Set yourself apart and prepare for the college admissions process at a leading Ivy League university in the heart of New York City.

Program Fee:
Campus Dormitory
Completing 10 or 11
Program Fee includes:

Tuition, room, 3 meals per day, SAT or ACT preparation, college visits, individual college counseling, use of select campus facilities, included excursions and daily activities, bed linens, pillow and towels, 24-hour residential care and support, staff accompanied airport transfer during specified windows.

Not Included:

Airfare/transportation to and from home city, laundry, spending money, souvenirs, meals eaten away from program, airport transfers outside of specified windows, trip cancellation insurance, medical insurance, medical and dental expenses.

The Summerfuel College Admissions Preparation (CAP) program has been carefully designed to support students in every aspect of the college admissions process, from the reflection and discovery needed to craft a strong list of prospective colleges to the skills needed to perform well on standardized tests.  Every Summerfuel CAP program includes test preparation, essay writing coursework, individualized college counseling, instructive college admissions workshops and guided college admissions tours. 

Summerfuel College Admissions programs are offered on three distinct campuses.  Although the curriculum at each site is the same, at Columbia, the city of New York provides a vibrant background for exploration and discovery.  The Columbia University campus is an oasis in the midst of one of the busiest cities in the world.  In addition to area college visits, students will enjoy off campus weekends in the city.

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Daily Schedule

  • 09.30 am • SAT PREPARATION
  • 12.00 pm • LUNCH
  • 02.00 pm • ONE-ON-ONE ADVISORY
  • 04.00 pm • ESSAY WRITING
  • 06.00 pm • DINNER
  • 09.30 pm • FREE TIME / ACTIVITIES
Click here for full 2017 program schedule >


Program Outcomes

 Each CAP alumnus will have:

  1. Confidence in their ability to face the admissions process.
  2. Greater knowledge of the SAT or ACT with continued online support for test prep.
  3. Experience writing a meaningful personal statement.
  4. A well-vetted personal resume.
  5. A custom admissions report with a list of colleges to apply to, standardized test guidance and application deadline details.


Alumni Testimonial

The program helped me to better organize and prepare myself for the college admissions process. I feel less stressed and more decided about where I want to apply and how to do so successfully.

--Connor W., Switzerland




Standardized test preparation is perhaps the piece of the admissions puzzle that students and families worry most about.  All students want to feel confident that they have performed to their best ability on the SAT.  Test preparation is highly specialized and demands constant review and revision as test offerings change. Because of this, since 1984, Summerfuel has chosen to partner with the Princeton Review, considered the hallmark in standardized test preparation whether in a classroom or online.


At CAP, the Princeton Review provides Summerfuel students with eighteen hours of classroom based instruction plus three scored diagnostics.  All CAP students will have an online account with the Princeton Review so that they can continue to prep after the program ends.  Finally, all students will be eligible for an online fall brush-up course to prepare them for the October test dates.

All students at CAP Columbia will take SAT prep.  Students interested in ACT prep should consider CAP Tufts or CAP Berkeley.  Students who need help determining which test to take should contact Summerfuel for assistance.


Summerfuel has offered students test preparation opportunities for many years.  Over the years we have found that students who have exposure to the SAT become much more confident in their ability to master the test.  With familiarity and the voice of an expert instructor guiding them, students move through test sections more quickly leaving less to chance when sitting for the actual SAT.  Our goal is to help each of our students perform to the best of his or her ability during the admissions process.  Test prep is one important part of that puzzle.


• Eighteen hours of instruction.
• Three timed, scored diagnostics.
• Individualized score reports for every diagnostic.
• Continued support from the Princeton Review.
• A fall brush-up course in preparation for the October testing.




Every CAP Essay Writing course is designed to help students reflect on their lives and realize that within their experiences they have plenty of material to craft an excellent admissions essay or personal statement.


Every student has an important story to tell beyond their grades and test scores.  Unfortunately, all too often the college admissions essay strikes fear into the hearts of even the highest achievers.  What can I say to be admitted? How can I possibly compete?  CAP faculty listen to students brainstorm and inspire them to take their story and sculpt it into a compelling narrative.

Faculty Bio: Charlotte Kent

Charlotte completed her BA at St. John’s College, Santa Fe and her MA, MPhil and PhD in Comparative Literature at the City University of New York.  In addition to work as an Adjunct Lecturer and Assistant Professor, Charlotte is a freelance writer with work published in several scholarly journals and essay collections.



The writing curriculum is intended to help each student become a stronger, more confident writer. During sixteen hours of instruction and further time dedicated to out of class follow up, students will formulate a thesis, and learn to craft it into a concise and engaging personal statement.  Writing classes meet every afternoon during program.  Essay writing will not meet on scheduled college visit days.



All Summerfuel CAP writing faculty are highly skilled writers with experience teaching high school students. Every Summerfuel writing instructor will help students focus on the writing process by employing the use of drafts, revisions and editing. Peer workshops and individual tutoring will also be used to help students improve their writing skills.

Faculty Bio: Makila Meyers

Makila completed her BA at the University of Michigan before finishing her MA at NYU.  She is currently in the process of finishing her EdD at Columbia University Teachers College.  Makila has worked as a Teaching Assistant at Teachers College, a Literacy Specialist at Teach for America and a Visiting Professor at Bard High School Early College.  Makila joined CAP Columbia in 2016.




Every Summerfuel CAP program has a team of experienced college admissions counselors as its backbone.

