Greetings Students and Families,
College Applications and College Admissions has many moving parts– and all teens and their families should be well informed to minimize stress and create a joyful path throughout high school leading to a successful undergraduate experience. Whether you’re seeking college application help  in Boca Raton, FL or near the Front Range in Boulder or Metro Denver or anywhere , it’s

It’s About this time of the academic year that students and families often begin thinking about all things “college related” –as students prepare for potential spring campus visits (now virtual – but still meaningful)  and summer plans– if they haven’t already been made –take on a new sense of urgency. 
All students are also beginning to explore what courses they will take for the subsequent academic year (my next blog will focus on AP/AICE/IB and “Choice” programs).   I invite you to follow my blog where I update content every few days on a variety of topics related to high school and college admissions. During 2020, my resource on Campus Visits was one of my most read newsletters and blogs. Please click here:  CAMPUS VISITS  
(Guess which campus? Hint–It’s snow covered at the moment.)   So let’s talk about SUMMER ! Should your high school student attend a Collegiate Summer Program?  
Unless you were  momentarily in a black hole (pun intended read on)…no matter where you receive your daily news– I’m certain you didn’t overlook the story this week about 17 year-old Wolf Cukier–an aspiring astro-physicist who discovered a planet during the third day of his NASA internship last summer. Yes – that’s exceptional!  It’s also inspirational – but internships and outcomes such as these are rare and unexpected – so let’s return to earth and talk about your teen’s summer!   More realistically- teens can easily become engaged in impactful volunteering, a meaningful summer job or an intriguing collegiate summer program — any of these possibilities can define a summer sparked by exploration, discovery and possibly add value to college applications.  

This summer- the ongoing pandemic has resulted in many changes – some colleges added new and exciting research programs – and others have shifted online and others have cancelled. I maintain a broad data based of summer programs across all majors– STEM, Business, Humanities, and Creative Arts- and can help you determine which program will help you deepen or define and emerging interest and also potentially increase your chances of college acceptances.

As a parent and as an educator- I can tell you that summer is about recharging the soul and sparking discovery that continues to position our teens for finding their path.  Confidence, independence and motivation can only emerge from within – but can be fostered with supportive guidance. For Juniors thinking about the college application process and their college essays (as teachers and school GCs may begin work on college essays sometime this semester), summer experiences are important to further define interests and allow college admissions officers to understand your emerging interests given how you spend your time during summers (many an essay prompt asks that very question!).   Click to Read:  COLLEGE ADMISSIONS- WHAT DO COLLEGE ADMISSIONS OFFICERS WANT TO KNOW?    
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College Admissions Advising – with College Consultant Bonnie Rabin, PhD   C

Should middle & high school students attend a summer college program? WHICH ONE? There are many benefits to be gained from attending a competitive collegiate summer program. Let’s look at few:

Reduce College Application Admissions Guesswork:

Attendance and success at a genuine (see below) credit-bearing collegiate summer program can undo and overshadow a less than stellar high school GPA.  From an admissions perspective, a prediction about each applicant’s ability to succeed as an undergraduate must be made.  Successful completion of a college course with a demonstrated academic transcript reduces the guess work in your application. The Common Application includes a question on whether you’ve completed college level coursework.   Not only will you learn new subject matter, but your admissions file is made stronger potentially expanding your competitive reach.   Professor Recommendation:

Many colleges require you to submit two teacher recommendations to your Common or Coalition Application.  These tend to be a very insignificant part of the overall evaluation process as most recommendations are favorable (similar). Recommendations that make a difference and let you stand apart from your peers are those from industry leaders, congressional members and yes, academic professors / researchers. Attending a college summer program affords you the opportunity to make a connection with a faculty member in a college of interest and garner a recommendation that goes much further than that written by any high school teacher.` Explore and Confirm an Academic Area of Interest: Some students seem determined to become engineers. Other students have many interests and are “flexibly undecided!”  We can debate whether it’s healthy or relevant for a 16 or 17 year old person to know what they want to study.  The reality, college applications often entail a supplemental essay asking to define why you’ve selected a major area of study at a given college. Acceptance rates are higher for students with clear direction generated and inspired by academic and extracurricular experiences.  Taking summer courses or conducting academic research is an opportunity to explore a variety of potential interests and perhaps confirm an existing interest.  Some students find new passions and others abandon a presumed interest.  

Let me assist you in finding the perfect balance between exploration and academic challenge within an enjoyable summer setting.  With so many available summer program choices, I can help you navigate and select the most suitable program for your student and family budget (many offer scholarships).

Enhance Your Activities Resume:

Some students may attend high schools with limited extracurricular activities related to their intended major.  For example, aspiring scientists or physicians may not have opportunities to participate in national scientific research competitions. Aspiring engineers may be attending a high school lacking the budget to offer a FIRST Robotics team or even AP Computer Science.  Attending a college summer program enhances the exposure to activities and experiences that build your activities resume, add meaningful inputs to your Common Application Activities section and provide experiences to support the content of your college specific supplemental essays.


Extracurricular Activities– Perhaps the second most component of your College Application!

Topic for a College Application Essay:

We discussed this above– with so many colleges asking you to elaborate on your academic interests- taking a summer class can not only expand your interests- but show you have the abilities to succeed in challenging and relevant coursework.

Build Your Portfolio – Conduct Scientific Research or Enhance Art & Music Portfolios:

The work completed in some summer programs can be an important and valuable part of your college application.   The Common Application includes a section allowing for uploads of work.  Music and art students present portfolios.  Aspiring liberal arts majors can submit finished written work including essays and research papers. Potential STEM majors are encouraged to participate in national competitions in science and engineering.   Computer scientists and engineers can generate finished code and other products which demonstrate creativity and talents in the intended field of study.

Emotional and Academic Growth:
Moving into a college dorm  as a freshman shouldn’t be the first time your high school student has any significant experience away from home. Being homesick can derail even the best of students.   One of the benefits of spending 4 to 6 weeks in a collegiate summer program is the inevitable gain in academic confidence and self-direction. The subsequent year of high school feels much different after managing the academic demands of accelerated coursework on campus the previous summer.  A student will learn how to study, increase time management skills and all while being responsible for laundry, money management and finding the time to eat.   Parents will observe marked maturation and even less “haggling” about time management and homework.  

Dr. Rabin visiting Cornell Summer College

FIRST DRAFT OF YOUR COLLEGE ESSAY: Summer program applications provide a dry-run and a base to build upon for the subsequent round of essays on your Common Application in the fall of the senior year.  Jump start your college application!  

Wait for it-you’ve been wondering about that “admissions bump”?!!  There’s no guarantee of admissions in any setting. That said, the successful completion of academic coursework coupled with a recommendation from a campus professor will increase the chances of admission. Some colleges even offer non-binding Early Action to students attending summer programs.   If there is a clear first choice on your short list of colleges, attending a summer program is strategically advantageous for both the Early Decision and Regular Admissions cycles.ASK ME WHICH COLLEGES HAVE A VERY HIGH ADMISSIONS SUCCESS RATE GIVEN ATTENDANCE AT SUMMER PROGRAMS!

PROGRAM RECOMMENDATIONS: I maintain an extensive list of recommended summer programs for all potential major areas of study. I can also recommend programs that offer financial assistance and those that are unique for women and underrepresented students.   If a summer program just doesn’t feel right for you, let me help you put together a more local plan that involves a self-directed project, local internship or meaningful volunteer experience

Myths – Heads Up!   It’s preferable to attend summer programs leading to an academic transcript of your completed work. Not only is there an admissions boost, but you have earned credit to apply towards your undergraduate degree. Avoid enrolling in programs that have a reputation as “programs of privilege” offering less in the way of academics.   Some programs are outright scams and these arrive in your mailbox with glossy paper and invitations suggesting you were selected from the elite of high school students. Sadly, this is simply untrue. The best programs are those that can be documented thru a college transcript. In you need guidance on selecting a summer program and specific courses, speak with me!  I have extensive knowledge of undergraduate degree requirements across a variety of majors.  I’ll help you select courses that will be relevant to your potential undergraduate major and help you to make a seamless and successful transition from high school to your undergraduate experience.

Is Your High School Student on Target- Curious, Independent?

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Discover and Explore with College Advisor Bonnie R. Rabin, Ph.D.

Guiding her clients to define and realize educational and career goals. Personalized one-on-one attention .   With over thirty years experience as a university professor and admissions committee member, you’re invited to leverage her extensive knowledge of university curricula and career opportunities. Be inspired!


Bonnie R. Rabin, PhD College Advising Pos Pandemic we resume In-Person South Florida/Boca Raton, Metro DenverBoulder Colorado &


Educational & College Admissions ConsultantProfessor Emeritus & Cornell University South Florida Alumni RepresentativeFlorida  561.509.0021  Boulder or Denver Colorado – 720 737 9944Anywhere for seamless virtual college counseling 833.MY.ESSAY


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