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Summer School Report 2015

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Posted on : August 20, 2015

Summer School Report 2015: It’s about choosing to study what you love NOT what you, the applicant thinks would look good on their CV!

From across the world, boys have completed their experiences in a range of courses at Summer Schools. They aim at giving boys a taste of how they might learn at university and college with the chance to see how assignments, independent reading and meeting tight deadlines are not only the preserve of life at Doon! The experiences have proved in the main to be academically rigorous, internationally and culturally diverse and fun as they lived and worked on university campuses.


cornell

Vaibhav Chandak from Oberoi House reports from Cornell’s Summer School: ’ This programme further increased my desire to study at Cornell University.’

I applied for an Economics course at Duke University and a Business programme at Cornell University. I got selected for both. However, I chose Cornell University Summer College because of the fact that I place Cornell at a higher academic level than Duke University. Also, I wanted to study at an Ivy League institution, hence it was a perfect fit. The course I attended was ‘The Business World’. It was an introduction to business management and lectures and discussion sessions were conducted by a renowned Cornell University professor, Prof. Dave Taylor and his team of talented ‘Teaching Assistants’.

We explored and focused upon the different aspects to be taken into attention for a business to run successfully. There were about 250 students in the course. We were divided into two lecture groups of 125 each; both lectures were taken by Professor Taylor. We were further divided into 10 groups of 25 students each. 10 ‘Teaching Assistant’ were in-charge of these groups; each one taking a group. The course as a whole had about 60% Americans, (about 30% first generation Americans though). The other 40% consisted of about 30% Chinese people while the other 10% were spread from all over the world.

We had to do three main assignments, two of which had to be presented during the discussion sessions. We did an online business simulation which involved starting up a coffee shop and making all decisions pertaining to it. This was really exciting and was differentiated the course from ‘every other’ tedious business course at different places. We also did a detailed case study on Nike that involved reflecting on how the theories and concepts of business were put into effect by Nike to become successful.

Other than that we had to do regular reading of the textbook in advance to class so that we were prepared for lecture.

The assignments that we had to do included the following:

  1. Writing a business memo/ letter to Atlantic Philanthropies to make a donation for charity and explaining how the money would be put to use.
  2. Delivering a presentation for about 5 minutes on what we learnt from the business simulation
  3. Making a stock pick recommendation by researching two companies

These assignments were much different from the ones we did in ICSE and were somewhat different from the ones we do at IB. We had to do more research and had to devote more time to them. We had to work on and develop these examples by re-drafting the written assignments and practicing the spoken part of the presentations.

The summer school was similar to what I thought it would be. I had envisioned earlier what I experienced later: the residence halls, diverse friends, an academically tough course and some fun apart from studying. I think it was a well rounded experience: I learnt a lot from it academically and also put in a great deal of effort to get an A+ grade overall. I also made a bunch of friends and a few probable life-long friendships. The length of the programme was ideal since 3 weeks was neither too much nor too less. It is a completely different experience from school and you also learn how to thrive and make friends in a more global environment. It gives rise to not only academic growth but also fosters social growth.

I would recommend it to any boy who is willing to learn something beyond the school classrooms, who wishes to interact with people from diverse cultures and wants to make productive use of the summer.’


hku

Anvay Grover from Oberoi House reports from Hong Kong:

‘ My parents supported my summer school choice. Although initially I was nominated by school, my parents had no inhibitions once they learnt about the summer school. The experience was educationally stimulating as I encountered scientific topics I had not learnt before. More specifically, the laboratory experiments were a lot more advanced or challenging compared to my previous experiences.

The approach was based on a lot more on practical experiments, possibly because of the excellent medical facilities that were available at the University. The anatomy labs in particular were something new altogether. The student body was largely local (from Hong Kong) except a few students from Malaysia and USA. There were no other Indian students.

There was not a great deal of independent research or study as the work was done during the lectures or the labs. We were not required to do extra reading. The week spent in Hong Kong confirmed HKU as a possible college destination for me. It did not make me re-think my other choices.

If possible, boys should go to a summer school because it can be educationally stimulating. But I do not consider it a necessity, rather as something which should be done if feasible.’


berklee

Dhruv Madhav Johri, from Oberoi House chose to attend Berklee College of Music’s Summer School. There are currently two Dosco’s studying Music as a major at this specialist music college in the USA. Dhruv talks about his experience:

Q. Which course did you attend and did you apply to others and why did you apply to the one you chose?

A.I attended a five week performance programme for the saxophone at the Berklee College of Music, Boston. I was also accepted for programmes in Politics, Government and Music at Georgetown University and Brown University. I applied to Berklee because I wanted to explore the possibility of combining my passions with my future academic pursuits. Also I saw Summer School as a chance to study something that I wouldn’t normally opt for. I can study Economics in school itself. however I couldn’t study Jazz Saxophone Performance and is for primarily this reason that I choose to spend the summer at Berklee.

