Is it worth doing a summer program?
Is it worth it to do a summer program? I've found a few that I think look interesting and my parents have found some that they really want me to try and apply to. But are they really worth it? Normally I work part-time and volunteer over the summers and I enjoy doing that. I know that's not the best thing for my application but I enjoy it and do other stuff during the school year to make up for it. I just know I'm going to be spending hours doing applications at some point and I want to know if it's worth my time or if I should just do my summer like usual.
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It really depends on money in the end. I live in California, so the UC summer session program is a good option. However, they can cost $7,000 or more if you're not getting any financial aid. The Stanford summer programs (around a month I think) can cost $10,000. If you have the money and the time, go for it! I initially wanted to do it but couldn't because of the cost. Instead I'm going to get a job over the summer. Also we have to think about coronavirus right now-if this continues spreading and doesn't end in the summer (hopefully it will though!), college will shut down summer programs and there won't be many available jobs if people are staying home. I'm a junior, and honestly coronavirus is really going to take a hit to my extracurriculars and grades:(
Definitely! Summer Programs really help you decide if what you want to study in College/Uni is something you would realistically enjoy and find interesting. Doing a summer program in your top choice College/Uni (if you have one) also boosts your application and it can almost guarantee acceptance to that school for a preferred course.
The downside is that it is very expensive depending on the course you want to do, but if you have someone to finance this, then it really is worth it.
It's really up to you to decide if it's worth it or not. Take a look at your profile now and think of the schools you are going to be applying to. Do you feel like your profile is competitive if you continue doing your summers like normal? If yes, then only do a summer program if you think you'll enjoy it and it'll make you happy. If you don't think your profile would be competitive then maybe you should consider a summer program or at least changing up what you do for the summer.
Are there certain summer programs you have in mind? Like @Cadence mentioned, cost can certainly be a factor, however, the programs which will have the most impact on your profile are the free ones. You're going to want to apply to free summer programs which have a competitive application process first, as these are the best programs to be accepted to. The next best programs are ones which have a competitive application but do require you to pay and the least impactful programs are ones which do not have a competitive application process and require you to pay. This article breaks it down well, https://blog.collegevine.com/how-to-decide-if-a-summer-program-is-worth-it/.
At the end of the day it really is your choice. I would recommend at least trying to get into some programs. Even if it's one of the programs which might not make a huge impact on your profile, it will be good to figure out if you actually like doing what you signed up for. If you realize you don't actually enjoy it, it could be a good sign to rethink what you want to do when you get to college.