A college education can start long before a person’s first day as an undergraduate. These five local colleges and universities offer some form of prep course or pre-college instruction for high school and non-traditional students. There are even seasonal education courses for younger students. Check out what the schools have to offer.

Essex County College

Throughout the summer and on Saturdays in the spring and fall, Essex County College offers enrichment courses that introduce kids from preschool through high school to athletics, science and technology, writing, art, and practical math applications. The high school courses are more rigorous, and more closely resemble actual college classes in pace and subject matter.

Essex County’s spring and fall Saturday classes also include test prep for high schoolers getting ready for AP subject tests and college entrance exams, such as the ACT and SAT. As a part of PARCC—Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers—Essex County College offers test prep and college readiness programs for students as early as 3rd grade.

Contact the Office of Community and Continuing Education at 973-877-3400 for more information.


The mission of the NJIT Center for Pre-College Programs is to give minority students more access to STEM education and to expose children in elementary and secondary schools to more science and math instruction. The programs serve more than 3,000 students yearly.

The Center offers a robust catalog of pre-college programs, including SAT prep and a pre-engineering program for students as early as 4th grade. Some of the programs are specifically geared toward girls and young women, and offer instruction in robotics, chemical and biomedical engineering, and aeronautics. The Center also offers Academy College Programs, where high school students with outstanding GPAs can start earning college credits.

Contact the New Jersey Institute of Technology Center for Pre-College Programs at (973) 596-5368 for more information.

Seton Hall Law

Seton Hall Law offers a pre-legal program for students and professionals considering legal career tracks. Students live on campus during a five-week program and are introduced to legal writing, legal analysis, written legal communications, and oral advocacy. They can also choose two areas of focus out of four: contracts, criminal law, property, or constitutional law. Additionally, students receive training in stress and time management, take LSAT prep, and participate in career immersion workshops.

The pre-legal program is dedicated to the diversification of Seton Hall Law School as well as the legal field in general, and it’s designed to benefit students who are receiving grants through the New Jersey Educational Opportunity Fund or students eligible for these grants.

Contact Seton Hall Career Services at 973-642-8746 for more information.


Rutgers-Newark offers several early learning programs to ­assist a diverse body of students. Among them is Rutgers ­Future ­Scholars, a multi-year program for first-generation and low-income students. At the end of the program, the students are awarded a Rutgers-Newark scholarship. The Talent Search ­program offers ­financial, academic and career counseling to hopeful students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The Rutgers-Newark Upward Bound program is a year-long college prep course that serves students from three high schools in the East Orange, NJ school district: Cicely L. Tyson Community School of the Performing and Fine Arts, East Orange Campus High School, and East Orange STEM Academy High School. And it’s free to all participants.

Contact the Rutgers-Newark Academic Foundations Center at 973-353-3574 for more information.

Berkeley College

Berkeley College’s Jumpstart Program is for students who have already been accepted to Berkeley but who need to hone their reading, writing, and math skills before they’re fully immersed in college-level courses. The program is offered each term to both high school and non-traditional students, and it’s available at no additional cost if taken the semester before the beginning of the student’s freshman year.

The courses in the Jumpstart Program can also be taken as part of a student’s freshman year course load but, in that instance, the student will be required to pay the regular tuition rate.

Contact the Berkeley College Office of Admissions at 800-446-5400, ext. WBW for information.