9 Awesome Things You Could Be Doing This Summer

With nearly three months of school-free time over the summer, the possibilities of how to spend your days are seemingly endless. You could tap into your sense of adventure by trying a new activity or traveling abroad, exercise your scholarly side by exploring a topic you’ve always been interested in, or work your social networking skills by meeting students from all over the country and the world with diverse backgrounds and interests.

Or do all of the above and more through one of Brown University’s Pre-College Summer Programs.

With multiple sessions that last from one to seven weeks, Brown’s Pre-College Summer Programs include more than 300 courses taught on the Brown campus, online and abroad. To be clear, this isn’t summer school. No matter what program you choose, you’ll be engaged in hands-on learning activities and research in a campus setting that will give you a true taste of college life and academics.

To give you a sense of what the programs are all about, here’s a sampling of some of the awesomely unique things you could be doing if you choose a summer at Brown.

1. Get your feet wet

It could be said that no summer is complete without some time on the water. At the Brown Environmental Leadership Lab (BELL) programs in both Rhode Island and the Florida Keys, these idyllic locations are your classroom and home during your session. BELL: Rhode Island takes place amidst the forest, lakes and streams of the Whispering Pines Conference Center in West Greenwich, while BELL: Florida Keys students will visit the MarineLab in Key Largo. You’ll explore the ecosystem – including hiking, wading in wetlands and snorkeling, depending on location – and investigate the challenges faced by the local environment.

2. Hike Alaska’s Russian River to witness the salmon run

Much like its Rhode Island counterpart, BELL: Alaska gets you out of the classroom and exploring the unique environment of the U.S.’s northernmost state. For the two weeks, you’re there, you’ll spend time learning about how the state balances economic growth with cultural and environmental preservation and some of the challenges of striking that balance. Among many exciting activities, you’ll count salmon with Fish and Wildlife employees, venture into a rocky intertidal zone to catch low-tide and assay species, and spend two days mid-session at the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies’ Peterson Bay Field Station.

3. Ponder the possibility of happiness

It might sound like a heavy topic, but if philosophy is one of those subjects you’ve always wanted to dive deeper into, now’s your chance through Summer@Brown. And if writing, engineering, drawing or pretty much any other subject is more your thing, there’s probably a course among the more than 200 to choose from that has you covered. Reflecting Brown’s broad liberal-arts curriculum, courses range from one to four weeks and are taught at the first-year college level. Outside of the classroom, students will experience all that college life has to offer while living on the Brown campus and taking part in a full program of activities and events.

4. Conduct a forensic analysis of a crime scene

Ever wonder what it would be like to be a neurologist, rocket scientist or CSI investigator? Brown’s STEM I and STEM II programs offer middle schoolers and rising 9th and 10th graders the opportunity to explore an array of science-based disciplines of their choosing through hands-on lab experiments, research talks, field trips and independent projects. You might find yourself launching a high-altitude balloon that you and your classmates engineered in a class on flying machines, building a pacemaker-like device to collect biological signals or even using scientific techniques to investigate a mock crime scene, depending on the program and course you choose.

5. Change the world

Even small actions can have far-reaching consequences and at the Brown Leadership Institute, you’ll learn how to take action on a social issue you care about. Understanding such issues is the first step, and through interactive learning activities including case studies, field trips, and discussions, as well as the diverse perspectives of classmates from dozens of countries around the world, you’ll gain a deeper knowledge of various social challenges facing the world today. Throughout the on-campus session, you’ll take part in activities like public speaking and a Challenge Course that will strengthen your leadership skills. You’ll then develop an Action Plan to address a specific issue and return home a socially responsible leader ready to make change happen.

6. Make croquetas in a Segovian kitchen.

Brown’s Pre-College Location-Based Programs offer immersive learning experiences that take students to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia; and abroad to Rome, Italy; to the IE University, one of Europe’s premier business schools, in Segovia, Spain; and to the rainforest of Monteverde, Costa Rica. In each of these programs, the location becomes the classroom, with learning that’s as much academic as it is experience-based. Depending on the program you choose, you might spend part of your time touring Rome with local architecture and cultural experts, visiting with a local Segovian family to cook and sample traditional cuisine, conducting research in CDC labs, or going on a nighttime hike to track nocturnal butterflies in the rainforest, among many other cultural and academic activities.

7. Experience the benefits of a virtual classroom

If you can’t make it to the Brown campus for a summer program, you still have options. Several of our Pre-College courses are offered online, where you’ll delve into the same topics, learn from the same instructors and engage with the same types of exceptional students that you would if you were in the classroom. You also have the option of taking an online course while taking part in a program on the Brown campus. Online courses offer the same rigorous, active learning experiences that those on campus do, and subjects range from neuroscience, to solar-powered energy, to writing, to leadership, all of which you can learn without having to leave home.

8. Get a jumpstart on your college credits

If you’re a rising or graduating high school senior, you can start your undergraduate career a bit early through the Pre-Baccalaureate Program. Choose from a selection of subjects ranging from American studies to visual arts. You’ll study alongside Brown undergraduates while experiencing life on campus and get some credits under your belt before heading off to college.

9. Advance your English skills

If English is your second language and you desire to strengthen your speaking and writing skills before college, the Course for English Language Learners at Brown could be a great option for you. The two-week courses focus on developing higher-level English language skills while exploring a range of interesting topics including American and global culture, history, economics and the arts. The program will give you a leg up on college as you experience life on the Brown campus, learn to balance academics and social activities and gain insight into the college application process.

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