Making Summer Count

Making Summer Count

by Amanda Farrell, College Counselor

Moving into the summer, there are many options for teens. Both getting a summer job and enrolling in a summer/pre-college program can be valuable experiences, particularly for Juniors for whom staying busy over the summer is key to success in the college application process. The decision on whether to pursue a job or an educational opportunity (or both!) ultimately depends on the individual's goals and circumstances.

If one is looking to gain work experience, earn money, and develop customer service skills, then getting a summer job can be an excellent option. This can help a teen learn about responsibility, time management, and teamwork, among other things. Additionally, a summer job can provide valuable networking opportunities and help teens develop a strong work ethic.

On the other hand, summer programs allow students to learn about exciting topics and experience a taste of college life before committing to a particular university or major. Camps and courses offered over the summer explore topics such as business, engineering, medicine, and the arts while allowing students to meet like-minded peers. These programs vary in length, lasting anywhere from 1-7 weeks, and often involve living on campus. Some offer minimal college credit as well.

In addition to what are often very expensive program costs, students should keep in mind that these summer offerings do not provide guaranteed admission or even preference in the admissions process. Should you wish to pursue one, however, there are a number of great choices close to home through the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University. 

Penn Academies include:

Drexel Summer Institutes programs include:

  • Arts and Sciences

  • Biomedical Engineering

  • Business

  • Computing and Informatics

  • Design, Arts, Media

  • Engineering

  • Entrepreneurship

  • Food and Hospitality Management

  • Medicine

  • Public Health

Other summer programs in Pennsylvania include:

If you're looking to travel for a unique summer program, consider one of the following (note that many have deadlines approaching soon):

Whether you choose to take a job or pursue an educational opportunity, make sure you find time to relax and enjoy those beloved summer months!