CON: They can create unrealistic expectations.
Andy Lockwood, a college counselor in Long Island, New York, cautions against falling for the big promises some camps offer. “The biggest downside that I see is that parents shell out thousands, or tens of thousands, of dollars with the expectation that so doing will improve their kids’ chances of getting into a selective college,” he says. Understand that just because a student attends a camp at Princeton University doesn’t necessarily mean she has a better chance of getting into Princeton. Look carefully at what the camp actually offers and adjust your expectations accordingly.