What to Expect with Pre-College Programs for 2021

Pre-college summer camps have always been great learning experiences. They offer insight into many areas of college life that a student wouldn’t otherwise be able to see or become acquainted with. In the past, most pre-college summer camps have been held in the summer months right after a student graduates from high school. During the program, students are able to test the water’s so to speak so they can learn as much as they possibly can before they arrive at the campus for the long haul. While this may not seem like much to some, being able to familiarize yourself with the campus before school will give you a little confidence when you are first starting out. But are pre-college summer programs still worth it?

Fewer Residential Camps for 2021

One of the biggest changes for the 2021 school year is that there will be a lot fewer residential camps this year. While many are still working on putting together an in-person, pre-college summer program, many still consider it a risk their students do not need to take. Some colleges are shutting down the camps altogether, while others are choosing to hold virtual camps where students can interact over a Zoom or Teams type of platform.

Many colleges and universities that are offering residential pre-college summer programs have dramatically reduced the number of students who are allowed to participate. Even though many of the restrictions associated with the pandemic have been loosened, the schools are still being very cautious about social distancing and making sure all students take the necessary safety measures. As more and more states open back up over the next year, more schools may return to residential pre-college summer programs, but for now a limited number of students or online programs will continue to be the norm for the 2021 year.

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More Online Camps

More and more schools are implementing online/video meetings instead of having the residential pre-college summer programs that were always held in the past. Although online programs don’t necessarily have the depth that a regular residential program would have, it does offer similar benefits. A good example of this is getting to know the physical layout of the campus. Since the program is virtual, you won’t be able to physically walk the campus but you may have the option to tour it virtually. Many campuses have created virtual tours so that new students can learn their way around campus before they ever arrive.

Reduced Program Length

Traditional residential pre-college summer camps lasted anywhere from one week to almost two months. Because of the pandemic and many of the schools going to an online format, they have dramatically reduced the length of their programs. Some schools have shortened the duration of their programs to just one or two days. Others have kept their programs at a more traditional length, up to two weeks or slightly longer. The school tries to provide as much information as possible in a very short amount of time. While students can benefit from any information they receive, the one or two-day programs may not be what they need if they truly want to learn about their school and become familiar with how it functions.

Lower Cost/More Affordable

In the past, full residential pre-college summer programs could cost several thousands of dollars. Now that many schools have opted to try an online summer program, the costs have been dramatically slashed. This is especially true for classes that have been taken down from three or four weeks to just one or two days. Because of the shorter period of time and the fact minimal resources are being used due to the online format, there is almost no overhead to pay for. The school’s primary cost is the hiring of the instructors and the cost of streaming the program over an internet platform.

Pre-college summer programs are still extremely valuable tools that schools and students can use to learn about one another. Even though many of them are not being held in person this year, it doesn’t mean the student won’t be able to learn about their chosen school. Instead of physically attending, they have the option to attend a virtual summer program that will give them basic information about how their school functions and what they will need to do to become a successful student. More students can enroll in the online program at a much lower cost than if they had attended the program in person. Even though many changes are being made, students are still able to reap the rewards of a quality pre-college summer program.


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