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There's no summer home like this one

The University of California at Berkeley is the highest-rated public university in the United States. Berkeley alumni, faculty, and staff include 114 Nobel laureates, 30 Pulitzer Prize recipients, and 19 Academy Award winners, as well as civic leaders at all levels and the founders of many world-renowned companies. Experience life at one of the world’s most prestigious research universities and birthplace of world-shaping innovations in genetics, computer science, energy, and more.

Education that's like a vacation

The UC Berkeley campus is one of a kind, with redwoods towering over Strawberry Creek as it winds its way through 187 acres of green spaces, footpaths, plazas, and classical and contemporary architecture. Its hiking paths wind upward into the Berkeley Hills, with stunning views of the bay to the west. Right outside the gates are streets filled with unique shops, restaurants, and landmarks. And you’ll have free time every day to explore it all.

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Design your perfect summer

Looking to exercise some independence? You’ll get it here—there’s plenty of free time built into every day, and plenty of ways to spend it. Hike up to the Botanical Gardens. Stroll into downtown Berkeley. Play some pickup soccer or board games with new friends. Join in trivia or movie nights, lawn games, or picnics. And of course, you’ll always have the support and guidance of our amazing EXPLO staff to make sure you get the most out of your Berkeley Exploration.

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Off-campus explorations

Explorations at Berkeley show you how knowledge and skills are put to work in the real world. You’ll visit businesses, labs, and other centers of innovation all around the Bay Area. You’ll meet and talk to working professionals about their challenges and successes. And you’ll see firsthand how theory becomes practice that benefits society.

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Weekend adventure

Each Exploration session features trips to unique and exciting locations around San Francisco. Ride the city’s iconic cable cars and browse the shops at Fisherman’s Wharf. Sample the dim sum in vibrant, bustling Chinatown, tour Alcatraz Island, home of the notoriously inescapable prison, or even tour the USS Pampanito, a WWII-era submarine. EXPLO shows you things you can’t see anywhere else.

24/7 EXPLO Living

Get a feel for college life in the residential program. For two weeks you’ll live on campus like a college student, forging friendships with your roommate and classmates, getting meals in the dining hall, balancing your schedule with your free time, and (of course!) having a blast trying new things.

Dorm Life

You'll be living in a residence hall that Berkeley undergrads live in during the academic year.  There's plenty of open space to hang out and enjoy the weather, and meals are held at a light filled Berkeley dining hall with a California foodie twist. Looking for more options? You'll be close to the cafes and culinary delights of Durant and the funky shops on Telegraph Avenue. 

Your day, your way

We deliberately design the Pre-College Explorations residential experience to let you decide how to fill big parts of your day, from socializing and participating in EXPLO activities, to academics, to touching base with home (and, yes, sometimes even doing laundry!).

 

With a little backup

But we know you’re not in college quite yet—that’s why our Student Life staff will check in with you regularly to connect and offer support with anything you need. This is how we create an environment where you’ll feel known, welcome, and confident enough to push your boundaries, try new things, and make meaningful friendships. Who knows, you might even meet your future UCal roomie!

The College Commute

Plenty of college students live off-campus, just like our commuter option. Once you’re on campus, your experience will look a lot like that of residential students—same immersive Explorations, same compelling visits to Bay Area companies and institutions, same great faculty and new friends. You can stay on campus as late as 8:45 PM any night you’d like; though dinner is not included, you can buy your own in the dining hall or out on the town with classmates. Join us on weekends, too, for off-campus trips using funds from your trips and sundries account.

 

The more you know

Here are more details on program logistics for one of the best summer programs for teenagers. We’re standing by to answer any more questions, though: don’t hesitate to contact us by calling 781-762-7400 or emailing us at precollege@explo.org.

Residential Students

While some families choose to drive their students to campus, we know that transportation is a big concern for families traveling far from home. Our staff—easily identifiable in their bright orange EXPLO t-shirts—will meet you at the airport, escort you to campus, and help you settle in. On Arrival Day, staff members remain at the airport to pick up all students whose flights are scheduled within the designated window.

When it’s time to return home at the end of the session, we’ll take you back to the airport—and stay there until we’re sure everyone is safe and in the air.

Commuter Students

Official program check-in is at a designated residence hall at 8:30 AM—you may arrive on campus prior to 8:30 AM and can purchase breakfast in the dining hall or elsewhere. You are welcome to stay on campus until 8:45 PM to socialize or participate in informal evening activities—dinner is not included but you may purchase your own in the dining hall or elsewhere. 

Curricular weekday trips are included in your tuition. You are also welcome to join us for weekend off-campus trips, the costs for which will be deducted from your trips and sundries account.

Limited paid parking is available on campus and on nearby streets. The nearest BART station is the Downtown Berkeley station located on Shattuck Avenue between Allston Way and Addison Street. Bicycle racks are available throughout the Berkeley campus.

Our students’ physical and emotional health is a top priority. On the Berkeley campus, if a health issue crops up, we will make arrangements for and go with you to a local healthcare provider to make sure everything goes smoothly. We’ll communicate with parents and caregivers to keep everyone at ease. 

Dormitories are safe and secure, with key card access to get into the building. We collaborate with campus safety staff to make everyone’s stay as trouble-free as possible. 

We also balance student independence with clear boundaries for where students can go, maintain regular check-ins, and house EXPLO residential staff in the dorms. The program director and assistant director, along with career educators with years of experience with EXPLO, also live on campus during the program.

Attending an academic enrichment program helps students prepare for the greater independence of college. That said, EXPLO does not believe that our students should be supervised as if they are already completely independent; we work hard to ensure our students receive a developmentally appropriate and safe level of supervision and guidance throughout their days. In order to create the atmosphere that allows learning to be both fun and meaningful, we know that our students (and their loved ones back home) need to feel that our campus is safe—and that our staff is observant and trained to respond to our students’ needs.

English is the working language of EXPLO. To enroll in the program, you must be able to speak and understand English at a reasonably fluent level. To ensure that everyone is able to participate in all aspects of the program, students who do not attend a school with an English language-based curriculum or speak English at home may need to interview with EXPLO. Once you’ve submitted an application and deposit, we’ll contact you and your family about completing an interview should we determine that one is necessary.

Students are not required to submit test scores. If, however, a student has completed testing, scores that would show an acceptable level of English to attend the program include:

  • C1 or IELTS level 6.5 or higher
  • TOEFL:  79 or higher

Almost 90,000 students from 101 countries have attended EXPLO. The community is diverse, and students from around the world have made lifelong friends across cultures. Students attending EXPLO are eligible to attend under a B-2 tourist visa. You can check to see whether a visa is required using the online Visa Wizard on the US Travel website – select the “study or exchange” and then “recreational program.” Should you need to apply for a visa, EXPLO will provide you with a support letter tailored to your needs. 

Regardless of visa need, all students entering the US from abroad are encouraged to request a travel letter from EXPLO to expedite entry and should ensure that their passport is valid for at least six months beyond their planned entry date.

Get to know your summer home.