Are Summer Programs Worth It?

I'm an ambitious sophomore who has been getting summer program emails/letters for quite some time now and I'm not sure if they're worth it or not. I was considering applying to JSAs summer program for the AP class they provide, but even then it's quite expensive. If it really doesn't matter in the eyes of admission officers, then I don't want to shell out that kind of money.

It's only worth it to attend these programs if you're genuinely interested and feel you will get something meaningful out of the experience (for example, learning more about a certain AP subject that you find fascinating). Some people make the mistake of assuming that these summer programs are feeders for the schools that host them. Many admissions officers have stated that this is not the case. The mere fact that a student attended a summer program associated with the school will not give them a leg up in the admissions process.

That being said, since the program you're considering includes AP coursework, there could be some material benefits to attending if you're able to earn college credit. If you're particularly interested in government, history, or economics, the AP courses offered by the JSA program also might be an additional way of demonstrating your passion and commitment to these subjects.

Based on what you've said, however, it sounds like you're just considering the program from an admissions chances perspective. If that's the case, I would advise you to save your money - avoid the summer program and spend your time volunteering, working, or doing whatever else you love to do instead.