High School Stories

Every summer, high school students are welcome in most UC Santa Cruz Summer Session courses. They get a taste of college life and earn UC credit they can take with them anywhere. 

We hope you find some inspiration in their stories. 


    Seth De La Pena

  • No alternative text

    2021 High School Summer Online

    Courses:
    POLI 65 - Introduction to International Relations (5 credits)
    POLI 108 - Revolt, Rebellion, Revolution (5 credits)

    High School Summer Online was an incredible opportunity for me to immerse myself in a traditional college environment. From asynchronous textbook studies in POLI 65 to hours-long lectures in POLI 108, I received first-hand experience and knowledge in the field of study that I aim to one day be a part of. Being immersed in my education path showed me the methods of how professors taught in my field of interest, and I learned quickly about the obligations I held while participating and contributing to the course.

    Even as High School Summer Online has concluded, I realize that its positive impacts resonate with me. The fire burning in me to participate, debate, and communicate with my peers encourages me to work with others much more often - and most certainly on larger scales. Being the subject of attention and interest as a participant of the class taught me the importance of friendship and networking with others in my field, and our classroom discussions taught me the importance of constructively debating information that I disagreed with. Although I was unable to participate in person, I realize now that High School Summer Online remains to be one of my most memorable experiences - one that demonstrated the importance of comradery, self-care, and education in preparation for the future.

  • Kelly Coutinho

  • No alternative text

    2021 High School Summer Online

    Courses:
    MATH 19B - Calculus for Science, Engineering, and Mathematics (5 credits)
    PHYS 6AIntroductory Physics I (5 credits)
    PHYS 6L - Introductory Physics I Laboratory (1 credit)

    High School Summer Online helped me prove to myself that I am ready for college coursework. Through this program, I was able to put myself in a class full of college students and learn things the way I wanted to with the many resources that were available to me. It taught me a lot of academic content I wouldn't have learned in my high school equivalent classes, and also taught me a lot about myself. I learned how to motivate myself to finish coursework through this experience, and how to manage my time with two courses and my extracurricular activities.

    My favorite part of my experience was the lab section of my Intro to Physics class. I found out that college classes have separate lab classes that follow the curriculum of the main class, which helps the student convert what they learn in class to see a real life application. It gave me a sense of purpose while doing the class, and made me excited to learn the next concept so that we could do a lab with it. The fact that it was online was also very helpful because I was able to join this course without worrying about the commute to Santa Cruz. The online resources like tutoring and lectures posted by professors were a big help in understanding my learning and give me the confidence to keep going.


  • Aiden Jackson

  • No alternative text

    2021 High School Summer Online

    Course: ECON 1 - Introductory Microeconomics: Resource Allocation and Market Structure (5 credits)

    The High School Summer Online experience positively impacted my life by preparing me to achieve success in advanced or accelerated courses in my next few years in high school. Being in Sophomore and Freshman years in high school was somewhat frustrating to me because most people, including myself, were ineligible for advanced courses until their Junior year.

    Not having any experience with advanced courses while going into the IB Diploma in Junior year would be incredibly stressful but I think that with the experience I gained through High School Summer Online I will be better prepared to excel in my IB courses. It also showed me that if I apply myself I can succeed in a college environment which serves as a boost of confidence that motivates me to continue furthering my academic career.


  • Alexa Sumitra

  • No alternative text

    2021 High School Summer Online

    Courses:
    POLI 17 - U.S. and the World Economy (5 credits)
    KRSG 60C - Prison Narratives (3 credits)

    In the first course I took I was challenged, but it paid off because my writing has significantly improved. The last reason why I love High School Summer at UCSC is because I developed college readiness skills such as time management and how to annotate text. I am happy to have taken two high quality courses at a discounted rate at UCSC. 


  • Andrew Shyffer

  • No alternative text

    2021 High School Summer Online

    Course:
    COWL 52 - 
    Personal Finance and Investing (5 credits)

    High School Summer Online was thoroughly enjoyable for its top notch content and teaching, and I loved it. The content of the course was informative and useful for reinforcing all I have learned in my regular high school business classes. The books and videos we used added great insight into the topics we discussed. 

    On many occasions, students (myself included), asked specific questions relating to their personal finances. Our instructor provided solid guidance and discussed the pros and cons of the potential options. I worked with my parents to open a UTMA/UGMA account after an insightful discussion about the benefits of investing early for college. Our instructor was able to make the course challenging for college-level students while also clearly explaining the concepts to high school-level students. The online format was very flexible. The ability to decide when and where to take the lessons was liberating and a great breath of fresh air compared to the regimented schedule of in-person school. I was able to take a day to relax and I could easily pick the work back up the next day without falling behind. I would highly recommend UCSC High School Summer Online for any students looking to gain some great additional education.


  • Molly Berman

  • No alternative text

    2021 High School Summer Online

    Courses: 
    PHYS 6AIntroductory Physics I (5 credits)
    PHYS 6L - Introductory Physics I Laboratory (1 credit)

    I loved high school summer online because of its simplicity. It was easy to find the class work, watch the lectures, and do the quizzes, all from home. I enjoyed being able to ask questions whenever I wished in office hours. I could wake up whenever I wished and sleep in, as the classwork could be completed at any time during the day. Not having to rush from class to class really cut down on the stress. I enjoy learning, and while the class I took was mostly a review for me, it also went into some different subjects I had never touched before. All in all, it was incredibly interesting and the teachers were incredible and kind.


