Precollege Summer Programs – Get a Jump On Your Career or College Life
Summer may seem like a long way off but it’s never too early to start thinking ahead. In fact with a little research and planning you could spend next summer immersed in learning about the environment gaining hands-on journalism experience or meeting movers-and shakers on Capitol Hill. Or you can get a taste of college life while taking some general education courses. Check out these precollege options that might ignite your next summer.
Various independent nonprofits operate precollege summer programs for high school students. For instance the National Student Leadership Conference (NSLC) offers programs of varying lengths in engineering medicine journalism and even an international business program in Geneva Switzerland. David Lowitz the director of marketing and outreach for NSLC says the programs offer “an exploration or understanding of a possible career area. By doing hands-on simulations and meeting with professionals in the field students get a good idea of a day in the life [of that career] and whether that’s something they’d like to pursue. They also get a feel for college life: living on their own going to classes [and] meeting new people.
The NSLC has also partnered with American University in Washington DC to offer college credits to students who complete a college-level research paper after the program. Courses are offered at American University and on several other college campuses across the country. Lowitz says the credits “transfer to virtually any school and give students a portfolio of work they can use as part of their college admissions process.”
For aspiring politicos the Junior Statesmen Summer School Program is another option. Students from around the world gather at Georgetown Princeton Stanford or Yale for three weeks to learn about government leadership international relations and even cyber politics where you’ll learn how blogs social networking and the Internet mobilized new voters and affected the 2008 elections.
“Part of the program is now focused specifically on leadership and public service,” explains Jeff Harris executive director for Junior Statesmen. “[Students will] walk away with the skills and knowledge to be leaders in their schools and community – and with a bunch of new friends. Mostly they’ll walk away with a better sense of the political landscape and what it takes to make a difference.”
Students who successfully complete one or more courses in the Junior Statesmen program may be eligible to receive high school credits.
Many universities offer their own precollege summer programs for outstanding high school students. For instance at Sewanee: The University of the South in Tennessee the Sewanee Environmental Institute (SEI) caters to high school juniors and seniors who are interested in the environmental sciences. During the day students study conservation policy and conduct eco logical research using field-mapping equipment and other technology. In their off hours they participate in outdoor activities like camping hiking canoeing and mountain biking.
Various colleges also offer general academic summer programs for students who want a taste of college life and the chance to sample different courses. At Carnegie Mellon University students can choose among seven precollege programs including architecture art drama and a college-level program that offers hands-on experience in video games. They can also take courses for college credit under the Advanced Placement/Early Action program. While at Boston University rising juniors can explore two subjects in seminars of their choice and preview college life. Topics include journalism law abnormal psychology business and even infectious diseases!
How to Find a Precollege Summer Program
Jill Tipograph, CEO and founder of the private summer advisory service Everything Summer LLC suggests that students do some research online and talk to program directors as well as others who attended the program in the past. Your high school guidance counselor is also usually a good resource for helping you find programs and weigh factors like location duration and size.
Many of the competitive summer programs have application deadlines as early as December so it pays to do your research well in advance. Researching and applying for summer programs is great practice for your college search. Once you’re there summer programs also give you a sense of what subjects or academic settings you enjoy-and what you don’t. Either way it could be an invaluable experience.