One-on-One College Counseling

Prior to the program, parents will be asked to complete a questionnaire regarding their child’s interests and strengths, and their own desires for their son or daughter.  Once on site, college counselors will schedule one-on-one counseling sessions with each student in order to map out a clear and realistic plan to approach the college admissions process.  College counselors will consider family input, student input, student academic performance, student extracurricular strengths and evidence of standardized test scores to appropriately advise each student.

College Counselor Profile: Jane S. Gabin

Jane completed her BA in English at Queens College CUNY and her MA, PhD at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.  As a college counselor Jane brings experience on both the university side of admissions and the high school side.  She worked as Assistant Director of Admissions at UNC-Chapel Hill and as college counselor at the United Nations International School, The Frisch School and Elisabeth Irwin HS in New York.  We are pleased to have had Jane as a member of the Summerfuel college counseling faculty since 2008.


Admissions Workshops

Together with college admissions experts, Summerfuel has crafted a unique admissions workshop curriculum designed to provide students with information about every aspect of the admissions process.  Students will participate in eight collaborative, interactive admissions workshops led by the college counseling team.  The workshop setting provides a positive group environment where questions are welcomed and encouraged as students begin their independent work.

Sample Workshops Include

• Defining Goals and Dreams: Students reflect on current interests and pursuits and examine goals for college as well as graduate or professional education.

• Evaluating a College:  This workshop will show students how to look past marketing material and personal opinions of friends and family to determine if a college is a good fit for them.

• Assembling Your Application: Using the Common Application as a base, this workshop will explain key pieces of every college application and share best practices for completing components.

• How to Visit a College: Students will learn what questions to ask to get the answers they need.  College experts will share information about how to best document a college visit.






From Columbia our students are able to visit a range of selective and highly selective institutions.  Day trips to New York City’s surrounding areas afford an opportunity to see both urban and suburban campuses.  Visits to different types of institutions (public/private, large/small, urban/suburban) will enable students to better discern differences and determine the environment that feels most comfortable to them.


Find the Right Fit

Students and college counselors will discuss student preferences during their one on one advisory.  Counselors will use student feedback from college visits to advise them of institutions with a similar feel or structure so that students have a college search list that is a good personal fit.

Past college visits include

• Columbia University
• Fordham University
• Manhattan College
• Princeton University
• Sarah Lawrence College
• Yale University





Columbia is an oasis in the midst of Manhattan’s bustling city blocks. Set apart from the surrounding neighborhood, the clearly defined campus center has lush green lawns for sunbathing, kicking a soccer ball or just connecting with friends.  Focused coursework will be balanced with games on the quad, movie nights, ice cream and coffee runs, sightseeing and shopping. 


At Columbia, fully air-conditioned bedrooms are shared doubles on a single-gender hallway with bathrooms just down the hall.  Housing is within easy walking distance of dining and classrooms. Summerfuel will use student responses to the housing questionnaire to pair roommates and group students in gender specific residence groups.  Senior Staff will also live in residence and are available to help with any issue 24/7.



Summerfuel CAP students will enjoy 3 meals a day throughout the program. While at Columbia, meals will be at Ferris Booth Commons where food stations offer varied options, including vegetarian and vegan fare, an omelet station, deli bar, salad stations, pizza and more. Columbia dining is able to accommodate most dietary restrictions and preferences.  Meals will be provided off-site during college visits and excursions.  Please advise Summerfuel of dietary needs during the application process. 


Daily Activities

Every afternoon and evening students will have the opportunity to join an event organized by Summerfuel staff or spend time relaxing on campus or exploring Manhattan neighborhoods. 

Past Favorites Include

Glow soccer, Summerfeud, fro-yo runs, movie nights, Capture the Flag, henna tattoos, no-cook cooking workshop, board game night, Frisbee golf, late night breakfast.

New York Sights

Visit Times Square, the “Museum Mile”, Greenwich Village and Soho shopping.  New York sightseeing will be customized to include additional options based on student interest and current events in the city.
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The safety and well being of our students is of paramount importance to us.  Each program will have two distinct specialist teams – one to manage residence life and one to manage academic success. Each staff member is carefully vetted using a written application, personal interview, professional reference check and required background check.

Residential Staff

Residential staff will support students as they adjust to living in a dormitory and being responsible members of a summer program community.  The residence staff will include a director, senior staff and one resident advisor for every fifteen students.  Prior to the program, residence staff will be trained to lead student groups, manage student conflict and resolution and oversee all safety aspects on program.  They will begin the program well prepared to meet the needs of all Summerfuel students.


Summerfuel students are required to attend all classes and academic workshops each day.  Attendance is taken at each class.  During free time, students may choose between an event organized by the residential staff or an individual pursuit such as classwork, laundry or relaxing in the dorm.  Students are allowed freedom to explore with friends within an area surrounding campus defined by the program director.  In the evenings, students will check in with residence staff and staff will often use that time to catch up on the day’s events.

Safety & Security

While the Columbia University facilities and surrounding area are quite safe, students must always be aware that they are living in a large, active city and they will need to take normal precautions to prevent crime.  All Summerfuel students are required to travel in pairs and are not allowed to travel outside a defined area without a member of staff.  Columbia dormitories, academic buildings and dining hall require a swipe card to enter.  Dormitories will have public safety personnel in the lobby area and both bedrooms and bathrooms require a key for access.
Read our full code of conduct here >