And now: the "Pre-college" Program
This seems fascinating, via the New York Times:
WHEN Jeremy Grant of Roslyn, N.Y., was 16, he decided not to return for another summer of sleep-away camp, opting instead for a precollege program at U.C.L.A. In the mornings he took courses in SAT prep and public speaking; in the afternoons he hopped on a van to the beach, a museum, or a TV game show.
“It was the best summer of my life,” recalled Mr. Grant, now a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania. “It boosted my confidence to learn that I could get along on my own.”
At winter fairs in high schools around the country, precollege summer programs are now being pitched to teens and parents, many of whom see these “taste-of-college-life” programs as a vital part of the college planning process. Recession or not, interest in these programs, which can run as high as $7,800 for six weeks (excluding airfare), is intense, with many programs fully booked by early spring.
When it started offering precollege programs in 1986, Summer Discovery, which organized Mr. Grant’s trip, sent just 170 students to U.C.L.A. Last year, the Long Island-based company had programs at 10 universities (three overseas), with more than 2,000 high school students participating.
Another company, Summer Study Programs of Melville, N.Y., sent 150 students to Penn State University when it began a precollege program there in 1992; this past year 600 attended the program, which includes college courses taught by accredited professors, Kaplan SAT prep classes and organized leisure activities. The company also has added programs in Paris and Boulder, Colo. Precollege programs let students choose classes that, in some cases, give them college credits — and dress up a college admissions application. Students stay in dorms, use college gyms and dining halls. Perhaps best of all, to hear teens tell it, they live and travel without parents or camp counselors lording it over them.
“We let 15- and 16-year-olds operate more like young adults,” said Bob Musiker, executive director of Summer Discovery (888-878-6637; www.summerfun.com), adding that the responsibilities involved in a precollege program (picking courses, doing laundry) and the diverse mix of participants in the programs (like a “mini-United Nations”) widen students’ horizons.
“This is college but college on training wheels,” said Jason Lubar, executive director of American Collegiate Adventures (800-509-7867; www.acasummer.com) of Chicago, which offers a precollege program at the University of Wisconsin in Madison that starts at $2,795 for two weeks and goes up to $6,795 for six weeks. While students may choose courses taught by university professors and mingle with college students on a big campus in a colorful college town, there is still a higher level of supervision to ensure safety.
Precollege programs also benefit the university at a time when the college is open for summer session but when facilities are underutilized, said David Black, academic program manager at the University of Wisconsin. “These programs showcase Wisconsin as a first-class university,” he said. He added that they may also generate admissions applications from out-of-staters.
Read the whole thing.
Here in the Land Between the Coasts, we're always the last to hear about anything that isn't featured on American Idol. This thing seems like a cash cow for the schools, and yet another chance for students to test their wings, although the price definitely puts it out of reach for most students I know. I am sure students of more modest means would benefit greatly from programs like this.
Labels: college admissions