Identifying and Applying to Summer Programs

Former Admissions Officer Chelsea Holley will share her tips and advice in our webinar, “Identifying and Applying to Summer Programs.” Gain valuable insights and practical tips to enhance your summer program applications. Key learnings include:

-Understanding the significance of summer programs in college applications
-Identifying the right summer program based on your interests and goals
-Navigating the application process effectively
-Crafting a compelling application essay and resume
-Exploring financial aid and scholarship opportunities for summer programs
-Q&A session to address specific concerns and queries

Empower yourself with the knowledge needed to make informed decisions and maximize your summer experiences. Don’t miss this opportunity to set yourself on a path to a successful college journey.

Date 03/13/2024
Duration 53:06

Webinar Transcription

2024-03-13 – Identifying and Applying to Summer Programs
Hi everyone, and welcome to tonight’s webinar. My name is Anesha Grant. I’m a senior advisor at CollegeAdvisor, and I will be your moderator today. Tonight’s webinar is Identifying and Applying to Summer Programs. Before we get started, to orient everyone with the webinar timing, our presenter will share some tips, resources, and guidance, and then we’ll open up the floor to respond to your questions in a live Q&A.
Also, you can download our slides under the handouts tab whenever you get ready and start submitting your questions in the Q&A tab. Really quickly for context on the questions, we do not have a list of summer programs for various majors or in certain cities. Um, so I just want to let you know, we cannot answer questions like what are the best summer programs for someone interested in microbiology or what are good art programs in the DC area?
But I will share a resource is that if you are with CollegeAdvisor, you can look at Uh, other, um, summer opportunities there. I just want to give context that those are not the types of questions we can answer. We will provide context on the summer programs and college admissions and share guidance on the application processes.
All right, now that that is out of the way, let’s meet our presenter, Chelsea. Hey, Chelsea, how are you? I’m doing well. Hello, everyone. My name is Chelsea Holley, and I serve as an admissions officer here at CollegeAdvisor. Um, I’ve been in college admissions for the past 13 or so years, um, and it’s part of my role.
I’ve developed and managed a number of pre college summer programs, um, so I’m super excited to talk about the role they will play in your overall college search strategy. I’m looking forward to hearing from you too. I’ve been working on a lot of students with this topic right now, especially my sophomores and juniors, so I think it’ll be a great session.
Before, um, we let Chelsea dive in, we just do have a quick poll, so please let us know what grade level you’re in. If you’re a parent or a teacher, we’re excited to have you here. You don’t have to put a grade level, you can go ahead and put other, and we’d like to note that you are in the room. As we’re waiting, did you do any fun summer programs when you were in high school anticipating college?
Um, I did one summer program my junior year. Um, it was related to my major at that time. I thought it was going to be journalism. That wasn’t how it ended up. Um, but I really spent my three other summers working. Um, I started working. pretty young, 15. Um, and I worked all through high school. Um, so we’ll also talk about some non traditional ways that you can spend your summer and also working.
It’s a fine way to spend your summer if that’s what you have to do. I had to work all of my summers. So, um, but yeah, all right. So we’re go ahead and close our poll. I guess we’re getting a few responses in just so you know, um, the majority of folks with us. So 29 percent are 10th graders. 39 percent are 11th graders, which makes sense.
Uh, we also have about 10 percent in the 9th grade, 10 percent in the 12th grade, um, and then 10 percent of parents, so, or others. So we have a mix, but the majority of folks are, um, are 10th and 11th grade. All right, I’ll stop talking. I’ll be back a little bit later. I’ll turn it over to you, Chelsea.
Perfect. Thanks. So let’s talk a little bit about why summer opportunities are important. This is actually a very timely time to be on this webinar, as many people might have just submitted summer programs, applications, or are beginning to plan out their summer. And so, They serve a number of purposes. One, it allows students to diversify their extracurricular activities.
Obviously, you are often constrained to the opportunities available at your high school, in your community, or in your city. And depending on what that environment looks like, you may look outside of that environment for some very specific types of involvement. Um, it also allows you to take advantage of your free time.
Many of our students are spending their school year really focused on taking rigorous courses. Um, maybe they’re playing a really demanding sport or involved in a clever organization, and sometimes you may not have the additional time to add on more immersive experiences or to explore new topics. And so the summer is an amazing time to do that.
