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  • Writer's pictureAlison Merzel

Summer programs with benefits: Learn what they are and are not before you shell out the big bucks

Updated: Jan 16, 2020

Earlier this week, CBS posted an article explaining why expensive summer programs at elite institutions will do nothing to improve your child's chances of admission into one of these elite institutions. These programs may be an excellent way to give your child exposure to a college campus, explore their interests, meet people from all around the world, and gain some independence, among other benefits. I am not suggesting at all that these programs are a waste of money or time, and, I know that there are many families who will share success stories about the experiences their child had at one of these programs. I just want to make sure that you don't decide to send your child to one of these programs because you think it will open doors during the college application process. Most of these programs are run from departments that have no connection to the university's admissions office. An upside of these programs is that they often don't have an ultra competitive admission process and therefore may be more accessible to students than others (provided that they can afford the price tag).

Summer programs that involve an application process and evaluate merit to determine whether students can participate are going to be a better bet if you have a high achieving student and are trying to make a choice that could benefit you down the road. There are numerous programs like this, many involving research, that you can explore. I will list some of them here for you - note application deadlines, as many have applications that are due in March:

Interested in pursuing a degree in the arts? Check out this site with options for recommended summer programs in the arts.

Summer Learning

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