Even though summer break is desperately awaited, when it finally arrives, a lot of students find themselves empty-handed and with nothing to do. You’ve tried a new hobby, read 12 books, took up a new sport, and biked around your neighborhood a few too many times… now what. After all, it is a long stretch of time and after the seventh book you finish, you feel like you need a change of pace. With school deadlines in the clear and an overall feeling of relaxation, you can use this time to invest in yourself and your education by applying for a pre-college summer program.
What is a college summer program?
A pre-college program is a compilation of courses offered by most colleges and universities in the US during the summer that help prepare high school students for college. Pre-college programs usually take place during the summer. The time frame for these programs differs depending on what you want to concentrate on. They can last as little as a week to more than a month. It is a very productive way to spend the summer if you choose courses that will enrich your education and understanding of subjects you enjoy. These courses are not necessarily only academic. If you are interested in the arts, for example, you can sign up for programs like Sotheby’s Institute of Art Program and The UCLA Acting and Performance Summer Institute which can help you explore your creative side.
You may feel apprehensive about taking these programs because you rather spend the summer enjoying your free time, but these pre-college summer programs are tailored to high school students looking for a balance of education and fun. There are several activities planned to integrate the students within themselves and also with their environments.
The benefits of doing a pre-college program
What to consider when choosing a pre-college summer program
The programs tend to vary in costs. Ranging from hundreds of dollars (mostly for online college programs) to $6,000 dollars, these programs are not cheap. You need to consider if these costs are worth it as they most likely are subtracted from your college funds. Talk with your parents and counselors to determine if this is something you want to invest in.
Research scholarships that may help you cover the costs. What a lot of students do is that they work the first or second half of the summer to gather the money and use it towards their college program. There are options that can help you afford these courses, but you have to be determined to do the research.
You need to determine if the location is going to be an issue. There are some schools that are located far from major cities and thus you need special transportation to get there. For example, Cornell students usually have to take long bus rides to arrive on campus and UCSB students who are out of state are forced to pay high fees to fly into the small airport in Santa Barbara or spend hours in a bus from Los Angeles.
You also need to remember that you need to add the cost of transportation to the already high cost of tuition and board.
To optimize summer and do everything you want to do, you need to decide how long you are willing to spend away at a pre-college summer program. Determine how long you want to stay away realistically such that allows you to get other things done during the summer. For example, if you are in your summer of junior year going to senior year, it would be smart to leave some time of the summer to wrap up studying for the SATs and ACTs and to start your college applications, your personal essay, and the supplements. You also have to consider that it is summertime, and if you want time for yourself to relax and have fun with your friends, you deserve it. Figure out your time wisely
Remember to not take these courses for your college applications. These are meant to reflect your interests and to show your enthusiasm to learn about a certain topic. It is not about you doing a summer program to write it down on your application, but what you learn from it.
If you are considering attending a summer program, you can click here to see what options you have. These programs range in affordability and topic. You can also find a variety of other activities you can do during the summer.