How Does a Summer Program Affect the College Search?

Rhiannon Schade
Director of College Counseling
Collegewise of Millburn

When college admission officers are evaluating your application, one of the characteristics they look for in you is initiative and another is love of learning. Summer programs can be one way in which you demonstrate curiosity, intellectual depth, and a willingness to seek out new learning opportunities.

Furthermore, summer programs do not need to be expensive or take place at a selective college to make a positive impact on your chance of admission to the college. In fact, they don’t necessarily have to be formal programs at all. What if you spent the summer focusing on teaching yourself German? Or you attended a genealogy conference simply because you are so fascinated by the subject and your school doesn’t offer a class in it? What if you have a good old-fashioned job at the town pool or a local restaurant? What if you take time to read three books you wanted to read during the school year, but didn’t have the time? All of these things have merit, developing skills and interests that will serve you well, regardless of where you go to college.

Mike GuntherMike Gunther
Program Manager for Recruitment
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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. When you participate in a residential program you study in college classrooms with college faculty and perhaps research in labs. In the evenings, you live in a dorm, dine in the dining halls, and enjoy post-academic programs. You really get a real feel of what it’s like to be on a college campus. As a result, you'll be able to further refine your parameters for the college search.

For more tips, check out our Ask the Experts - College Admission section! 

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