A College Prep Program Progression

Just like students who wait until the last minute to cram for an exam, many parents don’t focus on college prep summer programs until it’s quite late in the game.

Most high school college prep programs are geared to high school seniors and juniors. Some ACT and SAT prep courses begin for sophomores, but there’s much more to the college prep process than preparing for the college entrance exams.

Pre-college summer programs for high school students can and should begin for freshmen. College readiness is not an overnight occurrence. Instead, it’s a gradual assimilation of the skills and life principles a student needs to possess by the time they arrive in college.

Taking it one step further, students can begin the college prep process in middle school with college prep summer programs that will establish fundamental learning and life skills that will help them in the near-term, and which they can continue to develop in order to master them prior to college.

Let’s look at the college prep program progression SuperCamp has established with our pre-college summer camps.

It begins with Junior Forum for incoming 6th – 8th graders. College prep for incoming 6th graders? Yes—in the sense that at SuperCamp, middle school students learn skills and gain the motivation to become more independent and confident learners. How many high school graduates go on to college without having gained the ability or self-motivation to take responsibility for their own academic success? Judging by first-year dropout rates, the answer is, many. By becoming more responsible when still in middle school, a student, in essence, is in pre-college prep mode already.

A 6th grader or 7th grader who returns to Junior Forum a second time has an opportunity to take the next step in their college prep progression by joining the Junior Forum Leadership Track. This “L-Track” for returning Junior Forum students incorporates the learning of leadership skills, which helps them begin to develop their personal leadership style. Again, this is another facet of college prep that a student can begin well before they’re a high school junior or senior.

When a student does move into high school, starting with incoming 9th graders, we have another level of summer college prep for them with SuperCamp’s Senior Forum. Incoming 9th-12th graders are eligible for this pre-college program. In Senior Forum, students acquire a broad range of learning and life skills and we show them how to become much more goal oriented. Not only goal oriented, but how to break through barriers that can stand in the way of accomplishing goals. This is an important next step in the college prep progression, as students start to approach their academic life more purposefully.

As with Junior Forum, Senior Forum has a Leadership Track for its returning students, which again enables students to prepare for college by developing their leadership skills and discover their personal leadership style. But it doesn’t stop there. Students who have attended our Senior Forum L-Track can return the following summer and be part of the Senior Forum Leadership Team, which takes their leadership college prep to the next level as they model and practice their personal leadership style with others in the camp.

Two college prep program options exist for incoming 12th graders. The first pre-college program option is Senior Forum, described above. Placement of the student on L-Track or the Leadership Team will depend on if it’s the student’s first, second, third or fourth year in Senior Forum.

The other college prep program available to incoming high school seniors is SuperCamp’s Quantum Academy. Quantum Academy is designed to immerse students in the pre-college prep experience by opening their eyes to what they need in order to succeed in college. This 6-day residential college prep program is also available to incoming college students and even to current college students up to 20 years of age. This program is part college prep camp and part post-college prep, as a prime focus is the development by students of their personal growth plan, including clearly defined action steps.

It should be added that a largely overlooked aspect of college prep programs is character development. That is not the case with SuperCamp. At the core of every one of SuperCamp’s summer programs are the 8 Keys of Excellence, character principles to live by. One of the biggest elements determining a student’s college success is their ability to independently manage their lives with a necessary level of maturity. The 8 Keys of Excellence give students, during their college preparation, guidance on how to live their lives pre-college, during college and after college.

In summary, families should look for college prep summer programs that provide a progression, rather than a quick fix, toward college readiness, because that’s what it takes to truly prepare a student for the academic and personal challenges he or she will face in college.