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Record-Breaking Attendance for 2022 Summer College at Syracuse University

By Amy Kruse

This summer, Syracuse University’s Summer College welcomed its largest cohort of high school students in its over 60-year history. More than 1,000 students from around the world enrolled in an on-campus or online pre-college course through Syracuse University. This was the first time in two years that pre-college students were on campus for the program.

“I am overjoyed that so many high school students chose to attend Summer College at Syracuse University,” said Chris Cofer, executive director at the Office of Pre-College Programs. “We made a concerted effort to maintain a robust and diversified portfolio of over 80 course offerings, and I think students responded to that.”

In the spring of 2020, Summer College had to quickly pivot in reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic. Up until that point, Summer College had only been an in-person program. All high school students who attended pre-college at Syracuse University would spend 2-6 weeks experiencing college life on campus. They lived in residence halls, attended college-level classes, ate meals in a dining hall and went on field trips to regional landmarks.

As the number of COVID cases started to rise in early 2020, many institutions around the country cancelled their summer pre-college programs. Syracuse University’s Office of Pre-College Programs decided to take a risk and move all of their courses to an online format. “My team was prepared to take on the challenge of creating a program that met students where they were—at home,” Cofer said. “We viewed it as an opportunity to provide a robust, online pre-college program that high school students could attend virtually in the comfort and safety of their homes.”

Students responded, and the program exceeded enrollment expectations. Summer College had 837 high school students enroll in their online summer program, an 18% increase from the prior year.

In 2021, Summer College decided to only offer online courses again due to the high level of COVID cases. While students couldn’t have the experience of living on campus for yet another summer, the program tried to emulate a campus experience. Students had ‘community connectors’ in place and they could take part in virtual events and activities to unwind and meet students in other online courses. Professors had virtual office hours for extra help and students could take advantage of other Syracuse University resources offered online like the writing center.

Although case numbers were down significantly in 2022, the decision to offer an in-person option wasn’t easy. “We had to make the decision in the fall of 2021,” explains Cofer. “I chose to stay true to our general operating philosophy to meet students where they are. We anticipated that cases would be lower and that students would want to be in-person again.”

They were right, and a record was broken. 1,060 high school students from 40 U.S. states and 18 countries attended Summer College this year.

By offering more than 80 courses both in-person and online, a greater population of students could attend pre-college. While most students attended the in-person program, more than 150 took their classes online. For some, it was because of the ongoing risk of COVID. For others, an online program fits better into their lives because of jobs or other responsibilities.

Historically, high school students attended Summer College for many reasons. They can test out a college major to find out if it’s something they want to pursue. It’s also a valuable differentiator on a college application. Many students are interested in attending Syracuse University, but they want to see what it’s like before applying. This year, those reasons are all still true, but living through a pandemic has caused students to have different perspectives, challenges and needs. Two weeks of living on a college campus was transformational for these students.

“A quote from a 2022 Summer College parent sums it up better than I can,” said Cofer. “They said, I have noticed that my son holds himself differently now. He moves through the world with a bit more confidence. A bit more assured of himself. He’s comfortable going off and figuring something out more than he was before.” Applications for Summer College 2023 will open in December. Applications for Accelerated Semester Online courses, which are offered during the school year, are open now.

Syracuse University’s Pre-College Program Announces 50% Discount for Native American, Indigenous and Military Dependent High School Students

Syracuse University continues its commitment to welcoming and celebrating a diverse student body by providing financial incentives to students from a variety of communities who attend Summer College, the university’s nationally recognized pre-college program for high school students.

“Educational opportunities such as Syracuse University’s Summer College are essential and necessary for young people to realize their inherent potential as individuals and as citizens,” says College of Professional Studies dean, Michael Frasciello. “Summer College introduces them to the transformational power of a college education.”

Syracuse University, whose campus resides on the ancestral lands of the Onondaga Nation, firekeepers of the Haudenosaunee, is committed to empowering and supporting Native American and Indigenous students. As part of this extensive commitment, the College of Professional Studies has created a 50% tuition discount on Summer College for students from any indigenous tribe or nation. The Indigenous Student discount will help establish Summer College as a viable pre-college pathway to high school students who later access the university’s Haudenosaunee Promise Scholarship, Honor Scholarship and Indigenous Pathways Grant – all developed to help make a Syracuse education affordable for Indigenous students.

Continuing Syracuse University’s distinguished legacy of leadership in addressing the needs of our nation’s veterans and military-connected communities, Summer College will now offer military-connected high school students an increased tuition discount of 50%, up from 20%.

“Extending financial support to pre-college age children of veterans, active military, guard and reserve members is another example of our institutional commitment to those who serve and have served,” Frasciello says.

After celebrating 60 years of Summer College in 2020, the program has evolved in numerous ways. In 2020 and 2021, Summer College offered its entire portfolio of summer courses online due to Covid-19 restrictions. Moving ahead, Summer College will offer on-campus, online and hybrid experiences for students, as well as on-location programs for commuter students in NYC and Los Angeles.

From July through August 2022, high school sophomores, juniors and seniors can experience college life on campus, online or in a hybrid format during 6-week, 3-week, or 2-week sessions. 

High school students from more than 50 countries and 45 states have enrolled in a Syracuse University pre-college program, and 98% report that their experience prepared them for academic life and beyond.

“Students not only learn about what it’s like to be a college student, they leave the program with more confidence, enthusiasm and a sense of being ready for college,” says Christopher Cofer, executive director of the Office of Pre-College Programs. “This year, students can choose from over 100 courses in one of our pre-college programs.”

Many students complete their Summer College courses with a new sense of themselves and a new perspective of the world. Upon completion of Summer College, students often tell us they had no idea how much the experience would mean to them, how much of an impact it would have on them, when they arrived often only two weeks beforehand,” Cofer says.

Russian High School Student Stands Out From Afar in Syracuse University Online Class

Kseniia Borovkova is a junior in high school in Saratov, Russia. Saratov is a large town surrounded by forests and the Volga River, the longest river in Europe.

At 5 a.m. this past school year, while her parents and brother were still asleep, Borovkova signed on to her computer to participate in the live synchronous session of her Syracuse University strategic leadership class that started at at 8 p.m. ET. Like most high school students, Borovkova relies on computer technology to complete her studies, conduct research and connect with others through social media.

Through online research, Borovkova explored American universities that would provide her with unique programs of study. Syracuse University had just what she was looking for: an accelerated online course she could take during the school year that will help her in her future business and academic pursuits.

Borovkova applied for and was accepted into the Accelerated Semester Online program through University College’s Office of Pre-college Programs. Read more here.

Syracuse University Partners With Syracuse City School District to Provide Pathways to Higher Learning

Syracuse University embraces its commitment to promoting positive change that simultaneously advances knowledge and opportunity for all citizens. A large part of that commitment is providing access to a Syracuse University education to local high school students.

In partnership with the Syracuse City School District, the University will offer scholarships to up to 36 rising high school juniors to explore college life through its Summer College program. Sponsorship of the city school students was made possible, in part, through a generous donation from IBEW Local 43 and the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) Finger Lakes Chapter.

Read more here.

Student Stories: Celine

Celine attended Summer College – Online in 2020 and was enrolled in Broadcast and Digital Journalism: TV News Storytelling.

“I loved participating in the Syracuse University Summer College – Online experience for three reasons.

First, I was introduced to students from across the country who share my passion for broadcast journalism. Although I didn’t get to meet my professors and peers in person, I was still able to build deep connections and I continue to maintain contact with several of my classmates today.

Second, the welcoming and comfortable environment that was pervasive throughout the three-week course was very heartwarming. I was a bit nervous going into the program as I felt my lack of experience would hinder me from succeeding, however my concerns were quickly alleviated by the engaging and friendly instructors.

Finally, I learned a great deal of information about the broadcast industry and production process that I can now apply to my personal projects and future endeavors. This helped me pinpoint my interests and provided me with a better sense of what I want to study at university and consider for a future career.” 

Thanks for sharing, Celine!

“I had the best summer ever.”

All I can say is: don’t walk, run to attend Summer School at Syracuse University. I had the best summer ever.

From the minute I walked on the campus to check in, I felt a warm and friendly vibe. Syracuse makes everyone feel welcome. I made friends from all over the world.

To give you a sense of campus life, one of the fondest memories I have is, late at night,  going with a group of newly made friends to Insomnia. Insomnia bakes the most insanely delicious cookies. They were warm, fresh, chewy and provided just the right pick-me-up after studying at the library. It was a great place to mingle, get refueled and then go back to the dorm to play insanely competitive ping pong with the RA’s. There is a good balance of being independent, but also they keep checks on your safety. The RA’s go out of their way to make sure everyone feels included.

The program itself was just the right mix of intense study, but also fun. I formed a great relationship with the professor. They go out of their way to get to know the strengths of each student. I felt it prepared me for college life. I discovered how hard it can be to work as a member of a team to meet deadlines, and wrestle with whose idea will be chosen as the business pitch.  I learned things about myself as a leader, such as how to get buy-in and get people to rally behind one idea. I grew as a student.

Josh, a Summer College Launching a Business student from 2018.

Thank you for sharing, Josh!

“I learned so much more than I thought I ever would.”

Veronica, Summer College student 2018

When you reflect upon your Syracuse University College experience, what memories come to mind?

Summer College introduced me to many other students that were just as passionate as I was about what we learned in the classroom. Being able to work together with other students on a shared passion is something that I haven’t had the chance to do at my small high school. I met amazing people, as the friends I made quickly became family. We still talk on a daily basis and keep one another up to date on our lives.

How did Summer College help with your future endeavors?

Attending Summer College with a class dedicated to my passion, I learned so much more than I thought I ever would. Coming back [home], I was able to teach my classmates as well as teachers about what I had learned during my two weeks. I started a photography club where I give lessons and assign projects to the students and faculty of my school who join. Being able to pass on what I learned from my two weeks at Summer College to others has been so rewarding, as it inspired me to create a space where we can all learn from one another.

What would you say/what advice would you give to prospective students and/or their parents?

I know it can be scary going off for two weeks to live with a bunch of strangers, but it is definitely an experience worth having that will teach you what it will be like when the time finally comes to live on your own–and it’s not as scary as it sounds! You have people all around you who are experiencing the same thing for the first time and you quickly make friends as you all take care of one another. It is definitely an experience worth having before going through the college application process, as it will also teach you what it is you’re looking for in a university.

Thank you for sharing, Veronica!

SU Faculty, Staff Qualify for Discount on Summer College Program

Summer College announces that the dependents of Syracuse University faculty and staff are eligible for a 15 percent discount for the 2019 Summer College for High School Students program. Also new for 2019 is an exclusive 15 percent discount for Central New York residents of Onondaga, Oswego, Madison, Cayuga, Cortland and Oneida counties. The discounts can be combined for a total of 30 percent when students elect to reside in the residence hall. Information about all discounts can be found here.

Syracuse University Summer College offers high school students the opportunity to explore their interests and experience college life for one to six weeks, with more than 40 credit and noncredit pre-college programs. Students must be 15 years old by the start of the program. Architecture students must be rising high school seniors.

Students will learn about potential careers and college majors while taking courses such as sports analytics, aerospace engineering, filmmaking, cybersecurity and public communication, to name a few. They will live in a residence hall with other high school students from around the world and participate in a range of social and recreational events while balancing the academic rigor of college courses.

Nazrun Chowdhury, a senior at Marble Hill School for International Studies in the Bronx, attended the 2018 Summer College program. Chowdhury says the benefits of the program far outweighed the challenges he faced balancing homework, the rigors of schoolwork, and socializing with his new friends. “Summer College not only opens a window of experience for students to see what college demands from you and what it takes for you to go the distance, it really opens your eyes what college life is like,” he says.

The 2019 program runs from June 29-Aug. 9. Applications will be available beginning Dec. 1, 2018. For more information, email sumcoll@syr.edu or call 315.443.5000.

University College Hosts National Conference of Summer Sessions Providers

Each year, AUSS members attending the organization’s annual conference take an excursion to a local area of interest. This year, the group visited Beak & Skiff Apple Orchards in Lafayette, New York.

University College hosted the national Association of University Summer Sessions (AUSS) annual conference Oct. 14-16 at the Marriott Syracuse Downtown. Since its formation in 1917 (Syracuse University is a founding member), the AUSS has served as a forum for discussing the theoretical and practical issues of summer sessions. Administrators from 40 colleges and universities across the country, and as far away as Alaska and Hawaii, attended the conference to discuss best practices and challenges, as well as brainstorm on how to manage and execute trends in summer sessions.

The round-table format allowed for informal but in-depth discussion on topics of interest and provided for professional development and growth. Topics included programming, finances and revenue sharing, online and hybrid course offerings, obstacles presented when recruiting international students and winter sessions.

Chris Cofer, executive director of Summer@Syracuse has been a member of the AUSS for 8 years. “The organization offers valuable information and perspective from my colleagues across the country,” says Cofer. “Association members who conduct research and development at their institutions are gracious in sharing what is and what is not working on their respective campuses.”

AUSS members reported the continuing trend of flat or declining on-campus undergraduate summer session enrollments, while both online and pre-college enrollments continue to rise. SU’s Summer College Program saw an increase of 41.5 percent this year: from 429 students in 2017 to 607 in 2018. Of those 2018 students, 530 hailed from 33 U.S. states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, while the other 77 came from 23 other countries.

A Record Season for Summer College

Summer College students explore new
technologies in the MakerSpace and 3D
Printing program.

A wave of teenagers swept onto campus this summer, when Syracuse University Summer College for High School Students welcomed more than 600 students from 33 states and 23 foreign countries for the Summer 2018 session. The students, who are rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors in high school, took part in the pre-college experience which offered more than 35 programs in 10 of Syracuse University’s schools and colleges.  Each program was two to six weeks long.

Waitlists started early for the most popular programs—Sound Engineering and Audio Production, Filmmaking, and Architecture.

Innovative new programs introduced in 2018 included Technology in Sport Management, Art & Craft of Animation, and Cybersecurity: Hack-a-thon Challenge.

Summer College students can take noncredit and credit-bearing programs, and explore areas of interest as they consider future college majors. They also learn independence and time management, as they navigate campus life and complete college-level assignments. “Summer College prepared me to enter college with confidence,” says Regan Talley, who attended Summer College in 2015 and is now a second-year student at Newhouse.

A Summer College forensics class taught
by SU professor Jim Spencer and Beth
Burns.

Summer College leaves plenty of time for fun and socializing as well as learning. This year’s students flocked to Ernie Davis Fitness center and attended Friday Night Flicks on the Quad. There were Twilight Tours of campus and weekend field trips to Green Lakes State Park, Darien Lake Theme Park, and Niagara Falls. Students enrolled in the Team and Leadership Academy went on a white­water rafting trip in the Adirondacks.

Students who were awarded Summer College scholarships from the Charles Hayden Foundation hosted a Poster Session at Schine Student Center to display work they created in their WRT 104 class. Omar Ramirez enhanced his poster’s impact by performing a rap song he wrote about homelessness. His Summer College writing class tapped into his creative side. “My writing has improved so much,” he said. “This class has taught me to think critically and analytically.”

Joelis Paula found a community of peers at Summer College. “I was so sad to leave,” she said. “I got so close to these people.”