Summer Programs

Summer introduces a wide variety of opportunities for students. In addition to volunteering or working, a student can use the time to pursue a wide variety of established summer programs or camps that provide enrichment in specific areas of interest. These activities may include intensive learning in a university environment, or service and adventure programs in the country or abroad. Though these programs provide excellent enrichment for you, be certain that you are honoring your passion for a specific academic or personal interest, not your passion for admission to a particular college.

Some items to consider if you are thinking about applying to summer programs:

  • Attending a pre-college on-campus program does not ensure that you will experience college-level work or earn college credit, nor with it increase your chances of admission into that university or other selective colleges.
  • Be cautious of programs that are not affiliated with or organized by the college institution itself. Check that the programs are taught by university faculty and are not simply using the campus as a venue.
  • Residential programs cost approximately $1000 a week or more, depending on extra-curricular activities offered or lab fees incurred. Some offer need-based aid, others offer stipends and are supplemented by outside funding.

Before you embark on an expensive venture, read what some experts are saying about these programs:

“Don't assume that attending an academic program on a college campus will help you get into that school. The frenzy to get into such programs often rivals that of the actual college admissions process in some quarters. If you choose them, do so for personal enrichment and not to impress admissions officers at the school in question.” Peter Van Buskirk, The Admissions Game.

“What we care about is that students have done something that means something to them...It’s not a good idea to engage in something because the student or family believes it will augment their ability to get in.” Richard Shaw, Stanford Dean of Undergraduate Admission, as quoted in "Ritzy Teen Summer Programs," by Rebecca Davis O'Brien, Daily Beast, June 3, 2011.

“You don't necessarily need to spend the summer with your nose in a book, but you do need to put your summers to work by pursuing activities that display drive and initiative…Colleges are mainly looking for what we call ‘angular' kids. They're not looking for well-rounded students; they're looking for well-rounded student bodies. So in order to position yourself as an angular kid, you have to highlight those one or two passions, interests, strengths and run with them.” Katherine Cohen, IvyWise. 

Summer Program Directories

Please note: These links and resources are listed for informational purposes and convenience. No direct or implied endorsement by Vernon Hills High School should be construed.

On-Campus Pre-College Summer Programs

  • Illinois Association of College Admission Counseling Directory of College Summer Programs
  • National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) Programs
  • Vincent Curtis Educational Register
  • Additional enrichment programs can be found under the "colleges" tab in Naviance.

Summer Camp Directories for High School Students

  • Allen's Guide
  • Teen Ink Summer Program and Camp Guide for Teens