Teens try out college


When I think back to some of the best times of my life, I remember back to camp and college.  These were times of freedom with purpose.  So when your kids have really outgrown camp, or you want them to experience alternatives that are available, heading off to college for a summer experience is a great option.  So many locations, so many classes, so many new friends.

The benefits of choosing a college program for a summer experience include:
 

  1. Seeing a college of interest before applying

  2. Exploring different types of classes to find a passion

  3. Take an SAT class

  4. Take a class for credit

  5. Experience dorm living

  6. Learn to balance academic, social, athletic and extracurricular pursuits

  7. Getting your cell phone and computer back during the summer!!
     

So, what should you look for when exploring the college options?  Consider the following questions:
 

  1. What type of study are you looking for?  Class for credit?  Class for fun?  Remedial assistance?

  2. Specialty program in a particular pursuit?  Or not sure?

  3. What part of the country are you interested in either:  exploring?  visiting for future college opportunities?   near family or friends?

  4. Is an overseas experience to be considered?

  5. How long?

  6. Is travel in the area important?   What about on campus extracurricular activities?

  7. How much freedom do you want your teen to have?
     

As to types of classes, some programs have a variety to handle whatever you may be looking for.  It is very important to talk with your teen and see what kind of commitment they want to make during the summer.   This is a time in their lives that they really need to be involved in the decision making.  Sometimes, if there is a need for credit classes or assistance in ie writing or math, going away to a college program takes some of the sting out of an academic summer.

If a specialty passion is the way to go, there are fantastic programs on college campuses in everything from photography, music, dance, performing arts, and every sport you can imagine.  There are different degrees of focus based on your teen’s previous experience.  There are great introductory courses that if enjoyed, can be followed up in future summers with greater depth and portfolio building.

As to location, almost every university has dorm space during the summer.  If your teen has dreamt of attending a certain college or in a certain area, take a close look at the schools in the area as well as if they take the students to visit other colleges as well.  This is a great way for your teens to start preparing their minds towards the type of college they like:  big, small, frats, north, south, etc.  Granted, they will be seeing the college during the summer which is a bit deceptive if in ie Vermont.  But the terrain is certainly different than ie UC/San Diego.

 There are many opportunities overseas as well.  If language immersion is a bonus, your teen can consider a college campus experience in many countries around the world.  And they will share dorm life with students their age from around the world.  If in the US, a 10 day to 6 week program is available.  Overseas, you really want to commit to about 3-6 weeks in length.

 Beyond visiting other colleges, many programs will run “field trips” from the campus for evening and weekend activities.  Once you have narrowed down the many choices based on classes, college type etc., you can review the excursions to see what is most favorable.  There are lots of great sites to see around the world!  In addition, on campus activities are important to review for lifestyle choices during the summer.  If your teen is a tennis player, you want to make sure there are tennis courts on the campus and preferably near the dorms.  Access to the gym?  Watersports?  What are the preferences?

As to freedom, your desire and your teen’s desire may be a bit different.  Remember, some of the colleges open their dorms to high school students and treat them like college students during the summer.  Freedom is complete.   Some high school students are ready for that.  Others, however, still need supervision.  If that is the case, there are many university programs that have oversight by more “camp-like” directors to make sure that academic and social needs are cared for safely and securely.
 

Posted: 2/12/2016 9:57:35 PM by Karen Meister | with 0 comments