Whether you enroll in a pre-college program is a very personal decision; there isn’t a simple “right answer.” While these can offer a great opportunity to learn and grow in a collegiate environment, they aren’t the right choice for all students.
So, how do you know whether you should enroll in a pre-college program? Start by asking yourself the following questions. By the time you’ve thoroughly answered each one, you should have a pretty clear picture of whether a pre-college program is right for you.
What Would You Do With Your Summer Otherwise?
Do you already have alternative summer plans that will stand out on your college application? Remember, this doesn’t need to be anything fancy; many colleges will be just as impressed by your maturity and dedication in working a full-time summer job to help support your family as by an international volunteering trip.
If you don’t have other summer plans, though, don’t let those sunny vacation days slip through your fingers and leave you with nothing to show for them. A pre-college program can be a great way to make the most of your free time. You’ll learn, mature, grow, and develop a deeper understanding of what the college experience will be.
How Are Your Applications Looking?
Having gone through a pre-college program gives you something to put on your applications, especially if you go to a pre-college program at your top choice college. This is a fantastic way of demonstrating genuine interest in the school, and will give you a leg up in various other parts of your application as well. You’ll be intimately familiar with the college, and be able to speak in your essays about how exactly the school is right for you (and vice versa).
Even on your other applications, having completed a pre-college program can be a great selling point. You can use it as an example of your maturity, your self-sufficiency, your ability to tackle a challenging course load, your dedication to learning, your enthusiasm for new experiences, and much more.
Do You Feel Prepared for College?
Transitioning from being a minor in high school to an adult in college can be intimidating (and exciting!) for anyone. If you feel like you aren’t ready yet, that’s completely normal and totally fine. (Here’s a little life secret: people often don’t feel ready for things they need to do, and only discover their own ability through needing to do those things anyway.)
With that said, a pre-college program can be a fantastic way to dip your toes in the pool, so to speak. You’ll get a glimpse of what college life will be like, which will help you feel more prepared for it when the time comes.
If you’re already highly prepared, however, this might not be a significant enough factor to justify the time, effort, and expense of a pre-college program. If you’ve already taken community college classes, for example, this aspect of what these programs can offer may not be something you need.