What are Summer School Students?

Sheri Cyprus

Summer school students attend programs at post-secondary institutions in the months of July and/or August. They are high school students who experience a few weeks or months of campus life without being actually enrolled in colleges and universities. Typically, summer school students take a few classes that allow them to start earning college level course credits.

Harvard University offers summer programs for high school students.
Harvard University offers summer programs for high school students.

Each college or university summer school program lets high school students choose first level, or beginning, college level courses. Summer school course offerings depend on each specific college or university's program, but literature and science tend to be popular subjects. Summer school students sleep in dorm rooms, attend classes, study in the library and eat in the dining hall.

Summer school may allow high school students to start receiving college credits.
Summer school may allow high school students to start receiving college credits.

Summer school is held when regular courses aren’t in session. Students at most colleges and universities don’t attend classes during July and August, so there are unoccupied dorm rooms during these months. Larger top schools draw summer school students from all over the world. High school students can meet others their age who are interested in continuing their education. A summer school student may share a dorm room with someone from another country, such as a person from Japan rooming with a summer school student from Germany.

Harvard University's Summer School Program (SSP) offers college level classes including use of the science labs and the theater. Harvard summer school students plan their academic programs and are expected to write course essays. Teaching assistants are available to help each student complete class assignments and papers. Summer school students stay in the dorms with roommates and eat in Harvard's Annenberg dining hall. Cornell and Pepperdine are just two of the many other top American universities known for their summer schools.

It's not usually necessary for summer school participants to choose the college or university he or she hopes to attend after graduation. Many summer school students attend July and August programs at schools such as Harvard to experience a taste of campus life at a top university while earning course credits there. The credits are usually applicable to their future undergraduate degree at another school.

Most summer school university and college programs offer assistance with entry applications to students who do wish to apply for an undergraduate or other degree program. Summer school students receive help from university or college personnel on how to best prepare their entrance application. The extra help, experience and credits a summer school can offer high school students can be beneficial in preparing adolescents to achieve their future academic goals.

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