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In less than two months, my oldest son will be a senior in high school.
I can hardly even believe that this sweet face…
Is now covered in hair, driving his own car, working at his own job, and looking into colleges.
Especially because at times basic things like what to eat for lunch and/or how to put one’s clothing into the washing machine still seem elusive.
I want the world to know that I am 100% not ready for him to not live in my house on a day to day basis.
Perhaps it’s an unpopular opinion, but I am not one of those moms who is counting down the days until my children leave me. I want them to pursue whatever they want in life and I am supportive of them spreading their wings, I’m just not looking forward to it.
That said, there are a lot of exciting things that I revel in them experiencing—leaving home, college life, coming back home because you majored in art and realized you can’t afford to live in New York and pursue your dream without an actual job, that sort of stuff.
While we haven’t quite decided if our oldest is going to go straight off to a 4-year university from high school or go the community college route, we do maintain high expectations for his academic achievement and are always looking for enrichment opportunities for him.
Sometimes they come to us when we aren’t even looking.
Recently, we got a letter in the mail congratulating him on being nominated for participation in a college summer program called the Envision Experience.
If you’ve never heard of it, this is a series of immersive career exploration and leadership development programs, set at prestigious colleges and universities across the United States, for students in middle and high school.
This is how the Envision Experience website describes them, “Located at top college campuses across the country, Envision programs are taught by subject matter experts and built on modern, 21st-century learning principles. From performing a surgery using virtual reality, to conducting a mock trial in an actual courtroom, to learning how to create a grassroots organization to affect positive change, Envision programs provide practical, hands-on learning experiences that students call “amazing” and parents call “transformative.””
There are several different programs, geared at a variety of ages. The college summer program Dude 1 will be attending, the Envision Game & Technology Academy, is a nomination based college summer program (meaning you get in through nominations, or you have to complete a rigorous application process) at George Mason University.
Because he has always loved gaming, technology, and design (he wants to be a graphic designer) this is the perfect college summer program for him to attend a year before he graduates from high school, and we are so excited for the opportunity.
If you have a middle or high school aged student you’d like to send to a college summer program, the Envision Experience may be a good fit. Here are a few things you should know before you decide.
10 Things Every Parent Should Know About Envision Experience College Summer Program for Students
The Envision Experience has a lot of history.
It began in 1985 and has served over 800,000 students since it began.
This summer alone they will operate 130 individual sessions at 37 different locations, including programs in China, Australia, South Africa, and New Zealand.
The educators involved are the real deal.
It’s not a program run by a bunch of recent college grads who haven’t quite found a full-time gig.
These programs are developed by educators and subject-matter professionals. At the Game & Technology Academy my son is attending, students will get the opportunity to learn from leading experts from George Mason’s Computer Game Design Program, including the Founding Director of George Mason’s Computer Game Design program.
And the curriculum is amazing.
As a former teacher (with a Master’s degree in Education even), this is the type of pre-college summer program I want every child to have access to. They use innovative tools and techniques, they offer activities that mirror real-world challenges and facilitate critical thinking and communication among the groups, and they encourage curiosity, problem solving, and investigation in a way that ignites one’s passion for learning.
Added bonus, the kids in the program learn leadership skills and other valuable skills, like time management and informational analysis, that will not only prove useful in their schooling, but also in their careers.
It allows you to experience a little college before you have to go off to a lot of college.
They offer day programs, but they also provide the full college immersion experience—staying on campus, eating in the dining hall, walking to and from class, doing your laundry.
I’m relatively certain that he won’t wash a single thing the entire two weeks he is away, and this is based on experience gained from knowing teenage him for quite some time.
But all that other stuff is totally on the table.
They offer a wide range of programs.
In a variety of fields—medicine, engineering, computer technology, law, even culinary arts.
Whether your child dreams of being a neurosurgeon or a pastry chef, Envision Experience probably has a program they would be inspired by.
You can see the entire list here: Envision Experience Programs
And, you don’t have to be in high school to attend.
While the largest program offerings are in the high school age group, Envision Experience offers programs for students in grades 3 through 12.
You can earn college credit through some of their programs.
At a good price.
And, everyone knows how expensive college credit can be when you’re actually enrolled in college.
Parents and kids love these programs.
We know two families whose children have attend an Envision Experience program and both of them had great things to say about them.
You can see reviews from other attendees and their parents here: Envision Experience Reviews
You can ask your educator for a nomination.
The application process is easier if your child receives a nomination, but it’s entirely possible that your child’s educator or school isn’t familiar with the Envision Experience college summer program your child is interested in. Go ahead and send them this link and ask for a nomination for your student: Nominate a Student
Now for the fine print: they aren’t cheap.
The program Dude 1 is planning to attend is $4,000 for two weeks!
Fortunately they understand that some of us aren’t actually made of money so they allow for a payment plan, and provide fundraising ideas for us to explore.
We decided to send out letters to friends and family, and use social media to ask for support. And, I dedicated my birthday to him on Facebook, because, believe it or not, I’d rather be able to send him to this awesome college summer program than buy another flowery top from Stitch Fix.
We’d be forever grateful if you made a donation to Dude 1’s summer college program fund and you can do so by sending it via Paypal to firstname.lastname@example.org.