Precollege programs do not guarantee admission to University

Victoria May

With many programs costing thousands of dollars to attend, the University and other schools across the nation offer prospective students the opportunity to enroll in precollege programs during the summer to strengthen their college application.

The large cost of these programs has made fundraising necessary for some students who see these programs as the best way to guarantee acceptance into their dream college. According to the crowdfunding service GoFundMe, 491 students have utiltized their service to raise enough money to attend precollege programs.

The University offers dozens of summer programs through many different colleges, such as McCombs School of Business and the College of Natural Sciences. While some summer programs are free, the third-party program company Summer Discovery charges up to $6,299 per student. In 2018, the College of Liberal Arts offered scholarships for University-sponsored precollege programs to students who demonstrated academic merit and financial need, according to the official website.

Stacy Crouch, a mother of a UT student, said she thought precollege programs led to an increased chance of acceptance into the University.

“The precollege summer programs that UT or private parties offer do not guarantee admission,” University spokesperson Joey Williams said. “The admissions process here at UT is strictly legislative. While showing involvement outside of coursework in high school is recommended, these programs alone will not secure your admission into the University.”

Summer Discovery hosts a precollege program for prospective UT students and promises a combination of academics, athletics and activities to give high school students a taste of college life, according to their website.

The website refers to UT as a “Public Ivy,” claiming it is the perfect setting for a precollege program and encourages students to apply.

“I enrolled my son in a summer program for UT thinking that it would make him a competitive applicant,” Crouch said. “The fact that summer program sent mail to my son, urging him to apply, really made it seem like they were interested in him as a possible student. After my son was deferred to the (Coordinated Admission) Program, it became apparent that their interest was not specific to my son at all.”

Many summer programs, like the Welch Summer Scholar Program, require applications submitted with teacher recommendation letters, essays and a high school transcript, according the program’s official website. Its over 30-year existence, the Welch program has hosted more than 1,500 high school students.

“I was admitted into one of the computer science summer programs,” computer science sophomore Delaney Brown said. “Going into it, I knew just because I was in the program did not mean I was going to get into UT. However, when I was accepted, it did make the decision process easier for me when deciding which university I wanted to go to. It was a cool way to immerse myself in what I imagined college life to be like.” 

Some programs, such as the Summer High School Research Academy under the College of Natural Sciences, offer transferable course credit for those that are admitted into the University.