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The Pre-College Racket

These posts reflect the growing trend of summer “pre-college” programs at the nation’s most prestigious universities. Stanford, which launched its “pre-collegiate studies” program in 2012, hosts three-week summer sessions for high schoolers with course options on more than fifty different subjects, in addition to the mock trial program Kirstin hoped to attend. Similar programs abound at other elite institutions. In fact, of the top forty schools ranked in U.S. News & World Report, all but one—Dartmouth—offer some sort of summer program for high school students (and, in some cases, even middle schoolers). “More and more colleges and universities are offering short-term on-campus programs that offer a taste of what life would be like at their institution,” reports the International Association for College Admission Counseling.