We look at the benefits that a high school student can derive from attending a university summer program, and also share a few recommended programs that your students can explore right now.
Many universities worldwide run residential, online, or hybrid summer programs for high school students who want to advance their learning and check out what university life is like. Such programs usually consist of courses taught by academic staff, some generalist in nature, while others focus on particular areas like STEM or the arts. They range from a few days to several weeks long, with most coming in at around the two-week mark. Most summer programs charge a fee, which usually but not always covers teaching, food, and lodging.
There are numerous ways in which students can benefit from a summer program. While the educational benefits are self-evident, there are also significant personal and social advantages to university summer programs.
While some students might groan at spending some of their summer holidays in the classroom, it can be an excellent learning opportunity. Such programs allow students to dig deeper into subjects they find particularly interesting in a way that might not have been possible during term time, with all the other demands on their time. It can also be an excellent way to check out whether a subject is right for them as a university major. Plus, students will be able to discover the academic level that university is likely to demand and work out where there are gaps they might need to plug in their knowledge or skills.
Similarly, there might be a subject that a student is interested in but hasn't found the time or opportunity to explore so far. A summer program is a perfect chance to go on a voyage of academic discovery and learn about new subjects they might like. Moreover, when it comes to the learning experience, the universities that host the programs will often be able to offer more extensive and varied learning facilities and support than schools can. Thus, a summer program can be ideal for students to expand their academic horizons and potentially discover whole new areas of study they might not previously have been exposed to, particularly those at the cutting edge of technology.
As well as checking out subjects, summer programs can be a chance to check out a specific school. There's no better way for a student to decide whether they'd like to spend the next three or four years living and studying in a place than by spending a few days or weeks there.
Summer programs allow students to experience life on a college campus and find out what it's like to live as a student. Depending on the university's location, they are also a chance for students to experience a different place and culture. The whole experience can be like a trial run for the real thing – and that can make their first term at college more straightforward, with less time spent adjusting to their new lifestyle.
Such programs are also an excellent way for students to build confidence in their ability to learn independently and in their social skills, interacting with other students from outside their usual peer group – likely to share at least some of their interests.
Attending a summer program shows enthusiasm and a good attitude. It is likely to impress college admissions officers – particularly if the student is considering applying to the college where they attended the program. Students can also view a program as a chance to build their portfolio of work, particularly if they're interested in a creative subject like visual art or drama. Summer programs can also be helpful once they get to college since some even allow students to earn college credits.
Find out what your peers say about summer programs and other topics by checking out the Cialfo Community, where high school counselors can meet and share experiences and information.
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