Q. Was the summer school what you thought?

A. Honestly at first I was extremely intimidated by the standard of music produced at this school!

Q. Would you recommend the experience and why?

I would recommend the programme to anyone who is unsure of whether they want to see if Music is something they wish to do. This is because I feel that Berklee helps open your eyes to the vast world of musical styles and opportunities. Also Berklee gives out many scholarships so financing oneself shouldn’t be an issue. One mustn’t however be shy to audition.

Q. Has it made you decide to study at that institution and that course and if not why not?

A. Although I have not yet made a solid decision, the programme has got me to change to Music in the 11th and the 12th grades. I would love to attend Berklee professionally for their Music business major.(please add to O house website as well as summer school site, university destinations and offers section, IB, all music sections in academic and co-curricular and also home page as part of the whole article) Add his photo and also the uni and country logo at the top of his interview.


ubc

Nikunj Agarwal from Kashmir House chose to study Applied Science and Design at UBC, Canada ‘The approach to learning was that different, but here we not only learned the theory in every lecture but had experiments and labs to try it by ourselves. From making a design and printing on our own in 3D Printing Class to programming a remote control car, we did it all by ourselves.’ Reports from Canada:

Q. Which course did you attend and did you apply to others and why did you apply to the one you chose?

A. I applied for the “Applied Science and Design Course” at the University of British Columbia as I want to pursue a career in engineering, but I do not have any specific areas of interest. This course would help me look at some engineering courses closely.

Q. Please provide a brief summary of the course?

A. This course had four different parts. They were, Mechatronics, 3D Printing, Civil Engineering and Technical Communications. All of these courses were of different length. The Mechatronics part was the longest of all and Technical Communications was the shortest. I learned to programme a remote control car using software in Mechatronics. I learned how to use CAD software to design anything to be printed using the 3D printer. In the Civil Engineering course, we were taught about the strength and foundation of buildings and how we can use more sustainable constituents in a building. In the Technical Communications course, we were taught how to present in a showcase or a presentation. What do we do wrong and what can we do better?

Q. How was the approach to learning different? Please comment upon class size, lecture size and international v US or country of origin mix?

A. The approach to learning was that different, but here we not only learned the theory in every lecture but had experiments and labs to try it by ourselves. From making a design and printing on our own in 3D Printing Class to programming a remote control car, we did it all by ourselves. The class size was not very big. We had 25 students in the class. Every lecture was 3 hours long with a 10-minute break in the middle. There were students from 12 different countries so there was a diverse culture.

Q. What assignments were you given and how were they assessed? Were they very different to how your study at ISC/IB?

A. We had to practice and go through whatever we were taught in the class when we got back to our rooms as whatever we were studying was totally new to us and we did not enough time to go at an easy pace. Although whatever was taught was very understandable, if we did not practice when we got back, next day was much tougher.

Q. Was the summer school what you thought?

A. Yes, it was. A lot of my friends have gone to a summer school before and they’ve shared their experiences with me. So, I had an idea of what exactly a summer school is like. And, it turned out to be pretty similar.

Q. Would you recommend the experience and why?

A. I would totally recommend the experience as whatever I learned there, has not only opened my mind but also has given me an experience which I could never have had here at school. It was because there were people from so many different cultures and backgrounds, and even if two people who were from the same country, were so different. During the summer school, I did not only get a chance to experience what a university lecture is like but also to make new friends.

Q. Has it made you decide to study at that institution and that course and if not why not?

A. This experience has showed me the correct path which I will follow. I will be definitely be applying to the university. This experience has also helped me decide what I will study at the university. I enjoyed the programming bit of the Mechatronics course the most and I realized that it is where my interests lie.


Varun Sehgal from Jaipur House attended Columbia. ‘I applied to these courses because they didn’t teach any subject in isolation but actually taught a mixture of two different topics, whether it be economics and politics or engineering and business.’ reports from the USA.

This is what he had to say:

‘I attended the Globalization: Challenges in International Economics and Politics at Columbia University, New York City. I also applied for the Management and Technology course offered at the University of Pennsylvania. I applied to these courses because they didn’t teach any subject in isolation but actually taught a mixture of two different topics, whether it be economics and politics or engineering and business.

The course helped students understand how political conditions affect economic decisions and vice- versa. We studied various theories of International Political Economy and used case studies to analyze the relationship between nation states. We also studied the Greek debt situation in depth and worked out various possible solutions to avoid its exit from the Euro zone. In addition, we also read different articles related to our course and presented an individual summary and critique to be graded on.’

Q. How was the approach to learning different? Please comment upon class size, lecture size and international v US or country of origin mix?

A. Our day was divided into two two-hour sessions of classes. The first was generally an interactive lecture while the second was reserved for presentations, quizzes or even field trips. My class consisted of 26 students out of which approximately 50% were American citizens. Classes at Columbia University were more interactive and having students from all over the world definitely helps by giving the class a multilateral perspective. Also, field trips to sites such as the United Nations Headquarters helped enhance the experience.

Q. What assignments were you given and how were they assessed? Were they very different to how your study at ISC/IB?

A. We were given quizzes, which were marked out of ten points, twice a week. These were quite different from tests we receive at school. We also had to give an individual presentation of a summary and critique of an article of our choice related to the opted course. At the end of the course, we had to submit the presented paper to be graded on. Writing the paper was much like writing an IB English commentary, something that we had practiced writing last term.

