Although not yet spring, now is the right time to start planning for your summer vacation. For underclassmen just beginning to think about college choices, a summer on campus serves as a trial run. Hundreds of colleges across the U.S. offer summer programs for high school students. In some cases, students take regular college summer courses for credit alongside college students, and participate fully in campus life. Often, however, the high school students live together in supervised dormitories, and participate in special activities and seminars designed especially for their age group. High school students may earn three to eight college credits during the summer at programs offered by institutions such as Harvard, Syracuse, Brandeis, Cornell, Brown, University of Florida, Ithaca College, and UC Santa Barbara. Shorter programs offering intense study in just one area, often focused on specific careers, are also available. You can learn about Veterinary Medicine at Tufts, study Marine Science at the University of Miami, investigate military careers and engineering at the U.S. Air Force Academy or Naval Academy, work on your art portfolio at Skidmore, or engage in scientific research at Boston University. Non-credit enrichment courses that also provide students with the experience of living on campus are offered to high school students at schools like Barnard and Columbia. Attending a college’s summer program probably won’t influence your admission to that particular college, but your willingness to spend part of your summer vacation in serious learning indicates your level of commitment and thus may affect admissions. Good grades in your summer courses and a glowing letter of recommendation from your instructor are also a plus.