2024 High School Summer Launch

Program Schedule

High School Summer Launch students start their day with breakfast, independent study and their morning lecture and discussion which meet from 10:00am-12:00pm. After morning session, students have time for lunch, and independent or group study which is then followed by the afternoon session of college advising seminars from 1:00-2:30pm and skills workshops from 2:45-4:00pm. 

Evenings are spent in optional enrichment activities and dinner. Community events provide students the opportunity to reflect and relax at the end of a busy day. 

Upon completion of this program, students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate a general understanding of the college application and financial aid process.
  • Define self-reflection and the role it plays in the college experience.
  • Examine the opportunities available through undergraduate education and begin to consider the role these opportunities play in the college search process.
  • Gain confidence in the college classroom and community.
  • Develop key college readiness skills including communication, critical thinking, and group collaboration.

Course Materials

There are no required textbooks for High School Summer Launch. Course materials will be shared via Canvas, WashU's learning management system. 

Students should plan to bring a laptop or tablet for use during class sessions and to complete assignments. The program will provide students with a small notebook, pens, and folder. No other supplies are required.

Program Expectations and Grading

High School Summer Launch is a noncredit program. Noncredit programs do not issue a traditional letter grade (A, B, C, D, F). Instead, students will receive an "L" for successful completion/audit or a "Z" for unsuccessful completion/audit. Students are evaluated based on attendance, completion of assignments by deadlines, quality of work produced, active participation and engagement in sessions, as well as their ability to adhere to academic integrity standards and program policies. 

Students in High School Summer Launch will be evaluated as follows:

  • Students must attend all sessions, and complete all assigned pre-readings, unless otherwise excused by the program director. 
  • Students must participate in daily written discussions via Canvas. Students must contribute a 250-word response to a given prompt and respond to at least two of their peers' posts by the end of the day at 11:59pm.
  • Students must submit a 500-word reflection paper due by August 3 at 11:59pm CT. Details and rubric for this assignment will be available in Canvas.
  • Students are to be active participants in each session. This includes being engaged listeners, participating in class activities, and contributing to discussions.

Lectures and Discussion (10:00am-12:00pm)

Lectures are led by WashU affiliates from across campus. Students will explore the vast opportunities available through undergraduate education and begin to consider the role these opportunities play in the college search process. These traditional educational sessions also introduce students to the college classroom and build important college readiness skills such as critical thinking, communication, and networking. Pre-readings will be assigned for each lecture. No specific background knowledge or prerequisites are required.

Lecture topics:

  • Introduction to Arts & Sciences and a Liberal Arts Education
  • The Entrepreneurial Mindset
  • Reflecting on What Matters
  • Considering Research as You Research Colleges
  • Belonging in College

Lectures are followed by discussion sessions where undergraduate, recent grads, and graduate students share their personal college journeys and provide valuable advice on how to balance social and academic life, applying to college, choosing a major, pre-professional studies, and college readiness.

Attendance at all lectures and discussions is mandatory.

College Advising Seminars (1:00-2:30pm)

College advising seminars are designed to support and provide insight on navigating the college application process. Students walk away from these seminars with a list of action items and valuable resources that can guide them on their journey. Attendance at all college advising seminars is mandatory.

College advising seminar topics:

  • Beginning the College Search: Researching and Choosing the Right College for You
  • From Transcripts to Essays: Overview of the College Application Process
  • Building Relationships: Connecting with College Staff and Faculty
  • Financial Aid Process
  • Next Steps on Your College Journey

Skill Workshops (2:45-4:00pm)

The High School Summer Launch day ends in skill workshop. Students participate in various problem-solving and team building challenges designed to develop key college readiness skills including leadership, time management, self-advocacy, communication, and critical thinking. Each workshop ends with a reflection discussion when students share what they've learned and how to apply it in real world settings. Attendance at all skill workshops is mandatory.

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