Summer College Gives High School Students a Head Start

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Heather Palow, an advisor for UVM’s Continuing and Distance Education, talks about what high school students can gain by taking college courses in a summer college program.

Q: Can you first explain the basics of a summer college program for high school students?

A: A summer college program, also known as pre-college, gives high school juniors and seniors an early start by helping them experience the challenge of a college-level course while earning college credit. High school students may explore career fields with professors who are leading experts, enroll in classes with other students, and earn transferable college credit.

Q: What are some of the benefits of summer college for high school students?

A: There are so many ways a summer college program can help prepare high school students for success. Here are some of the most compelling reasons:

Get a preview of campus life. Gain insight into campus culture, student life, and the opportunity to interact with other college students.

Ease the transition to college life. Socialize, make new friends, and be away from home for an extended period of time. This can also can serve as a stepping stone to the transition of going away to college.

Test the school out. Some students find it difficult to choose a college. Attending a summer college program gives high school students a sense of whether the school is a good fit.

Assess college readiness. Get a sense of what will be expected in a college course.

Make a positive impression on admissions officials. Successfully completing a college course is a way for students to signal to university officials that they are ready for college-level work.

Explore new material. Students can try out a new subject area, possibly discovering a career field they can be passionate about.

Cut college costs. High school students will receive a 50 percent reduction of in- and out-of-state academic year tuition during the summer. Also, Vermont’s statewide dual enrollment program for high school juniors and seniors allows students to access two college courses with tuition fully reimbursed. For example, students save money by taking a credit bearing course and then transferring those credits to their four-year school, including UVM.

Q: Can you tell us specifically about UVM’s summer college program for high school students?

A: UVM’s summer college program for high school students was established in 2004 and attracts more than 350 students from Vermont, New England and beyond. UVM offers more than 100 online and on-campus courses for high school students in the summer and throughout the academic year. We also offer Summer Academy, a four-week program where students are part of a learning community and participate in off-campus and on-campus activities. Summer Academy has both residential and commuter options, and includes an online component. In addition, UVM offers a faculty-led study abroad opportunity in Dublin, Ireland.

Q: For students who will be on campus, what is there to do in Burlington?

A: Burlington is absolutely one of the best places to spend the summer in New England. Locals and visitors alike enjoy shopping and dining on Church Street, biking the Island Line Trail, swimming in Lake Champlain, and attending a variety of events and cultural activities. Burlington is a vibrant, engaging place with festivals, live music, bike paths, parks, and a thriving food scene. Burlington is located on the shores of Lake Champlain and is less than an hour from some of the best hiking and skiing in Vermont. The birthplace of Phish and Ben & Jerry’s, Burlington was recently named the best college town in America by Travel + Leisure.

Q: When can students register?

A: Here are the following dates:

Summer Academy:  The application is currently open for Summer Academy, which starts in June.

Dublin Study Abroad: The application is currently open for our study abroad program in Dublin, which starts in July. Spaces are available on a first come basis, so apply today.

Summer Courses: Registration begins Feb. 12, 2014.

Q: Where can parents and high school students learn more about UVM’s summer college program?

A: For details about programs, courses and tuition, visit www.uvm.edu/precollege.