Column: Programs build resumes, recommendations

Application deadlines approach for summer opportunities


Kaya Miller

During the Naval Academy summer STEM program, a high school student makes soap in a laboratory. Current college students majoring in chemistry and their professors taught the high school students how to make soap. Prior to the chemistry module, the students attended a marine biology module where they sampled water from the Severn River and studied the marine organisms under a microscope.

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Although the new school year seems as if it just began, the applications for summer programs are opening. These special courses, camps and events give students the opportunity to build their resumes by representing the student’s interest in gaining real-world experience in their career path.

The programs provide productivity opportunities during break, general extracurricular activity for experience, and resume builders toward admission into reputable, selective programs from top universities.

U.S. Naval Academy Summer STEM

The Naval Academy offers the summer STEM program for rising freshmen through juniors for a week. Rising seniors cannot apply for the STEM program but can apply for Summer Seminar. Summer Seminar is much more rigorous as it focuses on physical activity and resembles plebe summer. The program offers a week of STEM modules – for example, coding, marine biology research, aerospace engineering and more. The program is residential, so students stay in the dorms on the Naval Academy Campus, and interact with midshipmen to get a feel of life at USNA. A field trip to either the Smithsonian Museum or Fort McHenry, depending on the session, will include off-campus modules. The application for the 2023 summer has not opened yet, but it usually opens at the beginning of January and the application window will the end of March. The earlier you apply, the better as the admissions are rolling, and only about 250 students are chosen per grade level. Click here for more information.

Brown Leadership Institute

Brown offers several pre-college programs that allow students to live the college experience – living on campus and attending a class of your choice – to biology research camps on the location of marine organism-rich beaches through the BELL program. The pre-college programs offer a large variety of college classes with professors with students offered the opportunity to explore any of their interests or career paths. The Leadership Institute specifically, though, focuses on the young generation problem solving real-world problems. The program offers a variety of areas of interest: Law & Conflict Resolution, Women & Leadership, Social Entrepreneurship, etc. Students get to stay on the campus of Brown University in dorms, attend classes, and participate in social activities for two weeks. The program also allows for field trips like kayaking in Providence and a day trip to Newport, Rhode Island, or Boston, Massachusetts. An online version is also offered for a four-week term. The application has not opened yet but if it follows the same dates as last year, the application will open in early December (for early action) and close to the end of May (for regular admission). The earlier you apply the higher chance you will get to choose the class of your choice. Click here for more information.

Yale Young Global Scholars

This Ivy League university gives students the college experience living on campus at Yale and real-world experience in the fields of STEM, literature, law and solving global challenges. Students attend lectures by Yale professors and work with other students on projects. Although the program does not offer college credit, it is competitive – albeit less than the admission into the university itself, and it is well-respected in regard to college resumes. The application process is modeled like the real university application with a teacher of recommendation, essay and short responses, so don’t procrastinate starting the application. The early admission period has ended, but regular admission will end on Jan. 10. Click here for more information.

Telluride Association 

This highly competitive program holds a well-respected reputation. The acceptance rate is about 5% and offers its program at top universities like Cornell. The program is six weeks long with a variety of learning experiences depending on the area of interest you are accepted into. The Telluride Association Summer Seminar, specifically, is a free program, and it is targeted at minorities and those of lower income. Students will learn through lectures and activities on topics centered around democratic values and justice. Many Telluride Association program alumni end up going to ivy league universities as the rigorous application resembles what the top universities are looking for. You must be nominated to apply for the program – either by yourself or someone else, and nominations close Dec. 1. Applications will open from mid-November until Jan. 4. Click here for more information.

High School Research Academy

Close to home, the University of Texas at Austin offers students with interests in medicine a summer program for research in biology. The program is five weeks long, running from June 13 – July 20. The program is non-residential but the research is done on the UT campus. About 15-25 hours of research are done a week. Examples of research areas include molecular genetics of cancer, synthetic biology, computational astrophysics, Austin air quality, urban nature, and much more. The research work done can earn college credit. The application is open and the deadline is March 20. Click here for more information.

Exchange Programs

Students can apply for programs by universities abroad like Oxford university that offers a pre-college experience like UCLA, Stanford, and Columbia. The Oxford Royale Academy gives students two weeks to stay at Oxford University, take classes of their choice, and participate in social activities. Aside from attending a university abroad, exchange programs that focus on international local culture and expanding language skills offer great opportunities. The Common Ground International Language Services offers a variety of exchange programs in Costa Rica and Ecuador. The Adventure Spanish Immersion for Teens in Costa Rica Program offers students three to four weeks of a stay with a host family and the experience of the Costa Rican culture. Students will attend Spanish classes, volunteer at local schools, learn about sustainable cocoa bean farming, and other activities to explore the local culture. Click here for more information.

If you have universities in mind you want to attend, a good chance exists that they offer summer programs – so do your research! Aside from summer programs, getting college credit by taking classes at the local community college and internships are also great ways to spend your summer productively and help in growing your resume.