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Why your kid should get a summer job instead of going to an academic program

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Replies to: Why your kid should get a summer job instead of going to an academic program

  • OldFashioned1OldFashioned1 110 replies3 threads Junior Member
    edited May 2016
    Since the general consensus seems to be that the "pay to play" programs are a waste in admissions.
    If they're a waste I'd like to know why all the gullible affluent doctors, lawyers, engineers and executives at my children's school keep sending their children to them. Also note, the 5-7 week programs offer SAT prep and admissions essay writing seminars, too. And aside from academics, I think it's good, socially, for a teen to step out of their comfort zone and meet ambitious peers from around the country/world.
    edited May 2016
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  • KnittergirrlKnittergirrl 211 replies8 threads Junior Member
    I went to a 6-week summer program at Carnegie Mellon the summer before my senior year. It was about $9000, including room and board as well as two courses which were FOR CREDIT. If they were not, this large sum would not have been worth it to my family and I would not have gone. By the time I applied to the program, I had a pretty strong idea that I would be going to CMU for college. I earned A's in two courses which were both required for freshmen in my major (I made sure not to take courses which wouldn't count for anything except elective credit). I applied ED and got in and am now on track to graduate in three years. This was possible because I had a total of 81 units going in, 18 of which I earned at the summer program, and because one of the courses I took is a prerequisite for more advanced classes, so I was ahead when I started school. I now have a paid internship after my first year.

    Throughout high school, I pretty much slid through with minimal effort. I got a good ACT score without studying, did well on AP exams without busting my butt, and got A's in all but one class throughout my four years. I hated high school both socially and academically. At pre-college, I finally felt what it was like to enjoy academics and to work hard. Beyond what I gained academically, I really grew as a person during the pre-college program. I made a lot of good friends, after years of having few friends at my high school. The people there were 'my' people and I connected with many of them.

    A lot of people in the program are at excellent schools now. My roommate went to Yale, a friend went to Vanderbilt, etc. Of the six people from my immediate group of friends, four are now at CMU. There were three people on my freshman floor (about 35 people) who went to pre-college that summer, too. I frequently see other people from pre-college around campus. While going to the program did not *guarantee* getting into CMU, I truly believe that it helped. In terms of showing interest, spending six weeks at a college as a high school student is pretty much the most you can do.

    While a lot of academic summer programs are NOT worth the money and all families have to decide for themselves what is right for them, if it is within your means and the program offers college credit, I'd go for it. It's a great experience.
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  • annanaannana 432 replies33 threads Member
    Very true. I'm sure they aren't bad, but they're so expensive and seem like a rip off in my opinion. Doing academics over the summer is fine, but taking a couple college courses for 7000 dollars isn't very enriching. However, something like a high school research program would be great.
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  • OldFashioned1OldFashioned1 110 replies3 threads Junior Member
    edited May 2016
    @Knittergirrl Good post. I don't think they help you get into any specific college, per se, but they absolutely bolster an otherwise strong common app. From admissions pov, who's more likely to hit the ground running and have a successful freshman year at an out-of-state college?

    student a: Good stats, from Ohio, worked part-time at landscaping company for two summers.
    student b: Good stats, from Ohio, summer at Harvard, summer at Andover.
    edited May 2016
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  • VickiSoCalVickiSoCal 3487 replies34 threads Senior Member
    Doesn't that just show their parents had a few extra thousands?
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  • OldFashioned1OldFashioned1 110 replies3 threads Junior Member
    $20,000*. Either way, is being wealthy a negative trait in admissions? Note most offer financial aid.

    Either way, summer programs tease out the student is outgoing, likes to meet new people, likes to learn, doesn't like to be idle, isn't afraid of new environments. All traits adcoms like to see, yes?
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  • dadoftwingirlsdadoftwingirls 740 replies15 threads Member
    "Either way, summer programs tease out the student is outgoing, likes to meet new people, likes to learn, doesn't like to be idle, isn't afraid of new environments. All traits adcoms like to see, yes? "

    How is this different from getting a job? It shows the kid is outgoing, likes to meet new people, likes to learn, doesn't like to be idle and isn't afraid of new environments.

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  • 1or2Musicians1or2Musicians 1374 replies0 threads Senior Member
    Non-outgoing kids can go to summer programs. They can also get jobs.
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