Thursday, February 6, 2014

Summer School: Crazy idea vs. amazing opportunity (Translated from

In December, I wrote about summer courses at As a summer course veteran, I think that it is a beneficial way to spend your summers in high school and/or college. Summer classes are a means of getting ahead in both high school and college, as well as a way to explore the city and the States. However, it offers so much more, such as classes that you would not be able to take in your own school, a job offer (sometimes), and new friends. One of the highlights of my summer at New York University (NYU) was expanding this blog and taking it seriously. Of course, I had to do it for a class, but look where it got me (not so far, but enough for this moment in time).

On another note, some universities require students to apply to their summer programs. Most of the application deadline are due in early March. Despite its name, these applications are rarely rigorous or competitive in nature.

The original post that was published at IM was written in Bahasa Indonesia, therefore here is a translated version in English. Enjoy!

Summer School: Crazy idea vs. amazing opportunity

The sun is shining brightly, everyone in the room, myself included, is having a terrible time to concentrate in a non air conditioned room. Children’s voices from a nearby playground slip in and out of my ears. I can’t stop, but imagine a licking a popsicle in this heat. Although it is a holiday for most students, I find myself learning about the anatomy of the brain in class instead.

Looks like the decisions I made before summer began!
Summer in Jakarta is basically days without rain, but summer in New York is three to four beautiful months, which are usually filled with laughter, shorts and sun. Summer is a season for back porch BBQs and roadtrips. My friends in Indonesia are jealous of my summer holidays. I agree that three months is long enough to do so much, such as internship, travel or go home. However, I choose to spend my summer to study and dissect a goat’s brain.

Taking a summer course is a productive way to spend the long vacation months. Within the span of six to eight weeks, students are able to take up to two classes. For two years in a row, I spent a portion of my summer vacation taking courses in two different universities.

My first summer in college, I took Introduction to Neuropsychology and Behavioral Medicine in Boston University. The next summer, I took two psychology classes in New York University. Taking all of those classes may render me ‘crazy’, but in retrospect, those were one of the most important decisions in my college career.

One of my articles for Indonesia Mengglobal revolved around the subject of college acceleration. Being a restless twentysomething, I tried to decrease my time in college to three years, instead of four. Some of my friends managed to earn IB credits in high school, but as a national plus school graduate, I needed a different way to accelerate. One of the many routes available was summer courses.

As a small school, Sarah Lawrence does not offer summer classes. Therefore, I was left to my devices and had to find summer courses in other universities. Known to be both intense and demanding, summer courses are essentially six to eight weeks long. Imagine having a semester’s worth of material crammed into a rather short period of time. Personally, I did not face as much problems, since I prefer things to be fast paced. However, I did feel isolated whenever my friends posted photos of the beach or of their travels.

Snapshot of the original post at IM
Summer school is a good choice for students to intend to accelerate or improve their GPA. We learn to work and learn faster and stick to the schedule.
Despite the tight syllabus, I still managed to do a little bit of traveling on weekends. For instance, I visited Boston, Rhode Island and Washington DC. Taking summer courses in a city that you want to explore is advisable, as it allows you to both accelerate and get to know the area at the same time.

Summer courses are also available for high school students. You can explore Brown Pre-College Summer Program, Harvard High School Summer Program, and Sarah Lawrence College Pre-College Summer Program. On the one hand, it provides you with an idea of college, as well as some knowledge of the schools that you may or may not want to apply to. Another plus point is that you are able to get to know the school, its culture, and even its professors or admissions team before applying. At the end of the day, summer courses are a fantastic way to spend your time in high school or college. 

*Author owns the rights to the images above

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