By Emma Bogdanich
College-bound students can feel all kinds of pressure that detract from their learning experience. But students, never fear–there’s a way to recharge your intellectual batteries and rediscover the excitement of learning. Yale offers a one-day educational outreach program called Splash in the spring and fall, as well as a three-week program called Sprout. Attending the Splash program helped me flip the script on the standard high school narrative, and get back to learning for fun.
Have you ever wanted to take a class at Yale, Princeton, Columbia, MIT, or Harvard while you are still attending Beacon? Have you ever wanted to take classes on subjects that aren’t offered in high school such as the neuroscience of morality, elementary particle physics, Kafka and Monty Python, or improv comedy? Then Splash might be for you! When you participate in Splash, you get to be a university student for a day, sampling amazing classes that are all joy and no pressure.
For Beacon students planning to attend college, Splash offers a unique opportunity to get a feel for the college experience by taking a full day of Saturday classes on the historic campus of Yale University. When three years ago, I saw a notice about Splash on Stuyvesant High School’s bulletin board, and it seemed amazing that as a young teen, I could have access to what the program offered. Looking through the course catalog on Yale.LearningU.org, I could barely contain my excitement when I saw the range of classes–including the history of Canto-pop music in the late-20th and early-21st centuries, and “Shot Down: How Smart Gun Laws Save Lives, and Why We Still Don’t Have Them.” All the classes are taught by undergraduates. One of the program coordinators, Rachel Lawrence (Yale, ’16), said that Splash looked for teachers who were passionate about their topic who, by sharing their excitement, could light fires in the minds of the high schoolers participating
Of course, there’s an even greater variety of classes if you also go to the Splash programs at other colleges like Harvard, Columbia, Princeton, or Amherst. Princeton has offered classes like hands-on game theory, “Journalism 101,” “Who was the Historical Jesus?,” and “Philosophy as a Way of Life.” Meanwhile, Columbia’s classes have included college application workshops, making the college process more manageable and fun! Splash may have classes that high school students feel like they not only want to take, but need to take.
After registration and check-in at Splash, high school students attend morning classes and have a lunch break before returning to an afternoon session. During lunch break, participants can explore the famous pizza places of New Haven like Frank Pepe’s Pizza or Sally’s, both in the Wooster Street district, or get an ice cream at Princeton’s Bent Spoon. The New Haven experience that accompanies Splash is a strong contrast to New York City; the Splash program shows what college campus towns are really like.
While Splash takes place in spring and summer, Sprout takes place in fall, meaning that students can really get to explore the beautiful campuses in nice weather when school isn’t so hectic.
Attending these programs made me more excited about these colleges and potentially attending them when I get older. I hope that other students get to enjoy Splash and Sprout, as well.
This spring, Yale’s Splash program will be held on Saturday, April 7th from 9:30 am until 5 pm. The cost of the program is $20, including lunch, and $10 for a tee shirt. Full need-based financial aid is available to cover the costs. If you’re interested in participating, you will need to create a user account at https://yale.learningu.org before registration opens in mid-March.