Media Literacy, Popular Culture & Democracy, Writing

Class of: 2018

Bronx,  New York

“Summer College was genuinely the best six weeks of my life,” Nicole Azubuike says as she reflects on her experience at Syracuse University during the Summer of 2017. The rising senior at Bronx Center for Science and Mathematics in Bronx, New York, attended Summer College for High School Students, a precollege program on the sprawling Syracuse University campus in central New York State. Nicole enrolled in a 6-week program called Media Literacy, Popular Culture, and Democracy, one of 40 credit and noncredit programs offered through Summer College. The program invites high school students to experience college life, explore interests, and identify possible majors before beginning the college application process.

“I gained massive amounts of knowledge from the Media Literacy course,” Nicole says, adding that even though she expects to be on a pre-health career track in college, the classes she took prepared her for college-level work. “I explored abstract concepts and ideologies that are present in our society. The workload was strenuous, but filled with valuable information. My professors did not go easy on me. They treated all of us like college students.”

Nicole also took a writing class during her stay at Summer College. “I learned the writing techniques and skills that are needed to analyze, explain, evaluate, and execute rhetoric flawlessly,“ she says. “I also learned how to prioritize and manage my time so that I can balance school work, friends, and my personal down time.”

A scholarship from the Charles Hayden Foundation made Nicole’s participation possible. After being nominated by a college counselor, she eagerly submitted two essays, two letters of recommendation and had an interview before being notified that she had won. “I couldn’t have hoped to spend my summer any other way,” she asserts.

Syracuse’s program focuses on helping students develop time management and college-level study skills, as well as learning how to live independently on a college campus. Workshops and tours of local universities also help students prepare for the college selection and application process. “This experience helped me discover what I want in a college, and what kind of environment I wish to be in,” Nicole says, adding, “I hope to return to Syracuse as an admitted student!”

Social engagement and networking is a welcome benefit. “I have made the greatest friends that I now consider my family, and we have created the strongest, unbreakable bonds,” Nicole says. “There are so many memories I’ll never forget.”