The Inside Scoop on College Camps

As we’ve discussed all week, summer camp can be an invaluable opportunity to dig deeper into new subjects – both academic and extracurricular. If your teen is really ready to take the next step on their path to college, you’ll want to consider a college summer program.

We decided to check in with Marcy Melanson, MSEd, who is the manager of Continuing Education Program Services at Brown University in Providence, RI, about Summer@Brown.

She gave us an overview of what you should consider when you rate college campus programs, as well as a behind-the-scenes look at Summer@Brown specifically to get a feel for what one top program looks like.

Here’s what she had to say!

college campsCompare and Contrast to Find the Right Fit

It’s key to find the right fit for your student. You’ll want to consider a variety of aspects that encompass both academic and practical.  Questions you should ask are:

  • What specific courses of study are available and do they mesh with your childs’s goals and interests?
  • How prepared is your child for the level of study a program will require?
  • What degree of self-reliance will the program require?
  • How capable is your child of exercising self-discipline both when it comes to studying and self-care, such as eating well, getting enough sleep, etc.?

Programs vary widely in terms of the rigors of their courses so you have lots of options depending on the level your teen is looking for: some are largely exploratory and others grant college credit. There are also variations in the degree of independence they expect of students and the balance of mandatory vs. voluntary programming offered.

The course of study your child chooses should be one that simultaneously plays to existing strengths and to a deep and motivating interest in a subject area.

Dive into Real College Life at Summer@Brown

The Summer@Brown curriculum is designed to mirror the broad curriculum available to Brown University undergrads. We aim to create classes composed of students who share a common intellectual passion – and invite them into a larger community where they will find an exceptionally diverse array of intellectual passions among their peers, as well.

Although the summer programming includes a wide range of co-curricular activities, Summer@Brown is first and foremost an academic program.  Being prepared in terms of ability, motivation and sufficient content knowledge to study at an advanced level is crucial.

At Brown, independence is central to the summer experience, and for many students, this level of independence will be a new experience. They will need to be prepared to exhibit the self-discipline to manage their time, set their priorities, and be mindful of self-care like eating balanced meals, getting enough sleep and doing their own laundry – all without parental assistance. Summer@Brown is a great opportunity for bright, motivated young people to practice managing their daily life in a supportive environment.

The combination of rigorous academics and personal independence is challenging, but certainly prepares pre-college students for the pace of college life. Students and their parents have often said that the best part of the summer program was the personal growth that occurred.

When pre-college students successfully complete a Summer@Brown program, they emerge with renewed confidence that they will be able to make a successful adjustment to college life. They will have learned a lot about their chosen area of study, and a lot about other people who both share this interest and are interested in vastly different things, as well as about themselves.

Have you considered an on-campus summer program, or has your teen completed one? We’d love to hear about your experiences.

Marcy MelansonGuest contributor, Marcy Melanson, MSEd, is the manager of Continuing Education Program Services at Brown University in Providence, RI.


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