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Academic and Arts Camps and Programs

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Academic Programs for Incoming First-Year Students

OUS Summer Institute
2017 dates TBA

Summer Institute students pose for a group shot at the Abolition Hall of Fame in Peterboro, NYColgate's Summer Institute makes it possible for Colgate to welcome a number of students — who have triumphed over educational, socioeconomic, or cultural challenges — and enhance their campus experience.

The Summer Institute is an intensive five-week gateway experience designed for 30–45 incoming students who, besides their academic potential, show much promise in the areas of leadership and community/civic engagement. Hosted by the Office of Undergraduate Studies (OUS), the program provides an academic and social orientation to life at Colgate, and promotes personal growth and educational achievement.

During the summer session, students normally complete two credit-bearing courses that meet requirements needed for graduation. In addition, they receive regular support in writing and quantitative literacy, along with academic advising. The institute also prepares students for leadership and community engagement, while helping them access Colgate’s many resources.

Phone: 315-228-7375
Website: Summer Institute

Academic Camps

Socratic Summer Academy*
2017 dates TBA

Open to boys and girls entering grades 9–12.

Camper studying for the SATs at Colgate UniversityThe 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:
  • We've established a track record of 400 point score improvements (over a 3-week period!) for students who had never studied the SAT
  • We had 208 point score improvements for students who had studied the SAT somewhere else for 4+ months
As most parents know, the SAT is changing. In March 2016, the College Board will switch to the infamous new SAT. In anticipation of this change, many parents have contacted us to find out if we’ll be teaching the new SAT in Summer 2016. Nervous about this new, untested test, parents have sent us emails asking if we are confident that we can teach this new test, and in particular if we believe our methods, strategies, and curricula will be helpful on a test that no one has taught before – including us. In brief answer: we will indeed be teaching the new SAT beginning in Summer 2016 and, after extensive study of the new test’s format and content, we are more confident than ever that Summer 2016 – the seventh summer of the Socratic Summer Academy – will be the most exciting and rewarding summer so far.

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, attend outdoor concerts, go to movie theaters, or sit around campfires, singing with a guitar and staring at the stars. 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.

Contact: Alyssa Bowlby, Camp Director and Co-Founder
Phone: 347-688-2329
Email: Alyssa Bowlby
Website: Socratic Summer Academy
Yleana Leadership Academy*
2017 dates TBA

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, Lynn/Salem/Peabody, NYC, Philadelphia, and Baltimore) which seeks to close the achievement gap through a three-week transformative intervention summer SAT experience that is part summer camp (on Colgate University's campus in upstate NY), part intense SAT training using the Socratic method and grounded in asking the questions that help to cultivate higher order thinking skills, and part leadership academy.

All students attend on full scholarship, including room, board, all books and materials, and free transportation to and from the campus (all qualify for free or reduced lunch, 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.

In 2015, our average score improvement in a 3-week period was 250 points (on the “old” 2400-point SAT). To learn more about us, check out our promotional video (which gives the look and feel of an Yleana experience):

This summer, projected dates will be
  • Session 1: July 2 - 23, 2016 at Colgate University
  • Session 2: July 26 - August 15, 2016 at Endicott College
Applications are open from March 1 - March 31, 2016 at

Contact: Alyssa Bowlby, Co-Founder and Educational/Program Director
Phone: 347-688-2329
E-mail: Alyssa Bowlby
Website: Yleana Leadership Academy
The College Preparatory D.A.N.C.E Camp
July 24-31, 2017

As a college preparatory D.A.N.C.E camp, we prepare rising sophomore, junior, and senior high school students for college. We build writing, public speaking, research, and critical-thinking skills in relation to five principles: Dance, Awareness, Nutrition, Creativity, and Empowerment. These five tenets at the college prep camp are designed to introduce participants to collegiate skills through a process that encourages participants to academically excel as creative, health conscious, and socially insightful college students. The five camp principles, which assemble the acronym D.A.N.C.E, are mutually reinforced by courses that make up a one-week residential summer program at Colgate University.

The camp is available to rising sophomore, junior, and senior high school students who have an interest in developing skills for college success through content that promotes dance as a point of entry for learning. Although prior experience in dance and other expressive arts such as theater, singing, or instrument playing will be helpful, it is not required.

Phone: 315-243-2999
Website: The College Preparatory D.A.N.C.E Camp
Eastern U.S. Music Camp*
2017 dates TBA
41st Successful Season - select from 2-3-4 week sessions

Playing stringed instruments next to Colgate's Taylor LakeOpen to boys and girls ages 10–18.

The Eastern U.S. Music Camp is conducted on the Colgate University campus in beautiful Central New York State. This popular program, beginning its 40th 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.

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 the 2013 Season, students attended from: Spain, Italy, Germany, Great Britain, France, Brazil, Guetemala, Singapore, Japan, China, Canada, and Colombia.


Phone: 866-777-7841
E-mail: Tom and Grace Brown
Website: Eastern U.S. Music Camp
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Young Writers' Workshop
July 31 - August 4, 2017

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 an intensive, non-residential day program for middle and high school students who have an interest in creative writing. The workshop provides, for five full days, a stimulating and supportive environment in which young writers think, imagine, and discover new ideas through the act of experimenting in poetry, fiction, and other genres of imagination and written expression. 

Young Writers work closely with certified teachers and college mentors in classrooms set by grade level. Three visiting writers set the tone with readings and activities based on a mix of different genres each year (fiction, poetry, screenwriting, graphic novels, etc.).

During the five days of the workshop, Young Writers participate in writing workshops and readings, as well as a variety of afternoon recreational activities, including access to Colgate’s swimming pool and hiking trails.

Phone: (315) 228-7376
Website: Young Writers' Workshop
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*This program is neither sponsored by Colgate University nor run by Colgate employees.