Summer Experience at Stanford’s EPGY and UC Berkeley’s SIG Program

May 17, 2017

Going to summer school doesn’t always sound appealing at first, but it’s often more rewarding and exciting than it seems. Take it from TerenceZ! Now a USC student, he shares his experience at Stanford’s EPGY and UC Berkeley’s SIG Program. 

Summer is truly the most fantastic time of the year we are finally rewarded with a break from the dull monotony known as school. But to college admission officers, how you spend your summers is key. Gone are the simple summers where all that happens is nothing much, relaxing at home,or nothing, just having some friends over.That certainly doesnt mean you stop having fun, though.

I was blessed with the opportunity to attend EPGY at Stanford and SIG at UC Berkeley during my sophomore and junior summers, respectively. Both were on-campus summer programs that give students the opportunity to either pursue a subject area further than what typical high school classes allow with other students that share similar interests. There were a plethora of different courses offered at both camps, thus allowing every student to find at least one thing that they love.

The biggest benefit of the two summer programs is that because of their prestige, they attract the best and most passionate students in each field. Its surprising how much more one can learn when the entire class is constantly engaged, attentive, and always willing to test theories out. I was amazed when I got to the Frontiers of Physicsclass at EPGY and discovered the passion students had for exploring the edge of our universe and the mysteries it holds. The teachers were also highly specialized and enthusiastic, and I quickly realized the advantageswe got to experiment with explosives (under supervision, of course) at SIG and at EPGY we got the opportunity to visit the Lick Observatory, a large telescope owned by the UC system.

Of course, if youll be living, eating, and learning with the same people, you are bound to make some pretty close friends. And yes, thats one of the main benefits of investing three weeks of your summer to attend a summer program. I personally have made friends that I still talk to, even two years down the road. As an underclassmen, you’ll also have the advantage of knowing friends who’ll go through the application process before you, and will be able to help you out when it’s your turn. Plus, you get to visit when they are in college and get a personalized tour!

Finally, we also got to experience the “college vibe” at both schools before we applied. If you have a school that you are interested in, spending a few weeks of your summer there will definitely learn more about the school’s academic offerings and culture. Both summer programs provide a rather extensive tour of the school, so students get to know the environment and the resources you’ll have access to as a college student. It’s a shame there weren’t that many college students on campus, but the ones that were there were often enthusiastic and happy to answer any questions you have about their school. Some may even give you a tour.

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​What do you think? Are you attending summer school this summer? Let us know in the comment section below! 

Browse Successful Application Files

Stanford ‘20

Accepted to Stanford, UC Berkeley, UCLA, Washington, UCSD, UC Davis, Cal Poly, UC Irvine

Bay Area Teen with Exclusive Advice about Applying to Stanford
Stanford ‘21

Accepted to Stanford

A Questbridge Match and an aspiring engineer who plans to solve global issues using business, law, politics, and, of course, science.
Stanford ‘21

Accepted to Stanford, Harvard, MIT, UC Berkeley

My spirit animal is Pikachu (that is, a math/science, politics-loving Pikachu!)
Stanford ‘20

Accepted to Stanford, GA Tech, BC, UCLA

I was originally born in China, and came to the United States at the age of 2. In my free time, I enjoy playing video games, frisbee, and archery!

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