Making the most of summer

Summer programs offer varying levels of opportunity for Wheaton and high school students outside of the regular academic year

By Joy McLaughlin
Executive Director of Summer Programming

* NEW! In honor of its inaugural year, the Pre-College Program will be offering a $500 discount to families of Wheaton students. *

As the weather warms up, students naturally begin to focus on their summer plans. Summer at Wheaton provides students with the opportunity to reflect on their past year of studies and think about the year ahead. This can take many forms. 

Some students pursue internships or work that aligns with their goals; others embark on travel adventures. For many, summer is a time to explore new areas of interest they could not pursue during the academic year. Wheaton provides a variety of academic opportunities for these students, as well as those who are still in high school. 

Working in the summer programming arena, my role is dedicated to blending the college’s established programming with new and innovative offerings, which may not be possible during the academic year due to the set programming schedule and campus capacity.

Summer Session
For Wheaton students, this flexibility means they can take one or more online courses, for credit toward their degrees, during Summer Session. The program consists of two four-week sessions with subjects in the arts and humanities, social sciences, and STEM subjects—all taught by Wheaton faculty. This provides a great opportunity to fill a credit gap, gain new skills, or enroll in a popular course that was previously waitlisted.

Summer Session isn’t just for Wheaton students; it’s open to anyone with a high school diploma. It is a great opportunity for students from other colleges to access Wheaton’s curriculum and faculty or study a subject not offered at their institution. The accelerated timeline also allows professionals to learn a new subject or advance their current skills—parents and families holding a high school diploma are included and welcome to apply!

Wheaton Pre-College
This year, we are especially excited to launch our inaugural Wheaton Pre-College Program! Having previously directed summer programs at Rhode Island School of Design, I’ve seen firsthand how high school students can energize and transform a college campus. It’s incredibly rewarding to watch students grow from uncertain beginnings to confidently owning the campus by the program’s end. 

Additionally, the Pre-College Program benefits current Wheaton students by providing essential opportunities to enhance their professional development. Work-study roles such as Teaching Assistants, Resident Advisors, and Office and Student Support will bolster students’ resumes and stack their skill sets with valuable leadership experiences outside of the regular academic year. 

We look forward to July 6 through August 2, when we welcome current high school sophomores, juniors and seniors, from across the United States and abroad to campus. We are thrilled to have them enrolled in our inaugural Pre-College Program and for them to experience life as a college student while partaking in all that Wheaton has to offer. 

Program participants can choose from multiple options that allow them to customize their summer experience. They can select to:

  • participate in the residential option (living in Pine Hall and dining in Chase Hall) or in the commuter option (daily travel from home or a nearby vacation stay).
  • take the courses for college credit or for non-credit. 
  • pursue an immersive learning experience by taking two courses in adjacent disciplines or a more exploratory approach by choosing different subject areas.

Wheaton’s Pre-College Program is truly unique in that it also offers the ONLY Student Athlete pre-college experience in the United States. Students who choose this path participate in sport training with our NCAA coaches and take one college-level course, offering them an introduction to a college varsity life. We believe this to be the most comprehensive opportunity available for prospective NCAA athletes to gain the experiential insight to prepare them for success at the next level. It’s also available to students who may not be varsity-minded, but want to improve their athletic performance, while advancing their academics. 

In addition, we recognize that many students have faced challenges due to the COVID-19 gap, impacting their academics, social skills, and overall well-being. We welcome the chance to help bridge this gap with the Pre-College Program in a safe and supportive community, while also giving students insight into potential college and career paths!

It’s hard to briefly encapsulate all the opportunities awaiting our Pre-College students this summer. From courses taught by Wheaton faculty with access to innovative labs and studios, to college-life workshops, weekend trips, and fun activities, the program offers a rich array of experiences. 

At its core, the Pre-College Program at Wheaton aims to provide high school students with a taste of college-level learning and campus life, preparing them for their future experience as first-year college students. 

It has been warmly and enthusiastically embraced by our alumni, as well as current students and their families. We’ve had inquiries from younger siblings of Wheaton students who are interested in the program and we look forward to welcoming those siblings to the program and to the Wheaton community. 

Spread the Word and Apply!
Launching a new program is similar to a start-up business with many moving parts, not the least of which is getting the word out. Experience has shown me that nothing helps a pre-college program grow and succeed more than word-of-mouth. 

We invite those interested in supporting Wheaton to spread the word to their networks of parents, high schools, and community organizations, especially through private social media groups and pages such as Facebook – where the message can reach a wider audience with a personal touch. 

If your high school student is interested in participating in Pre-College, applications are open now and sign up is here. We look forward to welcoming your pre-college student to Wheaton and opening the doors to the many opportunities that await them on campus this summer.

For more information, please contact us at [email protected] and/or  join our mailing list for the latest updates. High school students can also use this form to sign up for an academic advising session, where I will help them connect the dots on their areas of interest and relevant paths forward.