An increasing number of selective colleges are beginning to scrutinize how applicants spend their summers during high school. Some parents, in response to this trend, have blown thousands of dollars on summer programs that may provide for an enriching experience, but do little to distinguish their child from the rest of the applicant pool. Today, the majority of competitive colleges offer at least one pre-college program inviting high school students to explore campus, visit with faculty, and even take courses during the summer months.
Most summer programs are nothing more than “cash cows” and will accept any high school student able to pay the bill. Participation in these summer programs will be viewed by your prospective colleges as evidence of wealth, rather than evidence of any special ability—even if these programs happen to be offered on an Ivy League campus. As such, they do NOTHING to improve your admission prospects.