If you have any questions about SSP, we are here to answer them! Below you will find a list of frequently asked questions regarding SSP. If any of your questions are not below, feel free to contact us here or by emailing Professor Chris Goh, the Director of SSP.
Program participants are expected to attend every class meeting and scheduled activity. The best effort towards assignments and activities is the standard. Students are also expected to openly communicate about emergencies and other unforeseen/excused circumstances that would prevent adherence to the previous expectations. And most importantly, students are expected to come with a willingness to learn and to have fun!
Students eligible to participate in SSP are first-generation college students and/or are of an identity(s) historically underrepresented in STEM. Often SSP participants are on financial aid as well. For those who are eligible, there are no prerequisites in terms of knowledge or experience, and the only “requirement” is to have a budding interest in STEM.
In the words of a former SSP student, “SSP provides you with the opportunity to make friends before the school year starts, which is a common worry when entering a new school environment. SSP gives you the opportunity to form relationships with professors committed to your success; a relationship that strengthens in the school year when one of them becomes your academic advisor. SSP also provides a ‘preview’ to Williams and serves as an excellent example of ‘real’ Williams student life and course load. Another advantage is that SSP students are supported in research programs in their freshman year and beyond, which is not usually the case at Williams and other undergraduate institutions. No disadvantages here!”
SSP participation does NOT provide course credit. However, the courses designed in the summer serve as a good basis for what the Williams classroom is like and what work expectations are as a first year. Thus, an SSP student entering in the fall is better equipped having had experienced what Williams teaching is like and having developed their study and learning skills. Often, SSP students start the year more confidently in introductory STEM courses, having had a taste of it, and are further supported by having formed relationships with a number of professors whose courses they might be taking and who they can look to as a resource.
Those interested in math and science majors should know that SSP is a wonderful place to test out the waters of a degree in STEM. The program is designed to offer courses designed by Williams professors who you will likely encounter in your studies. Students who attend SSP are given the opportunity to experience a Williams education early, and under an environment in which the emphasis is to cultivate learning skills and study habits that will be of great use once the fall starts. If you want to take introductory level STEM courses in the fall, SSP is the best training ground for you.
SSP has a focus on science and mathematics at Williams. So although all interests are welcome, the program is better suited for those with an interest in STEM, including those with an interest in the sciences AND humanities. If your interests align mostly with social science, humanities, and arts, our sister program, Summer Humanities and Social Sciences (SHSS), is probably a better fit.
- This year, SSP will consist of two parts: for the two weeks prior to the start of classes (from June 22 to July 3), our SSP Tutors will organize some community-building activities to build connections among the cohort. We expect a commitment of about 1-2 hours a day for these activities. The bulk of the programming will take place during a four-week period from July 5 to July 31 with a mix of synchronous and asynchronous sessions expected to take approximately 3-4 hours a day. These include four short classes taught by Williams professors and more activities led by the tutors. The tutor-led activities will range from discussions of study skills and the many resources available to you as a Williams student, to navigating the transition to Williams.
A tutor is a current Williams student who attended the Summer Science Program. As the name implies, tutors are responsible for “tutoring” SSP participants in the courses offered. Every summer, there are four tutors, and usually each tutor tutors two subjects that they are studying themselves or are proficient in. Tutors are not only academic resources, but are responsible for executing the “recreational” aspect of the program. Tutors plan activities to cultivate relationships within the program and serve as support systems for the difficult parts of transitioning to college like homesickness and imposter syndrome.
SSP is NOT a research program. However, typically, there is a chemistry and biology lab component that expertly exemplifies introductory lab courses for these subjects. Because SSP is virtual in 2020, the traditional lab component will NOT be offered, but there will be material pertaining to research-related skills and thought processes.
Becoming a part of the SSP cohort is the first step towards becoming a part of the SSP community at-large, which thrives in all your years at Williams and beyond. SSP students often work in labs together in the academic year and summer. Frequently, SSP students retain the friend groups that they made in the summer throughout their Williams career. Also, activities and events are programmed in the academic year to continue cultivating the SSP community and to provide support and mentorship. SSP students from different years also form a bond whereby older students usually advise and befriend younger students. In all, once an SSPer, always an SSPer.