Are High School Summer Programs Really Worth It?

  Most of us are ready to escape the long, grueling days of school, and embark on our summer vacation. But, for lots of high school students, school is now becoming a part of summer. Summer classes, and all the exciting opportunity they have to offer, are being thrown into many high school students face, with the promise of a life changing experience. And lots of teens take this opportunity, not as a learning experience, but as one more item they can add to their college application. It sounds like a great addition—you weren’t tanning on a beach, you were taking classes at a prestigious University. But, how much of that is true? The application process to earn a place in one of the programs seems challenging and daunting in the beginning. So, it seems that this experience is something that prestigious universities value, after all it is a highly selective process. Yet, most Universities purposely make the application process intimidating, because most intelligent teens want to partake in something where there is exclusivity involved. One of the country’s most prominent Universities, University of Chicago, has a seven step application process, yet their summer program accepts as much as 70% of their applicants compared to the University’s 7% acceptance rate. But what does this mean for us here at Latin? In the sophomore lounge the words, “I need to get my summer application in”, or “I’m hearing back from my program” or “what’s the best thing to do for summer”, can be heard almost daily. The thing to understand about summer classes is that most colleges are not just selling the classes, but charging for the name. Personally, I think that most of us could learn as much, if not more, from reading books or taking online classes, or local classes in Chicago, but it sounds much better for students to say that they studied at Harvard over the summer rather than read in their backyard. And along with the prestigious name comes a cost. Most summer programs are very expensive, and demonstrate a student’s privilege, when mom and dad have spend from 6,00-10,000 dollars for summer school, but you could have taken the same classes locally for under 1,000, it does not put students in the best position. For some, it can illustrate that the student was to lazy to find a passion they wanted to explore, and couldn’t come up with a creative idea. But, what is the alternative to fancy college summer camps? Finding something you care about seems to be the answer. Instead of residing at a college to study English, rising Junior, Maddie Cohen is using her passion for writing, and working at a local newspaper to gain experience. While, sophomore Alexandra Dent is working at a sleepaway camp as a counselor, gaining leadership experience. Also, swimmer Rani Randell is working as a swim instructor at Latin, so that she can “spread her passion for swimming.” And sophomore Charlie French is taking the time to decompress he says, “I’m ready to relax.” Another thing which could potentially be beneficial are summer jobs. Few Latin students actually understand the workforce, and the responsibility of holding a job. Senior Lexi Boldenmat worked at M Burger during her junior year summer, and says that the “job taught her a lot, and that she gained real world experience.” But if you really enjoy spending a summer taking classes on college campuses, do the experience for yourself, not what will go on your College App.]]>