Summer is a fantastic opportunity to expand your horizons, learn new skills, have fun and make unbelievable memories to last a lifetime. Making a decision about how to choose a summer path might be downright daunting. There are so many choices!
One comprehensive summer experience for high school students is a Pre-College Program. There are credit-bearing options and varying subject matters. Many Pre-College programs are a hybrid of camp and college. They provide a collegiate experience in a supported environment.
As an example, Carnegie Mellon University’s Pre-College Program in Pittsburgh, PA is a 6-week program that offers 6 program concentrations (1 is credit-bearing). The areas of study range from Fine Arts programs to Science and Humanities. This is a residential program that has residential counselors who supervise, support, and mentor students. There are also many evening and weekend activities to give the Pre-College students hands-on learning opportunities and an entertaining environment. Some examples include taking a trip to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater, seeing a musical theater production downtown, visiting local museums, an amusement park and much more.
Below are three important benefits to choosing a Pre-College program for your summer:
- You can “try out” a school and major before enrolling in college. High School students can assess whether the school, campus and community is the right fit for you. This also gives you the opportunity to explore a major.
- Learn Independence. The growth experiences that happen in Pre-College programs are not all academic. For some students, this is the first time being away from home and living amongst peers for an extended period of time. You can expect independence, social and global awareness growth, in addition to academic development. Maybe you’ll even learn how to do your laundry!
- Beef up your college application. While participating in a Pre-College program is never a guarantee of being accepted into a university, you’ll gain valuable resources and support for your college applications. For instance, students who participate in some Fine Arts Pre-College programs will produce quality work for their portfolios and/or auditions. Students may also receive either college credit or evaluations that can be included in their college applications.
There are many Pre-College programs out there that offer a variety of experiences, however, one common thread that runs through them all is the commitment to excellence in education. Enrolling in a Pre-College program can provide both academic development and personal growth. Make it a summer to remember and jumpstart your future!
About the Author: Susie Sheldon is the Program Director for Pre-College Student Life at Carnegie Mellon University. Her background includes work with summer camps and higher education administration.