High School Students Get a Taste of Scripps Life

Every summer, a group of high school-age women comes to Scripps' campus for a very special two-week college experience. The Scripps College Academy summer program is for ninth and tenth grade high school students from diverse backgrounds who want to experience living on a college campus and attending classes taught by Scripps faculty. Kelly Hewitt ('08), the new program director, said, "Scripps College Academy's summer program is a chance for girls to form connections with professors, to gain insight into what is needed to successfully attend college." She and Assistant Director Debora Sandiford outlined what the girls do for those two weeks: "The classes are modeled after Core," explained Sandiford, "with the themes of empowerment, race, class and gender. Professors from Scripps College teach these interdisciplinary classes."

Not just any high school student can attend the summer program. The academy, which usually receives 115 applications for approximately 40 student spots, received a record-breaking 274 applications for this year's summer program. "We have become an even more selective program," said Hewitt. "These are highly motivated students from L.A. and the Inland Empire who are applying to our programs. We accept applications from students with strong academic interests, but we focus on students who may lack the resources in their school, family or community to fully prepare for college." Scripps College Academy students often become the first in their family to attend college. Just this year, past summer program participants have been admitted to prestigious colleges such as Scripps, Pomona, Yale, Princeton, Swarthmore, Vassar, Brown, UC Berkeley, UCLA, University of Chicago, Smith, Wellesley and Georgetown.

Hewitt and Sandiford explained that the summer program is just one of the many components that make up the Scripps College Academy. "The summer session is almost like a stepping stone to the rest of the offerings of the academy," said Hewitt. Once girls participate in the summer academy, they are offered additional opportunities throughout high school. The academy offers a large breadth of college preparatory-oriented services. The year-round program, which serves over 80 students each year, includes field trips, and lectures and workshops that continue with the themes from the summer session. They offer academic opportunities, such as a book club each semester, in which they read books by authors like Toni Morrison and Zora Neale Hurston, and an intensive science research program with the Joint Science Department each fall.

Other programs offered through the academy include help with college applications for high school seniors who participated the summer program, as well as SAT Prep classes for all students in the surrounding areas.

One of the most important programs the academy offers is year-round tutoring, both on-campus and off-campus. Scripps students apply for positions as tutors and then meet weekly with organizations, students from local schools and relatives of Scripps staff and faculty members. The tutors teach a variety of subjects, and new applicants are welcome each fall.

In short, the Scripps College Academy, which has been featured in numerous regional and national media outlets, is a program designed to help female high school students prepare for college. The program, which targets academically exceptional students, aims to give these students some of the resources they need to succeed in college. In doing so, the Scripps College Academy opens doors for girls in the L.A. area and the Inland Empire, 40 students at a time.

To apply for a position as a Scripps College Academy tutor, contact Kelly Hewitt at SCA@scrippscollege.edu.