CTEQ Pre-College Program

Sponsored by Assumption University’s Core Texts & Enduring Questions Program

Each summer, high school students from across New England and around the country join Assumption University professors for a competitive pre-college program that introduces rising high school seniors to undergraduate studies in the liberal arts. Participating students gain firsthand experience of studying the humanities in a college setting during this week long residential program. Our Pre-College Program gives high school students the opportunity to study great works of philosophy, literature, art, political science, and theology with nationally known faculty—as they simultaneously meet new friends and experience what collegiate academic life is like.



Program Contact

Daniel P. Maher, Ph.D

Professor of Philosophy, Director of CTEQ
508-767-7575 Tsotsis Family Academic Center Room 248

All classes taught by professors, none by teaching assistants
Students from 29 states and 21 countries
Student/Faculty ratio

About the Program

  • This summer’s program will revolve around two enduring human themes:

    1. The nature of love and friendship
    2. The relation of religion and politics

    Over the course of the week, students will attend five different morning sessions examining the nature of love and friendship in works ranging from Shakespeare’s plays to Michelangelo’s paintings and five different afternoon sessions examining the relation of religion and politics in works by diverse thinkers like Plato, Thomas More, and the Federalists.

    Each morning and afternoon session will run for two hours. In addition, each day we will hold an hour-long session on a non-academic theme, e.g., sessions on writing an impressive Common App essay or navigating life in a dorm with a new roommate. Students and faculty will also attend a tour of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston.


  • During the week, we will take a daytrip for a guided tour of the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum in Boston. You will attend a Worcester Bravehearts baseball game. We will hold a business-casual dinner for pre-college students and CTEQ faculty. Lastly, we will hold a luncheon for pre-college students and their parents on the final day of the program.

  • Who should go to the Pre-College Great Books Program?
    Rising high school seniors who are interested in a serious introduction to the liberal arts.

    Is the admission process competitive?
    Yes, students are admitted into this program on the strength of their application essay, GPA (3.3 or higher), and letter of recommendation from a teacher or guidance counselor.

    When does the program take place? 
    July 14-19, 2024

    Where does the program take place? 
    On Assumption University’s campus (500 Salisbury Street, Worcester, Massachusetts, 01609).

    Does the program offer students financial assistance?
    Yes, thanks to a generous donation from Assumption University’s Core Texts & Enduring Questions Program, each student accepted into the Pre-College Great Books Program will receive a Thomas More fellowship. This merit-based fellowship covers 50% of the full tuition, room, board, and book costs for the week.

    How much will it cost me to attend? 
    Students are charged $500.00, once the fellowship is applied, to attend this week-long, residential pre-college program.

    Why should I go? 
    This residential program is a great opportunity for high school students to see what a serious, undergraduate liberal arts program is like as they begin the college application process.

    Whom should I contact if I have questions about the program? 
    You can email the director of the Core Texts & Enduring Questions Program, Dr. Marc Guerra, directly at

    How do I apply? 
    Applying is a simple three-step process: 1) fill out the on line application; 2) submit a 250-word essay responding to the following prompt: “What is the purpose of a liberal arts education?”; and 3) have a recent teacher or guidance counselor submit a signed letter of recommendation (PDF files only). Your 250-word essay and letter of recommendation should be emailed to

  • “My week in the Core Texts and Enduring Questions program was unforgettable. I made new friends, new discoveries, and found myself feeling at home on campus.  All of the classes were eye-opening and invigorating, and the professors who taught them were amazing at helping us understand the readings.  The discussions held after every class were so helpful and allowed . . . [us] to bounce ideas off of each other and obtain more knowledge than I ever would have thought I could absorb in just one week.”

    -Jilleen Barrett, former CTEQ Summer Program student

    “I went into the CTEQ summer program extremely nervous and excited.  I am a very shy person, but also desperately want to go into the liberal arts, so I bit the bullet and attended, and have never been more grateful for a decision I have made.  I have wanted to teach high school English since I was a freshman in high school.  My week at Assumption cemented my belief that this is the right path for me and made me more excited than ever to pursue it, [and] it added about a hundred other things to my list of things I want to study.  I feel beyond blessed to have been afforded this opportunity . . . it was truly an eye-opening and motivating experience that I will without a doubt never forget.”

    -Jessica Diggins, former CTEQ Summer Program student

    “The professors presented complex topics and ideas in accessible ways, and they were as interested in you as they were about their subjects. One professor even made me interested in Shakespeare. Out of class, I was able to talk with the TAs about the topics presented in class and other things in life.  By the end of the week, I was sad to have to leave this slice of college life . . . and now I can’t wait for my actual college experience to begin.”

    -Eric Andrews, former CTEQ Summer Program student

Beauty Meets Opportunity

Some students are eager to attend a university located in the middle of a bustling metropolis. Others prefer the peace and beauty of a traditional New England university campus. Attending Assumption means you won’t have to choose.

Assumption is dedicated to providing a clear understanding of what your education will cost

We’ll help cut through the complexity of financing your education, ensuring you understand what you need, how to apply for aid, and what’s expected of you. You will be assigned a personal financial aid advisor who will guide you through the process and answer all of your financial aid-related questions.

Programs Related to CTEQ Pre-College Program

Global Studies




Honors Program


Political Science




Women's Studies