Why did you choose to participate in a summer program?
I normally volunteer at a YMCA camp near where I live but wanted to try something new that would better prepare me for college. I’d never been far from home for long, and it was important for me to find out how to be independent and grow as a person without having an adult or a parental figure always watching over.
How did you decide which program was right for you?
Location was the biggest factor. All of the options I looked at for school were in major coastal cities, and I wanted to have that experience. I wanted to go to NYU for college, and I saw NYU’s Precollege program, so I thought it’d be really cool to spend the summer in New York City.
The fact that it offered college credit added more value and made it a lot easier to convince my parents to let me go. Now I’m a student at NYU's Stern School of Business, I'm planning to graduate early because of the credits I earned in Precollege. It accelerated my degree and helped me save money, so that’s another nice thing about it.
What was a typical day in your summer program?
I usually woke up around 10 a.m. I’d go to Weinstein, the dining hall, and eat breakfast. Then I would go to class or take the subway to wherever the professor decided to have our excursion that week. After class I’d have lunch, then participate in the free programs or events the University hosted for the summer students, which happened one or two times per week.
Later on I’d eat dinner and then find something else to do in the city. Sometimes I’d go out to eat because the meal plan does give you some flexibility. I would work on my class assignments for two to three hours at a time, which usually involved an analytic essay on that week’s excursion or a piece of media we had to watch or listen to.
What was the most memorable moment of your summer?
I took the College Writing Workshop, and one of our assignments was to write about an event in our lives that we felt shaped us. The professor picked my essay to be published in a book at the end of the term, and it actually won an award.
I was shocked because I hated writing before I took that course and didn’t think I was good at it. That experience helped me realize that maybe I’m not a terrible writer—I just needed a little more guidance. My professor really helped me and it made me feel more confident with my writing.
What advice do you have for teens looking at summer programs?
Definitely do it! Don’t second-guess or worry about whether you’re going to be overwhelmed because it’s fun to get out of your comfort zone and try something new. It’s nice to get a taste of college before you actually get there so you can mentally prepare yourself for when you do.
Also, if it does offer college credit, that is a big, big bonus. And know what you’re getting yourself into because these are college courses, so it was a lot more writing than I’d ever done for a high school class. If you can, I would definitely reach out to other admitted students admitted on social media before you get there. It’s good to at least know one person going in.