Our Opposition to Summer Enrichment Programs

It is our firm and deeply held belief that pre-college summer programs are an utter racket that serve colleges but not college applicants (photo credit: King of Hearts).

We at Ivy Coach have been leading many charges over the years in highly selective college admissions. We recently led the charge against the SAT’s Adversity Score. On national television, we announced it wouldn’t last long. It was nixed mere weeks later. We’ve been leading the charge against the practice of legacy admission. We’ve been leading the charge against Asian American discrimination in admissions. We’ve been leading the charge against colleges falsely claiming they’re need-blind when in fact they’re need-aware. One other charge we’ve been leading — for many years — is against fancy schmancy summer enrichment programs. We like to call them sleep-away camps. You know the ones…maybe it’s one at Columbia or Brown, Stanford or Duke. We’ve been telling students and parents for years to avoid these programs, that they’re essentially summer camps which only hurt students’ cases for admission.

Some Folks Have Joined Our Band Against Summer Enrichment Programs

Well, it seems some have finally joined our band. It seems some folks are finally now agreeing that these programs only serve to flaunt the wealth of applicants (rendering them significantly less likable in the admissions process). Indeed it seems these folks are finally now agreeing that these programs are essentially sleep-away camps, not genuine research opportunities in which students can showcase their own initiative and love of learning. As CBS News reports today, “‘An Ivy League achievement for your college transcript,’ Columbia writes on the website for its pre-college program, which it says gives students ‘an edge over their college peers.'” But Ivy Coach, are you suggesting that Columbia isn’t telling it like it is? We sure are! You see, these fancy schmancy summer enrichment programs are an obvious boon to a college’s bottom line. It doesn’t serve them to write on their websites, “Warning: attending this summer enrichment program will not only not help but actually hurt your child’s case for admission to this school and every other elite school to which they apply.” No, they’ll never write such a warning. Why would they?

We salute CBS News for — like The Washington Post before themrecently publishing a piece denouncing these pre-college summer programs as a racket that serves colleges but not high school students who will eventually apply to colleges. We salute the folks who have joined our band in denouncing these programs that should be all but eliminated. Our band has long sought new members. We need a trumpeter. And a sax player. And a drummer. Welcome, welcome, welcome! It’s good to have you.


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