Fourth of July

Today, our students followed their SAT class with a riveting game of Taboo and or intense game of soccer.  After essay writing class we left campus for a special treat.  In honor of the Fourth of July,  we took the train from Davis Square near Tufts University to Harvard Square.  Students broke up into groups and explored the Cambridge commercial hub.  After all the fun, we traveled back to Medford on the train and watched the fireworks along the Boston Skyline from the roof of Tufts University library.

The view was priceless.

Tuesday at Tufts

Students were up early for their first SAT class followed by individual meetings with the Summerfuel college counselors. Students not in a counseling session got started on their SAT homework, essay class reading, or took a brake with new friends.

After dinner, students walked to Eaton Hall for an interactive workshop on the college admissions process with both college counselors. Summerfuel residential assistants offered insights from their recent college application experiences. Finally, Summerfuel college counselors brought students to the computer lab to discuss effective college research strategies.

Tomorrow is July 4th and were excited to celebrate the holiday with this dynamic group of students! More to come..

First Day of Class


Today was the first day of class.  Students were up bright and early for their first diagnostic SAT exam. After lunch, students spent time relaxing and getting to know one another by playing soccer and card games.

Next, our Summerfuelers were divided into two groups for essay writing class. To begin the process of constructing the perfect personal essay, students filled a blank sheet of paper with statements beginning with “I remember” to jump start the creative process.  After dinner and a moment to rest, read, and regroup, students moved on the final workshop of the day—an intensive self-assessment and resume session with Summerfuel college counselors.


Move-In Day

Yesterday, we welcomed our newest class of Summerfuelers to Tufts University.  Students traveled from as far as Johannesburg, Dubai, London, and France; and as close as Connecticut and New York.  Students moved into their dorm rooms and were introduced to their roommates.  After a delicious dinner in Carmichael Dining Hall, we walked across Tufts’ breathtaking campus to Eaton Hall for an orientation with Summerfuel staff, resident assistants, and college counselors.  Students got to know each other through RA-led community-building exercises that brought on the laughter.  We learned tons of fun tidbits about each other and realized how much we have in common.

125 days to Summerfuel 2012!

We’re eagerly crossing each day off of our calendars as we countdown to summer 2012.  Check back soon for more detailed updates!

Last Night of CAP Berkeley 2011

We celebrated the end of classes by putting on a surprise party for the students. Their everyday writing classroom was transformed with decorations, glow lights, and snacks into a place where they could let loose and enjoy each other’s company one last time. The staff put a lot of thought into “Paper Plate Awards” that highlighted each student’s personality. Some of the more creative: The Deep Sleeper, Shops With a Purpose, and Most likely to paint the C red (you’ll have to ask your students about this one!). Then, everyone was given a group photo taken at Stanford University, and some chose to sign it like a yearbook (week-and-a-half book just doesn’t have the same ring). It was easy to see that, in addition to all the progress we made in the college admissions process, we were able to make great friends.

Bay Area Campus Tours

We began our off campus excursions with the University of San Francisco, perched on a hill about five blocks from the Bay itself. The kids enjoyed learning about this Jesuit university and how its core values of service and scholarship might guide their own college selection process. A tour of the on-campus church gave some perspective on feeling like a small campus in the middle of a large city.

The next day, we went to UC Santa Cruz. Although it’s only 10 minutes from the beach, going to UCSC must be like living in a forest! Students applying here are hoping for the best of both worlds, but either way, they will get a laid-back experience with some of the lowest stress rates among the UC schools.

You know it’s a full day when we get to visit two campuses and get back to Berkeley before dinner! After touring UCSC, the students bused it back up to Palo Alto to get a look at the top-tier Stanford University. Apparently, we saved the best tour guide for last, because Chris was informative while still keeping our tired kids interested and engaged. Many of us were amazed by the breadth of campus (16 Disneyland parks would fit within the grounds) and the amount of thought that has been put into the construction of the university.

San Francisco Excursion

After a full week of classes, the students finally got the chance to experience the big city — San Francisco!  After the usual morning SAT class, we all headed to the BART (subway) station to take a quick ride into the city.  One of the great advantages of living in Berkeley is its close proximity to San Francisco!

Our first stop – the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SF MOMA).  The big group split into smaller groups to spend the next few hours exploring the many exhibits the museum had to offer.  The modern paintings, sculptures and exhibits intrigued the students, with some pieces being more easy to interpret than others.  The visit ended with many students buying unique souvenirs at the gift shop.

With the MOMA’s proximity to Union Square, the next obvious stop on our trip was this famous shopping district!  Again, the students were split into smaller groups based on shopping interests, after which point they scattered in several directions, excited for the many shopping prospects.  Time quickly flew by while scouring the sales in one of the many stores lining the roads around the square, or in the 5-story mall that sits just one block away, and the students barely noticed the time passing or their growing hunger.

Around 7:30, we all headed to nearby Chinatown to eat together.  On California Street, which boasts one of the steepest hills in the city, we watched the cable cars go by as we dined on fine Chinese cuisine.  After eating, the fatigue of a long day set in, and we all headed back to BART for the journey home.  One last stop, however, before making our way back to Unit One – Yogurtland!  This frozen yogurt establishment is one of the most popular in Berkeley, with endless flavor and topping options — a perfect snack for the walk back to the dorm, and a sweet ending to a great day!