While winter is barely over, and Grade 12 students are in the midst of exams and preparation, it’s time to think of Summer Schools for students in Grade 9, 10 and 11!
You may think college applications are long off but unfortunately, time goes by faster than you think. Every year we get lots of people reaching out to discuss summer schools in May, but the time to apply is NOW. January and February are the best times to start planning for summer schools abroad.
But wait, even though, the trend of attending a summer program by high school students is really catching on in India and the BIG question is that is it really worth all the effort, time and money spent?
Is it becoming just about keeping up with that one kid in your class or is there a link between that an admissions? There is a lot to unpack in this article.
Well first thing to know is…
Q. What is a Summer School or a Summer Program?
A. Summer school is known to be a great way for students to pursue new interests, enhance existing talents, and build new contacts.
Q. Do they ACTUALLY act as a catalyst in gaining admission to a college of your choice?
A. In a simple way, we have parents each year asking, “If my child goes to Harvard Summer School, does that mean he will get into Harvard?” Here is the truth.
Attending a summer program no doubt indicates to colleges that you’re dedicated to studying and gaining knowledge. However, when you talk to admission officers they are of the opinion that these summer programs rarely give student that much of advantage when the time comes for them to apply to college. Yes, they do add great value to your resume/CV but understand that this is not your ticket to your desired college.
WAIT! Before you stop reading though…
Q. Why should you consider pursuing a summer school/program?
– Summer program is the best way for students to fulfill their aspiration for global exploration and at the same time be committed to making the most of campus life. It’s a chance to figure out if they are ready.
– Explore new areas of interest, strengthen interest in a particular major and illustrate their readiness for the education system to admissions officers.
– Chance to experience what classes will be like and the level of work you will need to put in to succeed.
– Get hands on experience with international companies in form of internships which is inbuilt in some programs
– Possibility of incorporating your summer school experience in your essays
Q. What should I look for in a program?
– Is it the right time to dedicate to a summer program? AP exams are in the summer and sometimes Summer School overlaps with regular term for students. In some schools that means missing class and even exams.
– Is the school/program selective or does it take anyone who applies? If a selective program like Yale (YYGS), Boston Univ (PROMYS), Stanford (SuMAC), Princeton Journalism or UPenn LBW accepts you it is an indicator that 1) You are stronger than some of your peers 2) You are ready for a rigorous college curriculum
However, other programs that you can pay for and get in are less valuable in terms of being “an indicator” because even the admissions officers know they are not selective
Q. Do I have to go abroad?
A. No! Going to summer school abroad can cost as much as $10,000 for two weeks. Don’t waste your money on a non-selective program that won’t add too much value. Colleges are coming to us! Whether it’sAshoka’s High School Program, UChicago Summer School, Columbia University programs or MIT, the schools are coming to us and you should make the most of these opportunities.
Q. Should I go this year or next year?
A. Well, this is rather subjective and really depends from student to student. As per our experience we believe that you should join a summer program in the summer of your grade 10 and/or grade 11. The reason being that this time you are relatively free and have more time in hand as compared to when you are in grade 12 trying hard to balance your school life and college application work.
So going back to the big question, should I apply?
A. YES! Summer School is worth it if
– Your timing is right
– You can afford it
– If the program adds value to your application process either as a selective program that is an indicator or an exploratory program that allows you to show interest in a major