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Summer Program decision

  1. May 16, 2005 #1
    Hey... I am a high school sophomore in Cheshire, Connecticut. I plan to study engineering once I get to university. In order to get a feel for what engineering entails, I decided to check out some engineering programs. However, I came across two college credit summer programs too - Harvard and Cornell. More details on why i wanna go for these programs are listed below..

    Additionally, I'm taking algebra II now... Ideally, I would like to finish Precalculus in summer, then do Calculus Honors in my junior year and finally AP calc in my senior year.... If I dont land up doing precalculus in summer, my course plan would be as follows: precalculus honors in junior year and Calculus honors in senior year.. I really do wanna be able to do AP calculus...

    My search led me to the following:

    1) Worcester Polytechnic institute ( July 10th- July 22nd )

    It's a two week on-campus program which exposes high school students to different fields of engineering ( I will most proably pick Mechanical Engineering since im leaning towards that for now )

    ( link )


    2) Harvard Summer School ( June 25th - August 19 ):

    Being able to do Harvard level college courses is attractive and would definately be educative. In addition to this, I figure the name Harvard on my resume could look good... Also, this would enable me to do a Precalculus course ..

    ( link )

    3) Cornell Summer School ( June 27th - August 9 ):

    Cornell seems to have a good arabic program wherein they teach arabic courses... I was born and brought up in the middle east and I particularly like Arabic. My conversational skills are very poor although my reading and writing are mediocre.. I have always wanted to perfect my arabic skills and this seems like an oppurtunity to do while taking another precalculus / science / writing / economics course or maybe even marksmanship???

    ( link )

    4) Michigan Technological University ( july 17-july 31) :

    This program is similar to that of W.P.I. Here, I would pick Engineering Design and Autmotive Engineering ( its to do with cars.. ) .. I am waitlisted for the mechanical engineering program.

    ( link )

    I'm really confused and any help would be much appreciated.. I'm not sure if my post makes any sense but I hope it gets my point across....

    Thanks much!
    Last edited: May 17, 2005
  2. jcsd
  3. May 16, 2005 #2
    AP calc isn't all it's cracked up to be. At least here it's not. I took 1 year of AP calc, took the AP test, got a 4 out of 5, and only skipped 1 quarter of Calc in college. Sure, it costed $80 for the test vs ~$200 for the course, but I'm just saying, it's not the end of the world if you don't do it. Just make sure you know your trig well when you are done with High School. The year I took Trig is the year I got my fancy TI-83. I played games on it all year, got a C- in the class, and have been struggling whenever Trig is used in math since.

  4. May 16, 2005 #3


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    At least true several decades ago, Harvard summer school is not Harvard level courses, it is a money making program trading on the Harvard name, but featuring mostly non Harvard professors, or lower level instructors, and appealing to people like you who want to come to Harvard for a summer.

    it does not have the diifficulty level, or the high quality student body, or the wide variety of course selection that make Harvard distinct in winter. still it might teach you something. But don't expect it to be like a Harvard experience.

    Ok I was talking about the regular harvard summer school, college level. i checked out your link, it seemed like an even lower level experience for high schoolers taught by harvard students.

    it could be good, anyone know from experience? my experience from 40 years ago seems hopelessly outdated as harvard adapts to the new millennium by marketing itself more and more widely.
    Last edited: May 16, 2005
  5. May 17, 2005 #4
    damn ...I guess i'd have to think of it from the angle that the harvard courses would atleast be a harder than my high school courses..
    My trig's pretty good... However, in addition to doing the AP for credit, I wanna take it so that I could be exposed to some material that will be covered in my college freshmen year.... It would enable me to probably get credits for it in college or take the honors level of that course.... Basically, just wanna do the highest level of math my high school offers and challenge myself .. I find the regular classes at my school a little too easy..

    I guess what I have to decide is what will be beneficial to me from a college standpoint and from the personal standpoint....

    Doing a engineering summer program ( WPI or Mich Tech ) would probably help on my resume ( since its related to the field i wanna major in ) but learning arabic / doing a precalculus/economics/writing course is somethin I'd wanna do.... Although, when I think about it, I wont find any use for Arabic for the next 4-5 years ( since i'll be studying in the US ) ....

    Would it look better on my resume if I took an engineering summer program as opposed to cornell / harvard courses on economics/arabic/math??? or is it the same thing???

    Last edited: May 17, 2005
  6. May 17, 2005 #5


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    i recommend trying to get feedback from people who have been in these courses, not on what looks good on your resume, but on which one teaches you the most.

    ultimately you will be judged that way.
  7. May 17, 2005 #6
    In that case, go for it. My concern was whether you were cramming information just to get to that level. That would be bad. But if what you are doing now is easy, then you'll be fine.

    The one year of AP calc got me through 1.5 quarters of college math. I got credit for one quarter, and in the 2nd I knew half the stuff, half was new.

  8. May 18, 2005 #7
    cool... thats why I wanna do AP.. I wanna be able to know the stuff so its not new to me in my freshman year... thanks..

    posted in another forum where there are quite a few people who have attended these programs so awaiting a response from them..

    Thanks much for your help guys.. appreciate it :)
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