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Academic Camps – MusicWriting

Academic Camps

Socratic Summer Academy*

The Socratic Summer Academy was founded in 2010. It's a three-week sleepaway summer camp aimed at improvement on the SATs. Every year, using our carefully tailored curriculum and in-house textbook, in conjunction with College Board prep materials, we get higher and higher score improvements!
  • For purposes of calculating score improvements, we break students into two categories:
    • [1] students who start with the SSA method
    • [2] students who’ve spent months or even years working with other teachers or programs
      • Most programs find that students who are not as familiar with the SAT go up more in a new program than those who have already spent months or even years familiarizing themselves with the test.

Over the past eight summers, the average score improvement for students who began their instruction with SSA was 240 points (out of 1600), measured from their initial diagnostic score (a previously administered official SAT students take before beginning their instruction at our program) to their highest overall superscore.

The average score improvement for students who came to SSA having previously studied the SAT for an extensive period of time with another program or tutor was 135 points (out of 1600), calculated in the same way.

These averages have ranged up or down slightly from summer to summer - but have been generally consistent.

The overall average for all students (combining those with previous experience and those with none) was 203 points (out of 1600).

As most parents know, the SAT changed in March 2016.  College Board switched to the infamous new SAT, which has been touted as less "gameable" and "harder" and "more critical-thinking focused". In the fourth year of teaching this test, we believe our methods, strategies, and curricula have proven to be helpful.

We focus on a Socratic approach to teaching, where information is more derived and less lectured. We believe in small-group instruction and most of the instruction happens in groups of 3 to 4 students with one teacher, or in team-taught setting in the classroom. We play games both inside the classroom and after meals to help reinforce our strategies or drill vocabulary, as well as putting the students on coaching teams to work towards goals which are sometimes SAT-related, and sometimes just fun. Weekly practice tests and specific goal-setting strategies built around each student's specific progress urges our students forward, and our instructors are people who love being around kids both as teachers and as people - they are just as likely to pose a philosophical conundrum as to tell a silly story that solidifies subject-verb agreement forever in a student's head.

In their free time, our students select elective courses like creative writing and environmental science, courses that expose them to diverse topics they rarely find at their high schools. During their free time, students hike Colgate's hills and mountains, swim in the pool, work out in the fitness center, play basketball, tennis, volleyball, soccer, ping pong, racquetball, or squash. Our teachers--role models who themselves attend or attended some of the best schools in the United States--serve as friends and mentors, guides through difficult decisions, chaperones on trips to the ice cream parlor, leaders of activities like quiz bowl or a cappella.  And every week ends with a campfire on Saturday night as students roast S'mores and celebrate their togetherness at a campfire under the stars.

Contact: Alyssa Bowlby, Camp Director and Co-Founder
Phone: 347-688-2329
Email: Alyssa Bowlby
Website: Socratic Summer Academy

Yleana Leadership Academy*

Students at the Yleana Leadership Academy write on a chalk boardThe Yleana Leadership Academy is a residential summer academy for rising high school seniors in low-SES urban areas (Boston and Boston’s North Shore, NYC, Philadelphia, and Baltimore) which seeks to close the achievement gap through a three-week transformative intervention which allows students who might not be sure about an away-from-home college experience (or college, for that matter!) to try out college living for themselves on Colgate University’s beautiful campus, while at the same time benefiting from:
  • intense SAT training using the Socratic method and grounded in asking questions
  • a curriculum specifically designed around higher order thinking skills
  • leadership training
  • a traditional summer camp experience
All students attend on full scholarship, including room, board, all books and materials, and free transportation to and from the campus (all qualify as low-SES, and most of our population is first-generation and of color). The Yleana experience is, for many, the first time our kids have slept away from home for a protracted period of time, and provides a unique opportunity to live on a college campus to truly imagine themselves in college - while at the same time becoming part of a welcoming and introspective camp community. To learn more about us, check out our promotional video (which gives the look and feel of an Yleana experience):

Contact: Alyssa Bowlby, Co-Founder and Educational/Program Director
Phone: 347-688-2329
E-mail: Alyssa Bowlby
Website: Yleana Leadership Academy


Eastern U.S. Music Camp*

June 30 - July 28, 2019

42nd Successful Season - select from 2-3-4 week sessions

Playing stringed instruments next to Colgate's Taylor LakeBoys and girls ages 10–18 are invited; various levels of ability.

The Eastern U.S. Music Camp is conducted on the Colgate University campus in beautiful Central New York State. This popular program, beginning its 43rd year, is designed to provide opportunities and enrichment in all areas of music. Social and recreational activities also are an integral part of the curriculum. The total experience is rewarding — musically and socially.

This well-balanced program offers young people between the ages of 10 and 18 the opportunity to pursue musical studies through individual, class, and group instruction; to perform a wide range of instrumental and choral works in ensemble and concert; and to participate in supervised sports and other informal "fun" activities. The program builds confidence, teaches concentration, offers social opportunities, and helps develop sensitivity to, and pride in, the beautiful things in life.

See: Eastern U.S. Music Camp website for photos from last summer, the many choices in the music schedule and the "fun" recreation schedule, applications for resident/day enrollment (first serve-first come basis), and "chatty" personal interviews from parents/students. This is a unique experience on one of the most beautiful college campuses in the country that provides confidence, fun and an excellent music education for students of various abilities. Suggestion: Enroll in this popular program while space is still available.

Careers in music are not necessarily the goal of students attending the Eastern U.S. Music Camp. The experience is one that will be remembered and valued throughout life in any career. Highly individualized instruction in a friendly atmosphere is stressed by the professional, nationally known staff. Students attend from throughout the U.S. During recent seasons, students attended from: Spain, Italy, Germany, Great Britain, France, Brazil, Guatemala, Singapore, Japan, China, Canada, and Colombia.

Students are supervised 24/7 by experienced Counselors of adult age who have attended the program in previous years​. Students reside in Colgate music dormitories for boys and girls; most are two/room by age.

See the website for photos and a complete description.

Phone: 518-877-5121 or 866-777-7841


Young Writers' Workshop

July 29 - August 2, 2019

Open to young people entering grades 6–12 in the fall. Sponsored by Colgate University and directed by Colgate employees.

The Young Writers’ Workshop is a 1-week, non-residential day program for middle and high school students interested in creative writing. The workshop provides a stimulating and supportive environment in which young writers experiment in poetry, fiction, and other genres of imaginative written expression.

Young Writers work closely with certified teachers and college mentors in groups set by grade level. Visiting writers from different genres each year (fiction, poetry, screenwriting, graphic novels, etc.) start each day with readings of their published work, then lead the students in craft exercises.

In addition to writing, students participate in a variety of afternoon recreational activities, including access to Colgate’s swimming pool and hiking trails.

Phone: 315-228-7760
Website: Young Writers' Workshop

*This program is neither sponsored by Colgate University nor run by Colgate employees.