The Ivy Coach Daily

June 7, 2023

Is Wharton Global Youth Program Worth It?

Is Wharton Global Youth Program Worth It
Many high school students are interested in attending the Wharton Global Youth Program.

Originally Published on August 31, 2019:

Are you considering applying to the Wharton Global Youth Program for high schoolers because you’re under the impression attending this program will give you a leg up over other college applicants to the University of Pennsylvania and, more specifically, Wharton?

If so, we urge you to reconsider your choices because attending the Wharton summer program not only won’t improve your case for admission to The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, but we’d argue participation in the program will hurt your chances for admission to Wharton and every other highly selective university — business school or otherwise — in America. Wondering why? Let’s dig in!

Summer Enrichment Programs Hurt Students’ Cases for Admission

Summer Enrichment Programs Are Expensive

Put simply, summer enrichment programs flaunt wealth. For instance, for the summer of 2023, the Wharton Summer Program costs are as follows:

Wharton On-Campus Summer ProgramCost
Essentials of Entrepreneurship$7,299
Essentials of Finance$7,299
Leadership in the Business World (LBW)$9,899
Data Science Academy$9,099
Moneyball Academy$9,099
Management & Technology Summer Institute$9,000
Product Design Academy$9,099

So what this conveys to college admissions officers — at the University of Pennsylvania and every other highly selective college across the land — is that mom and dad could afford to send their child to this program. The cost is $7,299 at a minimum! If the average salary of a UPenn admissions officer is around $55,000, that’s more than ten percent of their annual salary (the very person students are trying to sway to root for them!).

Summer Enrichment Programs Demonstrate a Lack of Initiative

Attending such a fancy schmancy enrichment program — as we at Ivy Coach like to call them — also invariably demonstrates a lack of initiative as it has the appearance the student just did what mom and dad told them to do. It’s not like the student got involved in college-level research independently. Instead, they just went to sleep-away camp.

Summer Enrichment Programs Lead Admissions Officers to Think Other Colleges Are Second Fiddle

Worse yet, if the student ends up in the Regular Decision round, admissions officers at Duke, Dartmouth, Cornell, Northwestern, and all other schools they apply to may very well believe the student applied Early Decision to UPenn and didn’t earn admission.

And why will they jump to that conclusion? Because the student completed UPenn’s summer program so the thinking isn’t illogical — even if it doesn’t happen to be true. So now these institutions believe they’re second fiddle. We would prefer admissions officers in the Regular Decision round to presume a student was a procrastinator and didn’t apply anywhere Early.

Students Believe These Programs Impress Admissions Officers

And so, why do so many students participate in such programs, like the Wharton Global Youth Program? Typically, students and parents think they’re beneficial because they’re competitive.

Lauren Melendez reports for The Daily Pennsylvanian in a piece on the Wharton summer enrichment program, “Participants were selected after turning in an application including essay questions, a letter of recommendation, and academic transcripts. To apply, interested students had to be enrolled in high school, have some knowledge of business and economics, and be at least 15 years old at the start of the program.”

Yet one doesn’t need a degree from Wharton to know that if a program sounds challenging to get into — and includes an intensive application process — students will be convinced it’s worthwhile and will improve their case for college admission. But therein lies a misconception. And it’s a misconception we at Ivy Coach aim to debunk once and for all.

The Verdict on the Wharton Global Youth Program

For all the above reasons, we strongly encourage students to avoid the Wharton summer program and all other fancy schmancy summer enrichment programs like the plague! These programs are not worth the cost, and they will hurt rather than help a student’s case for admission to all highly selective universities — including Wharton.

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