Twenty-seven high school seniors and 13 juniors celebrated the last day of classes of the three-week Summer College Preview Program at Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar with a festive closing ceremony. “The Summer College Preview Program gives high school students exposure to a college-level experience,” says Bruce Volstad, manager of pre-college programs at Carnegie Mellon Qatar. “This program gives students the opportunity to explore an academic area of interest, while learning how to prepare for the highly competitive college admissions process.”The SCPP is designed to introduce academically motivated students to the demanding curriculum of highly selective universities such as the ones in Education City. A curriculum of English, math and SAT exams aims to introduce high schools student to the workload they will experience at university, including demanding courses, nightly homework, quizzes, exams and projects. The progress of the students is measured throughout the course of the program. “This program is a good experience. It taught me how to handle pressure and prepare for the next step in high school. In my high school, we learn critical thinking, while at SCPP we are given the problem and need to figure out how to apply what we learned to get to the solution. We are learning things here that we will learn to value soon enough,” said Mohammed Dauleh, a student at Qatar Leadership Academy who earned the “most improved student” award for improving his SAT total score.As academic success at top universities depends heavily on a strong command of the English language, the SCPP offered many opportunities for students to improve their English language skills. In the English courses, the students worked on writing a university admission essay, which is a requirement for all university applications. Students learned the importance of the writing process, including attention to audience, revision and editing techniques as well as fundamentals of proper grammar and effective style. The students also worked on their public-speaking skills in front of a classroom audience.In the math courses, students were initially given a diagnostic test to determine the appropriate level of calculus or algebra they would study during the summer. The SAT preparation course provided students with key content and strategies to be successful at taking standard tests. The students also attended classes focused on one of Carnegie Mellon’s major areas of study: Business Administration, Computer Science or Information Systems. “I applied under the BA program, but because of the high number of students there, I was transferred to IS. It has been much better than my expectations. I thought the class would be very theoretical but instead we learned how technology applies to the business world and, in fact, everything around us. It has been a great experience,” said Nawal Mir, a high school senior at Al Jazeera Academy.Through these classes, students learned about the majors offered at Carnegie Mellon Qatar, and what opportunities would be available to them should they pursue one. These project classes led up to a final presentation, with instructors reviewing the final product. Through this program, the students learned first-hand how heavy a college course load can be and what caliber of work will be expected of them if they are accepted into Carnegie Mellon. Each student also had a mock college admission interview with a Carnegie Mellon admission counselor. This gave students a chance to see what would be expected of them during the university admission process.The 40 students in the program represented 17 schools across Qatar. Two of the students who took part in last year’s program came back for a second year. Seven professors came from the university’s home campus in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA and one professor from Carnegie Mellon’s campus in Australia joined the faculty in Doha. In addition, two counselors from Kaplan Test Prep worked with students in the SAT preparation course. Carnegie Mellon Qatar staff and students served at peer tutors and counselors, helping students with coursework, special projects and answering questions about life at Education City.