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Summer college resident programs for high school students?
Old 01-03-2009, 11:23 AM   #1
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Summer college resident programs for high school students?

You alumni & area residents have all been a big help on the college search, so here's more questions about Rice, Notre Dame, & Carnegie-Mellon. Has anyone else sent their kids to summer programs at these schools? Anything you wish you'd known, or that you'd do differently? Like Houston in July, is there anything we might specifically want to avoid?

Our high-school junior has picked that short list with USNA as a "safety school". Her ideal summer would be a series of one-week engineering/science programs where the high-school students live on campus, use the facilities, attend classes or seminars, and maybe work on projects. They'd decide whether they want to apply: meeting faculty, hanging out with students, seeing dorm life, visiting local research sites/businesses, and doing sex/drugs/rock&roll the town.

This is her own in-depth look without Mom & Dad's "help". We've visited all the schools, they all seem politely interested, she has good grades & decent SATs, and NROTC will probably pay most of the bills. She's thinking early decision Rice so instead of more campus tours this seems like her opportunity to look at her chosen field of study (civil eng) and Mainland/dorm life. Let's just say that it'll be a big change.

She's watching the websites and she's on their mailing lists. ND seems to have a big honkin' summer research program, USNA has their "Are you sure?" one-week bootcamp, and the other schools haven't put up their 2009 dates yet. But over the next four months she'll sort all of that out. She's 16 years old with a credit card so she'd prefer to be dropped off at the airport while we wave bye-bye. (We'd prefer that too.) Of course if there was a week or two between one college's program and another's then we'd probably fly in for a family vacation, drop her off again, and split.

Anything else we'd want to consider?
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Old 01-03-2009, 05:07 PM   #2
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Sorry I can't comment on the specific schools you mentioned but we did sent DS to summer programs at technical-oriented schools and thought those were worthwhile experiences for him.

The first school, Univ of Mo at Rolla, was good in that DS learned that the culture of a mid-size campus in a small town was not for him. They offered him a full ride but he was so sure he'd be unhappy there, we turned it down.

The second school, Purdue, seemed to fit him like a glove. When I went to pick him up, it was hard to get him off campus. He was anxious to show me everything, was obviously excited about all the activities he had experienced during the week and Purdue jumped up to his #1 choice (replacing Univ of Ill).

The bad news...... Purdue offered the smallest schlorship, but that's where he went. The good news..... Co-op'd to help with the cost and graduated with good grades and on time with a BS in Mech Eng. He loved the experience, made lifelong friends he still sees regularly and refers to his years there as some of his happiest.

I think different schools have different "personalities" and some students (including my son) are less flexible to adapting to these different personalities. It pays to make sure they understand what it will be like on campus and a summer program is one way to achieve this.
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Old 01-04-2009, 03:39 AM   #3
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Like Houston in July, is there anything we might specifically want to avoid?
Why? Have you heard something bad about July in Houston? It's no different than May, June, August and September...

I only have second-hand information on the Rice summer programs, so definitely do some more research. Unfortunately, I don't recall hearing of a one- or two-week residential "camp" format for college-bound high school students. I do know summer school offerings for undergraduates are usually very few (and rarely include engineering classes), which would limit opportunities for mixing with the current students. There are, however, some very good multi-week, for-credit academic classes for high school students, and the training program for AP teachers is large.

In the end, I suspect you will find that the short summer program offerings at the bigger schools will be more attractive.
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Old 01-04-2009, 09:06 AM   #4
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I do know summer school offerings for undergraduates are usually very few (and rarely include engineering classes), which would limit opportunities for mixing with the current students.
That really depends on the school. Some places have 3 regular terms, and some places come close. Many colleges have heavy pressure to NOT let the physical plant be idle when they could be making $$.

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Old 01-04-2009, 09:14 AM   #5
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No news on the schools your daughter is interested in, by my friend's daughter went to the summer program at Harvard and absolutely loved it. And then ended up going to Yale.
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Old 01-04-2009, 02:44 PM   #6
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No news on the schools your daughter is interested in, by my friend's daughter went to the summer program at Harvard and absolutely loved it. And then ended up going to Yale.
I understand. Why live in Cambridge/Boston when you could live in beautiful, thrilling, New Haven instead?

