Stanford summer students Photo: Karl Nielsen Media Productions/Stanford
Summer programs at elite colleges are a “racket,” writes Anne Kim in the Washington Monthly.
Parents and students think spending thousands of dollars for a two- or three-week program at Brown, Harvard, Stanford, etc. will give them an admissions advantage. Admissions experts told Kim “the benefits of most pre-college programs are negligible.”
The programs are fun. But are they worth the cost?
Some schools, including Stanford, distribute “fundraising guides” encouraging students to solicit contributions, including through crowdsourcing sites like GoFundMe.
. . . Harvard’s two-week session costs $4,600, while Brown charges $2,776 for one week and $6,976 for a four-week version. Some programs offer college credit, but it comes at a steep premium. Duke, for example, offers a non-credit “Summer Academy” for $6,745; its “Summer College” program, which allows students to take one Duke course for credit, costs an additional $2,800. By comparison, the cost of an entire semester’s worth of credits at North Carolina community colleges is capped at $1,216.
My daughter did a summer program at an Oxford college, which she absolutely loved. The college counselor said it would give her an edge in college admissions. I wondered about that. The program didn’t take just anyone, but the main qualification was ability to pay.
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