Summertime is Learning Time: When it comes to college preparation, you can never start too early
Attending pre-college programs at top universities has become the norm for competitive high-school students who are looking to earn college credit, get valuable references or simply get a feel for what life is like within the iconic hallowed halls of an Ivy League university.
The University of Pennsylvania’s program, Penn Summer, offers high-school students everything they need to get into college—courses on SAT preparation, college writing courses and, of course, workshops on the college admission process. Students can attend either a general six-week program, choosing from the 75 to 80 courses that are offered that summer; more specialized four-week courses on physics and biomedical research; or an English-language program geared toward international students.
“Penn Summer gives a student a true experience of what it is to be a Penn student while they’re still in high school,” said Eli Lesser, director of Penn Summer.
Students enrolled in Penn Summer get a taste of what college life is really like—they live in dorms, eat in the dining hall and are treated no differently than Penn undergraduates. If enrolled in the six-week general program, students will receive college credit upon the successful completion of the course.
Another unique aspect? Students who take the six-week courses are enrolled with Penn undergraduates, and professors have no idea who is a high school student and who is an undergraduate. “They’ll be treated exactly as an undergraduate student would in the class,” Lesser said. “They’ll have the same work expectation. The instructors push them.”
This environment works for those highly motivated, highly successful students that Penn Summer attracts, Lesser said.
But it’s not easy to get in.
Last summer, the program received 600 applications and admitted just 275 high-school students. To be considered for admission, students should have at least a 3.3 GPA and score in the 85th percentile for standardized tests like the ACT, SAT and PSAT. Recommendations and extracurriculars don’t hurt, either.
“What we’re looking for it a student who’s academically curious and also academically serious,” Lesser said.
Visit www.sas.upenn.edu/summer/ for more information.