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Dec 10, 2020 Alumni News EXPLO Today Career Exploration Pre-College + Career Program

Reinventing the Pre-College Summer Experience

We've reimagined our Pre-College + Career program, and we're ready to get back to learning the way it should be. Find out what’s in store at EXPLO.

Moira Kelly, EXPLO President

In 1976, an idea took hold in the halls of MIT: a powerful reimagining of the summer experience for high school students. That idea became EXPLO, a pioneering and world-class summer enrichment program where students pursue their interests unconstrained by grades and tests. The result? A collaborative, interdisciplinary learning environment, where students drive their own learning through exploration. Today, more than 85,000 students and 45 years later, EXPLO is once again reinventing pre-college summer programming.

After hundreds of interviews with college presidents, provosts, professors, deans of admission, career counselors, HR leaders, industry experts, and successful EXPLO alums — two years of intense reimagining, prototyping, and building — we’re thrilled to announce our newest program: EXPLO Pre-College + Career.

A New Approach 

The new Pre-College summer program preserves the hallmarks that have always set EXPLO apart: high engagement and participation, student choice, community and connection, and the strong belief that curiosity fueled learning can be fun both in and outside of class. However, the world has changed a lot since 1976. We’re living in an age of acceleration and uncertainty, clouded with COVID and the challenges it’s brought. College and careers have been disrupted. Old playbooks are outdated, and they don’t provide the roadmaps they used to. It’s time to approach the future differently, and that means approaching learning differently.

At EXPLO’s Pre-College + Career program, join intellectually curious students from around the world for summer learning that combines industry-inspired projects with coaching from experts who are shaping the future of their professions — and can guide you on the path to your own. Here, you can explore the frontiers of industry and academia with those shaping the future of their fields. Immerse yourself in a fully active learning environment: labs, studios, simulations, site visits, powerful discussions, and interactive presentations. Dive into industry-inspired projects that allow you to engage in the authentic work of the field and collaborate as part of a diverse team — think a “mini” internship. Get personalized feedback and mentoring from the experts. Experience the joy of living with smart, fun-loving friends in a community crackling with ideas, energy, and enthusiasm. Build a social and professional network that will serve you for years to come. And do it all on one of the most beautiful college campuses in the world.

Download the 2021 Pre-College + Career Program Guide

Concentration Offerings

What lights you up? Whether you want to pursue a career in STEM, law, or business, chances are, we’ve got a concentration for you. Join us this summer for robust concentrations in:

As an EXPLO Pre-College + Career student, you’ll build a functional self-driving car; prepare functional biosynthetic cardiac tissue (like that used in life-saving heart surgery); investigate and solve a real-life cold case with a nationally renowned forensic expert; dive into the American justice system alongside a state supreme court justice; get coached by leading business consultants to address problems plaguing actual businesses; design and build an implantable medical device — and so much more. 

Certain concentrations are eligible for college credit. Please contact the Admission Office for additional details. 

Live + Learn on an Award-Winning Campus

Set on 714 acres atop Mayflower Hill in the Kennebec River Valley, Colby College is one of the premier liberal arts colleges in the United States with a storied bicentennial history. Known as a "Little Ivy", Colby is known for its academic and co-curricular opportunities that prepare students for the coming world and is committed to preparing all students for lifelong success by providing extensive internship, research, and global opportunities. The college is top-ranked across several categories by Forbes, Newsweek, and U.S. News & World Report, including liberal arts education, innovation, and undergraduate teaching.


Founded in 1813, the current campus has continued to grow and to thrive over the decades. New campus development in recent years has focused on environmental sustainability, lending the campus a modern edge among its traditional Georgian Revival style architecture. Colby’s newest facilities rank among the top in the nation, including the LEED Platinum Certified Grossman Hall and the newly opened 350,000-square-foot Harold Alfond Athletic and Recreation Center — the most advanced and comprehensive NCAA D-III facility in the country, featuring an Olympic-sized pool, a 200-meter track, a regulation ice arena, and a 13,500-square-foot multilevel fitness area. In Fall 2021, the College will open the Davis Institute for Artificial Intelligence, the first cross-disciplinary AI institute at a liberal arts college. Colby is also home to the Colby College Museum of Art, which houses a collection of modern American artwork and serves as a teaching museum for students.

Learning, the Way it Should Be

You’ll leave EXPLO Pre-College + Career with a deeper understanding of a wide array of academic and career options, but you’ll take away so much more. After developing new skills and finding increased confidence — the kind of confidence that gives you the courage to take more risks in life — you’ll gain clarity not only about your strengths and interests, but who you are. As a result, you’ll move closer to identifying what a meaningful life and career might mean for you.

Want to learn more about what this summer at EXPLO has in store for you? Read our 2021 Pre-College + Career Program Guide for more details about concentrations, our campus, and student life.

Moira Kelly, EXPLO President