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Do summer college courses help get applicants into their school of choice?

Posted by Your Town  August 19, 2013 07:32 PM

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Students who are hungry for that acceptance letter think of summer classes at colleges and universities as their ticket into a dream college or university. But do these courses, in fact, put students on the fast track to receiving an acceptance letter? It depends.

At Harvard, the summer school program makes it clear that admission does not ensure acceptance to Harvard College, though some students hope the courses will give them an edge in their application.

“It will boost a student’s knowledge and experience generally, and even—well, a summer at Harvard will help students select colleges that are right for them, and it might actually convince a student that Harvard is not one of them,” William J. Holinger, director of the Secondary School Program, said in a statement, adding, “it certainly doesn’t hurt to show a potential college that you are capable of doing Harvard-level work by doing well here.”

Tereza Kros, the associate director of summer programs at the Berklee College of Music, said that students who excel in summer become attractive candidates for the undergraduate school.

“It does not guarantee your acceptance here, but does it help? We think so,” Kros said. “For a lot of these students who are serious about pursuing a music education, [the summer programs] will make or break a student.”

These courses are not cheap, though some are worth college credit. Programs are either solely for high schoolers, or a mix of teens and students of other ages.

At Harvard, a full-time student enrolled in the 7-week program and who lives on campus pays a total of $10,690 . Students studying and living at Berklee for the five-week program pay $8,185 . Tufts, which does not offer on-campus housing, charges $2,165 for a lecture class and $2,325 for a course with a lab.

In some cases, financial aid is available.

Read Katherine Landergan's story in the Boston Globe.

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College Bound offers news and advice on preparing, applying, and ultimately heading off to college. Send your ideas and questions to Leslie.Anderson@globe.com. More »
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