Tuition and Fees
Location: Tufts University
Medford / Somerville Campus
Eligible Students: Entering grades 10-12 and must be at least 15 by program start
Credit: Not for credit
Housing: Tufts dormitory with air conditioning
Supervision: Full-time support staff 1:10 RA ratio
Program Fee: $5,000
Applications Open: December 1st, 2017
Applications Close: May 1st, 2018
Application Requirements (core):
Academic transcript and history
1 letter of recommendation
Course preferences

Program fee includes:
Tuition, room, 3 meals per day (brunch on Sundays), use of select campus facilities, included excursions and daily activities, bed linens, pillow and towels, 24-hour residential care and support, staff accompanied airport transfer during specified windows.

Not Included:
Airfare/transportation to and from home city, courses and activities shown to have an extra fee, laundry, spending money, souvenirs, meals eaten away from program, airport transfers outside of specified windows, trip cancellation insurance, medical insurance, medical and dental expenses and any non-program-related transportation needs.

This program is not related to Tufts University Undergraduate Admissions. Participation in this program does not result in admission to a Tufts University degree program.

Tufts Pre-College Intensive:
Leadership for Social Change

July 8th-July 20th 2018
2 weeks. Not for credit. Residential.

Join Tufts University’s Tisch College of Civic Life for an exciting, engaging, two-week summer program created for those who are passionate about making a difference in the world and having an impact on local and global issues. With a lens toward advancing equity, inclusion and participation in civic life, the program will equip students with the skills and knowledge to build connections, work collaboratively, and emerge as change agents who can inspire others. The students will also tour several college campuses in the area.

Just five miles northwest of Boston, Tufts University’s Medford / Somerville tranquil campus sits on a hill overlooking the city. Tufts’ location offers the optimal combination of a relaxed and safe campus environment that is close enough to Boston to take advantage of everything the city has to offer!

Join us for your summer studies and share the Tufts experience!

Program Highlights:

  • Top-ranked University just minutes from Boston
  • Introduce participants to new areas of academic exploration, including:
    • homelessness and hunger to public health
    • politics and government to youth and education
    • leadership and social entrepreneurship to environmental sustainability
  • Create connections between students’ passions and academic interests
  • Engage with and learn from Tufts and Community leaders who are making a difference
  • Explore Boston to discover the landmark civic engagement sites throughout the city
  • Have fun on with evening ice cream socials and weekend activities
  • Make lifelong friends with students from all over the world!

Program Outcomes:

  • Excellent academic experience
  • Inspiration and preparation to bring change and be active, engaged civic leaders
  • Hands on skills and foundational knowledge for sustainable, meaningful civic engagements
  • Team presentation and e-portfolio of each student’s work
  • Official Tufts transcript upon request
  • Enhanced understanding of studying and life at college

Please note, planning for Summer 2018 has only just begun and details are subject to change.

Not for you? Check out one of our other programs.

Program Structure

This program will combine academics, fieldwork, skill-building, and opportunities for reflection with deeper exploration of specialized topics in civic life. The first week will explore the many pathways to civic engagement such as service, politics, advocacy, and social entrepreneurship. In week two, teams based on areas of interest will develop a social impact project. Related site-visits, community field trips, guest speakers and interactive discussions will accompany academic coursework to provide students with a wide range of exposure to the many ways they can work together to create impact in their own communities.

Participants will reside in student dormitories and share meals in campus dining halls throughout the two-week program. Off campus, students will learn about the vibrant academic and cultural offerings of the Boston area through college and university tours and fun summer-time activities. Participants will expand their social network of peers and gain insightful mentors while acquiring an authentic understanding of the undergraduate experience.

