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Do Summer Programs increase chances?

mom2boys1999mom2boys1999 39 replies9 threads Junior Member
So my son is looking at some summer research and precollege programs. He has applied to MITES, SSP, Rise, and SSRP at UF, but he also did applications for Tufts Summer Research and Boston AIM.

He has already been accepted to the latters (Tufts and Boston AIM). I know they aren’t as competitive but would they still give a boost to admissions? Or at least admissions at that school?
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Replies to: Do Summer Programs increase chances?

  • izrk02izrk02 512 replies19 threads Member
    Any summer research/precollege program will give a boost to an applicant compared to someone who didn't do them. But some schools like to see what the student did at the program, not just that they went, since many of the programs are expensive and only accessible for a select few. It'll probably give a boost at the school that the program was held at, since it'll show demonstrated interest (if they track it).
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  • seoaceseoace 10 replies0 threads New Member
    Agree with @izrk02 . What they do makes the difference. My S21 has been part of a program at Vanderbilt and VU has made it clear that participation does not play into their admissions decision. But what he accomplishes could.
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  • bopperbopper 14297 replies101 threadsForum Champion CWRU Forum Champion
    I disagree...
    Colleges want to see you doing something productive over the summer...
    Working if you need to work is a valid summer activity
    Watching your siblings is valid
    Volunteering is valid
    Going to one of these summer camps is valid


    They just make money for the school and give you an activity and a chance to practice independence and to hang out with peers also into academics
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  • borgdoctorborgdoctor 110 replies9 threads Junior Member
    College summer programs are additional revenue streams for colleges. They don't increase admissions chances to those colleges.

    The summer programs are useful though if you are:

    1- interested in a particular college and spending a summer taking classes there can cement your decision on whether a college is a good fit for you.
    2- for exploring or delving deeper into subject areas that you are interested in that is not typically offered at your local high school.
    3- for making new connections and friendships thus improving personal self growth.
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  • coolguy40coolguy40 2638 replies6 threads Senior Member
    edited February 11
    No, they don't. But they make a lot of money by you attending.
    edited February 11
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  • Mom2aphysicsgeekMom2aphysicsgeek 4635 replies56 threads Senior Member
    I would say based on the wording of your question that you are aware that not all summer programs are created equal.

    My impression is that competitive academic camps like Math Camp, SSP, Ross, etc are definitive positives in terms of academic accomplishments for admissions and that pre-college programs are not so much.

    Good luck to your student as he waits to hear back on the others. My ds is an SSP alum and it is a fabulous program.
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  • momtogirls2momtogirls2 904 replies7 threads Member
    We were taught don't do anything just because you think it will be good for admissions. Do what you need to do (babysit, work) or what you want to do. Take a summer class to help you learn, to see if it will really interest you long term etc.

    Since it looks like the op is in the Boston area this just popped up on my facebook - https://www.bostontechmom.com/guide-to-stem-high-school-internships-in-massachusetts/?fbclid=IwAR2-cjxwWAS5VrlnTQJ9EKDBcy70Yxwg4ovt4kkuLNfw8gCIiYdafDGb1TA

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  • coolguy40coolguy40 2638 replies6 threads Senior Member
    @RichInPitt Correct, all they really amount to are purchased experiences, not tangible accomplishments that can compliment grades and stats.
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  • Mom2aphysicsgeekMom2aphysicsgeek 4635 replies56 threads Senior Member
    edited February 12
    coolguy40 wrote: »
    @RichInPitt Correct, all they really amount to are purchased experiences, not tangible accomplishments that can compliment grades and stats.

    I am confused by your brief summation of what @RichInPitt stated. Are you saying that pre-college experiences are purchased experiences without tangible accomplishment that compliment grades and stats or that all summer programs including competitive academic programs fall into that category as well??

    I can't tell whether or not you are referring to the latter b/c the OP's question seems directed toward the first, not the 2nd. I assume that you are only referring to pre-college programs, but in case others reading this thread are not familiar with the distinction between pre-college and competitive summer programs, the descriptor "no tangible accomplishment" does not apply to competitive summer camps. Kids are working on subject matter way beyond the scope of what students are typically exposed to. Admission to the programs is extremely competitive and those selected are top students nationally/internationally.

