Across the country, many colleges offer a pre-college program for high school students to take advantage of in order to prepare them for the college world. While these programs are not without merit, they also come with a hefty price tag that not everyone can reasonably afford. Prestigious, Ivy League colleges like Harvard and Brown charge upwards of ten thousand dollars for their four to seven week college sessions.
A major positive attribute for these programs is that the student will be forced to adapt to the program and schedule, exactly like how it will be when they are a student. Students have an opportunity to take courses they are interested in and earn college credit. It could also be a major factor in helping the student decide whether or not they even want to apply for the school they attended a pre-college course at.
According to Angela Dunnham, a college admissions counselor at InGenius Prep, helps students improve their chances of being accepted into Ivy Leagues schools says that the competition is only getting more fierce. Only a small percentage of students who apply to an Ivy League school will be accepted into the college. For many, the high cost of a pre-college course is a small price to pay if their child gets accepted into the course, but it could actually do more harm than good some say.
For example, if the student attends a pre-summer course at Harvard, but doesn’t actually get accepted into Harvard, it could send a bad message to other Ivy League schools because it wasn’t their first choice.
Furthermore, the pre-summer courses are, for the most part, reserved for students whose families are able to pay for them. It may send the message that it wasn’t the student’s decision to take the course and it didn’t require them to make a conscious effort to apply for and pay for the program.
The student may truly be interested in the college, but if their admissions application is not up to snuff without the pre-college course, it isn’t likely to make a big difference to the admissions office. Instead of shelling out thousands of dollars for these courses, experts recommend that students take the initiative to use their summer to their advantage and seek out opportunities in their own communities.