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Camp Psych at Gettysburg College - Should You Participate?

If you’re a high schooler keen to enter the field of psychology, and want to expose yourself to the latest advancements in the field and improve your foundational knowledge, then you should strongly consider participating in a summer program. Not just for its academic benefits, participating in such programs can also significantly enhance your college application. They demonstrate your commitment to learning and your proactive approach to gaining knowledge outside the standard curriculum. These programs are also a good opportunity to explore potential career paths and even get a taste of what a career in psychology may truly be like. Today’s blog focuses on one such program, Camp Psych at Gettysburg College, and what it offers to high school students like yourself. 


What is Camp Psych?

Camp Psych is a week-long residential program hosted by Gettysburg College for high school students interested in psychology. Its purpose is to introduce you to the various fields within psychology and provide hands-on experience in psychological research and practice. The camp aims to deepen your understanding of psychology by enhancing understanding of human behavior, and developing critical thinking skills. If you are curious about the human mind and behavior and are considering psychology as a college major or career, this camp is a solid opportunity.


During Camp Psych, you will learn about different psychological concepts, participate in experiments, and work on group projects. The program is led by experienced faculty from Gettysburg College, a prestigious liberal arts college known for its rigorous academic programs and globally recognized pedagogy. 


How is it structured?

Camp Psych is structured to provide an immersive learning experience. An average day involves lectures on key psychology fundamentals, hands-on experiments and data analytics with RAs, group projects and breakout discussions with peers, and guest lectures on cutting edge research and real-world applications. You can expect to learn about cognitive psychology, social psychology, developmental psychology, and more.


The mentorship you receive at Camp Psych is of high quality, with faculty members dedicated to guiding you through the learning process. You also get to benefit from living on the Gettysburg College campus, socializing and interacting with your classmates, RAs, TAs, and the instructors themselves.


Is it prestigious?

Camp Psych is not a particularly prestigious program, as its objective is to function as an introductory course for those interested in pursuing psychology at the college level. The program is open to all applicants and does not require any academic focus or prior knowledge of psychology. However, the program does offer excellent exposure to the field and valuable networking opportunities with faculty and peers. It is a great opportunity to understand whether or not psychology is the right field for you to pursue, and to deepen your understanding if you’re taking the first steps.


Who is eligible to apply?

To apply for Camp Psych, you only need to meet the following criteria:

  • Be a rising sophomore, junior, or senior in high school. In some cases, even recently graduated seniors are accepted.

  • Have an interest in psychology. No prior knowledge or courses are required.


How does the application process work?

The application process for Camp Psych is straightforward:

  1. Complete the online application form on the Gettysburg College website.

  2. Submit a personal statement detailing your interest in psychology.

  3. Provide a recommendation letter from a teacher or counselor.


While Camp Psych applications are closed for this year, the important dates to keep in mind are:

  • Application opens: January 1

  • Application deadline: April 1

  • Notification of acceptance: May 1

  • Program dates: July 14 - 19


The cost for Camp Psych is $1,395, which includes tuition, room, and board. Extremely limited financial aid (1-2 full tuition waivers) is available. Be sure to indicate your need for financial aid in your application.


Pros and cons of Camp Psych

Pros

  • A solid introduction to psychology: You will gain both theoretical as well as hands-on experience in various fields of psychology through lectures, experiments and projects.

  • Direct mentorship from faculty: You’ll be working directly with the professors, themselves PhDs and experts in psychology, as well as RAs and TAs.

  • Good exposure to college life: You’ll get to experience the vibrant campus life and excellent facilities at Gettysburg College, and the camp schedule makes plenty of time for campus tours as well as socializing.


Cons

  • The cost: The program fee is rather high for a week-long program, and the financial aid options are extremely limited.

  • Very limited depth of learning: While the program serves as a good primer to psychology, it is not a good option if you want to learn about the subject deeply.

  • Limited prestige: The open and introductory nature of the program also detracts from its prestige, and it’s not the best choice if you want to spruce up your profile purely from a college admissions perspective.


Should you participate?

Camp Psych at Gettysburg College is a good opportunity for any high school student that wants a primer on psychology. It offers a unique blend of academic learning, hands-on experience, and some exposure to industry practices. While it’s not prestigious, nor in-depth, it more than serves its purpose at providing a solid foundation for a future pursuit of psychology.



One other option - Lumiere Research Scholar Program

If you’re interested in more in-depth research on various topics in psychology or beyond, 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.


Also check out the Lumiere Research Inclusion Foundation, a non-profit research program for talented, low-income students. Last year, we had 150 students on full need-based financial aid!


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: Gettysburg College seal

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