Summer programs diversify student learning opportunities

Sarah Fazio, Staff Reporter

Summer offers an opportunity for students to rest and take a break from the daily grind of high school, and it also offers the chance to try something new.

Numerous colleges offer pre-college programs that give high school students the opportunity to immerse themselves in a field of their choice, live in college dorms and take university courses for college credit.

“It gave [me] an idea of what university would actually be like if you were in that program because you stay in the dorms and there were some days when we spent ten hours in the studio just working on our projects,” said junior Adam Griffin, who went to an architecture program at the University of Notre Dame.

These programs can also foster a positive learning environment.

“The program makes things that you are considering studying more accessible,” said sophomore Michaël Dooley, who attended a summer architecture program at USC. “The social life was great. You meet people who are determined and have creative energy about them or they have self-drive. I met some really great architects, and I had a really good professor.”

While there is often financial aid available, many summer programs at universities can cost families thousands of dollars for only a few weeks. Additionally, admission to these programs can be competitive.

Some students hope that their participation in these summer programs will give them advantage in college admissions, with college admissions being more competitive than ever be fore. However, some say this view can be detrimental.

“If you’re going into it with the idea that, ‘Well I’m going to do this program and therefore I’m going to be a more competitive candidate,’ I think it can contribute to the mania,” college counselor Beth Heaton said to PBS. “I did not place much value on them when I was at Penn and reading files,” Heaton said.

Eric Furda, Dean of Admission at the University of Pennsylvania, told Business Insider that the real value from the programs comes from their influence on students “academically, socially, physically, mentally.”

“It should be about fueling your passion for a certain subject or field of study,” Dooley said.