By Sarah Cen ‘18
Summer vacation is not only a time for students to take a break from school, but also a time for students to partake in opportunities that can benefit them in different ways.
There are many programs and internships that are offered for free over the summer. Participating in these programs can establish a student’s foundation in a new field of study, further develop skills in an area of interest, and allow students to gain work experience.
A popular program that many high school students participate in the summer is the Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP). According to nyc.gov, it is a free program that provides New York City youth between the ages of 14 and 24 with paid summer employment for up to six weeks in July and August. Participants are offered jobs in a variety of industries around different locations.
“Through SYEP, I had the opportunity to work with kids of lower income between ages 4 through 12,” Josephine Leung ‘18, an SYEP participant from last summer, said. “I developed better communication and leadership skills. It was a wonderful opportunity to network and make money.”
Placement in SYEP is not guaranteed and participants are selected by lottery. The application process has started and ends on March 17. To apply, visit application.nycsyep.com.
Similarly, Ladders for Leaders is a component of SYEP and is an opportunity that provides professional internships to New York City youth between the ages of 16 to 22. It differs from SYEP as the requirements involve outstanding academic performance, an essay, and a resume. Once chosen, a 30-hour pre-employment training is required before summer internship interviews are held. Final decisions are made by the employers. Students that are chosen will participate in a six week paid internship that accommodates to their personal interest. This opportunity is perfect for those who are looking for summer internships to gain experience in a specific work field. To apply, an SYEP application must be filled out first; the Ladders for Leaders application will follow.
“Internships are a great way to receive hands-on experience,” Ms. Kendra Lane said. “You understand the responsibilities that come with working and it allows students to see what it’s like working in that specific field.”
Additionally, students can also find a volunteer job in their local neighborhood or research places that need volunteers. However, instead of jobs or internships, there are also many opportunities that focus on developing skills in a specific field.
For students interested in journalism, Princeton University is offering a free journalism program for current juniors with low income. It is located at Princeton’s campus for 10 days from August 4 through August 14. Only 35 through 45 high school students are chosen from across the country to participate in this program. According to princeton.edu, the program consists of intensive classes that allow students to learn more about journalism and experience life on the college campus. The deadline is on February 24 and the application can be found on princeton.edu/sjp/.
Furthermore, the NYU Tandon School of Engineering has a summer program called ARISE—Applied Research Innovations in Science and Engineering—for New York City sophomores and juniors with an interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). According to ARISE, this seven week program includes: college level workshops and seminars, a high level research experience in NYU faculty labs, and mentoring. Students will receive research and lab experience, while also learning presentation and public speaking skills. For more information about the program and applying, visit engineering.nyu.edu/k12stem/arise/.
For girls interested in coding, Girls Who Code has a free summer immersion program for 10th and 11th grade girls, in which they can learn computer science and get exposure to tech jobs. According to recode.net, Girls Who Code is a national nonprofit organization working to close the gender gap in technology. The summer immersion program requires no previous experience in computer science as it is an introductory computer science course.
Grades or recommendations are not necessary for the application. For more information and applying to the Girls Who Code summer program, visit girlswhocode.fluidreview.com/.
There are so many more summer programs and internship opportunities out there, not limited to the ones mentioned. It’s best to research an area of interest and look for programs that correspond to it.
“Summer programs are fantastic,” Ms. Marguerite Allen said. “It gives students something to do over the summer, they get to learn from it, and it looks good for colleges.”
Many summer programs end signups around this time. It’s best to start thinking about internships and programs that spark your interest before deadlines approach. Summer vacation is a time to enhance strengths and learn new skills; there is no time to be wasted. College applications will approach in the blink of an eye, and these types of programs will show colleges what students are really capable of.