Spotlight: Summer Academy

“I LOST MY SUMMER BUT FOUND MY FUTURE.”- Summer Academy Participant

Summer Academy is a six-week academic boot camp designed to prepare Scholars for college success. Our rigorous program provides 350+ hours of academic instruction in college-level writing, math, and other STEM courses. Academics are combined with admissions counseling, college orientation, and social-emotional enrichment sessions. Summer Academy equips our scholars with the information and opportunities they need to attend their “best-fit” selective colleges and thrive once on campus.

Summer Academy is free to students. All of the costs, including transportation to Summer Academy, housing, and meals are covered by Thrive Scholars. Students also receive a new laptop and a $500 stipend.

Thrive Scholars launched the Summer Academy in 2012 after finding that a large percentage of Scholars were transitioning out of their intended majors due to struggling academically during their freshman year. The Academy was designed to offset the discrepancy in academic preparation between many low-income students and those from more affluent schools.

Scholars participate in the Summer Academy twice — after their 11th grade year and again after their 12th grade year. Summer Academy for rising 12th graders often takes place at Amherst College and the Summer Academy for rising college first-years is often held at the University of Southern California.

Academic Preparation

Summer Academy’s non-graded Calculus and English writing courses have been traditionally taught by college professors from Amherst College, Emerson College, MIT, Smith, UCLA and USC. Assessments determine students’ math competency at entry, and students are grouped accordingly to maximize learning. The whole-group instruction is complemented by multiple hours of small-group practice led by teaching assistants.

Enrichment Sessions

Throughout the Academy, Scholars participate in tailored enrichment programming.

Each program day includes a personal and professional development component. During this time, juniors hear presentations from selective colleges, receive admissions advising and financial aid counseling, and work on college applications.

Seniors focus on preparing for the social emotional demands of college and mapping their campus resources. Thrive Scholars program alumni also share advice and relay their experiences. Seniors will meet individually with a College Success Counselor who will be their go-to person at Thrive Scholars for support throughout their time in college.