Q. Was the Summer School what you thought?

A. Yes. It actually exceeded my expectations, keeping me busy with academically oriented, yet enjoyable, activities to perform daily. It also exposed me to life in a big city as well, with many entertaining evening activities planned in Manhattan.

Q. Would you recommend the experience and why?

A. Yes, definitely. I feel that it is an experience that exposes you to a different way of learning and at the same time gives you a feel of what college in the United States would be like, especially if you plan to apply to that same university.

Q. Has it made you decide to study at that institution and that course and if not why not?

A. Yes. I have always wanted to study at Columbia University and this experience only increased my desire to study there. I am not sure about the course, however, because even though I enjoyed studying it, I plan to move into engineering.

And from the parents…

Mr Johri (whose eldest son, Yash is an undergraduate at Georgetown) supported his younger son, Dhruv in his pursuit of his love of music and this is what he had to say about his son’s choice of Summer School:

‘There is a lot of daily homework and numerous hours of practice required tremendous amount of independent research and initiative.’ I would recommend the summer school approach where a child is focused and passionate about the subject and the whole experience. The programme has the potential to add to a child’s persona and knowledge. I would NOT recommend it merely as a tool to add to the resume.

‘Going to the Berklee’s Music five week programme was Dhruv’s idea, he searched the details, sent his recordings, got part scholarship. We supported him as the course would give him an opportunity to explore his passion for music. Had Dhruv been going for just another run of the mill summer school programme, we may not have been so encouraging. Without doubt, it has been an exposure to the rigorous and extracting schedule of the world’s best music college, great professors and a very competitive environment. Dhruv has been exposed to disciplines like theory of music, ear training, musicianship, playing in an ensemble, studying the business of music and most importantly private lessons with some of the best in the field.

From being in awe of the quality of musicians and the sheer scale of the environment on day one, Dhruv has gained immensely, whether it is living on his own in a foreign city or performing confidently in an ensemble. The environment at Berklee is very unique because everyone there is focused on Music as a career. There were 1050 students from 48 states of America and 75 countries. There is a lot of daily homework and numerous hours of practice required tremendous amount of independent research and initiative. While Dhruv’s career choices are still some distance away he is seriously considering taking Music as a subject for his IB Diploma.

I would recommend the summer school approach where a child is focused and passionate about the subject and the whole experience. The programme has the potential to add to a child’s persona and knowledge. I would NOT recommend it merely as a tool to add to the resume.

Editorial View from the school: We could not further support Mr Johri’s view on this as going to a Summer School for any other reason than to further the love of your subject, only shows any future university and employer that your prime interest is in ‘scamming the system’. The school was also delighted to read that the emphasis was on practice, independent research and initiative. It was music (excuse the pun) to Doon’s ears!-


Ashish Sharma whose eldest son, Nikhil has been offered a place to read Law at King’s College London in 2015, sent his younger son Vivan to attend the Life Sciences Course at Imperial College. This is his feedback:

Q. Why did you support son’s application for his Summer School choice or was it very much you idea?

A. This was very much Vivan’s idea after he met a person from Imperial College, regarding Summer School. It was driven by Vivan. I supported him as it was his own initiative and as it was the only Summer School he found that was focused on Life Sciences which was his area of interest. If Vivan wants to be a doctor then the UK and Australia are his countries of choice. He already knows Australia so England was the other country option. Additionally, London in summer is an amazing experience.

Q. Do you feel that it has been an intellectually and generally useful educational and personally provided your sons with greater independence and confidence?

A. Being a Dosco, he was probably the most independent and (quietly) confident person. He has been traveling internationally on his own for at least two years and happy to live away from his environment. Additionally, his exchange experience in Denmark also helped.

Intellectually, Summer Schools are not expected to be challenging so I am not surprised. The key positive factor for me was the chance for Vivan to work on multinational group projects and make friends as a result. Vivan has remained in contact with his summer and exchange friends and I hope he keeps in contact.

Q. How international was the student body and were there other students from India?

A. Vivan indicated to me that there were very few Indian students and most of his friends were from Spain, Italy and Scandinavia. So I would say it had a more European focus. I believe there were more Indians in the engineering stream which Vivan had little to do with.

Q. How much independent research and study was required by the assignments?

A. Vivan indicated that it was mainly group study/projects and they completed two projects (one per week).

Q. Do you think that the experience has helped him either confirm his possible university choices in terms of course, country and institution or has it made him re-think, which is often a very positive outcome!

A. Vivan remains keenly focused on doing medicine or life sciences before and after the summer school so there has been no change to his interest. The country (Australia, UK) focus remains unchanged. Yes there is much discussion to be had on possible universities in each country over the next 12 to 18 months together with NPY’s team.( Editor’s note: Head of the Careers Information, Education and Guidance Department and her team)

Q. Would you recommend the Summer School approach to other parents?

A. I would only recommend sending your son to a Summer School if he is interested to go and then it should be with a focus. There is no point pushing a child beyond a certain point.

 

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