Tentative Summer 2018 Schedule (to be finalized)

Week 1

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
Daily Theme - Foundational Learning Homeless-ness, Hunger Public Health, Sustainability Politics, Government Youth, Education -
Travel, Check-in & Orientation Day; Programming begins in the late afternoon Breakfast Breakfast Breakfast Breakfast Breakfast Homework, Relaxing and Fun Activities! (including meals)

Morning Block 1 Program Overview Classroom Session on Theme Classroom Session on Theme Classroom Session on Theme Classroom Session on Theme
Break Break Break Break Break
Morning Block 2
  • Mindfulness, social, and emotional learning
  • Intro to Community / Asset-based approach to Community Engagement
  • Social innovations in addressing homelessness
  • The politics of food
  • Tufts Institute of the Environment
  • Small groups: Public Health issues
  • IDHE & CIRLCE presentations
  • Local government
  • Youth panel
  • Designing an ideal school
Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch
Afternoon Block 1
  • Overview of e-portfolios
  • Styles of Civic Leadership
Small Group Site Visits and Reflection, e.g.: Somerville Homeless Coalition, Daily Table, The Food Project, Boston Health Care for the Homeless Small Group Site Visits and Reflection, e.g.: TUSM with CSL student panelist, Toxic Tour of Dudley Square, Mystic River EJ Boat Tour, South Jamaica Plain Community Health Clinic Civic Enrichment Activity and Reflection, e.g., : tip to State House or JFK Library Small Group Site Visits and Reflection, e.g.: Artists for Humanity, City Year Headquarters, Technology Center, The Welcome Project
Afternoon Block 2 Community Partners / Faculty / Student Panel: “Social Change Pathways: Service, Advocacy, Policy, Social Innovation”
Dinner Dinner Dinner Dinner Dinner

Week 2

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
Daily Theme - Foundational Learning Homeless-ness, Hunger Public Health, Sustainability Politics, Government Youth, Education -
Introduction to Project: Selection and Planning Breakfast Breakfast Breakfast Breakfast Breakfast Check-out & Departure
Morning Block 1 Project Development Project Development Admissions Visits to Local Universities (e.g., Tufts, Brown, Boston College, Babson) Project Development Final Project Showcase
Break Break Break
Morning Block 20th Project Work Session Project Work Session Project Work Session
Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch
Afternoon Block 1 Project Work Session Project Work Session Project Work Session Closing Ceremony & Final Reflection
Break Checkout & Departure
Afternoon Block 2 Project Development
Dinner Dinner Dinner Dinner

Activities & Trips

We want your summer to be fun too! It is summer after all! Summerfuel will be planning trips and activities throughout the program that will allow students to make friends, build relationships, and relax from the world-class academic work they will be doing in the classroom.

Daily activities might include ice cream socials, midnight pancakes, trips to local coffee houses for poetry readings, lectures around campus, visits to Davis Square or Boston or the beach, etc.

Note: The cost of most of these activities will be included, however incidentals like coffee at the coffee house or public transportation fares for an optional activity will not be covered by the program.

Student Life

We endeavor to make every moment of the student experience at Tufts memorable for our students. Every piece of the student life experience, from our dorms to our dining halls, our athletic facilities to our check-in and orientation is designed to inform and enable students to have a healthy, fulfilling, and safe summer.

Take a Tufts Virtual Tour

Check-in and Orientation

Check-in and Orientation will be held on Sunday, July 8, 2018. All residential students are required to attend Orientation. Parents are welcome to attend as well! During Orientation, we will review the overall program schedule, discuss policies and safety, and answer questions. Afterwards, room assignments will be distributed and students will meet their RAs and Roommates. Students will also have the opportunity to confirm their course schedules and staff will be on-hand to address any issues.

Residential Life

Residential Students will get the full Tufts University experience by spending their 2 weeks living in on-campus in one of Tufts Undergraduate dorms: Harleston Hall! Tufts partners with Summerfuel, a well-known provider of High School summer programming, to provide top quality residential and social experiences for its students. Rooms are air-conditioned, 24/7 security and hospitality is available, and accessible rooms are available upon request.

Bedrooms will be singles or doubles on a common hall. Halls are divided by gender and age and students are grouped into smaller communities known as Resident Advisor groups. Roommates and RA groups are determined based on the pre-program housing questionnaire and taking into account age and geographic diversity. Full bedding and towels will be provided and will be replaced weekly. Wi-Fi is available throughout campus.

