Students to further explore interests with summer programs

May 22, 2019 — by Anna Novoselov

With summer quickly approaching, many students are preparing to attend summer programs to learn new skills and enhance their educational resume. Designed to help students delve deeper into their passions and develop skills that may assist them in their future, summer camps may provide a venue for students to explore a certain academic field or career.

“If you go to summer camp and you decide because of the camp that this is what you want to be, you’re going to be much more focused as a student,” Kantrowitz, senior vice president and publisher at Edvisors Network said in a CNBC article.

While many students apply to esteemed programs such as Cosmos and LaunchX to boost their academic profile, other students choose less well-known programs that tailor to their specific interests.

Junior Liviya Katz, for instance, will attend a two-week screenwriting program at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. She learned about the program from her college counselor, who specializes in film schools.

The program is designed to teach students the elements of screenwriting and to help them develop their creativity under the guidance of industry professionals. By the end of the two weeks, each participant will have written a 20-page script for a short film.

Katz said she has been “obsessed” with movies since a young age. She talks about movies, watches them or learns about them every single day.

“I really love the idea that you can create any story that you want and put it in visuals,” Katz said, noting that she wants to become a director in the future.

Katz said that although the Media Arts Program has taught her how to format scripts and develop videos, it has not touched upon “the art of storytelling for a screen.”

“Screenwriting is a skill I really want to improve upon,” she said. “Being able to write your own script to direct gives you the freedom to create your own opportunities and do something that really excites you.”

The program will teach her more about the general arc of storytelling, as well as how to format scripts and adapt the writing to different genres. She looks forward to connecting with people who share a similar love for film while developing her communication and writing skills.

“Because it’s a classroom setting where you’re actively receiving feedback and criticisms, it’s a good opportunity to learn how to speak out,” she said. “The program will push me out of my comfort zone to ask questions and understand feedback and be receptive about feedback.”

Another student, junior Krisha Minocha, will attend the Management and Technology Summer Institute (M&TSI) summer program at the University of Pennsylvania.

“I was drawn to the program because I’ve had a lot of STEM experience in the past — for instance, I’ve been in robotics since seventh grade — but I’ve always wanted to learn more about the business side of STEM to decide if it's something that I want to pursue in the future,” Minocha said.

The program will run from July 7-27 and will include field trips to local companies, a group prototype project, lessons taught by UPenn faculty and lectures by successful entrepreneurs.

Minocha said that she believes the program will give her management and leadership experience. She became interested in business after taking a business course at Berkeley in middle school but hasn’t explored it since.

She researched entrepreneurship programs and was drawn to M&TSI because of its fusion of the STEM and business worlds. Minocha wants to study electrical engineering in college and then move more into the business side; she believes having this experience will help her navigate that transition.

However, some people criticize summer programs for being too costly and restrictive due to their rigid schedules and lack of freedom for students. Many times, students follow a set curriculum that may not tailor to their specific needs or interests. Furthermore, recent debates argue that summer programs do not add much value to college applications and cannot adequately prepare students for future endeavors.

On the other hand, if students want to explore a certain activity or field, summer programs may effectively provide an enriching experience that helps students decide whether they are truly interested in pursuing that certain area of study.

“Summer programs are really helpful in helping narrow down what you’re interested in,” Minocha said. “They can help you make decisions on what you want to focus on for the rest of high school and even after.”