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Champlain College Pre-College Summer Programs - Should You Apply?

Pre-college programs are becoming an increasingly popular and valuable option for determined high schoolers such as yourself when it comes to upskilling and profile building. These programs offer a glimpse into college life, provide hands-on experience in various fields, and because of this can significantly boost your college application. Finding, applying for and securing admission to a pre-college program relevant to the field you want to pursue acts as a powerful signaling mechanism to demonstrate your knowledge and passion for your chosen field. Today’s blog post focuses on the diverse pre-college programs offered by Champlain College.


What are Champlain College's pre-college summer programs?

Champlain College offers a range of two-week residential pre-college summer programs for motivated high school students. These programs are immersive experiences in in-demand subject areas with college-level coursework and plenty of practical learning. Taught by industry-expert faculty, these programs offer hands-on experience in fields like animation, game development, cybersecurity, and more. Not only will you have the opportunity to explore the field of your choice and deepen your understanding, you will also earn transferable college credits.


Champlain College has made a name for itself when it comes to innovation and creativity. Ranked highly for its safe campus and vibrant location, it's known for its forward-thinking approach and commitment to preparing students for the rapidly evolving world.


Are they prestigious?

Champlain College has been named as a “Most Innovative School” by US News & World Report for seven consecutive years in its America’s Best Colleges rankings. The programs are designed for small cohorts, providing personalized attention and a deeper learning experience. They are structured to provide a cohesive mix of hands-on experience, in-depth classroom learning, as well as field visits and lab time. While there is no real academic cut-off criteria, taking away from the selectivity factor, the programs are still valuable for the exposure they offer. Overall, we would rate them as slightly prestigious, good for demonstrating your interest in a field, but not for standing out as an exceptional college applicant.


Who is eligible for these programs?

Regardless of which program you choose to apply for, the eligibility criteria remain the same:


  • You must be a high school student entering grades 10-12, or a recent high school graduate.

  • You must be able to stay at Champlain’s on-campus housing in Burlington, Vermont for the full duration of the program.


Beyond this, all you need is a healthy dose of enthusiasm for whatever program you choose, and you’re all set to apply.


How much do the programs cost?

Each of the programs costs $4500 all-inclusive, factoring in:

  • Instruction

  • Class and lab materials

  • On-campus housing

  • Pillow

  • All meals

  • Use of professional equipment and facilities

  • On-campus social and recreational activities

  • Transportation to and from field trips and outings

  • Program t-shirt


Since the programs are held in a staggered fashion from July to August, it is possible to attend more than one. The dates are provided in the program poster.


Note that a limited amount of financial aid is available and to obtain details of it and file an application requesting it, you should use the link provided here.


How are Champlain College’s pre-college summer programs structured?

Champlain College's pre-college programs are spread across nine distinct, diverse subject areas:

  1. Animation

  2. Art & Design

  3. Audio Engineering

  4. Biotech

  5. Game development

  6. Creative AI

  7. Cybersecurity

  8. Digital media

  9. Filmmaking


Each program has a holistic pedagogy with a balanced mix of classroom lectures from Champlain’s faculty, field visits to local business or relevant research labs, and plenty of practical / laboratory work to apply and develop the skills you learn. Each program is designed to serve as an introduction to the respective field, what a college-level education in it involves, and what a career in it entails. An average day involves about 6-7 hours of classes or lab work, along with 3 hours of practical activities in the evenings.


While we urge you to check the details of whichever program(s) strikes your fancy, here’s what a few of them are like:


  1. Biotech AcademyIn this program, you will delve into biotechnology's role in medicine, cybersecurity, and the environment. For the experiential learning portion, you will be visiting local businesses and collaborating on technology-based solutions to biological problems. You will get to build prototypes with 3D printers, vinyl cutters and wood cutters. The final deliverable for the program is designing and planning a unique project that solves a biological problem. If you’re interested in the intersection of biology and technology, this is the perfect course for you.

  2. Audio Engineering, Sound Design & Music AcademyThis program offers an immersive experience in audio engineering, sound design, and music production. You will get hands-on experience with industry-grade equipment, learning highly specialized skills that are in demand for today’s media industries. Ideal if you’re passionate about music and sound, it's a blend of technical skill-building and creative exploration.

  3. Creative AI Academy: Focusing on the burgeoning field of Creative AI, this program covers everything from AI theory, generative AI applications, open source MLLs, instruction in Python, to Natural Language Processing and Procedural Content Generation. You will work on AI-driven projects to explore its creative potential while navigating the ethical implications. If you are considering a career in AI or want to understand its creative applications, then this is the program for you.

Our Review - Should You Apply?

Champlain College's pre-college summer programs are an excellent opportunity for you to explore your interests, gain valuable experience, and make informed decisions about your future. Whether you're into biotech, sound design, AI, or any of the other fields offered, these programs provide a platform to expand your knowledge, meet like-minded peers, and get a taste of college life. If you're a motivated student eager to challenge yourself and explore your passions, Champlain's pre-college programs are definitely worth considering, keeping in mind its relatively low prestige value as compared to more competitive programs such as RSI or SIMR.



Lumiere Research Scholar Program

If you’re interested in doing a research project in various STEM subject areas, 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: Champlain College logo

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