Pros and Cons of Pre-College Summer Programs

Pre-college summer programs can be a great experience for students who do a little research ahead of time. They provide students a glimpse at what college life will be like and can help them ease into the transition to this next stage. However, there are some basic guidelines that should be followed to make sure you make the right decision. It’s important for you to know what you want to gain from the experience and whether a particular pre-college program can meet your expectations. Also, when deciding whether attending a pre-college program is right for you, make sure you always weigh the pros and cons before committing to any decisions.

The following is a list of the top 5 pros and the top 5 cons for attending pre-college summer programs:


1. Socialization – A great plus for attending pre-college programs is the opportunity to socialize with your peers, often with very similar interests to your own. Going to college for the first time can be very intimidating because you won’t be surrounded by the same students you grew up with anymore. Pre-college programs can serve as a stepping stone to transitioning to your new college life.

2. Experience – Depending on the program you choose, you could gain extensive experience while, at the same time, learning more about the field of study you’re interested in pursuing before you official start your degree program.

3. Earn College Credit – Pre-college programs are an excellent option for earning some extra college credits. These programs tend to be much more fun and entertaining than the regular college courses you’ll have to take, and the best part is that the credits you earn can be applied toward your degree.

4. Test the School Out – Some students find it difficult to decide which college they wish to attend. A great way to try a college out before committing is to attend one of that colleges summer programs. By doing this, you can make sure the campus is a good fit for you before you even apply for admission.

5. Visit New Places – Depending on the college, many campuses offer study abroad opportunities in addition to those offered on their main campus. For example, Columbia University offers their pre-college programs in New York City, Barcelona, and the Middle East. This can be a great opportunity to experience other cultures before attending college.


1. Cost – Perhaps the largest obstacle to being able to attend a pre-college program is the financial burden associated with doing so. These programs can become very expensive, depending on which program you choose.

2. Saying Goodbye to Family Early – For many families, the summers before college are dedicated to spending as much time as possible with one another. This is a great time for family vacations and you may have to forego these if you decide to attend a pre-college program instead.

3. Length of Programs – Some pre-college programs not only cost a lot of money, but can also be really short in duration. It’s not uncommon to see summer programs that last a week or less. Obviously, when choosing a good summer program you’ll want to make sure you get an overall good value for your money.

4. Commitment to Program – It’s also a good idea to take a look at your commitment responsibilities when signing up for one of these pre-college programs. Many of these programs have policies in place setting requirements for successfully completing the program and expect students to follow through with their commitments.

5. Refunds – If for any reason you change your mind after signing up for one of these pre-college programs, application fees and deposits are typically not refundable, and any course refunds are typically done so with penalties deducted. So when you do sign up, make sure you’re absolutely positive in your choice.

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