  • James Yeh

  • No alternative text

    2021 High School Summer Online

    Course: LING 50 Introduction to Linguistics (5 credits)

    I loved High School summer mainly for two reasons: First, the online class scheduled offered a lot of flexibility. For my class, the Canvas online instruction accounted for most of the required assignments and learning. There are lectures and class discussions, of course, for students seeking an “on-campus experience”. But they aren’t mandatory -- if we felt tired, we could either watch the recorded lecture or simply complete our learning using the resources provided on canvas; most of our participation came from online discussion assignments with each other.

    The summer class was very both intuitive and flexible, which allowed me to provide the best type of learning pace for myself. Second, I was impressed by the variety of bonding opportunities the UCSC summer sessions offered out of class, these include Game-nights, Cooking or even guided Meditations sessions!. They’ve even sent us a “summer care package” weeks before our summer school started!! Included was a frisbee, sunglasses, and lots of other summer goodies -- all to get us in the mood and preparation for our remote summer session.


  • Carissa Mohammed

  • No alternative text

    2021 High School Summer Online

    Courses: 
    ANTH 110F-01 Evolution of Human Diet (5 credits)
    OCEA 80A-01 - Life in the Sea (5 credits)

    High School Summer Online gave me the opportunity to have the real-world experience of what it would be like when I attended college and worked alongside fellow students. Even though it was online, the comfortability between students and the professor was very present and created a welcoming environment, even though I was unfamiliar with the situation at hand. Taking this summer class allowed me to earn my credits to transfer for the future and kept me working even when on break. Although this could be seen as a negative thing, during quarantine I was barely able to go out, and having the ability to do work allowed me to keep my brain going and keep me on a schedule, letting me easily slide back into the rigorous, fast-paced life at Orange County School of the Arts (OCSA). High School Summer Online definitely had a positive impact on me and I would take it again even if it was not needed for my credits.


  • Sina Kassayan

  • No alternative text

    2021 High School Summer Online

    Course: 
    MATH 3-01 -Precalculus (5 credits)

    Taking a math course over the summer really helped me achieve a greater understanding of new math topics and build a stronger base in terms of my skills and proficiency. The course wasn't too challenging to the point of causing stress and was delivered with right balance of instruction hours and homework. 

    Taking that course also helped me get credit for a class that I would've otherwise had to take in school, helping me get ahead and allowing me to take Calculus, which has been a great experience both because of the extra challenge it offers and because of the usefulness and wide application of the material in other science courses including chemistry and physics. The course also positively impacted my life because it helped me make new friends and gave me a look into how classes work in college. Overall, it was a great experience.


  • Zain Bush

  • No alternative text

    2021 High School Summer Online

    Course: OCEA 1 - The Oceans (5 credits)

    I loved that the high school summer program allowed me to get a taste of college courses and dip my toes in the workload, while taking a break from high school. The chance to not only get a taste of college, but get some college credits was an incredible opportunity. And the ability to work from my own home made it even more accessible for me, but the professors were still very easy to contact and ask questions. This made the program very simple to follow and to do well in. But I think what I loved most was the environment and general tone of the program. I went into the program expecting it to be an extremely stressful and tiring course, but a combination of the style of coursework and openness of professors to answer questions helped make for an effective and stress free work environment. And I would love to help introduce future summer students to the program so that they can enjoy the same opportunities and experience that I had. Since this summer, my research paper ‘A Mixed Methods Analysis of Two Inexpensive And Simple Aquaponic Systems for School Use’ has been accepted for publication in the forthcoming edition of the Journal of High School Student Research.


  • Belicia Burgett

  • No alternative text

    2021 High School Summer Online

    Course: HIS 60 - Medical and Scientific Terminology (5 credits)

    I was comfortably sitting on the living room couch contemplating how I was going to enjoy every minute of my summer when my mom came in and said, "Hey Bella! Guess what? I signed you up to take an accelerated online course at UCSC to keep you busy over the summer." At first, I was livid that my mom would make summer plans for me without my permission. Not surprisingly, I went into virtual day one of my online course with chagrin. However, upon opening up the course in Canvas and perusing the course modules, I was immediately intrigued by the content. Little did I know, I would embark on a unique educational journey through the eyes of a college student.

    The course immediately opened up with an assignment where we had to give some background on ourselves and why we had joined the course. Subsequently, we were able to read other students’ posts and respond. I met so many unique students from everywhere and even connected with a few outside of class. In addition, the course content was not only informative but comprehensive and engaging as well.

    The professor showed great enthusiasm and made a strong effort to communicate with all of his students, often giving insightful comments on our posts. With the assistance of the professor and the collaborative nature of the course, I was able to pass with flying colors.

    Overall, the course exceeded my expectations and offered a wealth of knowledge that I could not have gotten anywhere else. I am truly thankful that I had the privilege of experiencing college life through UCSC and would recommend it to anyone.


  • Ariana Lyman

  • No alternative text

    2020 High School Summer Online

    Course: OCEA 1 - The Oceans (5 credits)

    I love the ocean and science so the class was a perfect fit.

    As a rising high school junior, I wanted to experience a university class. The Oceans class was exactly what I wanted. It was a fascinating class and I learned so much about the oceans and the global environment. Professor Bowman and Mr. Murphy were very nice and helpful. Professor Bowman is world famous and I was amazed she always had time to answer my questions. Her online lectures and presentations were way more interesting than my high school classes. While I spent a lot of time studying, I did not mind because the class was so fun. My favorite experience was the knowledge and information I gained from my online experience.

    If you are unsure about taking an Online High School Summer course at UCSC my advice is to do it. You will get through it! It may be challenging but you will succeed. My tip would be to register early so you can enroll as soon as classes open.