Is attending a summer program with full financial aid as impressive as attending a free summer program?
I've heard people say that summer programs are more impressive when they're free and when they're selective.
I attended a summer program this year (Harvard Secondary School Program). It's a paid program, but I got in with full financial aid (it was need-based and I didn't pay at all). People have said that this specific program is less selective and pretty much lets in anyone who can pay, though the acceptance letter claims it was "highly selective" plus I got in without being able to pay. They don't release any acceptance rate info, so I don't know for sure.
If its meaning to me counts for anything: I really enjoyed the program, got A's in both of my classes (worth 4 college credits each), and developed pretty good relationships with both my instructors as well.
What does all of this mean in terms of the impressiveness of the program? Would it be appropriate to say in the application that I went for free? If so, how?
Thanks in advance!
Earn karma by helping others:
A lot of students don't do summer programs and going to one at a very prestigious school is already so attending this program is already impressive. I don't think you need to say that you went for free/got full financial aid necessarily. I doubt that an admissions counselor will care about the specific acceptance rate of a summer program considering it is at Harvard. I think at the very least this will show admissions counselors that you care about learning outside of school and won't boost your admissions at all and at best would maybe help you if you're on the cusp and they go back to "fill in the holes".
Unfortunately, no. Harvard's summer programs are a notorious cash-grab, known for admitting almost everyone who applies. The 'name brand' of the school really isn't going to help you much. It's great that you got financial aid, but it's more about the reputation of the program than how much financial aid you recieved.
I have been invited to attend many summer programs because of class rank, GPA, and grades. For example, I was invited to attend a medical camp offered by Harvard, but it was pretty selective and expensive. I was invited to join by a Nobel Prize winner.
Now this invitation was based, yes, on my rank, grades, and GPA, but also, the school I attended at the time was the top High School in my county. Very few people are ever invited to attend, because, it is very selective and expensive.
I was very excited to go, but things went downhill. Since the program was offered by Harvard, I was expected to go to Boston, Mass. But at the time I was in Boston, Mass, I ended up visiting Family and moving halfway across the globe.
So, you asked about impressiveness. Overall, it's very impressive. It may not be as impressive as the program I was invited to, but you still got a chance to attend a program offered by Harvard.
You can say it was paid for you, it won't affect you in any way, but it may show the scholarships you need are need-based.
Let me know if I can be of any more help.
To keep this community safe and supportive:
- Be kind and respectful!
- Keep posts relevant to college admissions and high school.
- Don’t ask “chance-me” questions. Use CollegeVine’s chancing instead!