Summerfuel Summer Programs: Study Abroad Programs for High School Students

Here are the answers to some of our most commonly asked questions. If you don’t find answers to your questions, please email or give us a call, (800) 752-2250 or (212) 796-8340. We’ll be happy to help you find an answer.

For more information on Summerfuel’s optional travel, cancellation, and interruption plan, visit

About Summerfuel

Applying to College

Choosing a Program

Our Student Body

Safety & Supervision

About Summerfuel

What sets Summerfuel apart from other summer study programs?

As an independent organization specializing in summer programs, Summerfuel offers programs that address the needs of the whole student—academic, personal, and extracurricular. Unlike many summer programs offered by institutions, Summerfuel can dedicate itself year round to developing the best programs and to training the most effective staff. Compared to other independent summer organizations, Summerfuel prides itself on prioritizing high quality academics and high quality extracurriculars. Our unique combination of excellent locations, quality academics, careful supervision, exciting weekend excursions and extensive recreational programming have resulted in over twenty years of success in running summer programs.

It’s summer. Will I have fun on a Summerfuel program?

Summerfuel is well aware that this is your summer vacation and we strive to make sure that we balance academics with a great deal of fun. Once classes are over, you’ll find an amazing variety of afternoon and evening activities and weekend trips. Perhaps the greatest source of fun comes from the unique opportunity to live in a community with a group of diverse and enthusiastic friends from all over the world. Over and over our students tell us, “It was the best summer I’ve ever had.”

Can I talk to families who have attended a Summerfuel program in the past?

Absolutely! Summerfuel has a list of students who have agreed to serve as references. Please call or email the Summerfuel office to get the name(s) of students and parents who are able to tell you first-hand about the Summerfuel program of your choice.

Can I meet someone from Summerfuel before making a decision?

Check our schedule of informational meetings to see if a Summerfuel representative will be visiting a city near you. If you cannot attend an informational meeting, a representative will be happy to discuss our programs and answer any questions you have over the phone.

What is Summerfuel’s mission?

Summerfuel is dedicated to offering the best summer enrichment programs in the US and abroad and to providing the highest value, quality and service. Academic excellence, expert faculty and staff, careful supervision and an exciting recreational and excursion program are the hallmarks of every Summerfuel program. The combined energy, creativity and enthusiasm of our students and staff are our formula for an unprecedented summer of learning and fun.

What experience does Summerfuel have in running summer programs?

Summerfuel has nearly 30 years of experience in designing programs to challenge students and to build academic skills, social maturity, and self-confidence. Hand-picked, highly experienced faculty and senior staff, many of whom return to Summerfuel each summer, provide consistency and excellence in every Summerfuel program. Today, high school parents and students consider Summerfuel as the premier organization offering these type of programs.

Applying to College

Will my participation in a Summerfuel program help me get into college?

College admissions officers are more interested in students who have spent their summer vacations doing productive or unique things. Attendance at a College Experience or study abroad program is definitely on the list of interesting and worthwhile things to do. Many students ask Summerfuel to send a transcript of their grades to admissions offices and these are evaluated along with the student’s high school transcript. Other students discuss the benefits of their experience with Summerfuel in their admissions essays. Although attendance at a Summerfuel program cannot guarantee admission to any one university, we have been told over and over that attendance has not only helped our students get into the college of their first choice, it has helped them succeed there, too.

How does a Summerfuel program prepare me for college?

Our College Experience and study abroad programs all feature challenging, seminar-style academic courses that model the kind of academic experience you can anticipate facing in college. The independence and free time you will experience on a Summerfuel program also prepares you for the challenge of managing your time effectively. Over and over we have heard from Summerfuel alumni that their participation in one of our programs helped them enormously in their first year of college to balance their academic commitments with all the freedom college offers. They had already gone through a similar experience on a Summerfuel program and had developed the maturity and skills to balance the two.

Will I learn anything about applying to college while on a Summerfuel College Experience program?

Our College Experience programs emphasize preparation for the college admissions process. While exact options vary by program and campus, you’ll find a wide selection of lectures and workshops on college admissions, college visits, and panel discussions led by staff and counselors.

When I am ready to apply to college, how do I add my attendance at a Summerfuel program to my application packet?

