The College Preparatory Program

Level: Open to students entering grades 11 or 12 or freshman year of college in fall 2016.
Session: I, June 27–July 15, 2016; II, July 19-August 5, 2016
Days & Time: Monday–Friday, 10:10 a.m.–12:00 p.m. and 2:10–4:00 p.m.
Deborah Aschkenes,
Amanda Golden,
Barbara Morris,
Anne Summers,
Kristin L. Wolfe,
Debbie Yuster,

“Every second, I felt like I was absorbing knowledge in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. The professors are very helpful and knowledgeable in their fields. My classmates brought a multifaceted approach towards a subject and deepened my understandings.” — Ziming Gao, 2015

“It was challenging but in a good way; I think I learned a lot.” — Daniela Bohrt, 2015

Course Description

An intensive review in four major skill areas for students who wish to strengthen their preparation for college-level work. Each skill module meets two or three mornings or afternoons per week. Students enrolled in this curricular option are required to take all four modules.

Expository Writing
Barbara Morris, Anne Summers, Kristin Wolfe

Students reinforce skills in grammar and punctuation as they learn to narrow a general subject into a usable, focused thesis and to write a coherent and informed essay. Through reading, debate, and writing, students develop writing strategies for different types of assignments such as examinations, reports, and term papers. Through careful readings of a variety of short articles and excerpts, students develop an appreciation for the writing skills essential in an academic setting.

New Approaches To Mathematics
Debbie Yuster

In New Approaches To Mathematics, students practice mathematics as an experimental, discovery-based science, solving open-ended problems through experimentation and creativity. They later revisit their hypotheses and prove them using novel proof techniques. In the second half of the course, students sample various branches of pure and applied mathematics, with topics selected from fields including cryptography, probability, number theory, and geometry. This course develops students' creativity, independent thinking, logical reasoning, and ability to rigorously support their ideas. Instead of using the standard lecture approach, this module uses in-class group exercises in which students support and complement each other through the entire problem solving process, from understanding the problem to presenting the group's solution to the class.

Reading and Critical Thinking
Deborah Aschkenes, Amanda Golden, Barbara Morris

Students develop an understanding of how language and form work in what they read and see in order to develop methods for identifying and critically evaluating conveyed messages. A variety of literary and visual media is considered, including fiction, poetry, drama, newspaper and magazine articles, movies, and television programs.

Study Skills and Research Techniques
Anne Summers

Students practice the skills required to complete college assignments productively and to do research in a university library. Extensively considered are time management, note-taking, outlining, examination preparation, and effective class participation. Students are trained to use the full resources of a library, including traditional research tools as well as computerized catalogs, abstracts, indexes, and bibliographic databases.


Deborah Aschkenes

After working in fashion merchandising at Saks Fifth Avenue, Deborah Aschkenes received her M.A., M.Phil., and Ph.D. from Columbia University, where she was awarded the English Department’s Miron Cristo-Loveanu prize for Best Master’s Essay. Currently on the faculty of Riverdale Country School, she teaches English and an interdisciplinary course integrating philosophy, visual art, and literature. Her research and teaching span rhetorical theory, the Victorian novel, and, most recently, the ethics of technology.  

Amanda Golden

Amanda Golden is an Assistant Professor of English at the New York Institute of Technology. She previously held the Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Poetics at Emory University’s Fox Center for Humanistic Inquiry and a Marion L. Brittain Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Georgia Institute of Technology. She received her B.A. from Colgate University and her Ph.D. from the University of Washington, where for three summers she also taught advanced middle and high school students at the Robinson Center for Young Scholars. She is the author of Annotating Modernism: Marginalia and Pedagogy from Virginia Woolf to the Confessional Poets (Routledge, forthcoming) and editor of This Business of Words: Reassessing Anne Sexton​ (UP of Florida, 2016).

Barbara Morris

Barbara Morris is a University of Chicago Ph.D. and the co-founder of a pioneering program in graduate research and writing at Parsons the New School for Design in the division of Art, Media and Technology. She has worked as a professor of film and literature at UCLA, Rutgers University, and Fordham University. Dr. Morris has received research fellowships from the Fulbright Committee, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the governments of Spain, the United States, and Argentina for her work in cinema studies.

Anne Summers

Anne Summers holds a B.A from Barnard College and is currently pursuing a Ph.D in English at Stony Brook University. She is a recipient of a Graduate Council Fellowship at Stony Brook and is specializing in Victorian literature with an additional graduate certificate in women’s and gender studies. Her research interests include visual culture and female authorship, labor, and education in the Victorian period. She has worked as a high school and middle school tutor, an SAT prep instructor, and a reading teacher.

Kristin L. Wolfe

Kristin L. Wolfe is an MFA student in nonfiction writing at Columbia University. She holds an M.S. in secondary education from St. John's University and a B.A. in English from the University of San Francisco. Kristin has taught English composition, creative writing, and humanities courses in public and private schools in New York City and Connecticut; managed various award-winning student publications; selected numerous students for the New England Young Writers Conference; and assisted with hundreds of college admissions essays. She writes book reviews for Publishers Weekly and cultural essays for various publications, and she has recently completed writing her first young adult novel.

Debbie Yuster

Debbie Yuster received a Ph.D. in mathematics from Columbia in 2007. She is currently an assistant professor of mathematics at SUNY Maritime. Prior to this, she held a postdoctoral fellowship at the Center for Discrete Mathematics and Theoretical Computer Science (DIMACS) at Rutgers University. Her research interests include combinatorics, computational geometry, and algebraic aspects of topological dynamics. Dr. Yuster has taught undergraduate courses at Columbia and other universities, and has worked with New York City math teachers and their students in order to promote interest in math, as part of the National Science Foundation's GK-12 program.

Specific course information, such as hours and instructors, are subject to change at the discretion of the University.