Rising Senior Summer Academy

The University of Pennsylvania, in response to the unprecedented disruptions to the delivery of education and college access supports during the COVID-19 pandemic, is offering the Penn Rising Senior Summer Academy: a completely free, online program open to all 14,000+ rising seniors attending School District of Philadelphia public and charter high schools in these extraordinary times.

PennRSSA’s commitment to Philadelphia students:

  • Increase student access to high-quality learning experiences through engaging academic instruction and enrichment opportunities which incorporate hands-on, enjoyable experiences with real-world applications
  • Actively promote student and family engagement
  • Create a program environment which consistently communicates high expectations for student participants
  • Equip students for postsecondary success by increasing their skills, knowledge, confidence, motivation, and preparedness to successfully complete the postsecondary application and enrollment process.

Watch a video of our information session

Learn more about the program in this TV news interview

For information in other languages, please see our translated flyers:
العربية | español |  français | 한국어 | | português 

PennRSSA is no longer accepting applications for the summer. If you have any questions, please contact us at penn-rssa@upenn.edu. Our “office hours” are Monday through Friday, 9am to 5pm.

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This online initiative – with exemplary program operations, the collaboration of world-renowned Penn faculty, and a curriculum that is both inclusive and nurtured by innovative pedagogy – is the first of its type, scope, and scale in the United States.

The program will be offered in two distinct components, both of which are completely free of charge:

OpenRSSA is an online college preparation course open to all rising seniors. With extensive content for real-world application, participants can work through the online modules at their own pace to earn a certificate of completion that can be displayed on resumes and college applications, as well as professional networks such as LinkedIn.

  • Who:  All rising seniors attending School District of Philadelphia public and charter high schools
  • What:  Free, self-paced, online college preparation course 
  • Where:  Online modules available through Coursera 
  • When:  Anytime – participants can complete the course at their own pace

The Academy component of PennRSSA is a virtual four-week intensive summer program designed to immerse up to 2,500 rising seniors in an academic, career, and postsecondary preparatory experience. Instruction and mentorship will be offered to cohorts of 25 students each, supported by a dedicated network of approximately 100 Penn graduate and professional student teaching assistants and subject matter experts from all 12 academic schools at Penn.

The program schedule, designed with the input of specialists of online learning, simulates the traditional Monday-Friday school week, with a combination of live instruction and asynchronous learning for students to complete on their own time. At the conclusion of the program, students can receive 1 credit on their high school transcript, as well as a certificate of completion that can be displayed on resumes and college applications, as well as professional networks such as LinkedIn.

  • Who:  All rising seniors attending School District of Philadelphia public and charter high schools; up to 2,500 applicants will be selected
  • What:  Online intensive summer program in academic, career, and postsecondary preparation
  • Where:  Online modules in Canvas and Google Meet
  • When:  Program runs July 6-31, 2020, with an orientation day in late June/early July
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