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Dr. Kat’s List: Five Colleges with Great Summer Programs for Undergraduates

We all know how important it is for high school students to spend their summers productively in order to explore their interests, deepen their involvement, and learn something new about their goals. Just because you are in college does not mean that productive summers are any less important.

Colleges and universities across the US realize the value of spending the summer learning more about a particular career and actually obtaining hands-on experience. Many schools offer unique programs to help undergraduate students do just that. Here are Dr. Kat’s five colleges with great summer programs for undergraduates.

Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA

Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA offers one of the most unique summer program experiences in the country with The Mountaintop Summer Experience.

At Mountaintop, students of all different academic disciplines, from biology and STEM to English and political science, spend a summer living on South Mountain. Students live and work together in a former Bethlehem Steel research facility that has been converted into a learning space. Participants focus on a set project with the goal of discovering new and innovative ways to approach local, national, and even global problems.

The projects differ from year to year. Past years have included projects like developing an institution-wide composting center, creating videos to help students grasp economic principles, and building prosthetic limbs from natural and native materials.

Located in eastern Pennsylvania, Lehigh is a private research university with an undergraduate enrollment of just under 5,000.

Emory University, Atlanta, GA

The Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) at Emory University is one of the best of its kind. SURE allows undergraduate Emory students, as well as students from other universities, the opportunity to conduct their own research projects under the direction of a faculty mentor.

This program is unique because students don’t just have the opportunity to research, analyze, and present their own data and findings. They are also guided in proper research methods, ethics, and how best to pursue their studies outside the program and in graduate school.

A panel of faculty and graduate students helps guide the experience, making for a collective approach to furthering research and personal development. At the end of the experience, participants present their projects at a formal research symposium and have the opportunity to publish their research projects online.

Emory University, located in the heart of Atlanta, GA, is a private research university with an undergraduate enrollment of around 7,800.

Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL

If you’re considering a career in the legal profession, the Donald J. Weidner Summer for Undergraduates Program at Florida State University’s School of Law offers one of the oldest and largest programs of its kind.

In the Summer for Undergraduates Program, college students from across the country converge on FSU’s campus for a month.  Students are immersed into the realm of legal study including law classes, admissions seminars, and career guidance. Students attend daily classes that simulate first-year law school courses, and participate in writing workshops to improve legal communication skills. Program students also have the opportunity to visit the Florida Supreme Court and local law firms, and hear from prominent attorneys in different practice areas.

The program is highly competitive, but offers free room and board, meals, and a small stipend for the 60 students accepted every year.

Located in Florida’s state capital, FSU is a public space and sea-grant university with a heavy focus on research. FSU’s 16 colleges offer more than 275 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN

For undergraduates interested in pursuing a career in medicine, the Vanderbilt Summer Science Academy (VSSA) offers a unique opportunity for students to spend the summer participating in both research and clinical patient care.

Undergraduates participating in VSSA’s clinical research internships complete research projects under the leadership and guidance of a mentor. Students also spend time with resident and attending physicians directly observing clinical patient care. VSSA also offers a number of different program opportunities, from diabetes and pharmacology research, to leadership training and neuroscience education.

Vanderbilt University is a private research university with one of the most prominent academic medical centers in the country and an undergraduate enrollment of around 6,800.

University of Louisville, Louisville, KY

In an effort to help students learn more about graduate-level education in certain academic departments, the University of Louisville offers the Summer Research Opportunity Program for U of L students.

In this program, undergraduates work on individual research projects provided by mentors, while also participating in group seminars for research and graduate education. Students can participate in a research experience for any department, from social work and music to business and engineering. This 10-week program also allows students to share their research experience with other interested students through the program’s Research Day.

University of Louisville is a public state university with an undergraduate enrollment of just over 22,000.

Other schools with unique summer programs for undergraduate students include UCLA, University of Washington, University of Oregon, and University of Michigan.

If you’re struggling with how to spend your summer productively, IvyWise’s team of expert counselors has extensive experience counseling students and providing interesting and unique suggestions for summer experiences.  Contact us today for more information on our research services for summer programs or to set up an Initial Consultation!


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