And then last, um, if you’re looking at your summers as kind of the building blocks to your college application, they give you an opportunity to round out your application. And what we mean by that, if there are things that are missing in your college application, um, and missing is subjective, missing, um, for one school might be different than for another school.
Um, but if you are applying to an institution, um, that is very interested in service, um, having service Um, just in the last column now, there were no internal executive engagement, you can see a lot of the appointees that are on your resume on your activities list may be really important in their application process.
That is an example of something that you may not do and the typical academic year, but that you can build in in the summer. So, there’s a number of different types of summer opportunities. Um, I think when people hear summer programs, um, they’re often thinking about the for credit and noncredit pre college programs.
Um, if you think of the schools on your college list or colleges that you are familiar with, um, most of them will have some type of pre college program, um, on their campus. And these programs are great, um, but there’s also a ton of other really great opportunities. Competitive summer programs. So some of these programs are highly competitive.
Um, they may even be funded programs, so they’re very prestigious to be accepted. Um, and so that is another type of summer opportunity. Some students will have an opportunity to find an internship, both paid or unpaid. Um, and then as I mentioned, part time jobs. Um, and so whether it is being a lifeguard, um, or babysitting, um, having a part time job as part of a summer opportunity, um, as Anesha said, is an absolutely fine way to spend your summer as well.
Um, and then lastly, guided research projects. There is a really amazing company called Polygence that, um, hooks students up with Ph. D. researchers and allows them to begin a research project at the high school level. stage. Um, we hear from students oftentimes that it’s really hard to get involved in research and oftentimes faculty members, professors are only looking at partnering with college students.
Um, well, Polygence gives you the opportunity to partner specifically as a high school student with a faculty member in, um, an area of interest. Um, so that’s something else that you can think about.
Some additional summer opportunities, community service
Trip with a church or religious organization, um, traveling abroad, whether it is for leisure with your family, um, or as part of some other type of trip, um, we also have a self guided project, so that is an opportunity as well and taking dual enrollment courses.
So when should you start thinking about summer opportunities? The answer is the earlier the better. Many of these summer opportunities, particularly the ones that you have to apply for, begin opening their application as early as October of the year before the summer that you’re wanting to attend. Some of them have deadlines as early as January of that year.
Um, so you really want to make sure that you are researching. Um, so if you are a sophomore, you know, you want to be in a summer program, your junior year, looking at those dates and deadlines now, um, and then also thinking what is the best way for you to spend your summer. Um, I think. Thinking about your summers as it relates to your college application, um, is great, but you also want to spend your summer doing something that is authentic to you.
It should not be all about strategizing and finding the perfect summer opportunity that’s going to look good. You also want it to feel good. You also have four summers. Um, so the great thing about this is that you don’t have to box yourself into one type of experience. Um, you have an opportunity to do different things each summer.
If you like, um, there’s also opportunities for progression. Um, and we, when we talk about activities and involvement from a college mission standpoint. Progression is often something, um, that is quantifiable. Um, so the first year you were involved, um, in an organization just as a member and then sophomore year, you became a secretary and junior year, maybe you were still a secretary, but you launched some really amazing campaign, um, that, um, raised X amount of funds.
So that’s what progression looks like. And you can also build that progression in to your summer experiences. Um, another example, a 10th grade pre college computer science program, 11th grade, you snack tech internships, and then 12th grade, um, you take a computer science course at a local college and do a self guided coding project.
Again, very different summer experiences, but they’re really all in the same wheelhouse as far as knowledge, skill, and interests.
So where can you find you some summer opportunities? The Internet is certainly your oyster. The first place to check is on college websites. If you’re looking for a summer program where you get to have a residential experience on a college campus, check out the websites of schools you’re interested in.
Schools near you. Maybe you’re searching for funded opportunities. Those will all be on the college’s website. You can also look at other resource sites such as niche. com or college vine. Another is teen life that showcases summer opportunities. And then you can always ask your high school guidance counselors and teachers.
They may be aware of some opportunities as well. There are a number of national organizations that host. summer opportunities, whether they are leadership institutes, um, or summer programs. So if you are a member of one of these national organizations, um, I encourage you to research how you can get involved in the summer.
And then lastly, your family or friend network. Um, this one’s really important, especially as we talk about internships and research projects. As I mentioned earlier, some of these opportunities can be difficult for a college student to, or a high school student to secure just by reaching out. Um, and so sometimes it is being connected or knowing someone, um, that can help you, um, advocate for participating in this type of experience.
