LEADS is a free, nonresidential summer program that gives students entering their senior year of high school the experience of taking a college-credit course.
What Is LEADS?
LEADS, formerly known as College Experience for Diverse Students/Women in Science and Engineering (CEDS/WISE), stands for Learn, Explore, Advance, Discover, and Succeed. As a LEADS participant, you will:
- Learn in a college-credit course at Penn State Behrend, studying alongside college students and interacting with professors and other professionals.
- Explore potential future careers through virtual field trips, workshops, and lectures from local businesses and organizations.
- Advance your college career while still in high school. And, if you do well in your LEADS course and decide to apply to Penn State Behrend, you’ll be assured of first-year admission to Behrend once you’ve graduated from high school and completed the Penn State application process.
- Discover life as a college student, including access to the library, computer systems, learning resources, and campus facilities.
- Succeed in your path to becoming a college student, thanks to classroom experiences, career exploration opportunities, and college prep workshops.
Who Can Apply?
LEADS applicants must be high school juniors with a grade-point average of 3.0 or higher, and who meet any one of the following criteria:
- First-generation college students
- Member of an underrepresented group
- Economically disadvantaged students, such as those eligible for SAT or ACT waiver based on indicators of economic need
- Students who may be underrepresented in their planned field of study
Applications will be reviewed with an emphasis placed on the strength of the students’ high school course schedule, cumulative high school grade-point average, essay, and counselor recommendation.
LEADS Program Details
The LEADS program is free for participants. There are no tuition fees for LEADS students, and participants will receive any necessary textbooks, parking permits, and bus passes.
If you are accepted into the LEADS program and would like to take a math course, you will be scheduled for a placement assessment to determine appropriate course placement based on your math skills.
All participants will take part in an academic advising and course registration program held prior to the start of classes.
Courses will be scheduled between 9:00 a.m. and 1:15 p.m., Mondays through Fridays. Depending on the class, it might meet two, three, four, or five days a week. In addition to class time, participants are required to participate in in-person or virtual activities Wednesdays from 12:30 to 3:00 p.m. Additional optional programming will be offered throughout the week.
Ready to Learn More?
Join us for a free info session about LEADS on Thursday, April 13, at 7:00 p.m. at McGarvey Commons, in the Reed Union Building on the Penn State Behrend campus. Register online for the info session.
Important Dates for 2023
- Application Deadline: Wednesday, April 26
- Scheduling and Orientation Session: To be announced
- Program Begins: Tuesday, June 27
- Classes Begin: Wednesday, June 28
- Holiday – No Classes: Tuesday, July 4
- Classes End: Wednesday, August 9
- Final Exam: Friday, August 11
How to Apply
To apply to LEADS for Summer 2023, you must be a high school junior during the 2022-2023 school year. Here's how to apply:
- Print the Counselor Recommendation Form (PDF) | (Word). Give the Counselor Recommendation Form to your high school guidance counselor to complete.
- Complete and print the Penn State Undergraduate Nondegree Enrollment Form. Mail your completed form to Penn State Behrend, Office of Admission, Attn: Melissa Grimm, 4851 College Drive, Erie, PA 16563. You may also email a scanned copy to [email protected].
- Apply to the program using the LEADS online application.
The deadline to apply for Summer 2023 is April 26, 2023. Only completed applications will be considered.
Need more information?
Contact the Office of Admissions at 814-898-6100 or [email protected].
Next step: PaSSS and Excelerate
LEADS participants planning to attend Penn State Behrend might want to consider the Pathway to Success: Summer Start (PaSSS) and Excelerate program in the following summer. PaSSS and Excelerate is a six-week program available to select first-year students that offers tools and resources to increase the likelihood that participants will not only earn a Penn State degree, but also will do so in four years or fewer, potentially saving their families thousands of dollars in tuition and fees.