    For example, "At Mathcamp, students can explore undergraduate and even graduate-level topics while building problem-solving skills that will help them in any field they choose to study......Abstract Algebra, Topology, or Real Analysis.... – or even more unusual topics, like Model Theory or Spectral Graph Theory. There are also classes on applied mathematics, such as Physics, Quantum Computation, or Linguistics." Students applying have to submit solutions to the qualifying quiz https://www.mathcamp.org/qualifying_quiz/current_quiz/ on top of essays/LOR, etc. Camp is free for households earning under $65,000 and those with higher incomes can apply for FA. https://www.mathcamp.org/admission/scholarships/

    So, adcoms familiar with MathCamp are not going to dismiss MathCamp attendance as a purchased experienced without tangible accomplishments. Many MathCampers are going to ask for LOR from someone they worked with at camp.
    edited February 12
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  • blossomblossom 10162 replies9 threads Senior Member
    edited February 16
    Coolguy, RSI is highly competitive and attracts some of the most talented HS kids in the country. And it is most definitely not a money maker.

    Some programs are expensive, some are free; some are open to anyone who has completed 9th, 10th or 11th grade and some have rigorous entrance requirements, recommendations, etc. Some are mostly social with some academics and some are purely research and academic.

    To the OP- I don't think your son should look at these as admissions boosts. If the subject interests him- great. And if not- I'm sure there's something else he wants to do!
    edited February 16
    Post edited by skieurope on
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  • mom2boys1999mom2boys1999 39 replies9 threads Junior Member
    Thanks everyone. He applied to the crazy selective ones but the odds for those are of course small. Looking at the backup options, we were trying to decide if there were some more favorable than others.
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  • SingswimsewSingswimsew 26 replies0 threads Junior Member
    My daughter was accepted to Rose-Hulman after she did Operation Catapult there, but that was probably because she had to apply to the summer program using the same info she would have used to apply as a freshman.
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  • OneMoreToGo2021OneMoreToGo2021 63 replies0 threads Junior Member
    edited February 15
    Just a shout-out for Canada/USA Mathcamp. Our current high school junior has gone twice. If you can get in, do it, but regardless how good you are at math, prepare to be humbled by some of the kids you will meet there. Most of our kid's friends from camp who are ready for college have been accepted at or are now attending T10 schools.

    Yes, it is a for-pay program, but financial aid is available and is very generous, as noted above somewhere.

    Admission is holistic, but based very strongly on the applicant's answers to some very difficult problems on what they call the "Qualifying Quiz." What is great about the problems is that they only require elementary methods, and many 13 year olds and even one 12 year old have attended. Nevertheless, they are difficult, often requiring creative approaches and a willingness to stretch one's understanding of numbers.

    I encourage all strong math kids to apply. The deadline is March 15. If you like math, take a look at this year's problems and see if you think they are fun: https://www.mathcamp.org/qualifying_quiz/current_quiz/

    SSP is also worth a shout out. Yes, if you can get into SSP, chances are you will get into a T10 school if that is what you want. In fact, I am fairly certain that a majority of SSP graduates go on to HYPMS or Caltech. You can see all the college destinations for SSP alumni over the past 20 year by looking at their annual reports (except for 2019 alumni - not sure why) here: https://summerscience.org/about/the-universal-times-newsletter/
    edited February 15
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  • theloniusmonktheloniusmonk 2630 replies5 threads Senior Member
    edited February 15
    "You don’t think doing research at MIT over the summer as part of RSI is of value? Adcoms just look at it and yawn?"

    Right but programs like RSI which are free, still heavily tilt to non-URMs, and upper middle class and above SES. RSI participants are also winners of olympiads and science fairs, and the admissions person even said they look for those kinds of things. So RSI is not really an open process, and it probably deepens the divide between high and low SES applicants.

    "Camp is free for households earning under $65,000 and those with higher incomes can apply for FA."

    It would be shocking if they got any families making less than 65K applying to these kinds of programs, even if they're free. You have to be locked into math and science in middle school to get into these kinds of programs, in addition to having a high school offer the rigor these programs look for. Those opportunities are not going to be found in low SES districts.
    edited February 15
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  • Mom2aphysicsgeekMom2aphysicsgeek 4635 replies56 threads Senior Member

    "Camp is free for households earning under $65,000 and those with higher incomes can apply for FA."