So what materials do you need to prepare to apply for a summer opportunity? These materials actually mirror pretty closely some of the things you might need for a college application. So the first one is a resume, or it may just be a list of all of the activities that you have done to date. Depending on the program, you may not have to submit a formal resume, but you want to take inventory of all of the experiences you’ve had.
Through the academic year in the summer up until this point, the next piece is a high school transcript. Um, almost any summer opportunity that you are interested in, um, say, for maybe a part time job would be interested in a high school transcript. It may be to, um, make sure you had a certain grade and a certain course.
That would make you eligible for the program, or it may just be to better understand what your academic preparation has been up to that point. Um, so you definitely want to, um, have a unofficial transcript handy and know the process for obtaining an official transcript if you need to. The third one is recommendation letters.
This is very, very common, um, for summer programs. Certainly these competitive summer programs that we were discussing, um, you may have to provide two, as many as three recommendation letters. And then lastly, a cover letter. Um, I think the cover letter may be the one that I see required the least. However, if you are looking for those internships.
Those research projects that you may have to network to get your foot in the door, a cover letter is so important because this is the way you are going to introduce yourself as a high school student to whomever you were interested in working with.
All right, we’re gonna do our last poll, um, and ask folks, so where are you in the college application process? So are you Getting started, are you researching schools and wondering how all of this plays into your school list, etc. So we’ll have that going. Please let us know your responses. As we’re waiting, I was wondering if you could speak to the ideal time, not necessarily of the year, but within the four years of high school when folks should start to think about these types of programs and and how Yeah, I mean, I think families, depending on their level of college knowledge, maybe thinking about them as early as the freshman year.
However, I think that they maybe have more importance or seem to have more legs the summer between sophomore year and junior year. By that time, you may have a better understanding of what you’re interested in. Even if you do not know what you want to major in, you likely know what you’re interested in.
At that time, you are older and old enough for someone to say, hey, I think I want to offer this person an internship or a part time job. And so that’s helpful. Um, if you’re looking for a pre college residential program, um, are you ready to go away and stay on campus for two or four weeks? Or are your parents ready for you to go away and stay on campus for two or four weeks?
And so I think sometimes that comes with, um, maturity in the high school career, um, to be open to, to some of those experiences. Um, there are some programs also that won’t allow you to apply, I think, until the summer before, uh, senior year. Um, because with some of the residential ones, I’ve had some sophomores apply to programs and been told that they are too young.
So, um, yeah, that’s very common. Yeah. Um, okay, we’ll go ahead and close our poll. So the majority of folks are researching schools. 58 percent of folks that they’re researching schools. So happy that you all are doing that. One plug. If you want questions about schools, just the reminder that CollegeAdvisor has a college list research team.
If you’re looking for support and thinking about how to build your list. Um, 33 percent haven’t started. Totally fine, especially for the folks who are in 9th and 10th grade. Um, it’s a good time to be thinking about it and working on essays. Congrats to those folks and folks who are almost done. Hope you submit soon or wrap up soon.
All right, I will stop talking. I’ll be back again for our Thanks, Misha. Okay, um, are some, some summer opportunities better than others? Um, I think this is a question we get all the time. Um, and the answer is some opportunities may be better for you than others, but there is no objective summer program or opportunity strategy that is going to work for every student.
Um, it’s all about, um, what’s the best fit for you ways for you to explore that, um, really focusing on your interest again, even if you don’t know your major. What are the things that you’re interested in? What are your favorite courses in high school that can allow you to narrow down the type of opportunity you’re looking for?
Um, and then also what colleges are you interested in? Um, that may be a way to kind of narrow down that opportunity. Um, looking at their application process, looking at their requirements. How do you feel you would best position yourself to be competitive at that institution? And maybe it is, um, choosing to apply for a program at an institution you’re interested in.
And then last, um, are there gaps in your college application? And essentially this means, um, are there areas that you feel are underdeveloped or don’t stand out as much if someone were to look at your career? resume or activities list. Um, this might be an opportunity to say, I haven’t had much leadership at my high school.
How can I show that I am a leader, um, or can get a leadership opportunity through a summer program? Um, so again, it can be something that’s very strategic, but I encourage you to to make sure it’s something that is authentic to you. Um, that is when it is going to be most helpful.
So how are you able to showcase your summer activities in your college application? And this is another really good one because summer program or summer experiences show up all over the place in the college application. Um, I think the most natural place is the extracurricular or activities list. Again, this is a list of all of the things that you have done other than school.
