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Articles / Applying to College / Will Passing Up Summer on Elite Campus Hurt Admission Odds?

Will Passing Up Summer on Elite Campus Hurt Admission Odds?

Sally Rubenstone
Written by Sally Rubenstone | Jan. 18, 2013

Question: I am an international high school sophomore and am wondering if I will be at a disadvantage if I did not attend summer programs in the States, because I was thinking of applying to a program at Yale or Stanford, but then I decided to go to China and the UAE to study Chinese and French because I am really interested in languages. I'm really paranoid I would decrease my admit chances. Will I?

No, you will not be at a disadvantage at all. College admission officials see SO many on-campus summer programs on applications that your somewhat more atypical activities will not hurt you and might even help. While admission folks are mildly pleased to note that some students pursue an academic passion by enrolling in "college classes" during the summer, taking a class at an elite institution does very little (and often nothing) to boost admission odds, especially at the most hyper-selective schools.


Frankly, the endeavors that students pursue in the summer following 10th grade rarely carry much weight in the admissions process, unless they are truly uncommon and inspiring, so you should definitely make your choice based on your interests and not on what the grapevine may have told you is important.

Safe travels …

(posted 1/18/2013)

Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

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