As our daughter is going into her junior year of high school, it seems like most of the talk with parents is around college -- where to go, what to major in, scheduling visits, and a host of application concerns. This summer, we were fortunate enough to support our daughter in participating in a four-week summer program at the college she is considering attending.
We did start a bit early. Our daughter discovered this school at the end of 8th grade and it happens to be close to one of our favorite vacation spots. While on vacation we booked a tour and took a look around. Now on their mailing list, we learned of their summer program: four weeks on campus, in the dorm, taking college classes for college credit.
Deciding to attend took some discussion and planning. It was a significant expense and our daughter had never been away from home for more than a week at summer camp. We realized the summer before her junior year made the most sense (before she was driving, before she could get a summer job). We had to weigh all of the factors, and in the end decided it was worth the try.
Driving into campus on “drop off” day was tough for everyone. Our daughter was extremely nervous, she didn’t know her roommate, she was out of her home state, and the amount of stuff to bring was comparable to really moving away to school! Her confidence rose as she realized she knew this campus a lot more than other kids having toured it already. We saw her off and she didn’t hesitate, she jumped in and quickly made friends.
I believe this was a transforming experience for her. She learned what college classes were really like (hard!). She built routines to wash her laundry and keep her side of the room somewhat organized. She mastered her time so she could use study labs and other resources effectively. She even knew when to go to her Resident Assistant about a spider bite, head to urgent care, and use her insurance card and credit card to get treated.
Now, four weeks later, her confidence is soaring. She knows she can make it in a new environment like college. She is focused on what school she wants to attend and what it will take to get there. She’s uplifted by the professors who wanted to write her a letter of recommendation after their time interacting in the classroom. Probably most importantly, she knows she can take those next steps moving to a dorm and will do alright.
It is rewarding to see her with such passion for her major and such focus on the next steps in applying for college. Whether it’s one week, four weeks, or a summer -- the chance to take those baby steps out, knowing for only a brief period of time, really helped her education in more ways than one.
Links for you: Pre-College Programs
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