Um, and so you might list an internship. You would list a two week pre college program that was residential. Um, you would list a part time job. You might list. Practicing the piano 15 times a week and composing your own song. Um, so there are a number of things that you can list in the activities list on the common app.
Next, if you’re including a resume, you absolutely can put your summer activities on that resume. Um, I see many students work in some content about their summer experiences into their personal essay. Or a supplemental essay, um, so this could be a story about you traveling abroad. Um, this could be a story about something you experienced at your part time job.
Um, essays are a great way to highlight something that. It’s a very valuable experience to you. Letters of recommendation. It may be fitting that you ask someone for a letter of recommendation that was involved in your summer experience. Um, maybe it was a college professor for a dual enrollment course that you took.
Um, or maybe it was a coach at a tennis camp or some other person that saw you either in a leadership or professional light in the summertime. And then lastly, a portfolio. This one is pretty specific to certain majors. Um, so an example of, um, where summer activities, which show up in a portfolio might be a student who did a 2 week architecture camp.
Um, and as part of that architecture camp, they, um, came up with their own digital rendering and sketches. Um, and they were able to put that into a portfolio to ultimately use. for their college application.
So what are some ways to set yourself up for success in this process? Um, starting early. Um, so kudos to everyone on this webinar tonight. Um, taking advantage of your network is incredibly important. Even if you do not think that you have a network, I promise you, you do, um, start at your school, start in your neighborhood and begin to expand, um, and think of who do you know, um, that might be helpful in this process.
Um, be strategic about your summer options. So, um, you don’t want to feel overwhelmed every summer. Um, you don’t want to feel like, oh, man, I have to go to this product program because it’s going to help me get into college. You want to find something that. Fit you, um, and is enjoyable. Um, and then last, don’t overdo it.
Summers are still summers. Um, and many of the students we work with are, um, incredibly ambitious students who have very stressful academic schedules. And so you do want to leave yourself some breathing room in the summer. To really experience what it’s like to be a high school student.
All right. Thank you so much Chelsea. That is the end of our of the presentation part of our webinar. We’re now going to transition into the live Q and a just a quick update for any folks who might be having some challenges with. Submitting questions. Just know that you may have to log out, log back in, um, making sure you’re logging in through the link via email and not throughout the webinar and landing page.
The way that our Q&A will work is that you can go ahead and submit your questions. I will read them aloud and give Chelsea an opportunity to respond and I’ll also paste them into the public chat so that other folks can see them. All right, so let’s get started. started. Um, our first question for you, I think, is an obvious one and one you touched on, but I think it work, it’s worth going in deeper.
How do admissions officers view participation in summer programs when evaluating college applicants? Um, so I think the slide where we talked about how summer programs show up on the application is really important, um, because there’s not a moment where an admissions committee says, okay, now we look at the summer programs or now we, We think about their summer.
Um, summer experiences are kind of worked into the entire picture of what you’ve done since you’ve been in high school. Um, and I say that to say it may matter less whether you are doing something every single summer. Um, and really kind of the whole picture of your involvement. Will matter more. Um, and so it’s one of the many pieces in the holistic admissions kind of puzzle.
Um, that’s important to us. I guess just to build off of it. Um, or build off of that comment. Is it seen as a negative if students don’t have it on there? I don’t think so. Um, particularly for a student that is very involved, because let’s be clear, you can look at a student and they might be incredibly involved and have never done it.
a single activity in the summer. That is absolutely possible. Um, and so it’s not necessarily a bad thing. However, if you have the time and the resources and you’re already thinking about this um, freshman year, sophomore year, junior year, then why not think about ways that you can maximize your summer and really add to your college application?
Our next question is, do you need proof? Of attending a program or internship like a certification letter. Oh, such a good question. I wish I could say yes, you need proof and we do background checks. Um, but there is no proof oftentimes. So like you may be awarded a certificate, but a college is not going to ask you to upload that certificate to prove that you’ve been in the program.
Um, what I do like to see and what I do think is kind of some informal proof is for you to be able to talk about your experience. So whether it is in three sentences describing, um, what you did on the common app activities list or using a supplemental essay to highlight a really impactful summer program experience, those are the ways that you prove that these experiences were valuable to you.
Um, you led into the next question I was going to ask, which is how should I strategically include information about my summer program experience in my college applications or essays? Um, so, I mean, anything else to add there outside of working it into supplemental essays? You can mention it. Obviously, you have it on the activity sheet.
