One of the most awaited times of the year is fast approaching, summer vacation! As students ponder how to spend the next three months, one should keep in mind that it is never too early to start thinking about college. Summer is the perfect time for middle school and high school students to begin getting answers to the questions they may have about college, including: What is the college process like? Where should I apply? What do I want to study? How will I pay for tuition?
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Office of Engineering Outreach Programs notes, “It is never too early to start thinking about college, even before the ninth grade! College doesn’t just happen; students and their families have to prepare.
With so much to do, time is of the essence, and while it is widely known that extracurricular activities in high school are important factors in the college application process, former Harvard College interviewer, Allison Otis, explains that “…the most important thing you can do is show that you are being thoughtful about what you do with your time. Students must develop a strong academic record with a college preparatory curriculum, become involved in a range of extracurricular activities…prepare for the PSAT and SAT, and research colleges, scholarships and financial aid. Now is the time to plan for the future.”
Therefore, it would be worthwhile to make a checklist of the things mentioned above to see what you can already begin working on. Follow this link http://www.cfnc.org/static/pdf/home/sc/pdf/Checklist_for_College.pdf to find a college checklist divided by grade from the College Foundation of North Carolina.
So, how can students use the summer months productively and still have a great time? Summer Enrichment Programs are the answer!
Summer Enrichment Programs are summer camps targeted toward middle school and high school aged students who aspire to go to college. The benefits of attending one of these programs include being able to live on a college campus, explore different interests (helpful to narrow down career choices and majors) and the opportunity to meet and learn from other students.
An additional benefit of attending a summer program is the fact that it distinguishes participants from other students in their school who might be wasting away their summer. On the other hand, summer enrichment program participants are developing leadership skills, and such experience can make a difference during the application process. But, why does it matter? The Peterson Company, a college consulting company, cites that the total number of high school graduates is projected to rise by 10%, resulting in colleges recieving more applications. With increasing competition, student applications will need to stand out more than ever.
Having gone through the college process myself the best advice I can give you is to never give up. Finding the right summer enrichment program might take time, effort, perseverance and what this ultimately means is that it’s worth it! Remember that if it were “easy” then everyone would be attending summer programs instead of watching re-runs on ABC Family. Check out these summer enrichment programs and make your summer count:
Summer Enrichment with generous scholarships or tuition free:
University of Michigan - MITE (Michigan Introduction to Technology & Engineering)
- MITE takes place over July and August. As part of the program students take 4 key academic support classes: Technical Communications, Engineering Math, Professional Development, and Engineering Concepts.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology - MITES (Minority Introduction to Engineering & Science)
- By sending your application to MITES you will automatically be considered for various enrichment programs offered in MIT. Also, all of the MITES programs are 100% scholarship based!
Texas A & M University - SMaRT Camp (Summer Mathematics Research Training High School Camp)
- SMaRT Camp is a free of cost, two-week summer program at Texas A&M University. The program is intended to facilitate interest in mathematics of advanced high school students (14-18).
Carleton College Summer Writing Program & Carleton College Summer Science Institute
- Carleton College offers five different summer enrichment programs with very generous scholarships/financial aid.
List of Universities that have Summer Enrichment programs:
Search Engines for Summer Enrichment programs:
Many of the enrichment programs require recommendation letters, school/community involvement and the completion of strict deadlines so if you don’t qualify this year make sure you still apply the next. Take the upcoming school year as an opportunity to meet requirements needed to attend the program of your choice and throughout the year keep deadlines in mind. Choose wisely and make your summer count!