Summertime. Long days splashing around in the lake, taking road trips with the family and hanging out with your friends. No school work, no stress of academics. Who would want to spend their free time attending a pre-college summer program? Working on college applications and spending 5 hours a day in a classroom? That sounds boring and basically just like school.
If this was your first thought, I don’t blame you. Some pre-college programs have given us all a bad reputation. Sure they can help expose you to college courses and you get to live on campus. But who wants to spend their summer doing what they can do once they’re already in college? Pre-college programs are only for the big nerds applying to schools like Harvard or Yale. Right?
Now that’s where you’d be wrong. Pre-college summer programs offer so many benefits to every high school student. Instead of your usual summer camp, a pre-college program gets you on campus to experience college life while developing skills you’ll need to succeed. They can also help you get a head start on college readiness. And if you pick the right one, you’ll have a blast doing it!
So what are these magical benefits I speak of? Let’s go over just a few…
1. Get a head start on freshman year
The beloved Dr. Seuss once said “How did it get so late so soon?” We all know how time flies. The moment comes to sit down for your final algebra exam and all you can think about is did I spend enough time studying? Am I really as prepared as I could be? We all want to feel ready. A pre-college summer program will help you do that.
Though there is not a lot of research in the lasting impact of pre-college programs, Kenyon College’s vice president for student affairs, Meredith Harper Bonham, states “I can comfortably speculate that those who have [attended pre-college programs] are more apt to apply the tools they learned there in resolving roommate conflicts, problem-solving in small groups, and learning to live with people from different backgrounds.”
Nothing quite prepares you for stepping on to campus and moving into your first dorm room like spending the summer doing just that. Living on campus and experiencing life as a student will prepare you in ways you’d never be able to at home.
As a college student, you’ll be taking on new challenges and responsibilities, typically hours away from your parents and those you’ve relied on for the past 18 years. Cutting those apron strings and learning to live on your own should happen before college. Psychology Today has article after article on how summer camps help encourage independent thinking and prepare students for success. Now just imagine drilling down even further and having that summer experience be on an actual college campus instead of shooting air-rifles in the woods. See what we’re getting at?
3. Test drive college – or THE college
Have your heart set on UCLA or UVA? Then go spend time there this summer! Just taking a campus tour, or even worse going off what you’ve heard or seen online, doesn’t give you an accurate picture of what life will be like there. You might love the campus, or you might hate it. Pre-college programs are the best way to test drive a school. Don’t burn tuition dollars wasting time at a college dominated by sports culture when you hate going to games.
Let’s do the math. Say you think you want to go to Duke University. You apply, get in (hooray!) and move on to campus to start your college career. Two months in, you realize the sprawling campus, 30% of students affiliated with greek life and 6500 undergrad students is totally not your scene. You struggle fitting in and it effects your grades. Finally after spending a year trying to make it work, you decide to transfer to a smaller liberal arts school that’s way more your speed…and half of your credits don’t transfer.
You just wasted $55k+ attending a college for one year that wasn’t right for you. A very avoidable mistake. Dropping $2000 on a pre-college program could save you from wasting a lot more money (and time, and happiness) when you get to college.
4. Discover what you love…or what you hate
Study something you love at a summer camp and confirm that you love it before you commit to a college based on that love. Or give something a whirl and learn that you hate it! A negative experience at a pre-college program can actual be a huge mental and monetary boon.
Do you really LOVE business? Why not try it out this summer and make sure you know what you’re loving. Many students don’t know that being a business major means a whole bunch of math and econ classes. Not my cup of tea, and it may not be yours either.
75% of students change their major before graduating, most commonly after taking classes in their planned major and realizing it wasn’t for them. That’s a huge waste of time and money. So go to a pre-college summer program, test out a future major or career and gain the experience you need to make an informed decision.
5. Meet new people and have lots of fun!
The best summer programs for high school students are both enriching and fun. Why? Because it’s SUMMER and the more fun you have the more relaxed and refreshed you’ll be when you head back to school.
Most pre-college summer programs have nightly activities and fun things to do around campus. At Blueprint, fun is a part of who we are. We work it in to everything! Forget about lectures and boring text books. Solve a crime scene in forensic science. Create a business proposal for Blueprint’s Shark Tank. Then team up with your new friends for a campus photo scavenger hunt.
Choose a pre-college summer program that’s right for you
Not every pre-college program is created equal. Do your research and make sure the program offers the things you need. Challenging academics with college credit? Living on campus and taking a course in actual class rooms? Guidance with college applications and admissions?
Just as there is a right college for everyone, there’s also a right pre-college program for every one. See if you or your student would thrive at Blueprint. Call to speak to one of our pre-college mentors today, 877-415-1111.