Robust summer programming is a critical element of the DTS program. DTS requires students entering 9th grade through freshman year of college to participate in four weeks of formal programming and offers many different programming opportunities throughout the summer.
Required Summer Programs
All DTS students and staff spend four days, three nights at a nature retreat located within a several hour drive of Los Angeles. Activities include a ropes course, challenging hikes, outdoor games, and nightly campfires. All are designed to help students disconnect from the city, connect with themselves and nature, bond as a group, and push themselves out of their comfort zones. For many of our high school students, the retreat is their first time away from their homes and families, and serves as a safe step toward college readiness. DTS college students participate as counselors, giving all students the opportunity to share their varied experiences with one another.
I think of [DTS Outdoors] like college, being away from home and my family for a week, living with others and getting to know them. It was the first time I was away from home for so long, yet it was very exciting to meet people and rely on myself. – Jordan, High School Student
Bridge to High School
Over the course of three weeks, rising 9th grade students are immersed in preparations for high school. Programming includes academic remediation in math and writing, executive functioning skill facilitation (time management and study skills, written communication skills, goal setting, and public speaking skills), an introduction to the DTS college-going culture, a health and wellness curriculum focused on fitness, stillness and nutrition, and intensive workshops in financial literacy, narrative writing, and body awareness. Summer Bridge yields a dramatic increase in students’ feelings of preparedness for high school academics, competence to begin high school math, confidence in their high school social lives, motivation to excel in high school and to attend and graduate from college, and the belief that they have the support to overcome any obstacle they may face in high school, including academic, family and social challenges.
Health and Wellness Intensive
DTS believes that health and wellness is the foundation for a happy and meaningful life. To that end, rising 10th graders spend three weeks learning about their bodies through the lens of self-care, with a focus on exercise, nutrition, sleep, the mind-body connection, and sex education presented in conjunction with Planned Parenthood.
SAT/ACT Preparation Course
Rising 11th graders participate in a week-long intensive course created and taught by our program partner College Access Plan (CAP). The week is bookended by two full-length practice tests and includes four review sessions the following spring. Students meet individually with our College Access and Success Counselor to establish test schedules and review practice plans. CAP’s innovative course curriculum “addresses both understanding of content and question-design as well as students’ anxiety about these tests by using metacognitive tools that consider both what students know and what they feel.”
Residential College Summer Programs
Rising 12th graders are required to apply for residential college programs as part of their summer curriculum. Some of the programs our students have participated in include:
- Minority Introduction to Engineering and Science (MITES) at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
- Summer in the City at Barnard College
- Collegiate Leadership Summit at Franklin and Marshall College
- The Young Center’s California Youth Think Tank (CYTT)
- California State Summer School for Mathematics and Science (COSMOS)
- Summer Engineering Seminar (SES) hosted by the school of engineering at Santa Clara University
- Carleton Liberal Arts Experience (CLAE) at Carleton College
California Youth Think Tank has helped me learn how to become a leader with people I may not be familiar with and learn how to create connections with them to get my point across. It has also helped me learn how to structure speeches and speak in front of a live audience. – Melissa, High School Student
California College Trip
Our high school seniors spend four days traveling to different college campuses throughout California. At each campus, students take guided tours and visit classrooms, libraries, dorms, bookstores, and dining halls, where they have the opportunity to eat the campus food. Some schools provide an admissions information session to advise students about GPA requirements, A-G requirements, financial aid, campus life, club sports, research opportunities, admissions statistics, essay pointers, and more.
College Application Bootcamp
During this two-week program, rising 12th graders learn how to research schools and financial aid options, practice interview skills and email etiquette daily, complete the University of California application, complete the Common Application for private schools, begin the University of California insight questions, and meet with college admissions interviewers.
Bridge to College
Rising college freshmen spend two weeks preparing with our staff to make the transition from high school graduate to college student. We cover a wide range of topics, including new time management skills for a college schedule, syllabus mapping, techniques for managing stressful situations, growth mindset, wellness, and maintaining a support system.
Additional Summer Programming Opportunities
- STEM courses at 9 Dots Community Learning Center
- UCLA Summer Sessions Writing Summer Institute: Introduction to College Writing
- DTS Book Clubs: Open to all DTS students; led by DTS college students