, speakers, or activities

Outcomes & Final Projects

The Pre-College program at Colby College is designed to immerse students intellectually in their chosen seminar topic as they prepare academically and socially for the college experience. Over the course of their two-week Pre-College seminar, each student develops a final project based on their particular interests, which they present to peers and instructors at the end of the program. Display your photography in a pop-up gallery, present a business plan from your Entrepreneurship seminar, or conduct a reading of your script for a film short.