When I first met Valeri last October, she was very frustrated. She’d been rejected from COSMOS and a few other summer programs she’d applied to in her freshman year. Looking ahead to sophomore summer, she was unsure how to proceed.
What a perfect scenario for the Blue Stars team! We love cool puzzles like finding the perfect summer programs for a student interested in neuroscience, Alzheimer’s research, and computer programming. Once we helped Valeri define a best-fit list of programs – consulting our database of over 500 programs – we next mentored her on application strategy and crafting essays that convey her unique interests and experiences.
The result? Valeri was accepted to all three programs she applied to: The Bioengineering Summer High School Internship Program at UCSD (BE-SHIP), the Neuroscape Internship at UCSF, and COSMOS!
Choosing BE-SHIP, Valeri had a blast working in a lab focused on synthetic biology and regenerative medicine. She’s now continuing her research during the school year. She’ll certainly receive extra attention from admissions readers at top schools for this advanced pre-college work.
By working with a mentor on her summer applications, besides these great results, Valeri gained valuable life skills most teens don’t learn in high school:
- Identifying her interests and matching them with opportunities outside of the classroom
- Writing a “mini-memoir” personal essay in her own authentic voice
- Managing her time while working on a large, complicated project
Applying to summer programs is the perfect way to practice in advance what it is like to apply to college. Attending summer programs next leads to amazing growth experiences and more clarity about possible future majors and careers.
To make your life easier, I’ve located my 10 favorites below. I’ve also included a short list of ultra-competitive programs at the end of the post. I hope this gives you new ideas for helping your teen plan for a summer that contributes to both personal growth and admissions success!
Dr. M’s 10 Favorite Summer Programs