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Smith College: Pre-College Programs
Smith College Precollege Summer Programs offer intellectually stimulating and unique opportunities for high school girls who wish to pursue their academic interests in the classroom and beyond.
Annually, these programs offer over 225 young women the freedom to explore challenging and intriguing subjects, to strengthen their college applications and to sample the Smith undergraduate experience while living and studying with other motivated and ambitious students from around the world. Here young women are taken seriously and inspired to excel – as scholars, scientists, and leaders.
The Smith College Summer Science and Engineering Program (SSEP): Do you want to conduct college-level research? SSEP, now in its 26th year, is a unique four-week residential program that will give you a taste of both college life and college-level science. You will attend small classes taught by top-notch faculty members. The SSEP program is a dynamic learning environment that is hands-on, cooperative, investigative, and challenging.
Young Women's Writing Workshop: This unique writing workshop focuses on you, the writer. Small classes help you develop your interest in writing, tap into your creativity and hone your writing skills. You will work with published authors, participants lay the groundwork for developing a strong writing portfolio and learn the steps involved in getting published.
Discovering Women's History: A training ground for women’s history enthusiasts, this program allows you to explore the lives and legacies of notable women of the 19th and 20th centuries. You will read the private papers of Sylvia Plath, Gloria Steinem and Virginia Woolf. You will also examine poet Emily Dickinson’s personal diaries, photographs, and letters. You will learn archival research skills and gain college-level experience working closely with Smith and Mount Holyoke College faculty and archivists.
Field Studies for Sustainable Futures: This program is for the environmentally conscious student who wants to explore her interest in conservation in a cohesive, directed way. You will learn about sustainable living and environmental science and policy in a hands-on, interactive, project-based program. Much of the program is conducted in the field, and you will engage in a variety of activities including hiking, and visiting local farms and learning about sustainable food and agriculture.
College Admission Workshop: This new one-week program is for rising high school juniors and seniors who are beginning to look at colleges. You can learn how to successfully navigate the complicated college application process and gain a competitive advantage when you are applying to colleges. Learn how to write a college-level essay, to ace a college admission interview and give an introductory speech. This program may be added to one of our 2-week programs.
Q&A with Smith Pre-College Programs
Q: How is our program unique?
A: Our programs are unique because they are exclusively for young women, and our programs are developed and managed by Smith faculty and staff. This means that when you come to Smith in the summer, you are getting to know Smith, and Smith is getting to know you. We also focus on kinesthetic learning, so you won't be sitting in a classroom, in a lecture. You will be working with award-winning authors, or combing through the archives, or building robots, or testing your blood to analyze your own DNA! We want you to learn as much as you can, and have FUN doing it!
Q: Describe a typical day
A: Classes are Monday – Friday from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. The lunch hour is either 11:30 or noon, depending on the program you are enrolled in. All students are in small classes, and all classes have a current Smith College student for an intern, as well as a faculty member. You will have the opportunity to participate in lively class discussions and work in groups with your peers doing college-level academic work . We offer many off-site field trips and each evening our staff will have house activities planned such as movie nights, guest speakers and performances, game nights and a talent show.
Q: What type of teenager attends?
A: We attract high-performing young women who want to learn more about the topics they are passionate about. Many students who attend comment that they didn't know there were so many girls just like them, meaning, focused, passionate, and hungry to learn - and think being smart is cool!
Q: Where do the participant come from?
A: Everywhere! We have students from almost every state, Greece, Turkey, China, Singapore, Belgium, Ghana...the list goes on!
Q: What is the housing like?
A: Smith's campus houses, feature spacious rooms, each with large communal space for evening activities and movie watching or just relaxing and talking with friends. Students love the food from breakfast to dinner, where you can choose from many hot and cold options. Every Thursday night is an outdoor barbecue, and our food has been consistently rated as some of the best college campus food in the country, so don't worry! Our dining services source local food whenever possible and are able to accommodate many diverse diets. We can also accommodate students with allergies, gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian diets. We cannot guarantee kosher meals.
Q: What do the students have to say?
A: “The course was very open-ended and allowed us to explore all the things we thought were interesting”
“We spent a lot of time learning all the skills that we needed, and from there we could expand on and explore all the things we liked.”
“We did a lot of hands-on labs I could never have done in high school.”
“The most valuable experience I had at SSEP was the college dorm experience. I am much more confident about going to college and meeting people that are interested in what I am than I was before.”
“Being in SSEP was a valuable experience that combines science and engineering learning with a college experience.”
“I really liked how the faculty allowed everyone to be comfortable talking during discussions. It allowed me to learn more by asking more questions.”
“Having to share my work gave me more confidence about my writing. I learned so much more in this class, but at the same time had a ton of fun.”
“I loved the classroom dynamics, with both my peers and the faculty inspiring me to write more often and more freely. By the end of the first week, the class felt like a community. It was truly an amazing experience like no other.”
“It was a positive environment, and there were absolutely no limitations put on writing style, word choice or topic. This created a very open-ended and comfortable feel.”
“It was truly inspiring to interact with a professional writer who also happens to be an excellent teacher.”