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Any reviews of summer programs at colleges? Different this year, I know...


Harpymom
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Does anyone have experience with summer college courses?  I see ones that are usually offered on campus will have online components this year.  The pricing tells me they might be targeted enrichment and resume building for privileged kids, but I'm curious if the Hive has experience.  Thank you for any insight.

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L did THINK at UNR in 2019. The classes were good, comparable to what she has taken at other schools in a regular semester, but the short time span made it very intense and many of the students were very competitive (although there were other homeschoolers/early college kids who were used to and willing to work together). 

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Not sure if you mean actual courses or camps. One of mine did a marine biology camp at Texas A&M Galveston. I think it was great, though she was not really in a good headspace for it (boyfriend back home). A&M had a lot of great programs, if I remember correctly. There MAY be high school credit available for some, not sure. Another daughter did an actual summer class at our local university, Calc 2. It was fine, just a faster moving version of a regular semester class.

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12 minutes ago, GoodGrief3 said:

Not sure if you mean actual courses or camps. One of mine did a marine biology camp at Texas A&M Galveston. I think it was great, though she was not really in a good headspace for it (boyfriend back home). A&M had a lot of great programs, if I remember correctly. There MAY be high school credit available for some, not sure. Another daughter did an actual summer class at our local university, Calc 2. It was fine, just a faster moving version of a regular semester class.

What I'm looking at are courses, though maybe in years past they functioned like camps?  For instance: https://sce.cornell.edu/youth/program/precollege   

I don't know anyone who has done them which is why I'm curious.  Older dd did loads of pre-college music programs, but these are academic, not music.

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None of the "summer programs" that I looked at for DD#1 were in our price range. (Well, we splurged on a one month foreign language immersion after her senior year.)  But, she had a great experience with a one week Math Contest Camp at Southern Baptist U in Bolivar, Missouri. Christian in flavor, kids not ultra competitive (other than in after hours SET tournaments). I think it might have been the first time she found anyone who could be her tribe (liked math & liked to read). Getting there was a pain, but she did it year after year (four or so years).

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PrepScholar has a good article on this:

 

due to the cost of pre-college programs, some admissions counselors believe that these programs are basically summer camp for wealthy students. Many advise students to find more creative and low-cost ways to explore their passions. For example, you can volunteer to do research with a local college professor or work at an art museum.”

https://blog.prepscholar.com/pre-college-summer-programs-should-you-go

 

There are lots of selective programs where you’re not just buying access to professors. They’re much cheaper or even free in some cases. My daughter found at least 5 through the UC system, and I’m sure they exist at many more big universities. And since they’re almost all online this summer, geography is no barrier to participating!

 

Stanford also has a nice article on how high school students can arrange their own opportunities (could be applied to any nearby university): https://oso.stanford.edu/files/programs_299.pdf

 

And we loved Cal Newport’s How to Be a High School Superstar. He demonstrates really well why paying for these privileged experiences isn’t really what universities are looking for. The horseshoe crab story at the bottom of this page was my favorite: https://www.calnewport.com/books/high-school-superstar/

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6 hours ago, Harpymom said:

What I'm looking at are courses, though maybe in years past they functioned like camps?  For instance: https://sce.cornell.edu/youth/program/precollege   

I don't know anyone who has done them which is why I'm curious.  Older dd did loads of pre-college music programs, but these are academic, not music.

Ah! As far as that sort of thing, my philosophy is to do it if it is affordable and meets a need/desire for the student as far as interests/passions. I would not do it if it's simply to impress a future college admissions panel. It's unlikely to be useful as far as that goes.

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DS did this week-long camp/class in finance  at TCU High School Investor Challenge - Neeley School of Business (tcu.edu).  It was not too expensive (cheaper than a summer camp), there are scholarships available, and it can earn college credit (and is priced less than a college course).

DD did a a program in Rome through University of Dallas Rome & Summer Programs (udallas.edu) University of Dallas which was great, but more expensive.  

 

 

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Thank you for these responses.  My musician sort of "had" to do summer programs, but my other kids have always had great summer projects and jobs, plus time outside.  I've been looking for summer research options as dd16 has so enjoyed her psychology class this year and wants to continue, and came across these programs - not what she is looking for, I think.  If anyone has suggestions for homeschool-friendly psychology research spots, please let me know!

