It’s well documented that the battle for admissions into selective colleges is more intense than ever. As a result, students are agonizing over how every decision they make impacts their “narrative”. One decision that’s gaining attention is which summer program to attend. There are thousands to choose from and many come with a hefty price tag.
While interviewing several admission leaders of selective colleges for my podcast, I heard a consistent theme regarding summer programs: avoid the trap of using them as a “resume builder” versus an enrichment opportunity. I took this advice to heart when choosing a program last summer.
As a rising senior, I applied to Yale Young Global Scholars which is rooted in a philosophy of “and” – where students are promised a diverse and immersive experience including lively discussions, group simulations, and lectures from some of the greatest minds in their respective fields. The focus of the program is not so much on academic rigor as fostering intellectual curiosity, self-discovery and creativity - a fact that became obvious just from the application.
Ever thought about what fictional character you most relate to? What if you could change any historical event in the 20th Century? When did your courage fail you most? It turns out that these prompts are by no means random. Contemplating my answers took me on a mini-journey of self-discovery – each answer revealing core aspects of my character, value system, and life priorities in a subtle yet powerful way. And that was just the application!
Once I was accepted into the program, I chose a course on Politics, Law, and Economics. Immediately striking was the diversity of the program's student body – 57 countries were represented in my 200-student program. My small discussion group alone had six continents represented. The cultural diversity was only surpassed by the intellectual diversity which led to dozens of fascinating discussions, collaborations, and some flat out laugh out loud experiences (like watching a student in France “drain a red” during a lecture). I attended lectures from professors who were quite literally the world's thought leaders in their fields. The program struck the right balance of fascinating lectures, team building, and collaborative problem-solving. Nothing was graded, but that did not diminish how much I gained from the program.
My experience with YYGS taught me several lessons. First, like most endeavors, you will get out what you put in. That’s particularly true for programs like YYGS that are designed for students who are prepared to fully immerse themselves (versus a didactic format). Second, take advantage of the social media age and do the research – you’ll learn all you need to know. Lastly, do yourself a favor and don’t worry about how your decision looks on your resume and focus on what you want or need from a program. You might be surprised at how ‘freeing’ it will feel to be your authentic self, and you just might be rewarded with an enriching experience that’s worth the price of admission.
Politics, Law & Economics
Learn More: https://globalscholars.yale.edu/
Application Deadline: Nov 2, 2022 (Early Action) and January 10, 2023 (Regular Decision)
Apply by November 2 for a discounted application fee!
Since 2002, NSHSS has supported young academics on their journey to college and beyond as they prepare to become the leaders of tomorrow. The mission behind NSHSS is to recognize academic excellence and honor high-achieving students, providing them with the resources and network to excel in college, career, and community. In doing so, NSHSS connects members with global events, scholarships, college fairs, internships, career and leadership programs, partner discounts, and more. Discover what makes NSHSS worth it to student members and how you can get involved.