Are Pre-Summer College Programs Worth It?

Edu News

College admissions are more competitive than ever. Parents and their kids want every possible advantage. One way to get a leg up is through pre-college summer programs for high school students at participating colleges and universities. There are, however, questions pertaining to these programs and whether they are worth the often-hefty price tag. Here are a few of those questions and some answers.

Do They Help with Admissions?

Some parents and student feel attending a summer program will help in gaining admission to the college or university. The answer to this question is “it depends.” Most program and college admissions staff will admit that attendance cannot hurt and in some cases is, in fact, a pipeline for admissions into the institution.

Some parents and student feel attending a summer program will help in gaining admission to the college or university. The answer to this question is “it depends.” Most program and college admissions staff will admit that attendance cannot hurt and in some cases is, in fact, a pipeline for admissions into the institution.

Some parents and student feel attending a summer program will help in gaining admission to the college or university. The answer to this question is “it depends.” Most program and college admissions staff will admit that attendance cannot hurt and in some cases is, in fact, a pipeline for admissions into the institution.

While some colleges run their own summer programs, though, most are run by external educational organizations that have no connection to the admissions process. Attending might look good as part of an overall application package, but attendance alone just indicates that parents could afford to send their child away for a summer.

A second reason attendance may not be that big of a help is that for most colleges and universities, the sheer volume of summer program participants negates any perceived advantage gained by attendance. In many cases, that can range in the thousands. Not everyone is getting in, even among attendees.

Are the Classes Worth It?

Most pre-college summer programs offer everything from basic Freshman curriculum to more advanced studies in specific fields. Many offer classes on how to master the college experience, such as how to take notes effectively to how to draft reports and present in the most effective manner. Some schools offer very specialized programs and have no affiliation with the host to provide a taste of what it would be like working in a particular field.

As with most questions regarding academic worth, the value of a class is determined by how much a student applies themselves.

Is the Living Experience Authentic?

Students will get to see what it is like to live away from home, do laundry, manage meal plans, etc., but it is done in a very controlled environment. Even social events on campus are managed by program staff, so that aspect of the experience is much different than the freedom of the college experience. Pre-college summer programs for high school students are a great way for students to get a taste of college life. The relative worth, however, is dependent on the student’s (and parents’) expectations and what the student puts into the program.

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