Are there any things that students need to do to be strategic in order to name drop it, I guess? Yeah, I mean, I think you’ll find, um, if you have not already explored how the common app is set up or other college applications, I think you’ll find that it’s actually pretty easy to include some of these things in.
So, for example, let’s say you’re writing, um, a Y school essay, um, and the prompt is asking you why you want to major in a specific major and you just so happen to have done a summer program. Ram at some other institution in that field. It’s very natural to say I had this experience. This is one of the reasons that I’m so interested in this major.
And so you really want to kind of draw a thread. in between things you’ve done and the things that you want to do. And if you chose your summer programs correctly, they are naturally going to show up multiple places in your application. Um, the next question is, do you think attending a pre college summer residential program at a certain college would give you a leg up in eventually getting admitted to that school?
Um, short answer, no. Long answer. Um, I think attending a pre college program at a school that you’re interested in, no matter how competitive the institution is, allows you to kind of peek behind the curtain. Um, you may make connections, you may take a course with a professor, you may spend some time on campus and have an idea about traditions and campus culture.
And again, all of that is important when you are submitting an application to these schools. Um, and so informally, can it help you, um, build a more compelling application? Yes. Um, are you getting additional points or does it make you a shoo in for admission? Absolutely not. And I would say the more competitive the institution is, the least likely that experience is going to have any bearing on your admissions decision.
I’ll also mention that those experiences are often really, really expensive. They’re often not that exclusive, right? Like anyone can kind of pay to go. Um, so do with that what you will. You’re very nice. I was gonna just be like, they’re a cash grab for the school. Um, they’re just an opportunity for the school to bring in revenue.
Um, For folks over the summer to keep, you know, the dorms full and bring money in for it. So, um, yeah, I have so many students who are like, but I did the Harvard summer pre prep. That means I have a better, you don’t, you don’t have a better chance of getting into Harvard. And I love what you shared because I think it talks about the fact that you can leverage these opportunities as exploratory opportunities.
That they’re really for you to explore what types of campuses, if this campus, if that school, what types of class, um, you might be interested in. Um, someone asked, Does it need to be residential? What about virtual pre college? Yeah. So I mean, I think virtual can have the same value. Um, so one thing to think about.
I mean, residential programs are actually twofold. You’re getting some experience with, uh, content or subject matter, but at least 50 percent of your experience is just being on a college campus. And that’s really for you. Not for the institution. Um, and so virtual programs won’t have that college campus exposure component.
But I would say from like a content perspective, equally valuable. Um, there certainly have been more virtual opportunities pop up post pandemic. Um, and so there’s not many questions that might be asked about a virtual experience now as there were six years ago.
So we talked about, I guess, skills development. So how can I leverage the skills and knowledge gained from a summer program to make a compelling case? for my candidacy during the application process? Um, so I would think, so it depends on the type of program that, um, that you experienced. Um, but so there’ll be some very, like, tangible, I learned this.
We completed this project. Um, and that stuff is great. Those are things that you can talk about or list, um, in a description. Um, but I think some of those more, um, intangible skills can be really important. Like, this is how I problem solved. Or, I really struggled with, um, Stepping out of my shell, the first two days of the summer program.
And this is how I progressed through that experience. Um, oftentimes we are interested in admissions and growth and introspection, um, and students really Able to understand, um, be really self aware. Um, and so anything that you can do to be self aware as you’re going through these programs is great. I would encourage journaling or taking notes.
That’s often helpful. I can just about promise you if you spend two weeks at a summer program journaling, you will have tons of essay content. There’s just no doubt about it. Um, and so think about those things that, um, you know, may sound trivial, but I promise you they’re super, super helpful.
Um, Oh, I don’t think you spoke about this. So, but, and I know it’s going to be a depend, but I’ll ask it anyway. Are there any financial aid or scholarship opportunities available for these types of programs? Drum roll. It depends. Um, so I would say probably. There’s more opportunities that require some kind of financial investment than not.
Um, but there’s still a lot of sponsored opportunities out there. There’s still a lot of scholarships. Um, some summer programs will have in house scholarships. scholarships that you can apply to as you’re applying to the program. Um, there are also organizations out there that might sponsor you to attend any summer program that you want.
Um, I think the key to this, if you know this is important for you and your family, is to allow that to kind of guide your research. So your search is not only summer programs for pre med high school students. It’s funded summer programs for pre med students or scholarships for summer programs. Um, you will find some resources out there.
Keyword searches on Google. Um, um, do these programs accept international applicants? Yeah, that’s a really good question. Um, most of them do. Um, I have worked on a total of four, um, pre college programs throughout my career. Um, all of them accepted international applicants. We always had a handful of international students that would come.
Um, and I think it was, um, really great because it also added, um, Um, experience for our domestic students to get to interact with someone, um, that comes from somewhere completely different than them. And then, of course, our international students really found it as kind of this immersive cultural experience as well.
Uh, this is a good question because I have found for some students the summer program application process to mimic the college process. So how can I balance my time preparing for summer program applications alongside my regular academic responsibilities? Yeah, start early. Um, if there are people that you need to reach out that have to do something for you, so recommenders, your high school counselor for a transcript, notifying them early is really helpful.
Um, summer programs, uh, application cycle cycles typically start as the first semester is ending, right? So like, I think people are gone for the holidays, and then oftentimes those deadlines are like January, February, as soon as you get back. Um, so you want to make sure that you’re having those conversations early.
I would say September, if there’s a program or something, you know, you want to apply for. talk to a teacher or counselor around that time. Um, they are already writing recommendation letters and doing things for seniors. Add yourself to that list of the things, um, that they need to kind of keep track of, um, during that time.
This is an interesting, I think, parent question. How can we determine if our child is ready for a particular summer program, especially a residential one? Yeah, I mean, that’s such a good question. Um, I want to say, you’ll never know. Truly, um, because I would think that, you know, many parents think their students aren’t ready.
And I’ve probably interacted with upwards of a thousand high school students. And there’s maybe one or two that I thought, um, just really couldn’t handle the experience and it kind of played out, um, in that space. So, more often than not, these students are going to adapt. Um, and, uh, depending on their age, especially if they’re a junior or a senior, They’re about to apply to college and so, um, they might also feel not ready for that.
Um, so I think a summer program is also a great time for everybody to get ready, um, to say like, I know this may be uncomfortable, um, but this is kind of part of the next step and we want to try on what it feels like for you to be on the college campus. Um, students really come alive in those settings.
And it’s not that every single person is extroverted or every single person, um, is so mature. I’ve seen students really kind of, um, find people that are similar to them while also interacting with people that bring kind of different qualities out of them. Um, so I would say. Take a chance and support your student.
Um, talk to them. Um, and worst case scenario, you pick them up, you get them back. Um, is it worth it to do summer programs after high school, the summer before freshman year? Yeah. So, um, most of the valuable. post senior year summer programs would be considered like a bridge program. Um, I like any that might, um, move you into the school that you’re enrolling at early.
Um, and you get some sort of immersive early experience. Um, those are really, really great. Oftentimes you can earn, um, Credit so you can begin taking courses early in the summer. Um, so those are valuable. You just have to think about what is your reasoning for attending a summer program after the senior year.
Typically the college admissions process is kind of all said and done for you. So it needs to be something that is, um, personally valuable to you outside of the application process. Just building off of that, and this is a neat question, but I, so I’m just wondering how do summer programs compare to. Um, what students do during a gap year?
Good question. Um, so gap years and summer programs are typically pretty different. Um, 1, a gap year is much, much longer, um, summer programs will range anywhere from 1 week to 6 weeks, um, and a gap year, lots of different. Things or experiences can fall into the category of taking a gap year. Um, but you are not, um, taking any college courses.
So that’s a requirement for something to be a gap year. Um, and typically you are having some experience or some exploration that you would not get on your college campus. So summer programs. typically are exposing you to the college environment. A gap year you are doing experiential learning, you’re studying abroad, you’re participating in research, you’re interning.
So that might fit closer into some of those other summer experience categories. This is another parent question. One of the potential drawbacks or challenges our child may face while participating in a summer program, and how can we address them proactively? Um, so I think home sickness is like, number one.
Um, we have a lot of students that are, homesick really early on in the process, day one, day two. Um, feeling like they’re in a new environment that may be far from home, um, or just different from what their high school environment looks like. Um, the work being hard, um, that, that is one that, um, I witnessed a lot.
Um, working with very, um, major specific programs, um, that a student thought, Oh my God, I’m so interested in this thing. And then they get on campus and they are immersed in this topic. And all of a sudden they’re like, I don’t think this is what I want to do, which I will tell you that is very valuable. It is a wonderful thing to leave a summer program and know you don’t want to major in something and it saves you time.
