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15 Summer Programs at Ithaca College for High Schoolers

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Situated in picturesque Ithaca, New York, Ithaca College was originally founded as a music conservatory and today is a private liberal arts college boasting a wide range of stellar academic programs and schools, including its School of Communication and, of course, its School of Music.


High school students keen on attending Ithaca or just looking to get a taste of the college experience can take advantage of its summer programs, which cover disciplines from psychology to theater and more.


Why Participate in Summer Programs?


At their core, summer programs are about introducing students to college life. Often, they live in dorms among their peers, attend college-level courses, and participate in social and recreational activities. Along with gaining an understanding of the expectations they will be facing as college students, high schoolers build important skills and experience the independence they will have in college, all while under staff supervision.


Students also have the opportunity to make friends with people who have similar interests and talents. Moreover, they will demonstrate how much they value learning to admissions committees, who appreciate that students have a choice when it comes to how they spend their summers and are electing to explore an academic passion.


15 Summer Programs at Ithaca College


(NB: Costs are estimates and may vary depending on whether the student is a commuter or residential participant and other factors.)


Ithaca Summer College

Ithaca’s summer college program offers entering juniors and seniors a real college experience. Students enroll in one course, which sometimes earns them college credit (Ithaca College accepts these credits if students matriculate and notes that they are often transferable to other institutions.) In addition to courses, students participate in workshops and recreational activities on and off campus.


  • Grades: 11 and 12
  • Application deadline: 5/15/19
  • Apply Now


Three-week courses


  • Cost: $4,980
  • (Earn 2-4 credits)


1. Acting I


Through exercises, improvisations, presentations, readings, and discussions, students will explore acting concepts and methods. They participate in games, projects, monologues and scenes, and learn improvisation and audition techniques. By the end of the course, students will have worked on one monologue and one scene and learned about potential college programs and majors. They will also perform their scene in front of family and friends. Theater experience is not a prerequisite, although many students come with some acting background.


  • Area of specailization: Theater


2. General Psychology


Taught by an Ithaca Psychology professor, this course looks at how physiological, cognitive, social, and personality factors influence behavior. Students will discuss important theories in psychology and research and examine how psychology is relevant to their own lives.


  • Area of specialization: Psychology


3. Health Sciences: Foundations and Careers


In this course, students listen to guest speakers and discuss topics across a wide range of health specialties, including physical therapy, athletic training, nutrition, sex education, medicine, nursing, and more. Students also participate in clinic site visits on and off campus, discover career options, and examine major contemporary health issues.


  • Area of Specialization: Medicine


4. Media and Communication Studies


Viewing popular culture through the lens of communication and media, students learn about how rhetoric influences us, from the impact of social media to the clothing we wear to the television and films we consume. Participants will look at methods of media and communication studies, such as underlying political messages in Black Panther, Game of Thrones, and more. They will also gain an understanding of how messages are created, participating in lectures, small-group discussions, multimedia presentations, and field trips.


  • Area of specialization: Communications


5. Musical Theater Performance


Is your child planning on pursuing a degree in musical theater? If so, this course will help them beat the odds by learning the ins and outs of the audition process. Covering topics such as what judges look for in an audition tape, selecting songs, and even what to wear, students will perform two prepared songs and receive critiques on the first day of class. They will then study and work on songs under the guidance of a vocal coach throughout the course.The program culminates in a showcase, where students perform in front of peers, family, and faculty and staff.


  • Area of Specialization: Theater


6. Introduction to Sociology


Exploring topics and readings while engaging in PRAXIS, the process of “learning-action-reflection-reformulation,” students will delve into the social world. Readings, films, discussions, role-playing, papers, and more will help students gain an understanding of sociology as they apply course material to current events and prepare an end-of-course presentation.


  • Area of Specialization: General Humanities


7. Sports Media


Students interested in studying sports media will gain a valuable introduction to this exciting topic. Studying areas including print, broadcast, Internet, and social media platforms, they will gain experience writing their own material while learning about media delivery and the skills required for success in the industry. They will also explore career options in sports media.


  • Area of specialization: Communications


Check out  our pre-college summer programs guide to learn about even more programs and select one that’s right for you.

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8. Television Studio Production


Budding filmmakers and producers will learn about techniques such as camera operation, scripting, media aesthetics and logistics, and more. Through production exercises, projects, readings, and critiques, students will explore the production process while shooting audio and video in a real studio environment and creating an original production.


  • Area of specialization: Filmmaking


9. STEM Institute


High schoolers will gain real research experience, assisting Ithaca faculty and undergraduates with lab and field research across Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Astronomy, and Environmental Studies and Sciences. As part of the experience, they will also observe lectures and panel discussions and participate in social activities.


  • Area of specialization: General Science


Two-week courses

  • Cost: $2,330
  • (No college credit)


10. Writers Institute


Learning about both creative and professional writing topics, young writers learn from faculty and undergraduates, studying the genre of their choice and participating in lectures and craft classes in areas including flash fiction, magazine editing and publishing, and more. Students also take part in a student reading series and interact with visiting writers and publishing professionals.


  • Area of specialization: Writing


One-week courses

  • Cost: $1,680
  • (No college credit)


11. American Sign Language


This hands-on course introduces students to the linguistic features and core vocabulary needed to become proficient in American Sign Language. They will learn basic ASL grammar and work with their peers while gaining an understanding of deaf culture.


  • Area of specialization: Foreign Language


12. Digital Music Production


Delving into the world of Pro Tools, the “industry standard” digital audio workstation across many digital media industries, students will learn about important digital audio concepts ranging from microphones and MIDI to editing and final mixdown. They will explore how to work and speak with technical and creative professions while gaining real experience in a professional recording studio environment.


  • Area of specialization: Music


13. Digital Photography


Budding photographers will delve into the world of digital photography, covering topics such as camera use and imaging. Students will also create their own new artwork using advanced Photoshop techniques.


  • Area of specialization: Studio Art


14. Fashion Essentials


Fashion aficionados and future designers will discover the process of clothing construction, materials specifics, how to make alterations to improve fit, and why some articles of clothing work and look better than others. Students do not need sewing experience to participate in this course.


  • Area of specialization: Studio Art


15. Game Design


Is your student interested in the fascinating world of gaming? This course explores the fundamentals of games and psychology of play. Covering topics such as game mechanics, storytelling, interest curves, usability, implementation, and more, students will build their own 2D computer games using the introductory game design tool Stencyl.


  • Area of specialization: Computer Science



Looking for more summer programs in New York State? Check out our New York Summer Programs guide.


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Short Bio
Laura Berlinsky-Schine is a freelance writer and editor based in Brooklyn with her demigod/lab mix Hercules. She specializes in education, technology and career development. She also writes satire and humor, which has appeared in Slackjaw, Points in Case, Little Old Lady Comedy, Jane Austen’s Wastebasket, and Funny-ish. View her work and get in touch at: www.lauraberlinskyschine.com.