Ha
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Old 01-05-2009, 10:00 AM   #7
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Thanks, everyone. The fees & plane tix will be cheap compared to the cost of finding out that last year's tour didn't reveal the whole picture...
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Old 01-05-2009, 03:30 PM   #8
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I have some friends whose daughter went to Rice - it was her undergrad before she then went to med school (like her two siblings before her). What struck me about the decision was that her parents said that when she went onto the campus, 'she blossomed.' It seems as though there was a personality or environment on the campus in which she felt comfortable. So, based on this, I would hazard a guess that the environment is comfortable for your daughter. If she's doing engineering/science, that is stressful enough that having a comfortable environment might make it easier....totally unrelated comment: USNA as a safety school - that's interesting.
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Old 01-05-2009, 03:47 PM   #9
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....totally unrelated comment: USNA as a safety school - that's interesting.
Totally related comment: Growing up in a household with a male authority figure who spent months underwater with other guys, deprived of sunlight, in close proximity to a nuclear reactor... Well, let's just say 'interesting' is one of the milder side effects she'll likely exhibit.
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Old 01-07-2009, 12:41 AM   #10
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What struck me about the decision was that her parents said that when she went onto the campus, 'she blossomed.' It seems as though there was a personality or environment on the campus in which she felt comfortable. So, based on this, I would hazard a guess that the environment is comfortable for your daughter. If she's doing engineering/science, that is stressful enough that having a comfortable environment might make it easier....totally unrelated comment: USNA as a safety school - that's interesting.
Thanks, Deserat, we noticed that too. The Rice campus seems much more inviting than any of the others we visited, and much more interesting.

As for USNA... the friend we stayed with there was a member of the Class of '80, the first women at service academies. (I'm '82, my spouse is '83.) She's no slouch and she narrowly missed being picked up for flag by virtue of being in a small community. She was USNA's Director of Math & Science (pretty amusing considering her early midshipman skills at those subjects) and the head of the Admissions Committee. After a couple frosty beverages on her front lanai, accompanied by the usual memories evoked by that place, she said "Your daughter is a better candidate than both of you... put together!"

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male authority figure
Are you letting your own child-raising memories fade into a hazy rose-colored fog? I may be the only male in my house, too*, but I'm nowhere near the authority figure!

*Our pet bunny was once male, but I'm hoping to avoid his mistakes.
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Rice University update for Nords
Old 03-13-2009, 11:29 AM   #11
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Rice University update for Nords

I'm sure you're already on top of this Nords (if baby girl still wants to be an Owl, that is).
Quote:
Students at Rice University are going to be paying more for their education.

The school announced it's raising tuition by close to five percent for the next freshman class.

The increase amounts to more than $1,400.
But wait, there is potential good news here, depending on you AGI and the FAFSA.
Quote:
School say they also increased the household income a family can earn to qualify for financial aid from $60,000 to $80,000.
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Old 03-13-2009, 10:06 PM   #12
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I'm sure you're already on top of this Nords (if baby girl still wants to be an Owl, that is). But wait, there is potential good news here, depending on you AGI and the FAFSA.
When we took the tour (Oct 08) they were also building a new dorm and planning to expand the student body by 10%. So I don't know which way it's going to play out, although as you mentioned a while back they may be looking for more well-rounded individuals with less geek.

Whether she makes the cut or not, she's at max throttle with no slack. She's taking another SAT prep course this month and she'll take the SATs again in May. She's six months older than the last set of SATs and hopefully has that many more brain cells connected.

She did manage to get accepted to USNA's one-week "Welcome to Hell" "Summer Seminar" and Notre Dame's three-week "Intro to Engineering" program. There don't appear to be any summer programs at Rice, mainly due to... uhm... summer at Rice. But no doubt she'll have plenty to put into her applications essay.

NROTC handed out a lot of scholarships to Rice candidates trying to matriculate in fall 2008, but none of them managed to make the admissions cut. I'd love to see more discussion of that but I doubt we will.

Hope NROTC comes through, but we have the college fund safely parked in CDs. If she doesn't like the uniform then she can figure out the rest from part-time work & loans. And this year's AGI will show zero capital gains, as will perhaps will the next 5-10 years of tax returns!
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Old 01-10-2010, 11:19 AM   #13
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Updating an old thread. Our kid had a wonderful time at Notre Dame's summer "Intro to Engineering" program, and she learned more than she really wanted to know at USNA's one-week Summer Seminar. We parents thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, too, because we had the house to ourselves!

By the time our kid finished her junior year of high school, she'd already visited these colleges (up to a couple years ago) and had them on her short list. We were a bit concerned that she had no idea what she was getting into. We figured it was also a great way to get her motivated to fill out the applications. It also avoided the summer-vacation syndrome of spending seven weeks hanging out with a new driver's license looking for ways to get in trouble with friends...

Some programs are not cheap-- Notre Dame thinks they're worth $1750. However that's less than the hotel/food costs of Waikiki or Disneyland, and it's insigificant alongside the cost of tuition/room/board... especially if the kid finds out that they hate college. We know three families whose kids didn't take the time to get to know they colleges they eventually attended, and now they're back home learning about college by working shifts at Taco Bell.

