Do pre-college programs help your chances of admission? I feel like if I do a program at one university, then it would look like I'm more interesting in that school. That would hurt my chances of admission at other universities. What would be a productive way to spend my summer that doesn't include pre-college programs? I'm interested in Psychology and I'm currently a freshman. I'm going to take AP Psych during my sophomore year, so I don't have a lot of knowledge in the field. Right now I'm learning about mental illnesses on my own time.
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Not all pre-college programs are made the same. Some of the times, they are made as cash cows (colleges are a business after all). But there are some programs that stand out (and some are even free, such as the MIT pre-college courses and some at CMU).
Pre-college programs are aimed towards sophomores and especially juniors, so you may not find one this summer. Also, due to COVID, most summer programs won't even be held on campus, so you wouldn't even get that immersion experience.
Of course doing a pre-college program will show interest in a school, and possibly hurt your chances at another university (you might send a message that you won't really be interested in going there). But I wouldn't get too too caught up on that part, participating in a program over the summer will outweigh that con.
In general, if I were you, I would look into other opportunities for this summer. Any pre-college programs that you look into would probably be thousands of dollars that would be better if you invested that elsewhere. I would also wait until you are a junior, so you have more pre-college programs available to you and you will also have a better resume.
Here are some other things you can get involved in!:
-Look at other summer programs that are local/virtual (ask counselors & teachers)
-Research opportunities/Internships (start networking & sending cold emails)
-Passion project (maybe something related to what you are currently researching?)
I hope this helps! :)
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