Come summer, most high school students are looking forward to setting their schoolwork aside. Though you may be tempted to take a break from academics during your summer vacation, it is well worth reconsidering this path.
Why not further your education instead by participating in a pre-college summer program?
Pre-college summer programs offer high school students a one- or multi-week “college” experience. Such programs allow students to live in a dorm and complete one or more rigorous classes. Today, pre-college summer programs are an increasingly popular option for students who are hoping to get a sense of what college is like.
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Essentially, pre-college summer programs allow you to test-drive college life. These programs not only teach you new information and skills, they can also make you a more attractive candidate for admission into your top-choice schools.
Here are three ways that you can benefit from pre-college summer programs:
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1. You can acclimate to on-campus life
The life of a college student is very different from the life of a high school student. Living on campus with a roommate will likely be a new experience for you, and for many students, it takes some time to adjust. As a college student, you will also take on additional responsibilities (both academic and personal).
Most pre-college summer programs introduce you to these challenges and responsibilities, which can help you begin adjusting to college life before
you officially enroll as a student. This can also make your acclimation to “real” college life much easier and much faster.
2. You can experience college classes
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Just like college life, higher-level academia is very different from what you may have experienced as a high school student. While most high school classes are taught as seminars, college courses are often large lectures. Depending on your major, however, you may take classes of many different types, from the familiar seminar, to the lecture, to the lab or studio.
Besides learning about different types of college courses while at a pre-college summer program, you can also get a taste of what professors expect of their students. For example, how much homework is typical? How many hours will you need to devote to studying in order to be successful?
Of course, all college classes are different, and pre-college summer programs are generally condensed.
However, the courses you can take in such a program do closely resemble those that you would take during a typical semester, especially if you enroll in a longer (and thus less accelerated) pre-college summer program.
3. You can learn about potential majors
Pre-college summer programs also offer you the opportunity to explore a specific subject of your choosing. This is a great opportunity for you to test-drive a field of study that you’re interested in, or one that you have considered pursuing as a college major.
For instance, if you loved your high school biology class and hope to become a nurse or physician, try a pre-college program at a school known for its biology and medicine concentrations. Taking college courses in a pre-college summer program can help you decide whether or not a specific field of study is right for you.
Erica Cirino is a contributing writer for Varsity Tutors, a technology platform for private academic tutoring and test prep designed to help students at all levels of education achieve academic excellence.