High School Students Get a Taste of College


Picasa 2.0

By Devon Stoeber

With the end of the school year approaching, junior Tommy Searle is anxiously waiting to hear back from the Management and Technology Summer Institute at the University of Pennsylvania. The program combines learning about business and exploring different disciplines of engineering while giving high school students the opportunity to experience living on a college campus. Searle decided to apply to the program in hopes of getting a better understanding of what he wants to study when he gets to college.
“I know I’m interested in engineering but I don’t really know exactly which major I want to study,” Searle said. “[I hope to get] a better understanding of business and how to develop an idea from the ground up.”
Searle is only one of the many Tam students that have decided to apply to or attend a college prep course next summer. Sophomore Lucky Shulman and junior Paden McNiff are enrolled in a New York University pre-college program where they will attend college level courses with NYU summer school students while living in the dorms on campus. According to Shulman, as a student over the summer, they will enroll in two classes of their choice along with a mandatory writing course.

McNiff and Shulman both agreed with Searle that being in a college-prep program will give them the chance to figure out what they want to do with their lives after high school.

“I’m not sure if I want to go to college in a city. I think this will tell me what I’m looking for in college,” Shulman said.

In addition to the experience, Shulman and McNiff agreed that being able to add their pre-college summer program to their college applications was a big incentive to apply.

“[Tam] is such a competitive school that everyone’s looking for stuff that’s going to put them ahead and give them something interesting,” Shulman said. “Everyone is doing stuff that’s going to look good for college. These programs are becoming popular because they’re so unique and interesting, but mostly they sound good for college.”

College and Career Center counselor Leslie Roberts does not believe that students should partake in any program for the sole purpose of impressing college admissions counselors. “I believe in authenticity, not padding a resume or application,” Roberts said. “I also believe colleges can see through that. Students should pursue activities that they enjoy and that is personally meaningful and that helps to shape their goals and aspirations.”

In addition to the academics, Searle, McNiff, and Shulman all agreed the social experience is another exciting aspect of the summer programs.

“We both are really interested in going to New York, so it was a perfect location,” McNiff said. “The classes don’t take up all of our time so we get to spend a lot of our time exploring the city.”

All three of the students are looking forward to the program and hope to grow and expand their interests throughout the summer. “By this age, generally, many people have an idea of what they want to do,” Searle said. “Not necessarily like the [exact] job, but everyone knows their strengths and weaknesses and what they enjoy learning. College prep courses are so great because if you’re interested in a subject you can go learn more about it and either [end up] loving it more or decide it’s not for you.”