Stories and insights on excellent education.
A Summer of Possibility: SA High Schoolers Earn $100k+ in Scholarships for Summer Programs
Twink Williams Burns – April 11, 2017
The summer months are an important time for any student — a time that should be filled with exploration, fun, and personal growth. And for many wealthy students who benefit from trips abroad and expensive summer programs, summers are just that. But for too many students nationwide, summer represents a time of boredom — a period spent either on the couch or at a minimum-wage job that does not align to their career aspirations. Often, applications for selective summer programs, particularly those on college campuses, are just as long and daunting as the application for undergraduate admissions!
That’s why I’m proud to lead a team at Success Academy High School of the Liberal Arts (HSLA) that’s dedicated to making summers meaningful for our scholars. At HSLA, we approach summer with as much enthusiasm and purpose as any other part of the year. We recognize the individual and national importance of all scholars having access to the same life-changing experiences as wealthy students. We also hear time and time again from college admissions officers that scholars who demonstrate their passions during the summer are simply more competitive applicants.
Through the work of our Manager of Pre-College Programs and our College Access and Persistence Team, our scholars have already secured spots in 35 different summer programs, across the U.S. and abroad — and more acceptances are rolling in every week. The vast majority of programs are residential and run for two weeks or more, which is why it’s also so important for our team to support scholars in applying for the scholarships that make these opportunities accessible.
I’m so proud of all of the scholars who are pursuing incredible summer opportunities this year. Below, you can learn more about five of these scholars — who represent just a few of the acceptances to summer programs this year, and a small percentage of the $103,000 in scholarships that scholars have received to date for summer programs.
“This summer, I’m doing the Cornell Summer College veterinary program. I’m excited to go because I can learn how to spot illnesses in animals and understand the basics of treating small household pets. Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve loved animals. I finally got a dog when I was in seventh grade — he’s a golden retriever named Cosmo. I found out about Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine when I was 12, and I’ve wanted to go there ever since — it’s one of the best vet schools in the country. Last year, I wanted to apply to this summer program, but I was too young. To get in this year, I had to write three essays — but it was worth it. I was so excited when I was accepted because they only accepted about 80 students. I think this program is a great way to experience university life. And the day after I get back from Cornell, I’m heading to a one-week computer science camp called SummerTech, at Purchase College in Harrison, N.Y. I will be so busy!”
“I’m doing two programs this summer — the Girls Leadership program at Mount Holyoke College and the Ithaca College Summer Program. My College Access and Persistence Counselor suggested I apply to the Girls Leadership program because she knows that I’ve always loved theater, since I’ve performed in plays at Success Academy. This camp lets you participate in different theater performances, as well as outdoor activities that are designed to challenge and empower us as women. We’ll also hear from successful female speakers. I’m excited to get to know other smart girls — I mean it’s cool to be around both sexes — but I think it’s important to learn about the power we hold as women, too. I’m also going to Ithaca College’s Summer College Program for High School Students, where I will study psychology and earn college credit for the course. I’ve always been interested in learning about the human mind and about what makes people do what they do — I can’t wait to learn more about this subject.”
“I'm going on the Putney Student Travel cultural exploration, which will take me to France, Italy, Switzerland, and Holland. We’ll be exploring the culture of each country, visiting museums, experiencing life in the towns, and eating the cuisine. We’ll also have fun riding bicycles, canyoneering, and seeing the lakes and the countryside. I’m a big traveler, but I’ve never been to Europe. Since my dad’s family is from both Africa and Paris, it was important to me that France was a part of the trip. This way I get to experience what my family has, and maybe even get to see some relatives that I haven’t met before. When my College Access and Persistence Counselor found the program, I knew it was a great fit. I’m especially excited to learn about the cuisine, because I love to cook and I hope this will help me develop my talent! I also hope that by the end of the trip, I’ll have a new outlook on life. I want to know what it’s like to be in somebody else’s shoes.”
“I’ve been accepted to the Summer Science and Engineering program at Smith College, in Massachusetts. It’s an international program, so there are students coming from all over. Since I love science and do well in school, my college counselor selected this program for me, and I really liked the sound of it. Ever since I was little, I loved building things and always had an interest in the inner mechanics of everything. Since I always wanted to know how everything worked, I’ve always been really good at science, math, and physics. I’ll get to spend an entire month at a college campus, which is really exciting. But the best part is that I’ll get to do what I love 24/7! It’s a hands-on opportunity to learn.”
“This summer, I’ll be at the University of Southern California attending their College Immersion Program. I’m taking a class called, “Managing Global Challenges: Disease Outbreaks & Global Climate Change.” I like to watch the news a lot, because it’s something my mom always told me to do, even from a young age. I’m really excited to combine my interest in global events with my love for science. We’ll be learning about how countries respond to global epidemics. Since I’ve been in New York City for so long and never left the U.S., I knew that I wanted to explore and learn somewhere far away. I wanted to meet people from across the country and see what they experience during their day-to-day lives. After doing some research, I found this STEM program at USC. My College Access and Persistence Counselor helped me through the application process, and I submitted a paragraph on why I should be chosen along with my transcript. I was really happy when I found out I was accepted, because I knew it was pretty selective.”