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


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.


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.

Social Enterprise: New Business?

Just What is Social Enterprise?

Social enterprise can be challenging to define.  The concept has been evolving rapidly in recent years and increasingly blurs the lines of the traditional business, government and nonprofit sectors. A social enterprise is an organization or initiative that marries the social mission of a non-profit or government program with the market-driven approach of a business.

WHY Social Enterprise? 

One reason for the rise of Social Enterprise is simple – people want change in the world, people want to make a difference – and people want to contribute to a better world with what they do everyday, in their job, in the products and services they buy, in where and how they get their energy. Trends in global discourse on life and business now include words like empathy and mindfulness, and people understand more than ever that their world and the people in it are increasingly interconnected.

Despite progress, big issues to fix still remain in the world – systemic issues of poverty, inequality, concentration of wealth and power, access to basic goods and services, global consumption of resources and rising population, climate change, and human rights abuses to name a few. All of these large complex problems require creative and sustainable solutions to make real progress. This is where social enterprise comes in. Social enterprise has proven a powerful force toward confronting these global challenges. One of the most interesting and exciting aspects of social enterprise’s evolution is the growing variety of issues being addressed by market-oriented solutions.

Today, social enterprises are disrupting markets across every industry and tackling social challenges throughout every corner of the world.

Recognize any of these businesses?

They’re all social enterprises.

DC Central Kitchen / w​ DC

Central Kitchen is a nationally recognized “community kitchen” that recycles food from around Washington DC and uses it as a tool to train unemployed adults to develop work skills while providing thousands of meals for local service agencies in the process.

TOMS Shoes / w​

Toms is a for-profit company that sells shoes and other products and creates social good through its “Buy One Give One” (BOGO) model. For example, when Toms sells a pair of shoes, a new pair of shoes is given to an impoverished child, and when Toms sells a pair of eyewear, part of the profit is used to save or restore the eyesight for people in developing countries.

Greyston Bakery​ ​

Greyston Bakery provides employment for the homeless in a bakery that makes brownies for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. As Greyston says, “we don’t hire people to bake brownies, we bake brownies to hire people.” It is known for its “open hiring” practices, where anyone can sign up regardless of background. All profit from the company go to the Greyston Foundation, which uses it for low-income housing, day care open to the community, a medical center for those with AIDS, and other community endeavors.

Interested in Learning More?

Here are our recommended reading picks on social entrepreneurship:

  • How to Change the World by David Bornstein
  • The Blue Sweater by Jacqueline Novogratz
  • Creating a World Without Poverty by Muhammad Yunus
  • Mission in a Bottle by Seth Goldman and Barry Nalebuff

And take a look at the Summerfuel Social Entrepreneurship programs for a hands-on venture development opportunity.  SE at Stanford / SE at Georgetown


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What Makes Summerfuel Oxford Special?

Summerfuel Oxford High Tea

1. Access

Summerfuel Oxford has taken students into the heart of Oxford University since 1984. Our aim is give students as authentic an Oxford experience as possible. All students live and study at Lady Margaret Hall College. Unlike U.S. universities Oxford is divided into 40 residential colleges and Lady Margaret Hall or LMH, has a privileged position next to the River Cherwell and is set in beautiful grounds. It has been our home since 1988.

At Summerfuel Oxford you will truly live as an Oxford undergraduate and excel inside and outside the classroom.

2. Teaching / Not School

A key difference with our Oxford program is the style of teaching. Our students benefit from very small group sessions. At Oxford, these are called tutorials. Our classes are supportive, personalized and dynamic environments that afford our students a great level of individual attention. Many seminars such as Art & Architecture are spent in the city of Oxford visiting special points of interest or your writing teacher might take you for lunch at the very place J.R.R. Tolkien wrote the Lord of The Rings

“The supervision and tutorial system ensures that students have contact with leading Oxford academics,” says Paul Saville, Director of Summerfuel Oxford since 1984. “This hands-on method of learning is at the heart of what makes the summer so special.

3. Our Students

Our students come from over 23 different U.S. states and 17 different countries. They all come together to form a summer community of learning and fun. Our students represent all interests, tastes and backgrounds. They share a common goal and that is to get a true taste of Oxford University life and gain an insight into the history and traditions of the world’s most celebrated university.

4. All work and no play….

When seminars are out we have an entire activity and extracurricular schedule planned. Students can pick and choose from a variety of different options from attending one of our guest lectures at the seminar series to sports, visits, Shakespeare performances, Movie Nights etc. or simply enjoying the city of Oxford and the college with your new friends. In addition we travel to London, Blenheim and beyond on the weekends.

5. Traditions

Idiosyncratic language and traditions are everywhere. The College is your summer residence and the Junior Common Room (JCR) is where you enjoy many group events. Each day “Scouts” will clean and tidy your room and change your linens on a weekly basis. In the afternoon you might wish to enjoy the “sunken garden” or rent a punt and try your hand at “punting.”

You will enter and leave the college through the Lodge and be assisted by LMH “porters” on a daily basis. Your seminars might take place in the LMH “coaching room” or even the Talbot “bar”.

5. History, alumni and excellence

Teaching at Oxford, dates back to 1096, making it the oldest university in the English-speaking world. Our program dates back to 1984, which makes it the oldest program for high school students in Oxford.

We have hosted over 6,000 students on our Oxford programs over the years. Our alumni have gone on to top universities in the U.S. and abroad and many have returned to Oxford as undergraduates and graduate students.