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Summer programs offer students college preview

College summer programs can provide students with a preview of college, an opportunity to earn college credit, and an experience that could alter their perspective. These programs allow high school students to take college-level courses on a college campus.

Seniors Gabby Killett, Arden Strander, and Ishmael Blackstone all took advantage of college programs this past summer, studying Introduction to International Relations and Global Business Management, Impact of Social Movements, and Speech and Debate, respectively.

All of these students experienced the rigor of a college-level semester course in a few short weeks. Furthermore, university professors often teach these classes.

“My Introduction to International Relations class was taught by Dr. June Teufel Dreyer,” Killett said. “She worked in International Relations prior to teaching at the University of Miami. She is also a published author (who) talks about the history and development of international relations. It was really an honor to be taught by her because she was so professional and so experienced.”

Although the St. Martin’s Episcopal School students who took part in summer programs spent many hours in the classroom, they also gained exposure to college campus life.

“Even though (the program) was during the summer, it still gave me a good sense of what it would be like and what the dorms are like,” Strander said. “You get a really good feel of the campus.”

Living in a college dorm room with a roommate is an unmatched opportunity, according to Killett.

“I met my roommate, and I did not even know her,” Killett said. “Then, 24 hours later, I knew that I had met one of my best friends for life.”

While Killett had already visited the University of Miami before she enrolled in a summer program, other St. Martin’s students traveled to places with which they were unfamiliar and explored new cities.

“Going to Harvard (University) for my summer program was my first time in the Boston area,” Blackstone said. “On our free day, we got to explore the city of Boston. On any other day, we were confined to the Harvard campus. We went shopping most of the day and explored Quincy Market. It was great that I got to experience a new city during my time at Harvard.”

For upper schoolers attempting to uncover their passions and trying to decide what college they want to attend, as well as what major they want to pursue, summer programs can open their eyes.

“I really liked the program that I was signing up for because it reflects the major that I want to choose,” Killett said.

“As of right now, I am thinking something along the lines of International Relations. After attending the Summer Scholars Program at the University of Miami, I feel more inclined to choose a major associated with either international relations or political science because my professors were informative, helpful, and profoundly educated on the material they delivered in class. I’ve therefore become attached to the field of study I pursued this summer.”

While a summer program helped Killett solidify her choice of major, Strander’s summer learning experience helped him decide where he wants to attend college.

“Loyola Marymount University is my No. 1 choice,” Strander said. “I’m applying Early Decision.”

Not only can summer programs help influence academic interests, but they can shape what a person views as their home, according to Killett. Killett thinks it’s scary that while the University of Miami is hundreds of miles from her hometown, the university has now become another home for her.

“Being on the University of Miami’s campus was one of the best experiences of my life,” Killett said.

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