If I took a summer program in a certain school (for example, JHU), but decided that I want to apply ED to a different school (for example, Columbia University), will high achievements in this program still increase my chances of admissions to my ED? If I wanted to include it in my application, how should I mention such a program?
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High achievements in paid summer programs rarely have any impact on college admissions even if you apply to the same school in the fall. So if you went Harvard Summer Program and applied to Harvard REA, the admissions office would not give you a boost on your application. It is the same for Brown, USC etc. If this was true on the other hand, everyone would be writing about it and they would all be over-subscribed but that's not the case. They are expensive and mostly upper middle class families or wealthy families are participating. On the other hand if you attend a non-paying research internship or STEM program where you get a scholarship to attend like the ones at MIT, those actually count for something. When you apply to MIT, they ask you whether you attended such programs or similar programs. I remember seeing that on the MIT portal.
So be careful which program you apply to and double check with the school you are applying ED to see if they have any scholarship HS programs. When I applied to Columbia ED, there was no special box to tick off for such a thing.
If you are applying to Columbia it would be much better to show some independent research or evidence of studying something you are interested in outside of the classroom. Like take a couple college courses online that are not available in your HS. You can do that now or during the summer. I took 2 outlier.org courses and taking a 3rd next month. They are harder than AP classes since the are actually college courses where you get grades and 3 college credits. I think that helped me get into Columbia ED.
So first of all did you have to pay to attend the program as that subtracts from the impressiveness of what you achieved. If it was pay to attend I’d evaluate it based on subject matter and some other factors (comment if you’d like for me to expand). Also is the attendence selective or even did you have to do an essay or two to “enroll”? If so that heightens the impressiveness.
But the main answer is that there’s no harm in having it in the application besides maybe taking an EC slot that can be used for something more impressive.
You’d likely mention as an EC and say I attended xyz program hosted by JHU where I did xyz and was recognized for xyz.
Hope this helps and feel free to comment if you’s like clarification as I’d be more than happy to help!