Resident Advisors (RA) will live on each hall and will work to create a strong, supportive residential community. A Resident Advisor’s role is to support students in every aspect of their summer experience while serving as a mentor and active leader. Summerfuel Senior Staff also live in residence and are available to help address student concerns and emergencies, day or night.


Residential program fees include three meals per day and brunch / dinner on Sundays. All meals on campus will be at Dewick-MacPhie Dining Center, conveniently located a few minutes from student housing. Dewick-MacPhie provides a wide variety of menu choices, including vegetarian, vegan and an organic salad bar. When we are off campus on weekends, meals will be provided off-site. Tufts dining is able to accommodate most dietary restrictions and preferences. Please advise us of dietary needs during the application process.

University Facilities

Students will have full access to the university’s facilities including the libraries, computer lab and student center. Students will also have full access to Tufts’ Steve Tisch Sports and Fitness center, featuring racquet courts, a swimming pool and cardio and weight-training equipment.

Health & Wellness

Tufts works hard to ensure the health and well-being of all of its students. Once accepted to the program Tufts will ask all students to submit information related to their health and collecting details regarding allergies, accessibility concerns and otherwise. Tufts and Summerfuel staff will work together to ensure students’ routine medical needs are met.

Tufts also has robust procedures in-place for students with primary care needs, and acute or emergency illnesses or injuries. Our procedures combine on-campus and hospital-based care depending on the nature and severity of the issue. A student’s emergency contact will be notified, if one is provided, in the event of an issue. Please see our Health & Wellness Services page for additional information.

In any type of health & wellness emergency, students should immediately contact Tufts University Police at (617) 627-6911.

Please note: medical fees of any kind will be billed to the student and are not included in program fees.


Harleston Hall has 24-hour security, with separate electronic key access required for entry to the building and a physical key for your bedroom door. Tufts University security is on 24-hour patrol and available to any student that may need assistance. The Summerfuel office is located in the building’s entrance corridor and serves as the information and security hub for students.

A dedicated residential staff oversees student safety during the entirety of the program. Students are honor bound to follow clear safety protocols whether on campus or in the city, and are required to use the buddy system during free time.

See our section below for additional information and please do not hesitate to contact us with questions and concerns.

Safety & Security

The safety and well-being of our students is of paramount importance to us. Each staff member is carefully vetted using a written application, personal interview, professional reference check and required background check.

Residential Staff

Residential staff will support students as they adjust to living in a dormitory and being responsible members of a summer program community. The residence staff will include a director, senior staff and one resident advisor for every ten students. Prior to the program, residence staff will be trained to lead student groups, manage student conflict and resolution and oversee all safety aspects on program. They will begin the program well prepared to meet the needs of all Tufts Pre-College Program students.

This summer's team will be led by George Kinzel, a 20+ year Summerfuel veteran. George has spent his previous summers directing our Amherst program before it was relocated this year to Tufts.

Meet George


Students are required to attend all classes and academic workshops each day. Attendance is taken at each class. During free time, students may choose between an event organized by the residential staff or an individual pursuit such as classwork, laundry or relaxing in the dorm. Students are allowed freedom to explore with friends within an area surrounding campus defined by the program director. In the evenings, students will check in with residence staff and staff will often use that time to catch up on the day’s events.

Campus Safety

Tufts campus is considered very safe among U.S. college campuses. Although crime on campus is unusual, we do have an open campus in a major metropolitan area and we expect our students to exercise good judgement and responsibility as they navigate the campus. Tufts University maintains its own police department, on the job 24 hours a day, if an emergency arises. Tufts campus is equipped with an emergency blue light phone system and residence halls require a current and valid Tufts ID card for entry and a mechanical key for access to bedrooms.

For more information, please visit our Campus Safety page.


Please see the policies section of this website for a complete list of applicable policies, including the following: