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.