How High School Students Benefit from a Summer College Program

Beth Wiser, Director of Admissions at UVM, talks about how a summer college program can help high school students get ready for college-level academics.

Q: Why is a summer college program a good option for high school students?


A: Summer college programs for high school students, also known as precollege programs, are valuable experiences because they can help expose students to the college experience as a “test run” while they are still in high school. We find that these programs are motivating for students to do well in their remaining time in high school. Summer college programs also provide a challenge for the best prepared students to get a head start on their college education, and potentially help sav money by shortening their time needed to complete their undergraduate degree – especially when combined with AP credits.

Q: How can a student’s participation in a summer college program make a positive impression on college admission officials?

A: High school students involved in summer college programs should participate because of their interest in learning and experiencing college-level coursework – not to make a positive impression in the admissions process. For students who do take part in these programs, we often find that this experience supplements the other activities and courses that a student takes, demonstrating a willingness to try new things. We often find that high school students who take part in summer college programs demonstrate strong motivation and are interested in learning.

Q: How can a high school student make the most of a summer college program?

A: Students can benefit the most by choosing a program that best fits their interests. Students should be willing to engage and make the most of the experience. They should get to know the other students and the professor. Finally, remember that this is college credit and the grades can impact a student’s college grade point average – so do your best!

Q: From an admissions perspective, what are some of the things that differentiate a student in the college application process? Does successful completion of a summer college program give students a competitive edge?

A: Students who do well in a summer college program are seen as strong candidates in the admissions process. It is helpful for students to reflect on their experience and what they learned through the program as part of their admissions application.

Q: Vermont has one of the highest high school graduation rates, but the percentage of students who go on to college is significantly lower. Do you think raising greater awareness about summer college programs in Vermont can help bridge that gap?

A: I believe that the investment by the state of Vermont in paying for at least one college course for high school students is an excellent way to help students see opportunities for college. I highly encourage schools to share information with students about Vermont’s Dual Enrollment program and summer college/precollege programs as a way to engage in the college experience and to get a head start on their college degree.

For details about UVM Summer College programs, courses and tuition, visit

Beth Wiser
Beth Wiser

Beth Wiser is the Director of Admissions at the University of Vermont. Follow her on Twitter at @BethWiserUVM.