Factors to Consider when Choosing a Summer Program

Factors to Consider when Choosing a Summer Program

Information to Consider when Exploring Summer Programs

Introduction: Choosing a Summer Program

Considerations for Summer Programs for High School StudentsThere are many factors that can be considered when choosing a summer program. In order to maximize a summer experience, students are encouraged to carefully read about the program, contact a program representative to ask questions, speak with other students who may have already attended the program, and compare the program with others opportunities of interest.

The following items are some of the factors that students can consider when reviewing summer programs.

The Area of Emphasis for a Summer Program

  • What topics or subject areas are emphasized in the program? 
  • Are the topics broad in nature or narrowly tailored to focus on a specific area?
  • How will the program provide opportunities to learn about a subject area, explore a potential college major, and/or gain information about potential career pathways?

High school students working together during a summer program

The Structure or Daily Schedule of a Summer Program

  • Does the program consist of hands on and experiential learning opportunities?
  • Does the program enable students to expand and enrich their learning from the school year?
  • What types of activities does the program provide such as projects, performances, field trips, seminars, guest speakers, collaborative work with peers…?

The Location of a Summer Program

  • Where does the program take place?
  • Would it be costly to get to the location of a program?
  • Does the program take place at a college to provide a sense of the resources and life on a campus?

The Cost of a Summer Program

  • How much does it cost to attend the program?
  • Are there other similar opportunities that are less costly during a summer?

The Length of a Summer Program

  • How long is the program?
  • Would participating in the program interfere with other summer activities?

The Pre-College Experience Provided by a Summer Program

  • Does the program help high school students with becoming prepared for a college environment?
  • Do students stay on a college campus throughout the program?
  • Do students have a chance to work with college faculty members and or current college students?

The Instruction Provided by a Summer Program

  • Who is providing the instruction during the program (college professors, teachers, older students, professionals…)?
  • What is the instructor to student ratio?

The Safety and Supervision Provided by a Summer Program

  • What measures are taken to provide effective supervision for students?
  • How does the program create a safe environment for students?

Whether a Summer Program is Residential or Commuter

  • Is the program residential or do students commute each day?
  • If the program is residential, what type of housing accommodations are provided?

Concluding Notes about Selecting a Beneficial Summer Program

The factors included in this post are just some of the items that can be considered when choosing a summer program. The factors in this post are not intended to be exhaustive and there are other factors for students to consider.
Overall, it is important for students and parents to thoroughly consider a number of factors when they are in the process of choosing a summer program. Examining these factors carefully can help lead to a productive and enjoyable summer experience.


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Donna Andrews

Donna has worked in the field of education in a variety of positions. She has been a high school teacher, college academic skills coordinator, and university professor. She has helped students achieve success in summer STEM programs and sports programs. She has also coordinated and taught in pre-college programs for high school students.

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