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High School Students Benefit from a Summer Academy College Prep Program

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UVM Summer Academy is an outstanding, academically challenging 4-week program (2 weeks on-campus, 2 weeks online) for high school students who have completed 10th, 11th, or 12th grade and are interested in exploring a specific field of study.

Summer Academy gives high school students the opportunity to learn what college life is like first-hand while getting a head start on their college career.

UVM Admissions staff talks about how a summer academy program can help high school students get ready for college-level academics.

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

A: Summer academy programs for high school students, also known as precollege summer program, are valuable experiences because they can help expose students to the college experience as a “test run” while they are still in high school. The Summer Academy is a hybrid program with 2 weeks of on campus work and 2 weeks of online work, giving students the ultimate opportunity to have an authentic college experience.

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 save money by shortening their time needed to complete their undergraduate degree – especially when combined with AP credits.

Student, Mckenzie McNall explained the value that she got out of the program, ‘UVM Summer Academy was a great experience. I got to meet lots of new people and friends. To get the full experience I would strongly encourage staying on campus. Going to UVM Summer Academy for two weeks made me so excited to go to four years of college.’ 

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

A: High school students involved in summer academy 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 academy 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!

Here’s what student, Kate Ciesielski had to say about the experience: ‘I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to participate in Summer Academy at UVM. By the end of the program, I had met a lovely group of people whom I still keep in contact with, I gained a much clearer understanding of what I want to do, and I feel like I could go to college tomorrow, which I feel puts me ahead of a lot of other students. It was an experience I will absolutely never forget. Now, as a senior, I am applying to UVM as one of my top choices!’ 

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 academy program give students a competitive edge?

A: Students who do well in a summer academy 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: 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. We highly encourage schools to share information with students about Vermont’s Dual Enrollment program and summer academy/precollege programs as a way to engage in the college experience and to get a head start on their college degree.

Explore start-dates, programs, courses, and tuition details at UVM Summer Academy.