Wellesley's Pre-College Summer Focus program is designed for rising 10th-12th grade high school women who seek a non-credit yet intellectually stimulating summer.

Learn more about our Arts & Humanities course "Flash Fiction and Travel Writing: Mastering the Short Form," and and more!



For Session 1:

Flip it and Reverse it: An Introduction to Drawing and Printmaking

This intensive studio course is designed to help intensify your visual sensitivity, spatial awareness and creative response through the mediums of drawing and printmaking. In the first half of the course, we will focus on observational drawing—you will learn to translate what you see in the three-dimensional space around you to the two-dimensional surface of paper. In the second week, you will apply these observational skills to relief and monotype printmaking processes, and get to see your images reversed, multiplied and in color! By developing a sensitivity for materials, an understanding of key visual elements, and an ability to discuss visual concepts, you will build a strong foundation for yourself in the arts.

La Dolce Vita: A Taste of Italy

This beginner-level Italian course is designed for high school students to explore and experience a “taste” of Italian culture. Whether for purposes of personal enrichment, travel, or mastering fine Italian cuisine, this course will provide students with a university level brief introduction to the Italian language. By practicing their listening, reading, and speaking skills on a daily basis, students will also learn about the Italian language, culture, and lifestyle in a short period of time.

Philosophy of Friendship

We all have friends and we tend to regard friendship as an important good. This seminar undertakes a philosophical examination of the nature and value of friendship. Two main questions will animate the course: What is a friend? And, why are friends valuable? We will examine different types of friendships and the features that characterize and sustain them. Many philosophers have argued that the best kind of friendship is one in which the friend is loved for her own sake; we will investigate whether this is truly possible or whether all friendships are ultimately instrumental. We'll also examine how the partiality inherent in friendship conflicts with the demands of standard moral theories. Finally, drawing on examples from literature and film, we will consider whether one has to be a good person in order to be a good friend.

What’s Beneath the Surface: Engaging the World as a Scholar

In this workshop, students will explore the hidden depths of what is around us, learning to ask and answer the kinds of questions that inspire scholars. In the first week, our focus will be on names, as we examine the stories behind the labels that we affix to people, places, and things. These explorations will be driven by questions that are at once philosophical and practical: How do new products get their names, and how do those names influence consumers? Who decides what new names for things end up in the dictionary? What happens when a country changes its name? In the second week, we’ll shift gears to examine the physical world around us, using Wellesley’s campus as our laboratory. The college’s unique landscape and architecture will provide an exciting source of study, as we probe the meaning behind the Hogwarts-style buildings and trace the experiences of students who have come before us. Throughout the course, we’ll take both an analytical and a creative approach to our topic, and students will have the chance to produce written arguments, imagine and pitch new products, and try their hand at making metaphors, maps, and multi-media scholarly projects.

For Session 2:

Alternative Forms of Protests: The Impact of Art on Politics

The past decade has seen crowds take to the streets time and again to confront unjust policies and infractions in the rule of law. While such protests have a relatively long history, stretching back at least as far as the 18th century, what has been new is the proliferation of alternative forms of protest, rooted largely in the the visual and performing arts. This course examines ways in which artists have increasingly made their voices heard in the political arena, using image and text to express dissent and move others to action. We examine case studies from around the world, including countries as far-flung as Russia, China, Mexico, and the U.S. We also consider the ways artists have challenged their publics to think more deeply about some of the fundamental issues related to gender, class, race, and the current world order. The course combines a historical and theoretical perspective with hands-on assignments and activities that ask students to engage themselves in cultural and political critique. No prior experience in art-making necessary.

Design and Technology for the Stage & Screen

By expanding the scope of your design ideas, this program will enhance your abstract thinking, problem-solving and visual communication skills while helping you develop necessary tools to exhibit and present your work. As the scenic, lighting, and costume designer, you will learn to read and analyze a script, sketch, draft and build scale models, create a light plot, swatch and render costume designs. Taught by experienced faculty and professional designers who share their own processes and provide experience in all aspects of design/technology, this program will expand your portfolio and your understanding of what you will be doing in college and beyond. As a student in the The Design/Technology for Stage & Screen program, you will:

Analyze a script and translate its ideas into visual metaphors and imagesBuild and improve your knowledge of the principles, functions, and elements of scenic, lighting, and costume designLearn programs theater and set designers use, such as Lightwright, SketchUp, and VectorworksExhibit, present, and discuss your designsCreate a portfolio for college interviews and applications

Flash Fiction and Travel Writing: Mastering the Short Form

Writing very short fiction and creative non-fiction like travel writing offers students an intensive opportunity to work as real writers work: real writers write, show their work to friendly readers, and revise. This course is for young women who already write fiction and/or creative non-fiction and for those who have never written a story or a travel essay, but are ready to take a chance. In the first week, the class takes as its focus the genre of flash fiction, a very popular contemporary form of the short story. A flash fiction can be only one paragraph or several pages long--up to around 1000 words. Our work together will move back and forth between reading brilliant examples of flash fiction from around the world and writing our very own flash fictions. Reading in a writerly fashion means reading for craft: How does an author shape a very short piece? What can you do and not do with a first-person narrator, a third-person narrator? How does “world building” work in realistic, magical realism, and fantasy flash fiction? How to shape dialogue? In the second week, we shift from story to travel article. Like flash fiction, short travel pieces are a booming presence online. Whether you have traveled to Iceland's glaciers on skiis or to Ohio in the family SUV--we will work on researching the place, the presentation of the first person speaker in the piece, the shape of the "journey." The skills we developed in fiction writing will aid in making the piece feel alive--creative non-fiction borrows enormously from fiction.

Let's Think in Spanish (immersion)

This workshop is designed to hone students’ Spanish speaking skills. Students will engage with formal and informal registers through different language samples, including those from social media outlets, academic texts, and different forms of cultural expressions—namely, poetry, fiction, culinary arts, and film. Students with one year of High School Spanish are eligible for this workshop.

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