You can submit a copy of your Summerfuel transcript to your high school guidance counselor. If you would like your transcript sent to a number of college admissions offices, please send us a list of these colleges along with pre-addressed, stamped envelopes.

Choosing a Program

How do I choose between all the Summerfuel programs offered?

Is this the summer you want to go to Europe or would you rather get a taste of college life on a U.S. campus? Do you want to develop your language skills, get a head start on college applications or try your hand at photography or painting? The best way to find out which of our programs would best suit your needs and interests is to call Summerfuel and talk to one of our representatives. We will take all of your requirements, goals and interests into consideration and help you reach a decision as to which program would be best for you. No matter what your choice, you are assured of the highest quality.

What are the differences between a Study Abroad homestay and a Study Abroad residential program?

There is no doubt that mastery of the host language is easier to obtain in a homestay program where you become a member of the family and are able to test your language acquisition in many new situations. However, there are students who feel more comfortable in a dormitory setting where they are part of a community and there are plenty of organized activities scheduled. Representatives at our main office are available to help you find the best fit for you. No matter what your choice, you are assured of the highest quality language program.

I’m interested in Spanish in España, how do I choose between the different towns?

The best way to find out which town would best suit your needs is to call the Summerfuel office and talk to Marta Ramos, the Director of Spanish in España. She will take all of your requirements, goals and interests into consideration and help you reach a decision as to which town would be best for you. You may reach her at (212) 796-8343 or (800) 752-2250 ext. 103.

How is the program at Oxford different from the programs in the US?

Our programs in the UK place a greater emphasis on the cultural experience of study abroad, while our programs in the US offer better opportunities to experience collegiate life and take advantage of admissions workshops and college visits. Also course offerings and excursions vary from location to location, so be sure to compare course lists and itineraries. If you need additional help deciding between programs, please speak with a representative at the Summerfuel main office.

Are your College Experience programs at UMass & Berkeley the same?

Our program at UMass offer the opportunity to study in a quintessential New England college town; while our program at Berkeley offers a more urban collegiate experience with easy access into San Francisco. Course offerings, excursions and activities also vary from program to program, as does program size. Whichever campus you choose you are assured of the highest quality instruction and overall experience. If you need additional help deciding between our US College Experience programs, please speak with a representative at the Summerfuel main office.

What are the differences between CAP and other College Experience programs?

CAP is a 12-day, intensive program with one goal: to fully prepare students for college admissions. Other College Experience programs, by contrast, are longer in length, offer a variety of classes, have more extracurricular programming, and are aimed at giving students a general introduction to college life. CAP students benefit from expert and very personal instruction in SAT prep and essay writing in addition to hours of personal and small-group college counseling. By attending a CAP program, students will be fully armed to successfully complete the college application process.

Are your CAP programs at Columbia, UC Berkeley and Tufts all the same?

The structure of the program is identical at all three locations. The only difference is, of course, the location itself. Each unique campus affords students access to three very different, exciting cities—Boston, New York, and San Francisco. In addition, each location offers different college visits. But rest assured, you’ll find the same high quality of instruction, personal attention, and fun at any CAP location you choose!

When should I attend a CAP program?

The CAP program is designed for students completing either 10th or 11th grades. Whichever summer you choose, you will benefit greatly from the CAP experience!

Our Student Body

Where do students come from?

Unlike some other programs, Summerfuel does not recruit its student body from one geographical area. Summerfuel draws its student body from across the country and around the world. In the past few years, Summerfuel students have come from over 40 states and 30 foreign countries. This assures you the opportunity to live within a diverse and exciting community of new friends.

Who is the typical Summerfuel student?

Summerfuel students tend to be bright, motivated students who are eager to meet new, cool friends and to experience new things. The idea of studying during the summer doesn’t bother them; they either want to learn more about something they have already studied, improve their language skills, experience a new culture or explore a new field of study not available in their school. Summerfuel attracts students who want to get a head start on college life by living and studying within a collegiate environment or experience a new culture on a study abroad program.

Do most students come alone or with friends?

Most students come to our programs on their own.

If I come alone how difficult will it be to make friends?