In the week between USNA and Notre Dame we had a short family vacation, so she lived out of her suitcase for five weeks. She also managed to finish her NROTC application (it's all online) and she actually completed interviews with both Notre Dame's NROTC office and USNA's staff. (USNA practically completed her application during that week.) It was a lot easier to do those things on her time with the school's officers instead of getting it done in Hawaii during the school year.

There were some aspects of the programs that I didn't appreciate until she was headed back home:
- Your kid may learn how to travel on a plane and navigate an airport by herself. This seems slightly safer than sending a new driver out on I-70 for a 500-mile road trip.
- Your kid learns about living out of a suitcase in a college dorm. This can be an eye-opening, even traumatic, experience for trophy kids.
- Your kid has a long time to think about whether they want to go to college at all, let alone join NROTC or a service academy.
- Unlike high school, your kid meets other kids who actually want to go to school.
- Your kid may have visited the college before, but the summer program will let them reaffirm their commitment... or get a cold bucketful of reality right in the face. One of USNA's key indicators to candidates surviving plebe summer is whether or not they attended Summer Seminar.
- Your kid may have impressed the college's Admissions staff on paper (or not), but the kid's attendance at the summer program gives the staff a good hard get-acquainted look at how your kid will do (or not). The summer program tracks attendance, the quality of the kid's work, and how well they got along (or not) with the counselors. The kids should think of the program as a multi-week admissions interview.
- We thought our kid would have to play up the "surfer grrrl from Ha-why-uh" stereotype, but the summer programs taught us that colleges are much more interested in another demographic: women engineers.
- Your kid returns home with a newfound appreciation for the importance of chores, cooking meals, neat living spaces, and clean laundry. Maybe even parents.
- Summer programs make great topics for college application essays.

And in the "other" category:
- Your kid can learn Texas Hold 'Em and Beer Pong advanced concepts in probability, statistics, and kinetics.
- Your kid can conduct advanced experiments in prolonged sleep deprivation without driving her parents nuts.
- Your kid can date whoever she wants without concern that word will get back to "Helicopter Mom" & ".12-gauge Dad"...
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Old 01-10-2010, 11:56 AM   #14
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Nice update. Thanks! What project does ".12-gauge Dad" have planned for next year after a successful launch is completed? Maybe you need to adopt a HS sophomore to do this all over again?
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Old 01-10-2010, 01:14 PM   #15
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Nice update. Thanks! What project does ".12-gauge Dad" have planned for next year after a successful launch is completed? Maybe you need to adopt a HS sophomore to do this all over again?
I have no desire to train another teenager, although we joke about renting out her room. (The going rate around here is ~$500/month + kitchen privileges.) She's really not sure whether to take us seriously, but it's a great ploy to get her to clean out her closets & drawers and prep the rest for storage.

I think we're going to replace her bed (and a guest bed) with futons/sofas that convert to beds. We'll use the rooms for reading, puzzles, and projects. We're going move her desk out of the study (maybe sell it) and move spouse's desk back in.

We've been asked not to accompany her to Houston. (She's "too old" to have Mommy & Daddy drop her off at college.) We're "cool" with that (considering Houston's August weather) but she's going to have to think about how much luggage she's hauling and how much more the NROTC indoctrination will load her up with. Might as well learn now how to travel with one seabag.

Technically we're not yet empty nesters. Her pet bunny is nine years old, which is about 120 in bunny years, and he's amazingly healthy. He has the run of the familyroom and he might hang on for another four or even five years. But they tend to go to their great reward without warning (cardiac arrest). When that happens we're going to gut the familyroom (an old enclosed lanai) to the studs and start over with a new (and insulated) roof, a proper floor, new energy-efficient windows, insulated walls, and new decor. We'll do our own demo and probably contract out the roof but we haven't decided whether we'll contract the rest or do our own.

I'll probably be going to the Mainland a couple times a year to check on my Dad. I wouldn't mind spending a week or two surfing a neighbor island; we like the Maui/Kauai/Big Island trips and we've never "gotten around" to Molokai or Lanai. We'll take a seven-day interisland cruise or three. Depending on where our kid is stationed we'll do a few seabird trips to her portcalls.

Once we're totally empty-nesters we'll travel longer. We enjoy Thailand (spouse is going there with a shipmate in April) and we'll probably tour the Great Barrier Reef via SCUBA & longboard. Same for Guam, the rest of the Marianas, and a whole slew of the Micronesian islands.

Gosh, it'll be like ER all over again!!
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Old 01-11-2010, 10:33 AM   #16
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Nice update, Nords. I just wish that your DD was older than my kids, so that I would have had the benefit of your experience. I think this is great for forum members who have younger children.
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