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.





A Day in the Life…

So, parents and friends of CAP Berkeley 2016, what exactly do Summerfuelers do in their free time? In between studying, essay writing, and college prep, students are often found…


Rockin’ their new Cal gear

Singing loud for all to hear


Taking selfies

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Playing Pokemon Go – gotta catch’em all!


Having dance parties


…and dance parties


Playing 4 square


…and other fun games


Going on Target and Walgreens excursions (Isis would like her mother to know she is keeping up with her hygiene)


Taking more selfies


Showing off their unique talents (like Go, Sophia, and Carol playing the piano!)


Exploring Berkeley’s campus and going into town


And, of course, beachin’


….honorable mention goes to late night Froyo runs (we love our ice cream and yogurt here at CAP Berkeley).

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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Lift off!

Dear CAP Berkeley Summerfuel Family and Friends,

I’m happy to say that our campers have arrived safely and they have already begun to embark on what is bound to be a memorable two weeks of learning, personal growth, friendship, and fun! Classes and major activities kick off Monday.  Despite jet lag and fatigue, our campers have been in top form.  You can stay updated on all of our camp happenings on the Summerfuel snapchat and right here on the CAP Berkeley blog. If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to email or give us a call at 646.465.2940 between 9am and 9pm PST.

Warm Regards,

Amani, Director


Our beautiful home for the next two weeks


Our first arrivals! So excited to have Jackie, Isis, and Ryan with us.



Maia, Matteo and Susanna hang in the airport while we wait for more Summerfuelers



In route to UC Berkeley from SFO

After orientation, we played some ice breakers to get to know everyone. Jake was our winner for Human Bingo!

After orientation, we played some ice breakers to get to know everyone. Jake was our winner for Human Bingo!

Goodnight Berkeley...

Goodnight Berkeley…

Finding the Right Program for You

High school program in Florence Italy

Well, that’s a no-brainer…Summerfuel, of course! Oh, would that it were so simple.

Sure, back in 1984, when Summerfuel first pioneered summer programs for high school students, the decision was relatively straightforward. These days, it’s a jungle out there.

If you are blessed enough to have the opportunity to participate in a summer program, you had best do everything you can to find the right one for you. The field abounds with an ever-growing list of options, each claiming to be the best, so making that choice is challenging and often overwhelming.

What do you need to do to find the best program for you?

While we certainly consider our programs second to none, chances are that we are ever so slightly biased in this assessment, so definitely don’t take our word for it. Summerfuel is not the right fit for everyone.

We would encourage you to do the following:

1. Figure out your needs, goals and expectations:

Determine what you are looking for in a summer program. Academics? Sports? Travel? Friendship? Cultural enlightenment? A taste of college life? Truthfully, there are a lot of quality programs out there (equally, plenty of dodgy ones, too), and the key for you is identifying the best fit for you.

2. Do your research:

Scour the web; talk to friends, family and teachers; garner brochures; speak to alumni about their experiences; and narrow your search down to a manageable list based on the criteria you have laid out for yourself. Beware the over-marketed program, and beware the program that pushes you to sign up without first understanding your goals and how they would be met.

3. Communicate with program representatives, pepper them with questions:

It delights but surprises us when families sign up their students without communicating with us first. Reputation goes a long way, and we are grateful for that, but at the end of the day, we are entrusted with your care, and that is a massive responsibility.

Communicating by email is fine, but definitely ensure you have at least couple of substantive conversations by phone to get a better feel for the program before making a decision. Whenever possible, visit the program headquarters in person. And ask lots of questions. How much structure versus freedom? What is the demographic breakdown? How much emphasis is placed on academics? What are your safety procedures? What is included in the cost of the program? How do you recruit faculty?

As always, we are here to help and answer your questions, as needed. Good luck.

The Art of Public Speaking

Students were treated to a workshop on Public Speaking, lead by guest speaker and career coach, Katie Volz (bio below). Ms. Volz focused on important presentation techniques that will be beneficial for students as they head into their final social enterprise presentations.

Students will be presenting their plans beginning on Thursday and will be hosting an open “marketplace” to allow all groups to present the details of their plan, including their ventures’  business plans, marketing materials, and financial modelings on Friday.



Katie Volz

Formerly the Director of Career Counseling and Operations for NYU’s Stern School of Business, Katie Rayhawk Volz is a career coach with SixFigureStart, working with individuals to assess their career interests and prepare them for the job market. She works with students and alumni pursuing careers in the area of finance, consulting, government and social enterprise, among others.  Katie has developed and led numerous career-related workshops and programs on topics such as networking, résumé writing, interviewing, and self-assessment, and a host of other leadership skills.

Prior to joining Stern, Ms. Volz was an Assistant Vice President at Merrill Lynch, where she led the campus recruiting efforts at more than 20 undergraduate and graduate business schools across the country, including Columbia University, MIT, University of Michigan and Stanford. She began her career at PricewaterhouseCoopers, where she assisted with Partner Development Programs and recruited for PwC’s Management Consulting Services.

Ms. Volz received a BA in Psychology from the University of Dayton and an MA in Counseling from New York University.