Research shows that up to 80 percent of jobs in the future will require STEM skills. Yet the best schools are increasingly competitive, making it difficult for students to get the education they need to succeed in STEM careers. For example, Stanford’s acceptance rate is only 5.1 percent. MIT only accepts 7.9 percent of applicants. And Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering’s acceptance rate is just 12 percent.
While good grades and test scores represent the top factors in student selection, guidance counselors say that colleges look hard at extracurricular activities too, particularly those engaged in over the summer. For a teenager who is contemplating engineering as a career, participating in an engineering summer camp that exposes a student to a number of engineering disciplines brings multiple benefits.
- Hands-On Experience: When students get the chance to try a number of engineering disciplines at summer camp, just for the fun of it, it can help them to choose an engineering discipline to study in college. In turn, this can lead students to become more focused in their course selection and activities leading up to college, all of which may be appealing to college admissions officers.
- Increased Confidence and Interview Skills: Multiple studies have shown that students who participate in summer camp experiences with new groups of people develop stronger social-emotional skills that can aid with everything from academic success to college interviews.
- Preparation for Campus Living: High school students who spend two weeks at engineering camp on a college campus during the summer are better prepared for the realities of college living. The freedom that they experience helps them to learn how to make more mature choices, which better prepares them for college and future success.
- Enhanced College Admissions Opportunities: As colleges with strong engineering programs consider the applications of many qualified students, those students who can demonstrate a prolonged interest and experience in engineering often have an advantage. Few experiences can match a two-week engineering camp on a college campus. This shows college admissions officers that not only is the student motivated, but also is better prepared for life and success at college.
IEEE TryEngineering Summer Camps are two-week co-ed residential summer camps for rising 8th through 12th grade students held at three premier colleges and universities across the United States. Students work in teams with other students, interact with professional engineers, and learn about cutting-edge research done at the host schools by current graduate students.
Students participate in a broad range of hands-on activities throughout their two weeks on campus, including building and launching rockets and working in teams to solve engineering challenges such as building a robotic arm out of everyday materials, and designing and soldering working circuits. The students experience problem-solving and troubleshooting, and gain insight on what it is like to study engineering in a college atmosphere. Students explore many engineering disciplines, including electrical, civil, mechanical, chemical, and aerospace, and see how engineers work in teams to solve global challenges.