It’s going to save you money. It likely will save you a bad college choice, because now you get to redirect your energy to something that you are more interested in. Um, so I think being proactive for parents, preparing your student for kind of what two weeks, away from home looks like if they are in kind of a sheltered environment or in a community that’s pretty homogeneous just preparing them for you’re going to meet all different types of people and it’s going to be exciting and this is what it’ll look like i’m just prepping them for the unknown this is a side anecdote but i had a student who was interested in medicine and did shadowing for a week and realized he did not want to be a doctor.
He wanted to do bio research. Um, so I think even those small types of things can, yeah, even finding out that you don’t want to do something. Can help you clarify your long trolls. All right, I’m going to do a quick PSA CollegeAdvisors team of over 300 former admissions officers and admissions experts like myself and Chelsea are ready to help you and your family navigate the college admissions process through one on one advising sessions.
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And building your college list, editing your essays, and much more, and also identifying some summer programs. I’m deep in summer program research right now, but I will go ahead and leave that QR code up on the screen for any folks who are interested in pursuing it. This is a very specific question, but I feel like it’s worth asking because it’s a different type of trip.
My daughter is going on a mission trip to Africa. How is this seen by admissions officers? Does it make sense for her to do that beyond the kind of the The volunteering pull for her, for her religious pull as well. Um, depends on the school. Um, so one, if you are applying to an institution, um, who has. Deep values around mission, particularly mission abroad.
That could be something that is seen as helpful. I think it’s really going to be all about how the student frames the experience. I think that’s really important. We’ve, we’ve read essays that, um, were about really well meaning experiences, but the way that the applicant talked about it ended up being off putting.
So you don’t want something that should be this highlight of the application to turn into something that, um, an admissions committee is thinking, like, uh, I don’t know if this person, really has great awareness or whatever it is. Um, so I think that’s super important. Um, again, kind of digging into why, um, this is why the student wants to spend their summer in this way.
Why is it particularly important? Um, Yeah, I would say those, those types of things. And I think it’s, it’s prominence on the application is what prominence you give to it. You know, if you just kind of listed on the activity, um, and that’s like, okay, cool, great. She did that. But if it becomes the central, if it becomes a topic of an essay or a topic of a personal statement, then, then, you know, it’s giving it more prominence and you want to be thoughtful about how you’re presenting it, but she should absolutely mention it listed on her activities.
But if she’s expanding on how she talks about it, yeah, she’s definitely be thoughtful about why she did it and what were her motivations. Okay. Uh, someone asked, what are your thoughts on attending a summer program on health professionals, specifically dental, um, as a high school student? Um, so I, I think it’s, it’s neat for career exploration.
Um, however, you know, dental school is a long way away from any high school student. Um, so I don’t necessarily think that, um, um, just because you want to major in pre dental, if it’s a institution that has that as a major, that you need to do a dental summer program specifically. Um, maybe a health careers or general health professions can also be just as valuable.
Um, so you may not have to get as narrow or as niche as you think. Um, I would say, particularly for kind of that pre med space, because it is just, far away. You can stay in the sciences space. You can stay in the research space. Um, so if you can’t find a meaningful, um, dental, uh, summer program, any of those I mentioned will do.
Yeah. Just the next question I was going to ask, which is, should I go to a specific program or multidisciplinary program? And it sounds like you’re saying the younger you are, try to go for multidisciplinary in order to learn a little bit more. Yeah, I mean, think about the anecdote of the computer science, um, intended major, um, that kind of built on his or her interest to in computer science.
So, um, maybe this, uh, dental, careers exposure program happens right before the senior year and freshman year, sophomore year. Um, they’re kind of more broad experiences. I’m trying to get the light out of everybody’s eyes. Okay.
Oh, interesting. Um, how, oh, someone’s asking me, how do I navigate the application process? If I don’t have strong extracurricular experiences during the school year. Will that make me a weaker applicant for summer program? Um, it depends. I would also say that not all summer programs are as competitive as you might think.
Um, also more often than not, um, the selectivity of the college or university does not always equate with the selectivity of the summer program. Um, To Anesha’s point, some of these programs are entrepreneurial. Um, and so they are about Getting a certain number of students registered and on campus and those kinds of things.
Um, and so if summer programs are meant to help build your activities list, you’re not overly penalized for not already having that level of involvement. I think the exception is probably funded summer programs that are highly competitive. Um, those might be ones where you Feels more like a college application process where they’re looking for students who already have experience in that in that area.
