Getting into Top Colleges, Getting into a Highly Selective College, Getting into a Top University, Getting into Top Universities

A fun and memorable summer that is filled with engaging your intellectual curiosity is indeed possible.

There is an interesting article in the “LA Times” entitled “Two families pursue different paths to academic excellence” that tells the story of two high school students in San Marina, CA who approach their summers in a very different way. One student, 10th grader Derek Lee, will be taking college-level courses at either UCLA or Stanford, he’ll be getting tutored for the SAT and will seek to improve his math skills. The other student, 8th grader Jade Larriva-Latt, will be spending her summer going to sleepaway camp, backpacking, and going to museums. So which summer is best for a child? Which summer will help in the mission to getting into a top college? Or are the two mutually exclusive?

If you haven’t read about Tiger Mom Amy Chua, check out our post on her daughter’s admission to Harvard. Derek’s mom, a Taiwanese immigrant who has raised four sons, is of the Amy Chua variety. She enforces strict discipline with academics. According to the “LA Times” article, Derek’s summer plans can be seen on a spreadsheet that lists all of the tutoring and academic pursuits he will be completing. In fact, Derek’s mom even has surveillance on her son to ensure that he’s doing his work. We’re not kidding.

And then there’s Jade whose father wants her to have a summer that will be enjoyable. His daughter having a happy childhood is a priority for Jade’s dad. And yet Jade feels the academic pressure. She goes to school with many kids like Derek who pass their summers immersed in academic endeavors. She finds herself torn between wanting to relax and enjoy herself and keep up with the competition.

So who is right? Neither. Both. A happy medium. In the end, it’s up to the parents. Do you need to spend your entire summer taking classes and getting tutored? No. Is a happy childhood filled with wonderful childhood memories important for one’s development? Yes. Can it be combined with some sorts of activities that involve engaging a student’s intellectual curiosity? Yes. What if Jade went to a museum and then read a book on an exhibit? Or what if she read a slew of books for pleasure while she was at camp?  In the end, a happy childhood and satiating intellectual curiosity over the summer don’t have to be mutually exclusive.

Check out the “LA Times” article on paths to academic excellence. And check out our newsletter on how to make the most of your summer activities.

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