PRO: Educational Benefits

The idea of pre-college programs might conjure up images of rich kids whose families have the means to shell out thousands of dollars for a few weeks of instruction somewhere on the other side of the country. However, underneath the haze of misconception, students can actually reap colossal benefits from indulging in these opportunities. While summer programs take up from one week to two months of vacation time, the skills and experiences gained make up for any preconceived loss.

Not only are students trained through immersive, hands-on experiences, they also have the opportunity to pursue their interest in a community of ambitious peers who share their passion. Notable educational programs can attract domestic and international applicants, exposing all participants to a healthy variety of young individuals from many walks of life.

As schools and facilities offering summer programs can be located anywhere in the country or even abroad, students can choose from a variety of new environments to acquaint themselves with.

Kids from rural settings have the chance to experience life in the big city, while those living in downtown Manhattan might immerse themselves in a foreign atmosphere such as that of the Middle East. This familiarizes young people with settings and cultures from around the globe, enhancing their understanding of the world beyond home.

    Living on a college campus for a few weeks also introduces high schoolers to dormitory life and helps them determine whether a school feels right to them.

As might be expected, summer programs do put a dent in the bank account. Spending three residential weeks at Stanford amounts to almost $7,000 in all-inclusive tuition and attending a six-week NYU program can cost up to a staggering $15,000, according to the schools’ websites.

Enormous expenses are often the most obstructive hurdle for students seeking a pre-college summer experience, but this can serve as an example to show that worthwhile rewards will not come effortlessly. In fact, with the help of financial aid and additional fundraising methods, many people who do attend these programs don’t end up paying the full stated price.

Though it may seem as if students hop on the pre-college bandwagon simply to stay competitive, most don’t attend summer programs just for the sake of slapping it onto their brag sheets. If that’s the only incentive, then it truly wouldn’t be worth the price.

Students accepted by these programs are chosen for a reason: they exhibit passion for the field. Colleges can see through unmotivated application-padding, and summer program admissions boards are no fools either.

Considering all the benefits to be gained, attending a summer program away from home can leave any curious young mind with unforgettable memories well worth the monetary sacrifice.