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Summer Programs: Are They Worth It?

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College Summer Programs: Evaluating the Options

Many summer programs applications open up in January so now is the time to be evaluating whether or not a particular program might be right for you.

Boy science lab

Attending college summer programs can be a great opportunity for students to enrich their education and immerse themselves in a meaningful experience. These programs often offer challenging academic coursework, exposure to diverse perspectives, and the opportunity to build relationships with peers and mentors. For these reasons, these programs can be quite valuable, particularly if you are hoping to validate your interest in a particular subject area.

However, many students believe that participating in a prestigious college summer program will enhance their college application simply because they attended.  

This is not the case.  Why you might ask? 

Girl working with teacherFirst, participating in a summer college program can be useful if you take full advantage of all it has to offer and fully immerse yourself in it, including building relationships with faculty.  It’s about the quality of your experience and your resulting ability to articulate the depth of your experience in essays and interviews; not the mere fact that it is on your resume.  

In most cases, that counts for very little.  In other words, it’s not what you do, it’s what you do with the opportunities you choose to pursue!

Additionally, most families cannot afford to pay to send their children to these programs and so these summer experiences can be viewed as being for students of privilege.

In a character based admissions process this can work against you if you aren’t pursuing these activities for the right reasons and in the right way.

Here are some examples of extracurricular opportunities for aspiring doctors that will put how to think about any extracurricular activity in context regardless of your area of interest.

 

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