Summer is about rest! After a long year of hard work, a break is well deserved. But even rest can get excessive or boring. Adding productivity to summer is a great way to have fun, learn, and improve your overall standing towards college. Here’s a look at how to choose the best summer programs, in case you are looking for what’s good vs. what’s not.
Find the Right Price
Summer programs range anywhere from a few hundred dollars to over $10,000. The ideal range is somewhere between $500-$3000. Anything past that warrants close scrutiny. Especially since there are many private (for-profit) summer programs that don’t always do a good job.
Choose 1st Party Programs, Not 3rd Party Programs
1st party programs are those run by the university directly. Examples of this include UC COSMOS, UC Berkeley ATDP, and John Hopkins Pre-College. When it comes to bang for your bucks, 1st Party Programs are undoubtedly the best. Not only do they look better for college admissions, but they are also usually less expensive relative to 3rd Party Programs. The overall quality control and depth of experience is better and more enjoyable for students. There are many 3rd Party Programs that exist so be careful! Not all summer programs are created equal. If given the opportunity to attend a 1st Party Program, this should absolutely be the first choice.
Represent Your Student’s Interests, Not Yours
Rather than starting the conversation with which summer programs exist, start by asking your student which interests exist. From academic to artistic, students have all kinds of interests. It’s important to represent those interests proportionally over the summer. For instance, if a student wants to learn about business and is also interested in painting, find ways to help them do both: be it through one program or multiple. Who ever said you had to settle for one?
Ask What Problems They Wish To Solve
This can span from social issues to more scientific ones, be it child hunger or COVID-19. But starting conversations along the problems your student would like to solve is a sure way to find the best fitting programs, not the one your friend is doing to look good for college.
Pro-tip: A common mistake parents make is pushing their students to do programming in the summer. Rather than telling your student to learn the skill of programming, base your conversations around problems that programming can solve.
This way the conversation won’t lead to a disinterested student or worse who concludes they don’t like to code as a result.
Choose the Program You Will Likely Continue Afterwards
Going to a summer program itself isn’t very helpful unless the student either learns a lot or enjoys the program. Both of these things can be accomplished though if a summer program is added into a student’s existing interest pathway. This way, they will likely use what they learned from the summer program in their other endeavors – creating a journey of learning and doing.
Recap & Conclusion
Ask your students what problems they would like to solve or about the interest they have. Once that is clear, prioritize your search for university hosted programs like those from the UC’s, Stanford, JHU, etc. Lastly, encourage your student to use what they learn towards other endeavors. Remember, these programs are what you make of them. Go with a positive mindset to learn, grow, and enjoy.
We hope that this provides some valuable insight into how to release some of the stress you may have while making your college application profile even stronger. We specialize in youth mentorship and college counseling. From 8th grade to 12th, we have you covered for any stage in your high school career. Schedule a free consultation with us here.
See you soon!