Quite a few of you have asked us about about summer programs lately. The idea of your children experiencing campus life, mixing with other students their age, all at a prestigious university, is surely tantalizing, but parents are also wary of these camps. Are kids accruing valuable academic and personal experience while away for several weeks, or are these programs merely peddling the impression of prestige?
At Tokyo Academics, our experience is that there are 2 things you should look out for when deciding whether a summer camp (or general academic program) is worth attending.
Applying these 2 criteria considerably shortens the list of summer camps in the consideration set. Even some of the most prestigious schools in the US are guilty of essentially outsourcing summer programs to unrelated companies, providing little more than their brand and campus space.
The very best among summer camps are those dedicated to gathering the brightest students within a particular discipline and exposing them to genuine university-level education. Here are 6 great examples sorted by academic areas:
General - Center for Talented Youth (CTY) at John Hopkins University
Politics - JSA program at Georgetown University
Journalism - Medill-Northwestern Journalism Institute
Business - Leadership in the Business World, The Wharton School - University of Pennsylvania
Literature - Syracuse University Summer College: Creative Writing – Fiction & Poetry Program
Performing Arts - The Pre-College Drama Program at Carnegie Mellon University
Overseas programs like these, which satisfy both purpose and selectiveness, are likely to be great for your kids' academic enrichment. But let's not forget that students don't have to fly thousands of miles away to have a rewarding summer: there are opportunities here in Japan as well. More on these, as well as what we're working on at TA, in a later blog post.