    It would be shocking if they got any families making less than 65K applying to these kinds of programs, even if they're free. You have to be locked into math and science in middle school to get into these kinds of programs, in addition to having a high school offer the rigor these programs look for. Those opportunities are not going to be found in low SES districts.

    10-15% of students are international and FA is offered to international students.

    The aid for families goes up to quite a decent income:
    If your household income is..
    Minimum family contribution is...
    And the maximum is...
    $0 to $64,999
    $0 + free travel
    $0
    $65,000 to $79,999
    $0 + free travel
    $1,000
    $80,000 to $124,999
    $500
    $2,500
    $125,000 to $199,999
    $500
    $4,500

    FWIW, attendance at meets-need uber competitive schools is also a tiny percentage of lower income students, but they are promoted as meeting need.

    SES status does not negate the value of the camps and how they aid admissions, which is what the pt was. Our ds did not attend a top UG U bc we couldn't afford for him to and attending for free was a very high priority for our family. But almost every other student attended a top 10-20. A few like ds pursued scholarships. But, yes, these programs do have real academic value and top schools know it.
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  • OneMoreToGo2021OneMoreToGo2021 63 replies0 threads Junior Member
    edited February 15
    It would be shocking if they got any families making less than $65K applying to these kinds of programs, even if they're free. You have to be locked into math and science in middle school to get into these kinds of programs, in addition to having a high school offer the rigor these programs look for. Those opportunities are not going to be found in low SES districts.
    Well, prepare to be shocked because Canada/USA Mathcamp does get applications from families making less than $65K per year. Every year about 15-20% of the campers pay $0, and more receive some partial aid. The full tuition is actually fairly reasonable for a 5 week residential program, as well. $4500, which includes all fees, room and board (single rooms too), activities, and weekend trips (last year was hiking, whitewater rafting, an indoor trampoline park and a day in downtown Portland). The average tuition per camper actually received is $3300.

    Regarding preparation, it is hard to say. Our own child never took formal classes in algebra, algebra 2 or geometry, and only took precalculus at the LPS in 7th grade. That was good enough to solve the problems for admittance to a program similar to Mathcamp, called MathPath, which is for gifted math kids ages 11-14. Based on those experiences, our kid was well prepared to attempt solutions to the Mathcamp admittance problems.

    No doubt the path to advanced math work today requires some guidance in addition to innate aptitude, but the idea that it has to be costly is wrong. There is so much free material available for kids who are interested. Our own kid (in public school) advanced from 3rd grade math to placing out of precalculus at the end of 6th grade using simply free materials available online - mostly ixl.com and Coursera courses, in addition to free competition materials through Art of Problem Solving. (We ultimately opted to make our kid take precalculus anyway, and our kid at 12 finished at the very top of the class of high school juniors and seniors - again, formal preparation counts for very little in mathematics).

    I should add that there are also outside scholarships available to attend Mathcamp and other programs that are not need-based. Most kids who can get into the camp could probably find one. Our own will receive partial funding through Mu Alpha Theta this summer.
    edited February 15
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  • theloniusmonktheloniusmonk 2630 replies5 threads Senior Member
    "that it has to be costly is wrong"

    It's not the cost, these programs aren't even on the radar for most high school kids, like over 99%. The MIT only only gets 4000 applications, of which they select, yes competitive, but guess what, also highly exclusive.
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  • OneMoreToGo2021OneMoreToGo2021 63 replies0 threads Junior Member
    edited February 15
    It's not the cost, these programs aren't even on the radar for most high school kids, like over 99%.
    Well, I do not disagree with you there.

    If we are talking about RSI or Canada/USA Mathcamp (or a few others), realistically only a fraction of 1% of kids has the potential to succeed there anyway. We are talking kids further out on the curve than 2 standard deviations.

    The real issue is whether we are looking for those kids in the lower SES groups, or are we content to just leave it up to chance (yes, poor kids do become interested all on their own and pursue these opportunities, but not many). And the identification process has to start young, because talent becomes evident and identifiable very early on. In mathematics, for instance, certainly by age 6 or 7 at the latest.

    The only answer I see is widespread ability testing early. I would think this would benefit low SES students in the long run. Sure, not many of them have the potential to be at RSI 10 years later. But certainly a few do, with the right guidance - more than chance their way in today. Let's find them.
    edited February 15
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