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Check out pre-university summer programs that fit right in with our course and even your future work. Image Credit: Shutterstock

In the competitive landscape of university applications, possessing highly visible opportunities that allow high school students to stand out is ever relevant. One such opportunity involves attending summer programs that are competitive and coveted.

These programs involve a broad range of focuses, including leadership and interpersonal skill development, volunteering and social impact participation, and course-specific programs. The types of programs play an important role in showcasing a well-rounded student profile to university admissions officers. These are not limited to a single country - a range of opportunities exist globally, allowing students to gain international exposure.

Choosing the right kind of summer program to apply to depends on several factors. One such factor is where the high school student wishes to conduct their undergraduate education in the near future. While students may certainly conduct their summer programs in a country different from the one they apply to for university, understanding the undergraduate application specific factors for different countries and universities will enable students to make informed decisions.

Among other factors, ‘super-curricular’ activities are important for the UK. These are activities that are directly linked to a student’s specific major. Choosing a course-specific program may therefore be a better fit for someone intending on applying to university in the UK.

Summer program examples that offer in-depth exploration of specific subjects are engineering academies, medical camps, and art workshops. They often provide exposure to real-world applications providing practical, hands-on experience.

For the US, showcasing a holistic profile enables students to stand out in their applications, allowing for flexibility when choosing summer programs. Programs that emphasize leadership and communication skills are largely available. Activities such as public speaking workshops, team-building exercises, and leadership training modules, enable students to cultivate skills critical for their academic and professional future.

Students who are focused on giving back to society can engage in volunteering programs. Participating showcases traits such as empathy, awareness, and social responsibility to admissions officers.

Attending rigorous summer programs demonstrates a student’s passion, intellectual curiosity, and dedication - qualities universities are looking for in their future students. It also provides tangible evidence to admissions officers of the student’s commitment to face university life. Students can choose from summer programs hosted by prestigious universities, leadership academies, intercultural exchange programs, or volunteering-focused initiatives, all of which cater to different interests and career aspirations.

Which program fits your profile?

Programs generally tend to operate either on an acceptance basis where students must fill out applications or a ‘first come, first serve’ basis, and can be offered virtually or in person depending on the program. Bear in mind that these can possess varying eligibility requirements for entry while several tend to have in-depth application processes.

Examples of coveted summer programs in the US include Columbia’s ‘Summer Immersion’ program and Yale Young Global Scholars program, while examples in the UK include King’s College London - Pre-University Summer School and Imperial College’s Global Summer School.

Such exposures provide the depth of experience and skill development that admissions officers are looking for in students they admit. With an array of options to choose from, students can find programs that align with their interests and career goals. In addition to attending summer programs, there are several profile building blocks students require for their academic resumes to increase their chances of admission success to their best fit university.