Among many questions that high school students have when it comes to entering colleges or universities, one prominent question is about how the university/college experience will be once the student makes it into the campus upon a successful admission. Of course, this question is hard to convincingly answer. In fact, a student may be able to understand only a little bit more about the college/university life from the help of an affiliate of the college/university – may that be a friend or family member. Evidently, as much as getting accepted into a top tier college/university is difficult, choosing the right place is an aspect of the college/university admission journey that is equally as challenging.
Nonetheless, current high school students continuing their education into the university/college level are not in despair. Acknowledging the previously outlined struggle many high school students encounter, a great number of colleges and universities have initiated an organized event where the institution’s staff will accept a certain number of high school students with the objective of allowing them to experience the college life, preview their dream schools, and, although not a guarantee, give a boost to their college/university applications. Summer college programs have made it into the limelight almost immediately after their introduction to the general high school population due to their attractive features. Yet, from the wide array of benefits associated with summer college programs, arguably the most fundamental benefit is the fact that high school students are able to immerse themselves into a lifestyle previously unseen to them. This allows them to become more aware of the expectations at the college/university level, thereby giving them an early start to prepare for the imminent future.
Interestingly, a unique trait of summer college programs is that they can be orientated to offer a deep insight into a specific area of academics, such as mathematics, literature, politics, biology, chemistry etc.. For instance, the summer program can be specifically dedicated for students passionate in the natural sciences or leadership. As such, within the summer college programs themselves, there is an ample diversity of specialities where the students can choose from accordingly to their passion or genuine interest and curiosity. Essentially, the summer college program can be summarized into the phrase “intensive exploration.”
With the intention of gaining a more accurate image of the daily lifestyle of the summer college program, an interview with a number of Harvard Pre-College Program Session I students were held.
Noah Mba, a rising 12th grade student from Frankfurt, Germany, who took the Neuroanatomy and Psychology course at Harvard University this summer, stated, “I primarily came here to get to know how the university life would be. So far, the general campus and academic life is great, and I am glad that I am currently experiencing the student life at one of US’s most academically rigorous universities.”
Additionally, Sehjin Jo, a rising 11th grade student from New Jersey, who also took the Neuroanatomy and Psychology course at Harvard University this summer expressed that “summer college programs have always been an important part of my college admission journey. This one is my second one after the program I attended at Johns Hopkins University. If the worry of not knowing how college will be in the future, or not knowing what college is the best fit for you is the biggest concern, I would advise attending a program offered by universities across the country. If you are able to pay the costs, the experience would be great.”
A rather not well known, yet very important advantage that summer college programs can offer a high school student is the opportunity to create influential contacts with professors from the university and valuable friends from all over the world. The top tier universities in the nation that offer summer college programs often accept applicants from across the globe. According to Omar Eter, a rising 12th grade student from Detroit, Michigan who took a course in mechanical engineering this summer at Harvard University said the following: “I plan on submitting an application to Harvard University as one of my reach schools. I think the Harvard Pre College Program gave me an advantage in that, during my courses, I was able to ask some of my professors, whom were Harvard graduate school students or PhD holding professors, about what Harvard values most and what high school students aspiring to be admitted to Harvard should prioritize in their application.”
Jiteak Kim, Grade 12
Bonita Vista High School