When planning for college much thought often goes into setting up the high school curriculum, joining clubs and arranging for local community service.. Yet sometimes the summer opportunities are forgotten. There are numerous interesting programs, usually ranging from one to four weeks, that offer a variety of options for teens.
Students may want to beef up their transcripts to be more competitive at college application time. Maybe they are lacking in AP classes, or want to explore a possible area of interest to major in at college, or show some skills they haven't been able to demonstrate at their high school.
There are summer programs that offer students interesting classes to challenge them, sometimes for college credit. Courses range from forensic science and technology to creative writing and global studies, from law and architecture to sports management and business marketing.
Some students want to enhance their experiences beyond high school opportunities. They can get involved in service projects or travel outside the U.S. in language immersion programs or to experience different cultures. They may want to pursue music or theater in depth and work with professionals in the arts. Or become involved in business or political programs with internships and leadership councils.
Other students want the chance to live on a college campus to see what it's like. They may not have had many experiences living away from home, being out of their comfort zone, dealing with roommates and making independent decisions. Many colleges have their own summer offerings, both academic and recreational, for high school students or host teen programs that utilize their facilities. This can help students gain confidence in themselves, help them develop their college list, and offer chances for dialogues with peers and lifelong friendships.
Some pre-college enrichment programs with an academic focus are: Explo, SummerStudy, SummerDiscovery, Junior State of America(JSA), and National Student Leadership Conference.
Community service and/or study abroad programs include: Builders Beyond Borders, Habitat for Humanity, Visions Service Adventures, People to People, Westcoast Connection, Rein Teen Tours community service programs, Abbey Road, Global Youth Village International Summer Program, Global Works, SPI Study Abroad, ID Tech teen programs in programming, game design & development and film, and American University's Discover the World of Communication.
These are a few of the many colleges that have one or more summer programs specially designed for high school students: Duke Univ, Ithaca College, Emerson College, Carnegie Mellon Univ, Cornell Univ., University of Maryland, Ringling College of Art and Design, Alfred Univ., University of Pennsylvania, Syracuse Univ., Brown Univ., and Johns Hopkins University.
This is not to say that getting a local job to develop responsibility and earn some cash is not also valuable. Many colleges find it to be a positive sign of maturity and a student's investment in their future. However, as one can see, there are a plethora of exciting and unique programs available for students of all interests. And while some of them are rather expensive, often these opportunities can lead to amazing growth and increase motivation and confidence going forward into the college years.
Drs. Franklin, Boudin and Block are psychologists who work with students and their families as college admissions consultants.