Pre-college summer programs are becoming more and more popular. Students learn about different majors, make lifetime friends, experience what college is like, and improve their credentials for college acceptance. Here are 8 things to think about when selecting a program for yourself or your son or daughter.
- Who is leading the classes?
Is the program you are considering hiring qualified teachers? Some things to look for are a terminal degree (like a PhD., an MFA or an Ed.D), experience teaching, and academic publications.
- Is the program accredited?
Make sure the program has been approved by one of the major regional accreditors. There is a list of them here: http://www.chea.org/Directories/regional.asp.
- What else is going on?
What kinds of co-curricular activities does the program provide? When you're not in classes, will you be taking field trips? Socializing? Learning study skills? Make sure your time outside the classroom matches with your preferences.
- Are you a country mouse or a city mouse?
Other factors may take precedence over the location of the program, but if you are dying to get out of the city or really want to see one for the first time, those factors may affect your decision. You might also look for a location that is a good mix of bustle and nature.
What kind of supervision is there after hours? Are the facilities secured? Is there 24 hour monitoring?
Obviously, this is a factor that can have a big influence on your plans. If there is a particular kind of program that you are interested in, shop around and compare prices. There can be a large difference in price for similar programs. If you live near a program, check to see if there is a commuter option. Room and board add to the price.
- Facilities and Meals
What can you expect in terms of daily life? If you will be in a warm climate, is there air conditioning? What about the food? Can you find any reviews or menus? Also check whether you will have access to a gym if you are someone who likes to work out regularly. If the program is on a college campus, will you have access to the library, printers, computer labs, etc.?
- What kind of credit will you receive?
Upon completion of the program, will you receive a certificate, college credit, or both? Some types of credit will be transferable, while others are most useful when applying to college.
Of course, there are numerous other factors to consider, but if you do a little research, you will have a much better chance of landing in a program that is a great fit. Have fun imagining what each program might be like. And above all, have a great summer!