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Bucknell Engineering Camp - Is It Worth it for High School Students?

Summer is a great time for participating in specialized programs like engineering camps, especially if you’re exploring career and college options post high school. Aside from providing a glimpse into college life and offering hands-on learning experiences, attending such a camp can also be beneficial for your college applications. Engaging in such programs demonstrates initiative, a passion for learning, and a commitment to future career goals, making your application stand out. Today’s blog post focuses on Bucknell University’s Engineering Camp, and why participating in it may help you with your academic goals and college admissions!


What is the Bucknell Engineering Camp?

Bucknell University's Engineering Camp is a week-long residential program designed for high schoolers keen on exploring the field of engineering. The camp aims to provide a comprehensive introduction to various engineering disciplines through hands-on projects, workshops, and lectures. In this academically challenging week, you’ll get the chance to work on real-world problems, improving your problem-solving and teamwork skills. Bucknell University, located in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, is known for both its strong engineering program as well as its liberal arts department, thus providing a holistic mix of learning. This camp provides an excellent opportunity to experience the university's resources and faculty firsthand.


How is it structured?

The Engineering Camp combines theoretical knowledge with practical application, with a schedule providing both lectures as well as project work. Throughout the week, you’ll be engaging in lab experiments, group projects, and lectures. The highlight of the program is that it covers multiple engineering fields such as mechanical, electrical, civil, and chemical engineering. All your projects and lab work will be done in Bucknell’s state-of-the-art facilities, allowing you to experience the latest in engineering technology. The camp is led by Bucknell’s experienced faculty members who provide mentorship and guidance. An average day at the camp includes morning lectures, afternoon lab sessions, and evening group discussions. While it only lasts a week, the camp manages to provide a solid grounding in the core foundations of engineering through its rigorous schedule and pedagogy.


Is it prestigious?

We do not rate Bucknell’s Engineering Camp as prestigious because it is only a week-long introductory program, and there is no information on its selectivity, nor any focus on academic ability as a prerequisite. However, the program can still benefit you thanks to its learning experience, and also help you decide whether or not to pursue engineering. It does provide good exposure to fundamental engineering concepts across the board, as well as a good opportunity to network with peers as well as Bucknell’s faculty. The experience can leave you better equipped for applying to an engineering degree, as well as helping you identify what kind of engineering you’re most suited for.


Who is eligible for Bucknell’s Engineering Camp?

To be eligible for Bucknell’s Engineering Camp, you must:

  • Have completed grades 7 through 11 by the summer of the camp.

  • Demonstrate strong interest in engineering.

  • Be able to attend the camp in person at Bucknell’s campus.


How does the application process work?

The application for Bucknell’s Engineering Camp is quite straightforward. Simply:


  1. Complete the application form available on the website.

  2. Provide one teacher recommendation and one guidance counselor approval.


After May 1st, applications may be waitlisted, and after June 1st your application might not be processed at all, so it’s in your best interests to apply at the earliest. The camp itself takes place from June 23 to June 28 this year.


How much does Bucknell’s Engineering Camp cost?

The all-inclusive fee for the program is $1,250. Note that need-based financial aid is available, though you will have to contact Bucknell administration for the details.


Pros and Cons to consider

Pros:

  1. Good hands-on experience: The camp strives to provide practical exposure to engineering concepts.

  2. Breadth of exposure: You will be introduced to multiple engineering fields, providing a good breadth of knowledge of the fundamentals of the field.

  3. Timeframe frees up your summer: If you already have other programs or competitions that you’re committed to participating in during the summer, this program is the least likely to interfere with them.


Cons:

  1. The cost: Over $1,000 for a week-long program makes this a somewhat expensive option, especially considering the opacity of financial aid.

  2. Limited learning: The program is too short to let you learn in-depth about engineering, no matter how rigorous the schedule may be.

  3. Geographic limitation: Since the Camp is purely residential and has no remote option, it may prove a barrier if you’re unable to travel to the Bucknell campus.


Our review - Is it worth it?

The Bucknell Engineering Camp can potentially be a good opportunity for high school students to explore their burgeoning interest in engineering. It offers hands-on learning, exposure to the breadth of engineering, and guidance from Bucknell’s faculty. While it is only a week long, somewhat expensive and has no virtual or remote options, it can still be useful to your academic growth if you’re able to attend.



Lumiere Research Scholar Program

Alternatively, if you’re interested in understanding how research in engineering works, you could also consider applying to one of the Lumiere Research Scholar Programs, selective online high school programs for students I founded with researchers at Harvard and Oxford. Last year, we had over 4000 students apply for 500 spots in the program! You can find the application form here.


Stephen is one of the founders of Lumiere and a Harvard College graduate. He founded Lumiere as a PhD student at Harvard Business School. Lumiere is a selective research program where students work 1-1 with a research mentor to develop an independent research paper.


Image Source: Bucknell University logo

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