Yes, there are a number of ways to get financial aid and/or scholarships to help cover the cost of attending a pre-college program.
While some summer pre-college programs are more academics-heavy, most schedule plenty of leisure activities, including local "field trips," which may tie into the subjects students are studying.
Admission counselors love to hear about the activities you've found engaging over the summer, but there aren't any particular activities we look for on applications.
Many students and parents will do research on the college to get an idea of what is happening. Search websites for faculty, facilities, and research. Come with an open mind and ready to extend your knowledge base during the summer.
I believe summer programs help develop your skill sets and extend your passion and should be a nice addition to a student's activity list and look good on a college application.
When you attend a summer program on a college campus, you are showing that you devoted meaningful time on your academics and that you are focused on learning more about a specific topic.
Like finding a college or university that fits, finding the coolest, best-summer-ever camp out there starts with a little self-reflection and research.