Oxford Through the Eyes of an Alumnus

image

Check out what alumnus Maggie S. thought of her time with Summerfuel’s Pre-College Program at Oxford:

“My time at Oxford was absolutely amazing! Before coming I was so nervous to meet new people, but the friends I made were some of the funniest, most interesting people I have ever met. The program would have been great solely due to all of the activities and classes which were offered, but what made it truly extraordinary was experiencing it all with my new friends. The excursions were enriching, and I loved the balance of guided tours and free time to explore. I loved visiting London as much as we did and really enjoyed Bath. The history of the country made even a trip to the grocery store for snacks a scenic experience. The only unenjoyable part was having to leave the wonderful people I had come to love in the past month. For anyone considering Summerfuel Oxford, I would do it a hundred times over and it is an experience that will stay with me forever.”

– Maggie S., SF Oxford 2016

 

Summerfuel Language and Cultural Immersion Programs

Summerfuel’s Immersion Programs Deliver Amazing Experiences

It’s no secret that learning another language is difficult. The subtle nuances, dialects, and slang of a language are often hard to capture in a classroom setting and, because of this, students may feel that they are not learning a language as well as they could be. Luckily, Summerfuel language and cultural immersion programs are available to provide students with a summer study abroad trip that will not only help to develop their chosen language skill, but will also help them to experience the cultural aspects of the language that they are studying. In today’s post, we wanted to go into some more detail about our summer study abroad programs in order to give you, the reader, a better idea of what you or your child can expect from these programs. Continue reading below to learn more!

Study Spanish in Bustling Barcelona

One of our most popular study abroad trips brings students to the beautiful city of Barcelona located in the northwest region of Spain near the French border. Barcelona is regarded as one of Europe’s most beautiful cities, boasting some of the finest architecture and cuisine that the continent has to offer while also enjoying a temperate climate thanks to its proximity to the Mediterranean Sea. During this summer study abroad program, students will be given three weeks of Spanish language immersion instruction from ESADE, Spain’s top ranked private university, in an urban environment to better provide them with the language skills that they need to effectively communicate with native Spanish speakers. Before the program begins, students are placed in groups based upon their proficiency with Spanish language, however, it is not necessary for a student to be able to speak Spanish in order to enroll in the program. Supplementing the academic aspect of the program, students are also given ample opportunities to explore the city of Barcelona and experience a unique twist on traditional Spanish culture. For those individuals looking to experience the Spanish language in a new way, our Barcelona program is the perfect choice.

Immerse Yourself in Nice, France

Located along the pristine coastline of the Mediterranean Sea, Nice, France is the perfect place to study the French language in a natural, urban setting. During this program, students are able to enjoy one-of-a-kind opportunities to combine their academic knowledge of the French language with day-to-day life in France, improving their comprehension of the language while simultaneously experiencing the culture that birthed it. Under the tutorage of professors from the University of Nice, students are able to perfect their French language skills in a dynamic learning environment geared toward the study of grammar, syntax, and vocabulary as well as focussing on improving student’s listening and speaking skills. Like all of our language immersion programs, students are divided into groups based upon their personal skill level with the French language and it is not necessary for a student to be fluent in French before signing up. To supplement their language classes, students are able to pick between four separate electives during the program including International Relations, Art History, Photography, or fashion Design. In addition to all of this, multiple excursions are available to students, allowing them to explore the rich historical and cultural offerings that the city of Nice has to offer. This program not only increases students’ proficiency levels in the French language, but also allows them to experience French culture, architecture, and cuisine.

Experience Authentic Spanish Culture With a Homestay Program

The last summer study abroad program that we offer for our high school level students looking to increase their Spanish language skills is also one of the most rewarding programs that we offer. Over the past 30 years, Summerfuel has diligently worked to develop relationships with carefully selected homestay families to provide students with an experience unlike any other. The two towns selected for this program, Cádiz and Conil, are located in the Andalusian area of Spain along the country’s southern Atlantic Coast. Both of these towns can trace their heritage all the way back to the 5th century and offer students a fun, unfiltered way to immerse themselves in Spanish culture. During this program, students will stay with a preselected family and attend daily Spanish classes with a focus on grammar, vocabulary, and idiomatic expressions. In addition to daily classes, students are offered specialized workshops that are held one to two times a week and focus on either Community Service, Spanish Cooking, Soccer, Surfing, Watercolor Painting, or Photography. Supplementing the academic workload, daily excursions are planned to allow students the opportunity to experience the surrounding beauty of the Spanish countryside. If you or your child are looking for an authentic Spanish study abroad program, this program is the perfect choice.

