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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:

Bank of America Student Leaders (Due January 31)

Carnegie Mellon Summer Academy for Math and Science

Future Matters Program (Nationwide Children's Hospital)

Indiana University Kelley School of Business Young Women's Institute

Jackson Laboratory Program in Genetics and Genomics Research

J Camp (Journalism)

LaunchX (Entrepreneurship)

Michigan State University - High School Honors Science, Math and Engineering Program

Program in Mathematics for Young Scientists (Boston University)

Ross Mathematics Program (at Ohio Dominican University)

National Institutes of Health Summer Internship in Biomedical Research

Princeton Summer Journalism Program (targeted at students from low-income backgrounds)

Stanford Institutes of Medicine Summer Research Program

Telluride Association Summer Program

Wharton Youth Leadership in the Business World Program

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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