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Summer College Programs For High School Students

Elaine Said:

What are some good summer programs for high school students that colleges offer?

We Answered:

A lot of schools offer these...I'd check out the websites of a) universities near you and/or b) schools you're particularly interested in applying to for college.

The key to these programs is that you should try to take real classes and do very, very well in them....their main value is that they prove to schools that you can handle their coursework (and if you do well enough/get involved enough to get a letter of recommendation from your professor, all the better). If you can do this at a university with a reputation for strong academics, all the better.

Some of them also offer programs alongside the classes aimed at high school students...the one I did also had workshops on writing your personal statement, college writing, etc. and actually organized group tours to other universities in the reason (I'm pretty sure this part, and not the actual classes, was what enticed my parents). They aren't an automatic ticket in or anything, even if you get perfect grades and it's at your dream school, but it can shows schools you're qualified enough to handle their academics, and that you're serious/passionate about learning to give up your summer to take these classes. Personally, it's also a great way to get a taste of college-level classes and to explore a field you might have not had much exposure to in your high school.

When I did it, I took genetics and a molecular bio class with a lab (which was a mixed undergrad/grad student population) you can definitely pick classes with a science/medical basis....usually you can take any class being offered to undergrads during the summer session.

In terms of getting in, it's not often too hard...although, of course, schools vary. But these are big cash cows for universities, and since you're not their student, they don't really care if you fail, they tend to be liberal in terms of admissions (and the ability to fork over tuition is usually more important than anything else). That said, you might still have to meet certain prerequsites to take certain classes.

The other thing, though, is that these can be super expensive...if you live near enough, some schools will let you enroll and commute, and not having to pay for room and board can shave a LOT off the price tag. (of course, you miss out on the "dorm life", but there are still plenty of ways to get involved, and you can stay more connected to your high school friends.)

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