Thousands of young people from around the world attend a variety of summer programs throughout the United States.
For many students, the idea of spending any portion of their long summer days in an air-conditioned classroom is simply not appealing.
But this summer, adventure-seeking teens can discover summer programs that combine fun, learning, and exploration. Many university preparatory boarding schools in the United States offer summer programs that take students outside the classroom, yet still provide enriching educational experiences designed to hone academic, character, and leadership skills.
Thousands of young people from around the world attend a variety of summer programs throughout the United States. There is everything from English as a Second Language (ESL) to culture studies; academic preparation to outdoor recreation; music and dance to art and design; and computers to television and radio. Programs may be for young children or teenagers, single sex or coed.
When considering a summer program, you will need to think about where in the United States you want to spend your summer. Do you want to be near the ocean, mountains, deserts, lakes, grassy plains, or cities? Do you want to see regions in the West Coast, Northwest, Southwest, Northeast, Midwest or South?
You should also think about your overall goal. Are you interested in ESL programs, enrichment opportunities, recreational activities, or preparation for returning to school in the fall?
English as Second Language Programs
An excellent way to improve your English language skills is by spending a few weeks or months attending a summer program in America. There are several schools and summer language programs that offer intensive English language training for beginning students. If your English is more advanced, you may wish to take other academic classes or activity classes and supplement your studies with an English as a Second Language (ESL) course.
For students seeking a wide range of learning experiences, Southwestern Academy, in San Marino, California, near Los Angeles, operates coeducational ESL and academic programs for grades 6-12. Classes include all areas of English language instruction, art, music, computers, mathematics and sports. In the summer, students may attend the summerAmerican Culture Program for four weeks, or may stay for a half or full semester to earn high school credit.
At the eastern end of New York’s Long Island, Ross School’s ESL summer program immerses students into the language.
For five weeks, students ages 12-18 receive three hours of ESL instruction a day, for a total of 75 hours. In the afternoon, students have the opportunity to hone the skills they learned in the classroom through activities, enrichment classes and sports with fellow American students.
There are many electives and creative enrichment classes: Digital Photography, Filmmaking, Music Open Studio, Surfing, and Pop Culture. The Pop Culture course introduces international students to American culture.
Students interested in athletics are offered a variety of courses and activities: martial arts, weight training and conditioning, tennis, and organic gardening.
In the evening, Ross summer students are free to go to the open gym, hike, play games, have a campfire, play music and stargaze. There are also field trips to the beach and to New York City to see Broadway shows, museums and other cultural institutions.
You may want a summer program focused on personal enrichment in a specific area. There are specialty camps with concentrations, such as studying computers, science and engineering, diplomacy and international studies, cooking and sports.
Preparation for University
Many classes may be offered for the purpose of preparing students to return to their home schools in the fall. A popular course provided by many programs gives study skills training.
In addition to their ESL summer program, Ross School offers a U.S. University Admissions Preparation program. This five-week course, combines SAT and ACT preparation with college counseling, thoroughly preparing students who are applying to U.S. colleges and universities. Students receive weeks of test preparation, take practice exams, and complete the common application with essays. They are also given a career assessment and develop a working list of potential universities appropriate to their strengths and assets.
Georgetown University in Washington, DC, prepares students for both university and careers via its summer programsfor high school students. Rising sophomores and juniors can study fields such as International Relations, American Politics and Public Affairs, National Security and Counterintelligence, Journalism, Law and Society, Leadership and Ethics, Business, Environmental Science, Information Technology, and Sports Industry Management.
Students can enroll in university-level courses and earn up to six official university credits from Georgetown.
Georgetown’s University Preparatory Program is a five-week program university-bound students. It is comprised of a series of classes in English, math, university research, and study skills. In all aspects of the instruction, the importance of critical thinking is underscored. The program also includes community-building workshops to allow time for students to reflect and evaluate their academic and personal progress.
Interactive engagement including field trips, group projects, and discussions with recognized experts is combined with academic courses.
Many recreational programs take advantage of their beautiful locations. Whether you choose lake regions, ocean settings, alpine mountains, or desert floors, recreational programs across the United States offer a variety of activities. Canoeing, hiking, backpacking, horseback riding, sailing, swimming, archery, arts and crafts, and wilderness camping are available at the majority of the recreation camps.
Sports camps involve intensive, weekly skill-building exercises. Some sports camps even offer instruction from professional athletes. There are several programs in basketball, soccer, tennis, wrestling, fencing, baseball, golf, hockey, and many other sports.
Applying to Summer Programs
With such a variety of summer options, you should consult the admission office of each program that interests you. Ask for brochures and applications.
No matter what kind of summer program you choose, you will benefit from the opportunity to develop confidence, independence, leadership, and build lasting friendships. Attending a summer program in the United States gives you an experience that may prepare you for life and memories that will last a lifetime.