As parents we're looking for a summer camp for our 11-year-old son. He is a straight "A" student and we want him to have a good time but we also want to give him a jump start on thinking about college and choosing a career.
He and his friends like science, play video games and skateboard and do other things typical of boys his age. Is it too early to encourage him to start thinking about a career?
While it may seem early for you to start worrying about your son's career aspirations, it certainly isn't too soon for you to think about what the requirements are for him to become a success in a field that interests him.
Because your concerns are reflected by a growing number of parents, my role as a college consultant is increasingly taking on the role of career adviser. A number of colleges and universities have summer programs that focus on science and developing leadership skills and offer classes for academic credit. A growing number of schools offer summer programs in computer and technology applications. Many of these programs are available to kids as young as 6.
Brown University (www.brown.edu/academics/pre-college/spark) offers a two-week program for science in middle school. This two-week program consists of a range of courses that students can chose (either one two-week course or two one-week courses), carefully selected scientific inquiry activities, inspiring science talks, as well as thought-provoking leadership activities. Students will study the foundations of one or two scientific disciplines, while also having the opportunity to participate in programs that help adolescents develop into responsible, globally aware citizens.
The University of Chicago (uchicago8-px.rtrk.com/summer/summer-school/middle-school-gr-6-8) has a pre-algebra, algebra and geometry program for grades 5-8.
University of Chicago's Digital Media Academy offers exposes students to the possibilities of turning his interest in video games into a career.
Teens and pre-teens can explore game programming with Python or C++, digital filmmaking, 3-D game development, music and video production, or 3-D role-playing games and strategy. Kids ages 6 through 12 embark on adventures in comic creation, digital photography, and Web design.
Digital Media Academy students may also enroll in a pre-college experience and produce digital projects of their own. See http://www.digitalmediaacademy.org/teens-kids-camp/locations-dates/the-university-of-chicago/ for registration and course descriptions.
I recommend these programs because they are narrowly focused on students who have similar interests. The 12- through 17-year-old age groups offer the opportunity to interact with students who are his age or slightly older. Since most careers in technology require working as part of a team, this should give him that jump-start you are looking for.
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