There are thousands of summer programs designed to provide challenging and diverse experiences for high schools students. Whether through a university or through a well-known organization, summer programs can be great resume boosters and valuable experiences that expose students to different interests and independent, college life.
Why Choose A Summer Program?
It Allows You To Explore Potential Majors
Summer programs cover a wide variety of topics with narrow and broad scopes. Take an architecture program like University of Texas Summer Architecture Academy that allows you to explore the specific culture of architecture studios or Penn Engineering’s Summer Academy in Applied Science and Technology (SAAST) program that focuses more generally on engineering. By exploring a potential major during a 2-6 week summer course, you may be able to save yourself from switching majors (which could add years and $$ onto your college career). If you take Georgetown’s Summer Institute on International Relations, the experience may either reaffirm that your decision to student International Relations was a good one or indicate you need to go back to the drawing board and find a major that better suites you.
It Gives You A Chance to Experience College Life
Summer programs are not only great opportunities to dive into the world of math, science, or art, they offer time to adjust and try out college life. Don’t underestimate how important this dry run can be. Living on your own, feeding yourself, doing your own laundry, and being responsible for all your personal decisions can be an unfriendly wakeup call for many students…kind of like that time your little brother threw ice water on your face at 5am because he thought it would be funny. A program on any university campus will be beneficial, but if you are considering one university in particular, apply for a program on that campus. You will be able to experience all that the university has to offer without being committed to it for 4 years. Consider it a first date!(If you are interested in Brown University, check out the Brown Leadership Institute.)
Communicates Initiative and Maturity to Colleges
Besides allowing for personal growth and development, summer programs are stellar additions to college resumes. Every competitive student has National Honor Society or a few academic achievements under his/her belt, so a summer program can be a way to stand out. Earn an excellence award or some sort of recognition during your program? Even better! Dedicating part of your summer to a challenging or innovative academic program shows maturity and commitment to your field. What more can an admissions committee want?
Programs also give you a chance to learn from and connect with professionals, professors, and graduate students. Forging good connections with the leaders and teachers of your program could lead to a great college recommendation letter. Applying to Columbia and you have a recommendation from a Columbia professor who taught at your engineering camp? That might give the bonus points you need to land your app in the “Accepted” pile!
How To Choose A Program Summer Program?
So you have decided to give up a few of your days by the pool and on the couch to invest in some personal development through a summer program? Great! Now you have to choose one.,. Not all summer programs are created equal so assess your goals and evaluate what you what to get out of the experience.
There are several factors to consider 1) University/Organization, 2) Major/Interest, 3) Cost/Financial Aid. If the goal of a summer program is to explore college life on a specific campus, you may want to search for programs offered by that university. If getting experience in a certain field is of more value to you than living on specific campus, look for programs matching your interest. Finally, many summer programs can be expensive $2,000 – $7,000 is not unusual. These fees usually include all classes, housing, and food. (Don’t forget about adding in fees for airfare if you are traveling across the country!) Many programs offer financial aid and scholarships if you apply early enough, so don’t let the sticker shock immediately deter you.
How to Apply?
Most summer programs have deadlines and require application rather than just enrollment. Visit the program’s website to find out about deadlines, fees, and scholarships.
If your summer calendar is already booked with vacations and events, I’m jealous! But there is always next year. It’s never too early to start planning ahead and mapping out your high school experiences.
Some Programs You May be Interested In:
Junior State of America (JSA): The JSA Summer School offers a challenging, dynamic academic experience for students who have a passion for making a difference. For over 75 years, non-partisan Junior Statesmen programs have provided an unparalleled training ground for the students who will be the civic leaders of their generation. JSA Summer Programs prepare students to tackle the challenges facing their communities, our nation and the world. With programs at three of the most prestigious universities in the world, Georgetown, Stanford and Princeton, the Junior Statesmen Summer School provides an advanced college curriculum, dynamic skills based leadership activities, and interactive sessions with prominent politicians, journalists, academicians and other opinion leaders.
Boston University – Summer Programs & Summer Challenge: For rising high school sophomores, juniors, or seniors, the Boston University Summer Challenge program is an ideal opportunity to explore existing interests, investigate new topics, examine subjects not offered in high school, and maybe even determine a college major. The two-week, residential summer program offers a preview of college life, while non-credit coursework allows students to concentrate on a high level of learning and achievement alongside their peers, without focusing on grades. Seminar topics – creative writing, international politics, philosophy, business, psychology, etc.
Academic Connections at the University of California – San Diego: In this three-week program, students immerse themselves in study of a particular academic subject. Options include: engineering, biomedical sciences, humanities/arts, marine sciences, media/ communication, mathematics/economics and social sciences/law.
Engineering Innovation at John Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering: Through Engineering Innovation, high school students put engineering concepts to the test. Applying their knowledge of math and science to labs and hands-on projects, concepts they’ve learned in their high school classrooms are suddenly linked to real-world practice. Students’ confidence grows as they attend college-level lectures, tackle problems, test theories, and ultimately learn to think like engineers.