If you would like to learn more about our summer study abroad programs, please do not hesitate to contact us today or visit our website. At Summerfuel, we leverage our decades of experience to provide high school students with study programs that help improve their academic performance while also providing them with a once-in-a-lifetime-experience. Contact us today and let’s get started!

Summerfuel College Admissions Prep 101

Get the Edge You Need With Summerfuel’s College Admissions Prep Program

Here at Summerfuel, it is our mission to help the students of our programs achieve academic and personal growth. While we offer multiple programs to help achieve this goal, including our pre-college summer programs and our summer study abroad programs, one program in particular is geared specifically towards helping high school students excel during the college admissions process. Anyone who has applied for college can attest to the fact that the process can be rather nerve racking, however, we feel that our programs help to take some of the stress out of the process. Through these programs, students are given the tools they need to effectively tackle the SAT or ACT, compose a compelling college entrance essay, and navigate the often hectic waters of the college admission process. If these programs sound interesting to you, continue reading below to learn more.

See What Summerfuel Can Do For You

Summerfuel proudly offers three separate college admissions prep programs on the campuses of Columbia University, Tufts University, and UC Berkeley. These programs have been tailored to support sophomore and junior level high school students in every aspect of the college admissions process possible, and are designed to give them the tools they need to succeed. Below, we have listed the three main aspects of the college admissions process that these programs place focus on.

  • SAT Prep: Few tests are as revered and dreaded as the SAT. This standardized test can be the make or break factor for many students’ applications and, as a result, is a major focus of the Summerfuel college admissions prep program. During the program, students are provided 18 hours of classroom based instruction provided by the Princeton Review as well as three scored diagnostic tests. Over the years, we here at Summerfuel have found that students who have an in-depth exposure to the SAT before taking it are much more confident in their ability to master the test once the time comes. Our instructors help to guide students through the test sections with the goal of helping each and every one of our students perform their best when the actual test time is upon them. After the program ends, students are still able to access their Princeton Review account, enabling them to continue their SAT prep long after the course has ended. While SAT prep courses are offered at all of our program locations, ACT prep is only available through the Tufts and Berkeley programs. If you or your child are unsure as to which standardized test they should take, please contact us today and let our experts help you both make the decision that is most beneficial to your student’s particular college aspirations.
  • Essay Prep: Along with preparing our students for the SAT or ACT, all of our programs place a heavy emphasis on the ever important college entrance essay. Each program is designed to help students reflect upon their lives and use their personal experiences to craft an essay that is both professional and compelling. At Summerfuel, we feel that every one of our students, whether they believe it or not, has something to say about themselves that is not reflected by their high school grades and test scores. Every person has a story and our essay prep classes are built upon the goal of helping each student become a more confident, stronger writer. During the week long program, 16 hours are dedicated to instructing students on proper essay writing techniques, formulating a strong thesis, and expanding upon that thesis to formulate an engaging personal statement. Peer workshops, individual tutoring, and additional time to follow up with instructors outside of the classroom is provided to ensure that each student receives as much help and instruction possible.
  • College Counseling: Before the program begins, each student’s parents are asked to complete a questionnaire outlining their child’s particular interests and strengths, in addition to their own personal desires for their daughter or son. After this is completed and the student arrives to the program, a college counselor is assigned to each student to better formulate a plan to approach their personal college admissions process. Multiple factors will be considered by the college counselor including the student’s academic performance, input from both parents and students, standardized test scores, and any extracurricular activities in which the student excels. Through this process, students are encouraged to ask any and all questions that they may have in order to become better informed about the college admissions process.

If you are interested in learning more about Summerfuel’s college admissions prep programs, please contact us today or visit our website. At Summerfuel, we have years of experience helping high school students prepare for the college admissions process and we are confident that we can help you or your student succeed. Get in touch with us today and let us help you take your summer to the next level.

Prepare For College With Our Pre-College Programs

What Are You Doing This Summer?

Who doesn’t love summer? Between the warm weather, gorgeous blue skies, and summer time activities, the approaching season holds quite a bit of potential. However, what if we told you there is a better way to spend your summer? A way to not only have a great time with great people, but to also gain valuable life experience in the process? While this might sound too good to be true, at Summerfuel, we deliver just that. Our Pre-college summer programs are designed to enrich our students lives through academic, social, and personal development. Because summer is almost upon us, we are going to use today’s post to go over our main pre-college summer programs for high school students, what students can expect from these programs, and what students can expect to gain from these amazing experiences. Continue reading below to learn more!

Oxford Provides Historical Inspiration

The Summerfuel Oxford program allows students to experience life at one the oldest and most prestigious universities in the world. For centuries, Oxford has been celebrated for its long-standing traditions, amazing architecture, and academic prowess, cementing its place in history as one of the most developed universities the world over. During this pre-college summer program, students will get to experience what life is like as an undergraduate at Oxford while also attending seminars designed to challenge them mentally and academically. Students are encouraged to pick two seminars to explore during the program in order to explore the subjects in an in-depth way, improving their academic skills and providing them with new avenues to discover and explore their passions. In addition to academic work, students will take part in a wide variety of extracurricular activities and excursions designed to explore the Oxford campus and the surrounding cities. These excursions are reserved for Saturdays and Sundays during the program and gives students the opportunity to explore London, Broughton Castle, Bath, and Blenheim Palace.

Tufts in Boston Showcases American Excellence

Looking for a domestic pre-college summer program? Our Tufts program helps students to prepare for the rigors of college both intellectually and socially by providing them with a full on college experience. Located just outside of Boston, Tufts University is one of the top ranked universities in the nation and is far enough away from the city to feel secluded yet close enough to allow students to explore the many interesting areas of this historic location. The Tufts program is designed to encourage high school students to discover and explore the learning options that interest them. This pre-college summer program allows students to take two workshops and four courses over a four week period, providing them the opportunity to truly immerse themselves in the academics of the program. In addition to academic programs, students are given full run of the Tuft University campus and the weekends are dedicated to exploring Boston and the surrounding historical areas of the city and include visits to Six Flags, the beach, and a Boston Red Sox game.

Berkeley Offers a Unique Research University Experience

Widely considered one of the nation’s top research universities, Berkeley challenges high school students to engage with their peers on an intellectual and personal level, fostering a better learning experience and an unforgettable summer experience. Summerfuel’s Berkeley program is designed to complement the liberal arts environment that has made Berkely so famous and students of this program are strongly encouraged to explore different learning options within the program and take control of their academic interests. During this program, students select a major course for the morning and an elective course during the afternoon. The morning course meets five times per week, while the afternoon courses vary between three to four weekly meetings. In addition to major and elective courses, students can choose between multiple workshops that will help them develop academic and interpersonal skills that are pertinent to their specific passions. Outside of academic course work, students are offered multiple excursion opportunities around the Berkeley area including visits to Six Flags, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and a San Francisco Giants baseball game. This program offers a truly unforgettable summer experience.

 

If any of these programs have piqued your interest, or you feel that one of these programs would be a perfect fit for your high school student, please visit our website today for some more in-depth information. At Summerfuel, we have been coordinating and executing pre-college summer programs for years and we feel that our programs offer the best in both academic and extracurricular activities to enrich students’ experiences. Our staff is dedicated to ensuring that each and every one of our students comes away from the program having had a positive experience, both academically and personally. Visit our website today and let us help you turn a normal summer into a summer that you will never forget!

Lara’s College Admissions Experience

CAP_Photo

As I began looking into summer programs, I found that I would benefit most from College Admissions Prep or CAP, since I was a rising senior who knew close to nothing about the college application process.

The CAP program website listed that I would come out with a polished personal resume, a completed college essay, a shortlist of my potential universities, as well as improved SAT scores.  I found that having the time to work on my SAT prep, including three diagnostics, with help from The Princeton Review, would help mitigate stress in my senior year.

The entire experience was very eye-opening for me.

Before coming to Summerfuel I was very nervous about the admissions process. Living in a dorm helped me to picture myself in a similar environment for college and made me more familiar with campus life.  The staff were all extremely welcoming and friendly, and by the end of the two weeks I felt very close to all of them and was very sad to leave.After leaving Summerfuel, I had completed my college resume and essay, and had a shortlist of over 15 potential schools. The guidance counselors were a great help, both individually and during the counseling sessions where we were able to ask any questions we had about the process. My college essay is ready to go, edited by the CAP English professor. The SAT prep program helped me increase my score by over 300 points, and the material we were taught was extremely beneficial to help me prepare for the test in my own time.

