Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Summer programs for hs student

  1. Feb 2, 2005 #1
    hey.. i'm currently a HS sophomore and was exploring the option of joining summer programs at universities.. are these summer programs worth going to and would they look better on my college applicatoin compared to joining a summer program in my private HS or in another private HS such as Choate, Phillips Exeter,etc?

    Any additional/firsthand info on these summer programs would also be appreciated

    thanks much
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 2, 2005 #2


    User Avatar
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    It must suck to do extra-curriculars just to get into University/College.

    Here in Canada, we only have to get good grades.
  4. Feb 2, 2005 #3
    Jason, I don't think that comment was entirely useful. :wink:

    I'd suggest looking into what the colleges have to offer and decide for yourself if it's something that interests you or can possibly be beneficial for your college career. Try to forget about doing something just for the college transcript. Do something that's worth your time. The only thing I'd suggest is to choose something that relates to what you would like to major in or study.
  5. Feb 2, 2005 #4
    well i probably wanna do Engineering ( mechanical or aerospace ) so not sure if i should take a physics course.... im actually in two minds whether it will actually be beneficial to me or not... i plan to take the AP physics course next year anyway so i dont wanna cover the same thing!

    Also, not sure if i wanna concentrate totally on academics... i thought that i need to show talent in extra-curriculars too! so was wondering if i should take a physics course,etc or try and improve my skills in a few sports or dance ..
  6. Feb 2, 2005 #5
    Well, it can only help you, right? Especially if you want to do engineering, anything with physics will be great. But the final decision is up to you.
  7. Feb 2, 2005 #6


    User Avatar
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    To make a useful contribution...

    If I could go back in time, I would go to a Science/Math Camp every summer.

    I say go for it even if it doesn't help you get into --- School.
  8. Feb 11, 2005 #7
    hmm.. am exploring the option of doing courses at universites in CT over the summer and getting credit for it in my HS... Do universities offer courses like Pre-Calculus over the summer because yale's course list doesnt have precalculus listed..

    Also, in the online yale application for summer programmes, they do not have an option for HS sophomore in the grade level field.... It starts from HS junior.. does that mean that i cannot take these courses?

  9. Feb 13, 2005 #8


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Well - there are summer programs that can accomondate sophomores - I think Cornell and Columbia have some. But I haven't investigated them so much in depth - summer programs allowing you to get credit are really just a waste of money IMO - it's much more worth it to pay for a summer program that's totally unique of the high school/college curriculum.

    As for Pre-Calc, try a distance course. If you're already had ALgebra II, it'll be EASY.

    Competitive summer programs like RSI, NASA SHARP, and SSP look much better than summer programs at universitites that basically accept anyone who has the money. Unfortunately, the deadlines are at this moment so you may have to apply next year.
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2005
  10. Feb 13, 2005 #9


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    I do not know what looks good on college applications. I do have a high regard for the TIP summer programs at Duke university, but they may be for younger kids.

    There is a wonderful number theory program every summer at Boston University (called "Promys?).

    "REU" programs )research experience for undergraduates) are also excellent, taught in summer by research professors, funded by NSF.

    You might want to do something you will enjoy, like totally non academic stuff, because college is going to be so intense. In college I regretted not taking fine arts or music, since those are so useful in life. everyone has to decorate his apartment, even scientists.

    also it helps to meet girls if you know something other than calculus.

    I am very conflicted about AP programs in high school. They tend to substitute for better courses in college, and are often taught by people who do not understand the material. They are also very narrow in their test oriented focus, not like a real college course.

    Worse, our courses in college are suffering because people who prepare by AP courses are so poorly prepared that we have to water down the college courses to accomodate them, as opposed to the old days when high school students actually learned basic background material, instead of pretending to learn advanced material.

    My advice to any student having had AP courses in high school, is do not skip the corresponding college course. rather take the most honors level version of the beginning course you can find.

    for example if you did well in an AP calc course out of stewart or anton, take a beginning honors calc course say at University of Chicago, or Georgia, out of Spivak. I guarantee you will have all you can handle.
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2005
  11. Feb 13, 2005 #10
    Whats a distance course?? do u mean an online course?? if so, how is that better?? i have taken Algebra II..

    I'm already taking guitar lessons at school so hopefully gonna get better at that coz i really like the guitar..

    i live in Hamden,Connecticut ( near New Haven ) and dont think Boston would be convenient..

    hmm interesting... was gonna take a few AP courses next year so that i could skip the beignning courses in college thus saving time... However, what you said now compels me to rethink... do you think thats its necessary to take the honors level of the same course again to brush up my skills regardless of the time that i will have to spend on it which could otherwise have been invested in something else?

    thanks much for ur help simfishy and mathwonk..
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2005
  12. Feb 14, 2005 #11


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    It depends heavily on the particular course in college. Some college courses are really equivalent to an AP course. But if you think about it, AP students in high school are primarily honors students. so they belong in honors courses in college.

    AP high school courses are often only the equivalent of non honors college courses. So it makes no sense to use AP credit to skip one non honors course, just to get into the next non honors course. You are putting yourself in with the non honors students and the non honors teachers that way.

    If you can, I recommend finding a high level beginning honors course, whioch is really better than your AP course, and taking that ferom the beginning. Now to be sure, if you slip up and get in a mediocre course you will be very bored, so be sure to talk to the professor who will be tecahing it, and find out what she/he thinks.

    AP courses have so taken over many schools, that they really are the best alternative in many high schools. Unfortunately some high schools have eliminated better non AP courses to make room for the very popular AP courses.

    Here is a quote from a letter I wrote as unhappy parent to a high school years ago:

    "AP courses are designed to prepare people to answer multiple choice questions on chosen topics, while the traditional courses, especially the honors seminars, are designed simply to teach people to read closely, analyze deeply, and to discuss and write effectively. These latter skills are much more useful in college and elsewhere, than is familiarity with a particular AP syllabus.

    Second, students do not realize that the name AP is often a complete misnomer, and that AP courses are not at all equivalent to college courses. Consequently a student coming out of a traditional honors high school course is likely to take a beginning college course in the same subject (possibly an honors section) for which he is well prepared, while the AP student often tries to skip the introductory college course in his subject and enter an intermediate course, for which, in my experience, he is seldom even adequately prepared.
    ......... Our difficulty is that students today have a shallow grasp of more and more advanced subjects, when we would prefer them to have a deeper grasp of basic subjects. ........... Some people have told me that as long as college admissions forms ask how many AP courses the student has taken, there will be irresistible pressure to increase their number. There may be some miscommunication between admissions officials and professors, but the professors I know actually prefer to teach beginning calculus to people who are well versed in algebra and geometry, but who have not had calculus."
  13. Feb 19, 2005 #12
    i see.. thanks much for ur help!
  14. Feb 22, 2005 #13


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Wouldn't it depend on the college? In Caltech, students are advised not to skip the introductory level courses because they're taught by a different approach. However, if I'm going to a state institution with no personal attention with massive-education of undergrad freshman - then I'd much prefer to skip the first-year course and self-study the parts that I may have missed.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook