Students take advantage of reopening summer programs

June 5, 2021 — by Jonathan Li

With vaccine distribution well underway and COVID-19 cases on a steady decline, normalcy seems to be on the horizon with the reopening of summer programs. 

Junior Ethan Lin is among the students taking advantage of summer opportunities that are now in-person. 

Lin plans to attend the Vivace Music Foundation’s summer program in 2021 based in Wilmington, North Carolina, which he had attended virtually in 2020. Prior to the loosening restrictions, he was uncertain of whether he would attend online, but with the program offering in-person alternatives, Lin has decided to go.

“It was really unfortunate the program was virtual last year since it offered a lot more in-person,” Lin said. “I plan on majoring in music in college, so attending an in-person college music program will be a good experience.”

The Vivace Music Foundation provides aspiring students master classes with accomplished musicians alongside classes covering topics such as composition, music album recording and international competitions. 

For Lin, the fears of contracting the virus weren’t a factor in deciding whether to attend as he plans to be fully vaccinated before attending the program; the program itself has also expressed that necessary safety measures will be implemented alongside offering a virtual version. 

While the Vivace Summer Program has begun hosting on-site classes, many schools and organizations are still only able to host virtual summer programs. 

After being canceled last year, the UCSB Research Mentorship Program (RMP) is running virtually this summer. RMP is a six-week summer program that gives high schoolers the chance to conduct mentor-guided university level scientific research. Normally the program is hosted in person, but it is being hosted online this year. 

Sophomore Mason Wang was accepted into the program and applied with the knowledge that it was being run virtually. 

“The event being virtual didn't have any effect on my decision because I don't really need to be in-person for computer science research, and I still see it as the best way to spend those weeks in the summer,” Wang said. “I actually prefer it being virtual.”

Wang said he was looking for opportunities to conduct research in computer science rather than just taking summer courses. To him, RMP represented such an opportunity.

Other programs have been canceled and replaced with alternatives. The Leadership in the Business World program (LBW) at Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania is now  an abridged virtual version of the program, called the Business Leadership Academy (BLA), but for the same price of $4,400.

Admitted applicants were also able to attend Wharton’s Pre-Baccalaureate program, a five-week experience that provides students the opportunity to learn from Wharton instructors and accrue college credit. 

Junior Cheryl Wu was admitted into BLA, yet she decided not to participate.

“BLA is just not the program that I applied for,” Wu said. “It’s not as valuable as LBW because you lose a lot of the experience of actually going onto a university campus and living away from home, and it’s a lot easier to become better friends with the other students if the program was in person.”

Students applied for the program without the knowledge that it was going to be virtual. Shortly after applications were submitted, the program released a statement revealing that it would be virtual; only living costs cut from the original price of the program. “It just didn’t seem to be worth the cost,” Wu said. “I feel like I could learn leadership and teamwork elsewhere through actually working with a group or something, especially since I was most excited about developing a business plan to work on with a group but that isn’t part of the BLA.” 

Wu instead plans on taking a college Environmental Economics course and is hoping to get a research internship. “It’s a break from school; a chance for me to not only socialize with others, but also work on myself,” Wang said. “Summer to me is a time to develop skills and work towards my goals.”

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