It may not be the very end of your high school career, but you are going to be studying elsewhere. I am speaking to my high school students who are planning on going to a summer pre-college program. This may be to exercise your talents, visit a new place or just to get away from your parents for the summer. Whatever it is, it will be an adventure that changes your life and makes you become more mature and open-minded in the process. Not to mention giving you a look at what college life will be like.

I know a lot about this sacrifice of a summer with your regular friends and family. I went on a summer program last summer at Academy of Arts University in San Francisco,CA, where I took classes in fashion (including fashion journalism). It was a great experience and these are my top reasons why you should go on a pre-college summer program:

1. It teaches you how to pack. I know it seems like a faint reason, but it was a lesson I needed to learn. For my fashion crazy, Carrie Bradshaw’s out there who think they need to take ten bags with them on a trip, stop, and put the shoes down!  There’s a little thing that most of us don’t consider when we’re packing: shopping. When you get to your destination, nine times out of ten you’re going to want to shop. I know that three-story Forever 21 seems like it’s calling your name, it did for me, but that post office you have to go to toward the end isn’t worth it. If you plan on shopping, pack lightly so you’ll have enough room when coming back home to show off your new styles.

2. It teaches you to be mature. When you’re in a new place with no parents, no familiar friends or faces and barely know where you live, it makes you come to reality very quickly. You have to adapt to a new surrounding, deal with roommates, share your space (bathroom and kitchen included) and not rely on your parents to help you out with everything. You’re also likely to see some college students around campus which will make you want to act more mature for your age. Even your teachers are expecting you to carry yourself a certain way. Remember, they’re teaching you, grading you and talking to you as if you’re one of their regular students.

3. It allows you to connect and make new friends. This will probably be one of the best memories of your life, so you can’t spend it by yourself. Get out there and mix and mingle with some new faces. There are no excuses! There’s so much technology out there, so you can keep in touch with your new family even when you leave. Now doesn’t this make you want to take the chance and explore what’s out there?