Before you read any further, you need to know that there is no reason for every student to test drive every college. Summers are well spent with family, friends, community, and hobbies. However, sometimes a student is really interested in tasting college. This posting is about the programs that can provide that taste.
A student of mine is extremely interested in a college program for which he fears he may lack the qualifications. Not that he doesn't think he would be awesome, but that his numbers may not strongly support being awarded admission to the class of 2021.
I agree that the student is a terrific fit on many dimensions: academic subject focus, engaged learning style, and inquisitive nature. I also agree that he may need some additional personal experiences in order to better articulate why this university should include him on their list of acceptances. AND he is chomping at the bit to get his foot in the door and starting his life as a scholar.
So, how to get there? My student actually suggested it himself. Upon finding information about an immersive university institute program involving a year long journey of study and participation in the Iowa caucuses, he forwarded a link to the program page along with this comment:
"Wow, what a cool program! Just another reason to apply to [University X]. Do you know about any programs like this for HS students? I’d love to do some kind of program like this over the summer maybe." Is there something like that?
Why yes, yes there is.
There are several remarkable universities that provide summer studies programs for high school students. Our particular university has a program that truly provides a taste of the actual university environment that awaits for them as college students. After evaluating the offerings at the university, I recommended that he participate in a specific class that would let him get his feet wet in the field of his choice.
These programs are usually not cheap. You are often receiving a transcript from the University, so be prepared for a bill equal to one full semester class. Scholarships and financial aid are available for some programs, but if you comfortably bear the cost of a travel sports league or some similar cost, you should start saving up. I've seen pricing generally in the range of $3000 to $4000, but I have also seen program costs at $8000 and up.
Here are some of the characteristics of a program that meet the objectives of getting a taste of your target college:
Other programs may certainly be worthwhile, but if you are seeking an opportunity that allows you to test drive your fit with the University, this is what your are looking for.
Here is a quick list of what you are NOT looking for:
A list of a few university summer high school programs that seem to fit the bill are listed below. Other than personally being an alumnus of the University of Chicago, I have no relationship with any of these institutions; I have no business relationship with any of these schools. I do not guarantee the quality of any of these programs, I simply list them to help you get started with your research. You make the final decision on whether any of these programs fit your needs. Good luck on your adventure!
Shepherding our children to adulthood demands our love, our attention, and our acceptance of who they are.