I feel I know more about college life, dorms, the application process, and about the diversity of students at various institutions. The college tours helped me to narrow down my university choices, because I was able to experience firsthand what college environment would best fit my needs.

Summerfuel CAP was definitely a well-spent summer.

-Lara I.
CAP Tufts Alumnus

The Results Are In…

We polled our recent alumni to find out where they attend college after an exciting summer with Summerfuel. Here are the top 10 schools for Summerfuel alumni (2012-2016):

 

  • University of Pennsylvania (24)
  • Cornell University (22)
  • New York University (16)
  • Brown University (15)
  • Colgate University (14)
  • Harvard University (14)
  • Georgetown University (13)
  • Duke University (12)
  • Vanderbilt University (12)
  • University of Michigan (11)

tufts gear!!

Meet Dr. Ed Clarke – Oxford

Lady Margaret Hall, Summerfuel OxfordEach Summerfuel program has, at its core, a team of accomplished, passionate faculty.  Our faculty work collaboratively with our residence staff to create a memorable, meaningful summer experience for all of our students.  In Oxford, the Summerfuel faculty includes Oxford University professors, practicing professionals and artists.  Most faculty return annually.  Read on to learn about a student favorite, Dr. Clarke, whose Shakespeare courses are amongst the most popular each summer.

Background

12th Year with Summerfuel. PhD & BA in English Literature; Trinity College, Dublin & St. Catherine’s College, Oxford. Tutor at St. Catherine’s College, Oxford. Publications:The Later Affluence of W.B. Yeats and Wallace Stevens; The Vagabond Spirit of Poetry.

Hobbies and Interests

I love rambling around Oxford, cooking different cuisines, and exploring ecclesiastical medieval architecture.

Favorite Place in Oxford

Port Meadow – the common grazing land to the north of town and bordered by the Thames to the west.

Oxford’s ‘Must See’

The early 16th century spire of St. Mary’s – you must climb the tower to check out its ball-flower decoration.

Currently Reading

Kathleen Raine’s Autobiography

Currently Listening To

Dylan’s World Gone Wrong

Words of Wisdom

“Bear free and patient thoughts.”

College Admissions: Your Activities Resume

Believe it or not, an Activities Resume can play a key role in your admissions portfolio.  If it is well written and has meaningful content, your resume will enable admissions officers to determine who you really are, and will help distinguish you from other applicants with similar academic accomplishments.  An Activities Resume can highlight your sense of responsibility and leadership skills.  Ideally, it will let an admissions officer know just what you can contribute to the institution as a whole.  Admissions officers are not just looking for undergraduates who can fare well in coursework.  They’re on the look out for their next distinguished alumnae!

Start Early

Creating a draft resume will help you to think about your strengths and your interests.  This is a good way to focus your direction when you’re a young high schooler.  It’s also an excellent way to reflect on your achievements and identify some topics for your admissions essays.

The Best Resumes Will

Convey constancy and (ideally) increasing involvement.

Be short (one page), succinct and clear.  Use common terms to refer to clubs.  ‘Literacy magazine’ is easier than ‘Pegasus’ for an admissions officer to quickly recognize.

List your most important activities first.  List according to activity, not grade, or year of participation.  This format is easier for admissions officers to follow.

Include your name and relevant identifying information at the top of the page.

Do NOT Include

  • Your GPA – it will be on your transcript.
  • Your standardized test scores – these will be reported separately.
  • Any courses that will appear on your transcript (even if you did ace AP Physics)

DO Include

  • Any honors or awards you have received since the 9th grade.
  • Participation in any competition at the state, national or international level.
  • Summer activities: camps, jobs, courses, travel, community service, volunteer work
  • Extra classes you have taken that do not appear on your transcript (arts coursework, local college courses, weekend or after school language programs, music lessons)
  • If you have done well in these classes and you have a transcript or report, definitely include it.  If you do not have the transcript, at least include the course names and associated grade.

For Best Results – Share

Plan to give a copy of your activities resume to anyone you have asked to write a letter of recommendation.  Your resume will give them a better understanding of who you are.  It will enable anyone who writes about you to write a more personal letter and it may even make it easier for them to write it.

Get Started Now

So, take some time now and start your own Activities Resume.  It’s just one piece of the admissions puzzle but it’s an important one and it should be an easy one for you to own.
 IMG_0995