Program dates: July 8 - 28, 2018          

Parents are a key component of a successful summer program for their child. When the decision is made for a student to attend ADVANCE, the student and his or her parents need to have realistic expectations for the student. The fast-paced academic program and living away from home for three weeks are often new to students. Well ahead of the program, please discuss with ADVANCE administrators any issues that may affect your child's experience in the classroom or dormitory. 


ADVANCE, now celebrating its 30th year offering a residential academic summer program for gifted or talented young people, has encountered a range of attitudes from parents concerning academic performance in the program. The following advice will help you prepare your child to succeed in the classroom:

1.  Emphasize that academic self-improvement, as opposed to earning a particular grade or being the first in the class to complete assignments, is acceptable. Encourage your child to do the best that he or she can do.

2.  ADVANCE courses are brief, very intense, and require a greater effort than he or she may be accustomed to making at his or her school at home. Many of the courses at ADVANCE are taught on the college level.

3.  Discuss with your child that is it okay to not know the subject at first, because it is assumed that students have little if any knowledge of the subject.

4.  Reassure your child that constructive criticism is used as a means for learning and should not be taken negatively.

5.  Remind your child that he or she will be among a group of very bright young people who learn new material quickly and comparisons to others should be avoided.

Help Prepare your Child for Residential Life

Hailed as an exemplary academic program, the ADVANCE Program also has a stellar residential life component to ensure that our students have a terrific time while learning. Parents can play an important role in preparing students for the residential experience before the program begins. The following advice can help you prepare your child to do well socially and residentially:  

1.  ADVANCE students find that they have many common interests once they begin socializing, so please encourage your child to participate in a variety of nightly and weekend activities and meet new interesting people. Multiple activities are offered when students are not in class and are designed to appeal to our diverse student population.

2.  Emphasize that working through the inconveniences of dormitory life can lead to the development of close friendships at ADVANCE that are long lasting.

3.  Encourage your child to talk about their experiences and concerns with staff members. Our staffers are incredibly gifted college students who are here to make a difference in the lives of our students, but we cannot help a student if we do not know there is an issue to address.

4.  Review the Expectations for Student Conduct with your child. ADVANCE is a highly structured program and operates with one set of rules for everyone. Students fully committed to all aspects of the program, including academics, residential life, and all student expectations, report the highest levels of satisfaction with their ADVANCE experience.

Help Your Child Unplug

While students are allowed to bring a few electronic devices (click on Expectations for Student Conduct in the menu box and scroll down to Electronic Devices) for limited use while at ADVANCE, please assist us in limiting usage while students should be sleeping. Cell phones, with their apps and data plans, offer many distractions to students after lights out. Students will need to be rested to engage fully each day in class. Additionally, students are not allowed to stay in their rooms using their devices during activities. Activities are thoughtfully planned to strengthen the ADVANCE community, assist in the creation of friendships, and to ensure that all students have a great time.

Homesick Students

Being away from home can be difficult. Our task is to help all students feel like they are part of the ADVANCE community from the first day. The students will meet everyone in their RA group and classroom before on-hall on the first night. Additionally, we make every effort to create a supportive environment and plan several required group activities the first week to help students meet one another.

From our experience, we ask that parents please allow your child a few days to become comfortable with the program and wait for him or her to call you when they are able to report on the fun and interesting things taking place at ADVANCE.

If your child becomes homesick, chances are that we already know about the situation. However, you may contact our office or our counselor for ideas on helping your child adapt to the new environment. If your child has not phoned home and you are curious or concerned, you may contact our counselor who will gather information for you. Keep in mind that frequent contact with your child may prolong or intensify homesickness. Remember, most students who initially experience homesickness ultimately succeed in and enjoy their time at ADVANCE.