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Both of my DD did Summer in the City at Barnard College. The 4 week program was partially financed by Joyce Ivy Scholarships. Summer in the City was definitely summer camp for rich kids but the Joyce Ivy Scholarship, a scholarship program to acquaint midwestern girls and their families with the possibility of attending college on the coasts, helped diversify the program economically. The program was a great opportunity for my girls to try out living that far from home in an urban setting, get a taste of advocating for themselves with regards to diet (they are both gluten intolerant), and the classwork somewhere between what was required in most classes in CC and their current colleges. An added bonus was that they were able to attend a large number of Broadway and Off-Broadway shows for cheap. I believe that it is too late this year to apply for the Joyce Ivy Scholarship but I recommend it for those who qualify.

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My DD is doing the Michigan Math and Science Scholars program this summer: https://sites.lsa.umich.edu/mmss/

At least in our area, it is seen as a selective, worthwhile academic program that isn’t a “pay to play” summer camp for rich kids. Unfortunately it’s virtual again this year, but for my DD’s purposes that is excellent since she can do it even while away at her summer ballet intensive. 
 

I really wanted to consider one of the pre-college programs geared toward students interested in medical school, but those I found are uniformly $$$. Her life is already ripe with privilege, so it just didn’t seem right to us to buy into that sort of madness (not to mention it just doesn’t fit our budget).

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We used summer programs both for interests and social reasons-summer was the one time L wasn’t the only kid who couldn’t drive on campus. THINK was one of the only college credit programs that had a decent number of 13-14 yr olds. 
 

I do mourn the loss of last summer, because L would have gotten to do a grad level field herpetology course in a completely different ecosystem, and not only did the program get cancelled due to COVID, but it isn’t coming back. 

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DS took a maths course through WPI (Worcester Polytechnic Institute in eastern Massachusetts) remotely last summer and loooooooved it. The school did a tremendous job retaining and modifying many of the features they would normally offer during the camps. There were many additional opportunities like (online) volunteering, gaming groups, movie nights, quiz games, and lots of social components. DS opted to take an additional elective course on financial literacy, and still games with and keeps in touch with several gaming friends he made through the program.

The coursework was intense, an entire semester course in just 5 weeks. He truly loved the entire experience, except for the fact it couldn’t be held in person because 2020. 
 

Eta: in a normal summer I would have hesitated because yeah, courses like this and the Cornell classes you posted do feel privileged to me. They absolutely have the benefit of looking fantastic on college applications, but the “pay to play” mentality makes me a bit uneasy. However, since he was stuck in the house all summer with literally nothing to do and was motivated to get ahead in maths, I relented and I’m glad I did. The opportunity also allowed him to take 2 more semesters of maths at our local LAC this year (as a senior in high school) which will pretty much max out his requirements even for his major in CS. Since those classes are free to us, it ended up becoming 3 college classes for the price of the single summer class.

Edited by MEmama
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31 minutes ago, MEmama said:

DS took a maths course through WPI (Worcester Polytechnic Institute in eastern Massachusetts) remotely last summer and loooooooved it. The school did a tremendous job retaining and modifying many of the features they would normally offer during the camps. There were many additional opportunities like (online) volunteering, gaming groups, movie nights, quiz games, and lots of social components. DS opted to take an additional elective course on financial literacy, and still games with and keeps in touch with several gaming friends he made through the program.

The coursework was intense, an entire semester course in just 5 weeks. He truly loved the entire experience, except for the fact it couldn’t be held in person because 2020. 

Whew, that is intense.  My oldest went to WPI and the regular college courses were very intense due to 7 week terms.  

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3 hours ago, Harpymom said:

Whew, that is intense.  My oldest went to WPI and the regular college courses were very intense due to 7 week terms.  

DS was accepted to WPI but ultimately chose a different school. It was a tough decision—the school was a really good fit for him but he wanted to study internationally. We were really impressed by their programs! The 7 week terms appealed to him. 

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My dd attended UVA's Summer Enrichment program from middle school until she aged out of it and loved it. The program was not for college credit, but she got exposed to a variety of subjects that she found very interesting and really enjoyed the social aspect of the camp. The whole experience was very meaningful for her, so much so that she was planning on applying as a camp counselor this summer before another opportunity came to her attention. The only downside is that the dorms they use for this camp are not air conditioned, which can be rough when it's 95 degrees and extremely humid. 

She attended Concordia's language immersion program, which was not great for her because her allergies were horrific the whole time she was there.

The summer before her senior year, she paid with her own money to attend Notre Dame's Scholars program. She did earn a college credit and she thoroughly enjoyed the experience. She made a close friend there that she is still in touch with. 

I don't think any of the college summer programs are helpful for admissions unless they are extremely selective programs, but the UVA and UND programs were worthwhile for my dd.

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