During the first few days of the program a great deal of time is spent helping students to meet each other. Students have told us over the years that the thing they enjoy most about Summerfuel’s programs are the new friends they have made from across the country and around the world – friendships that will last a lifetime. If you are attending a homestay, you will find it’s very easy to make friends with both the locals and other Summerfuel students.

What is the age range of Summerfuel students?

Most Summerfuel programs accept students completing grades 9–12. Our homestay programs in Spain are open to students completing grades 10–12, and our CAP programs are designed for students completing grades 10 and 11.

What is the male/female ratio at a Summerfuel program?

Although we aim for an equal ratio of males to females, this is not always achieved. Our US programs, including CAP, usually arrive at near parity, while our programs in Europe tend to have more girls than boys.

What kind of student is CAP designed for?

CAP is right for all students regardless of their level of collegiate aspirations. Because our programs are kept small (maximum 35 students), we can offer a personalized, hands-on approach for every type of student.

Safety & Supervision

How strict is the program?

Summerfuel has some broad guidelines that must be followed by all students: you must attend all of your academic courses; you must report to your Resident Advisor (RA) or host family at check-in time; you cannot leave your dormitory or homestay after check-in; you may not break any laws; you may not possess or consume alcohol or drugs; you may not smoke in your dormitory, excursion buses, classrooms or adjacent to your dormitory; and you must respect your fellow students, Summerfuel staff and university representatives. Within these parameters we hope to establish a safe, caring and mature community where every student can develop at their own pace.

What if I break Summerfuel rules?

If you break the law or break Summerfuel’s alcohol or drug rules, you will be sent home immediately at your parents’ expense. Depending on the seriousness of other rules that you break, you may be put on probation and your parents will be called. If you are on probation and you break another rule, you will be sent home immediately. Please review the Summerfuel Rules & Regulations form carefully.

What safety procedures are in place?

We have numerous procedures and precautions in place to ensure the safety and security of our students. We have selected safe and secure campuses and homestay sites for all our programs. Our dormitories are carefully supervised and are restricted to Summerfuel students, staff and faculty only. In the evenings, when students are in town, staff are posted at centrally located landmarks so students know where to find them should they need any assistance. Students are instructed to carry the program office phone number with them at all times. Staff are trained to follow emergency response plans should any emergency arise on campus or while on an excursion. Senior staff are first aid trained and certified, as are university personnel. Medical facilities are available at every program location and students requiring medical attention are always escorted by staff.

What supervisory staff do you have in place at your homestay programs?

Your homestay family and Summerfuel staff members will work together to ensure your safety throughout your stay. At each Summerfuel homestay program, a program director and team of 6-7 staff members provide support to the homestay families. Many of our homestay families and nearly all of our directors and assistants return year after year, and some have worked with Summerfuel for more than ten years. It is this continuity that contributes to the excellence of all Summerfuel programs.

What supervisory staff do you have in place at your residential programs?

In addition to our staff of residential advisors (RA’s) hired at a ratio of 1 RA to every 10 student, Summerfuel hires the following personnel for its dorm-based programs: a Director; a Residential Life Director; a Recreational Director and an Administrative Director. All of these personnel are resident in the dormitories and primarily responsible for the safety and security of all of our students. Staff at our programs abroad are fluent in the language of the host country. Nearly all of our Senior Staff return year after year, and some have worked for Summerfuel for the past ten years. In addition many of our residential staff return for at least two years of service. It is this continuity that contributes to the excellence of all Summerfuel programs.

How do you select your staff?

Our residential staff all have a great deal of experience working with young adults. Summerfuel recruits its staff from among the best universities in the country. Applicants must have completed their junior year at college. Many have experience working as undergraduate resident advisors, camp counselors, teachers or tutors. All applicants complete an extensive Summerfuel application, attend a personal interview, require three strong references, and submit to a background check once hired. All Summerfuel staff undergo a one-week orientation prior to the start of the program.

What if I get sick?

Before the start of the program, every student must complete a Medical Form, showing any past illnesses and a full history of vaccinations. The medical form must also be completed by the family doctor. Finally, all students must show evidence of medical insurance. If you are sick you will be escorted by Summerfuel staff to the nearest medical facility and your parents will be notified. You will be responsible for any costs incurred.

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