Pre-First Year in Engineering and Science Program (PREF)


June 24, 2017 – August 04, 2017
University Park Campus

PREF is a six-week academic summer bridge program designed for first-year students in engineering- or science-based majors. PREF also includes structured social and cultural activities that invite students to build relationships with each other and relate in-class experiences to out-of-class programs. The overall objective of PREF is to maximize the retention of first-year students in engineering and science majors at Penn State. We do this by guiding participants toward academic success through first-year required courses, giving them a head-start into a challenging, yet rewarding, field.

A Closer Look

PREF students will have a head start in transitioning to the college pace, in particular, to the College of Engineering’s curriculum. Group study sessions will be incorporated into the schedule, along with professional development workshops and a field trip to enhance the in-class experiences.

PREF will preview:

  • College calculus
  • College chemistry
  • College physics
  • College success skills

Why Do It?

Dr. Christopher L. Dancy

My experience in PREF was great! Having an opportunity to get acclimated to the campus and to establish an understanding of what would be expected of me when I began classes in the Fall really gave me a freedom and maturity that would have been impossible otherwise.

Dr. Christopher L. DancyAssistant Professor, Bucknell University (PREF 2006)
Ikenna Okafor

PREF was an amazing experience for me. Not only did it help me make long lasting friends whom I still talk with till this day, but it also prepared me for a STEM education at Penn State.

Ikenna OkaforMS Computer Science (PREF 2012)

After 24 successful years of the PREF program, we have become aware of the specific benefits that the program can bring to our students. Research indicates that participants:

    • Have a higher GPA than non-participants
    • Are more likely to graduate from the College of Engineering
    • Are more likely to land competitive salaries in internships, co-ops, and full time employment
    • Earn amazing academic scholarships
    • Acclimate more easily to the college environment
    • Smoothly transition from high school to college before all other first-year students
    • Build an extensive network of lifelong friends


The program cost is $1,500. This includes room and board, field trips, courses, and tutoring. This is a highly subsidized price; the remaining expenses are coved by corporate sponsorships. If you are unable to pay the fee, please include a statement of financial need and how much you can contribute along with your application.