By William White
Finding that “right fit” for college is fraught with anxiety and pressure, especially when you consider that it will be your future for the next four years. Of course, students have help on the way with college counselors, college visits and the like. But each source of assistance is limited in its own way. In my personal experience, I actually found a high school program on a college campus focused in my area of academic interest extremely helpful.
The guidance of college counselors, pamphlets, and websites related with them can provide information, but in some cases that information can be biased. And campus visits do provide a prospective college student a small window into the campus vibe, but those visits are usually tied to a few hours or a single day. If the weather is treacherous or the tour guide is unenthusiastic, the visit may be completely shot and an otherwise great day on a campus ends up being a negative experience.
In my opinion programs like Kenyon’s Young Writers program provide a great opportunity to get to know a campus over a period of time. While on Kenyon’s campus, high school students can interact with current students and professors. This program features students studying writing with various teachers and events to experience. Like many other similar programs, this one is organized into two separate two week sessions. The experience of living in the college dorms and experiencing a small slice of college life is one that made me realize that I loved the feel and environment of Kenyon, and that it might be a good future fit for me.
Even if your student’s don’t fall in love with the college campus they stay at, the feel of the college they experience will give them valuable insight into what they want from their collegiate experience. It is true that not every college offers these kinds of programs, but just because there is a lack of quantity doesn’t mean that the overall quality of these programs is lacking. Although these programs are usually expensive, there is usually financial aid available to applicants. These programs can be, not only a good summer experience, but also a way for a high school senior or junior to experience a sort of “trial run” for college life.
Any opinions on these high school-college programs? Have you, or someone you know, had a solid experience at them? Please leave a comment and speak your mind.
Dalton White is a recent graduate from Kenyon College. He majored in English with a creative concentration and is happy to use those skills while at Kalix.