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How to Use Your Summer to Get College Credit

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Are you thinking of spending part of your precious summer in a summer academic program for teens?

If so, congratulations. You’re making an important commitment to your future, especially if you’re looking at summer programs that offer college credit.

There are several ways to get college credit over the summer while still in high school. You could take an online course or take a class at the local community college - both of those are convenient and usually affordable options. But neither lets you experience what it’s like to live on a college campus, to be responsible for yourself away from home, and to make the close friendships that come from college dorm life. For that added dimension, you need to consider a summer program that’s actually at a college or university.

Before you consider going for college credit, there are some things think about:

  • Do you, your teachers and/or your college counselor think you are ready for college-level work?

  • Does the summer program require an application and do you have time to meet the requirements?

  • Do you or your parents have the resources to pay for a program (and transportation!) or does it offer scholarships or financial aid?

  • Are are you ready to live away from home for several weeks?

  • Are the credits likely to transfer to colleges that you are considering?

Note that many colleges and universities also offer noncredit enrichment options that let you explore a topic and get a taste for living on campus for a week or two.

But if you’re ready to consider a summer program that offers college credit, here are a few that appeal to a variety of interests, from STEM to history to drawing.

Johns Hopkins University Summer Pre-College Programs offer the chance to take college-level classes at the campus in Baltimore. Courses offered this summer include landscape photography, elements of macroeconomics and American poetry. Courses offer one to four credits.

School of the Art Institute of Chicago offers an Early College Program in the summer that lets you earn credit and explore your passion for art. You get feedback on your portfolio and admissions counseling for SAIC.

Boston University’s High School Honors Program lets you earn up to eight college credits in six weeks and offers about 80 undergraduate courses. The program also offers courses online.

Villanova’s Superior High School Summer Program offers four-week college-credit classes. In past summers, courses have included macroeconomics, biology and politics and communications.

Northwestern University’s College Prep Summer Program offers more than 300 college classes on the campus in Evanston, Ill. Classes range from three to eight weeks, depending on the topic.

Willam & Mary’s Pre-College Summer Program in Early American History offers two history courses each summer for high school students, each worth four college credits. The program is three weeks long and students mix field trips with seminars and reading.

University of Dallas High School Summer Programs combine study and travel, all for college credit. This summer’s program includes the study of Shakespeare in Italy and Latin in Rome, among others.

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