Um, and they’re making an investment in those students financially, but I would say the run of the mill summer program, and that that isn’t even speaking to the quality of the institution, the average summer program, despite the school. Um, I don’t think that you would be deemed too much just because you don’t have extensive involvement.
The next question is, if I apply to multiple summer programs, is it possible to reject acceptances if they conflict with another program? better slash more prestigious program. Oh yeah, absolutely. Um, that is not necessarily looked bad upon. Um, students apply to more than one summer program knowing that they may only be able to attend one or two.
Um, so it’s just notifying the program that you’re unable to.
Oh, someone asked, this is interesting and I know it varies, but I’ll ask anyway. Uh, what types of projects or activities can I expect during a summer program and how hands on will they be? Yeah, so you can expect, um, everything from a six week, um, lecture style course, um, where you are writing a paper, doing homework that feels very much like school, um, to something that is, um, artistic.
Some of the programs that, um, I oversaw were in architecture and product design studios. Um, and so there wasn’t much lecturing going on. Students were working with their hands every day. They were building things. Um, they were thinking about business concepts. Um, so it really depends on the program. Um, I will say something.
We’re talking about kind of pre dental and health careers. Um, you may see a lot of career exploration in that space again, since it is so far away, it might be, um, visiting a hospital and I’m speaking to a panel of current students. Um, so it is really important to kind of look into what is this summer program all about, because there’s a huge range in what you might Find yourself doing.
Um, there’s summer programs that feel more like camps where you’re, you know, doing activities and outdoors. So you wanna just find something that fits what you’re wanting to get out of it. How do you, um, believe that? Sorry. How do pre college programs or experiential programs support a student’s transition from high school to college?
Oh, I think they’re great for that. Um, as I mentioned, if, if for nothing else, it gets you, um, an on college campus experience. I tell students all the time, it doesn’t really matter if you want to go to the school that you do a summer program at or not. If this is your first time being on a college campus, it is an, it’s a valuable experience regardless.
You are going to live in a residence hall, you’re going to go to the CAF, there may or may not be someone waking you up every morning. So you get to, again, like really try on the college experience. And doing that allows you to say, okay, I love being on this 75 acre campus with 50, 000 students or, oh my gosh, I cannot picture doing this for the next four years.
Get me back to my tiny high school where I know everybody. Um, and so I think it allows you to really understand your preferences, um, which is really great for the transition because, um, it lessens the chances that you end up at a school that’s a bad fit. I’m thinking, sorry, that just made me think I’ve had students who did a map make the map, map making.
summer experience where they essentially learned cartography in like the Pacific Northwest. Um, so I’ve just, sorry, that just took me, that just took me back to some of the more intense experiences. These experiences range great. Very much. Um, looking for,
sorry, if I let that air, um,
Oh, this is a fair question, but I know the answer is true, but I’ll ask it anyway just so that it’s out there. Will participating in the summer program require me to miss out on other family commitments and family vacations? Um, if planned correctly, no, but it could, right? I mean, if the program is six weeks and your entire extended family goes to I don’t know, Mexico for one week every year during the same time.
Possibly it could, but there are enough summer programs where you can find something that’s a good fit, that is not going to conflict with your family obligations. And I feel like one thing that’s coming out of a few comments that you’ve made is that students It’s not applying to a summer program. It feels like applying to a variety of summer programs.
So similar to a college list, it should be kind of balanced, or you should have more than one option that you’re thinking about so that you can kind of do some of this reorganization and finagling around dates if you if you need to. Okay, I’m all out of questions, and we’re close to time. So I’m going to go ahead and end up speaking.
Thank you so much, Chelsea, for all of your thoughtful insights, um, and for sharing these tips and your patients with our questions. Thank you everyone for joining us tonight. And we definitely hope that you will come back and join us for the remainder of our, uh, webinars this, uh, this month. Um, sorry, excuse me.
Apologies. Um, on March 20th, we’ll have a session on writing a compelling common app personal statement. Um, on March 21st, we’ll explore STEM programs and selecting the right majors. Some folks were asking about engineering programs. So please join us on the 21st. We can give you a few more insights then.
And we’ll end the month with a session on building a strong extracurricular resume on March 26th. So again, speaking to how do you really create a robust and thoughtful, um, extracurricular profile for the college application. So join us soon. We hope to see you then. Until then, take care and have a great evening.