Summer Session in an US Uni as a High School Student

By Alecia Tsai, Taiwan

Since I will be entering grade eleven after this summer vacation, I have decided to take a Biology module (or “course” in the US) in an US university, which is also called a summer session. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic I had to do it online instead of actually studying at the campus. Therefore, I’m going to talk about my experience with the summer session.

Lectures : Each of the students will have an account for Canvas, which is a website where all of the studying materials are at. All of the lectures were recorded and could be watched at any time you pleased. My professor would talk through the PowerPoint he had prepared, explain the concepts, and provide some additional information about the topic.

Discussions : We would usually be assigned to read an article or watch a video after the lectures, then we had to write our own opinions about the article or video on the discussion board, where all the students would be able to see it and possibly discuss with each other. This would be graded.

Assignments : After each unit (several lectures), we would have to turn in a study question, which is generally a basic question based on the lectures. If you did listen to the lectures and read the PowerPoint, you would probably get full marks .(This is just my case, and the gradings will vary from different professors.) In addition, we were also required to submit the summaries of the articles and videos for the discussions.

Exams : I was actually really scared of this part because the teachers in my school always come up with really difficult questions in exams, but it turned out that I was worrying too much. A few questions were a bit tricky, whereas most of them were pretty basic, and all of the questions were multiple choices.

Final thoughts : Although I couldn’t visit the campus this summer, it was still a brilliant experience, since I had the opportunity to learn more about the subject I am interested in with world class faculty and be able to participate in the thought provoking discussions.