Making Summer Count

Classes are coming to a close for our Summerfuelers. Over the past two weeks, students have studied with Princeton Review tutors in over 18 hours of SAT or ACT prep as well as completed 3 diagnostic tests. Many students have seen significant jumps in their scores and we are proud of all that they have accomplished. Students are also walking away with polished and edited personal statements after working with our essay writing specialists, Nikki and Caitlin. In addition, each student has logged over 8 hours in Admissions workshops with our veteran college counselors as well as at least 2 personalized, individual meetings going over things like likely-target-reach schools, financial aid, and the general application process. Students have truly made their summer count and are ready to start their junior and senior years of high school strong.


We also went on our final two college tours this week to the University of San Francisco and Stanford University.

USF is a medium-sized, private university affiliated with the Catholic Church. Students took a tour of their beautiful campus that had great views of the city. The motto at USF is “Change the World from Here” as the university has a strong social justice component – in fact, it has been on the Higher Ed Community Service Honor Roll for 8 years in a row. USF is also ranked in the Top 20 of entrepreneurial schools – about one third of students study something in the Business and Marketing fields. Our tour guides, both USF students, explained to us why they loved USF from the diversity to living in San Francisco to the strong Nursing program to caring faculty. As student interest went from our group, this was one of the most popular tours yet.









During free time, some of the guys played soccer on the quad and some girls got manicures and pedicures with Sarah. There were also water gun and water balloon fights with everyone and a movie night at the local cinema – Finding Dory was a huge hit!




Up next was Stanford. On Friday, Summerfuelers hopped on a bus to Palo Alto for a campus tour of one of the best universities in the world. Our tour guide, Lilly, did a great job giving us the history of Stanford and fun facts about the university. Students were in awe of the gorgeous campus as well as all of the opportunities available to students at Stanford. It was a great trip to round out our college tours!







We can’t believe the program is coming to an end! This has been a great group and they have made lasting friendships. Everyone is excited to hang out tonight all together one last time during our final celebration. On the agenda is a pizza party, root beer and coke floats, and a Karaoke and dance party with a DJ.





Happy Birthday, Carol!

Highlights from the day:

Carol turned 17!





Jackie and Ariel joined Sarah (RA) and Amani (Director) on a hike with beautiful views of Berkeley, Oakland, and San Francisco.



The College Admissions Workshop this evening was really helpful for students because they had a chance to do a mock reading of applications. Each student viewed three applications and decided which one would hypothetically be accepted into the university. Summerfuel’s college counselors both have experience working in Admissions or reading applications. Roseanna is a current reader for UC Berkeley, so students received valuable insight on what admissions officers are looking for and how they can put their best selves forward in their applications. To celebrate a job well done, a group of students went to a local ice cream shop after for milkshakes and ice cream sandwiches with fresh baked cookies. Yum!





PS. HI ALEX’S PARENTS! She’s back on the grid 🙂IMG_0809

Santa Cruzin’

Yesterday was an exciting day as we visited the University of California, Santa Cruz and the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. UC Santa Cruz is a large, public research university that is a part of the UC system. Summerfuelers learned a great deal about what it takes to be admitted and other fun facts from an admissions officer during an information session.
-In the 2014-15 Times Higher Education world rankings, UC Santa Cruz was ranked first in research influence as measured by the number of times its faculty’s published work is cited by scholars around the world.
-UCSC has phenomenal programs and esteemed faculty in engineering, biology, feminist studies … and many more, with 66 majors, 38 minors, and 52 concentrations available.
-There are ten residential colleges that students have a chance to join, each with a theme and dining options.
-Over 70% of undergraduate students are involved with research. Since there are significantly more undergraduate students than graduate students, UCSC faculty relies on undergraduate students to assist in conducting and publishing research.

The UCSC campus is huge, over 2,000 acres, and looks out over the beautiful Monterey Bay. Many students could not believe it was a university’s campus because, at times, it felt like we were in the middle of a national park as we walked through the redwood forests.  Everyone appreciated becoming a Banana Slug for the day and a couple of students are excited to submit a UCSC application in the future.





After our tour, we hopped back on the bus and headed over to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk for a fun evening riding roller coasters, eating fair food novelties, shopping, and walking on the beach. Students really enjoyed this time to decompress, relax, and enjoy themselves.







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Visiting Santa Clara University – The Campus with a Mission

Our first college visit was to the beautiful Jesuit university in the heart of Silicon Valley, Santa Clara University. SCU is a medium-sized, private university located in Santa Clara, California spanning 106 acres. The home of the Broncos has top notch programs in engineering and business, just to name a few. Students got to sit down with an admissions counselor for a quick Q&A session and student panel before going on a campus tour. We learned about the fundamental values of the university:

-Academic Excellence
-The Search for Truth, Goodness, and Beauty
-Engaged Learning
-Commitment to Students
-Service to Others
-Community and Diversity
-Jesuit Distinctiveness






After being prepped the day before by CAP-Berkeley Summerfuel college counselors, our students asked great questions during the information session and tour. Our tour guides, rising sophomores at the university, helped us understand why the school was the right fit for them and what they loved about SCU like the community building, food, commitment to social justice, students clubs and activities, and small, intellectually stimulating classes.



One of our awesome tour guides, a sophomore from Minnesota, was great about answering questions open and honestly- thank you, Sam!




Some of our students excitedly added SCU to their college list and others were able to appreciate it, but scratch it off theirs- either way, it was a very productive visit for Summerfuelers. We are looking forward to visiting UC Santa Cruz later today!


Can’t CAP our Fun

Today was filled with lots of challenging, yet rewarding classes – SAT prep, essay writing workshop, and a college admissions workshop. Students also started individually meeting with their assigned college counselors. These meetings will help them strategize about the college application process, get burning questions answered, and receive advice and assistance on what college(s) might be the best fit for them.


Peter meets with his college counselor, Jill, about what it takes to get into an Ivy League university.


During some free time in the afternoon. Pedro, one of our awesome RAs, set up some crafts for students to decompress and get creative. The ladies of CAP-Berkeley 2016 showed off their artistic side painting and decorating letters that spelled out Summerfuel. They look amazing!

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Coloring in the lines is not their style


What we’re looking forward to…

-Visiting Santa Clara University tomorrow and UC Santa Cruz on Thursday

-Exploring the vibrant city of San Francisco this weekend

Monday Recap

The first official day of CAP Berkeley is coming to a close and it’s been a big one for campers. This morning, everyone participated in a photo scavenger hunt. They explored Berkeley’s campus and the surrounding area in order to complete as many tasks as possible. Everyone turned in some really fun photos, check them out below. The SAT diagnostic test was scheduled in the afternoon. Students powered through the 4+ hour long test and came out looking exhausted, relieved, and proud all at the same time. The diagnostic test will help our instructors work with students to improve their scores through classes throughout the next two weeks.


Students enjoyed dinner in the dining hall and had the chance to meet their college counselors, Jill and Roseanna, for their first college admissions workshop. After a long day, there was some free time for everyone to relax and have fun – some even discovered an awesome frozen yogurt spot nearby. Stay tuned for more from CAP Berkeley!



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Drum rull please… our scavenger hunt winners were…. Mina, Iman, and Austin! Shout out to all that creativity.

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A Taste of Marketing & Advertising

In honor of World Chocolate Day, one of our faculty members has written a guest blog post to give you a taste (pun absolutely intended) of her class:

On #worldchocolateday Summerfuel Oxford Marketing & Advertising students participated in a tasting experiment to determine how whether there is real differentiation between food products and to what extent consumers can identify qualities such as organic, artisan and Fairtrade?

They first tasted 4 different bottled mineral waters ranging in price from 45p for 2 litres to £2.29 for 1 litre but no one could identify a sample by brand name, identify a brand with added electrolytes or correctly pick out the highest priced sample. Students learnt that brand equity may not translate to actual product differentiation in this category.

However, most students preferred a branded popcorn over the supermarket own brand and even asked where they could buy more supplies in Oxford, proving that sampling can lead to brand preference.

Again there was consensus about 4 different brands of milk chocolate; the UK market leader was the least popular and the students favoured the ethical brand Divine, the only Fairtrade chocolate company which is 44% owned by cocoa farmers, Divine’s commitment to social responsibility gives us even more reason to enjoy eating chocolate!

Popular brands charge up to 25% more for their products to fund their marketing campaigns, which in turn make us loyal to products. Back in the classroom we reviewed the marketing campaign from 2 of the leading water brands and the European market leader Evian “Live Young” campaign generated most approval.

Kay Alty,

July 7th 2016

Here are some photos Kay shared of her class, as well as a few from today’s activities: Museum Day and the Oxford Ghost Tour!

A Fun End to Week 1

Summerfuel Oxford has been busy today! Besides their classes, students dispelled the myth that there is no good British food on our British Food Tour. They got pies, sandwiches, fish & chips from the Covered Market, and then followed it up with candy from Hardy’s Old-Fashioned Sweets Shop and Oxford local favorite G&D’s.

In the evening, it was time to burn off all that sugar with a rigorous game of Capture the Flag.

Here are some photos, including Oxford Art and Architecture’s walking tour: