Our Program

Our Program

Learning Principals

Our curriculum is informed by our beliefs about learning. At WPS, we believe that learners:

  • Learn by puzzling through problems and drawing their own conclusions rather than be given information through lectures.
  • Learn by actively engaging in civil debate and exchange of ideas with peers. Learning involves interrogating one’s own perspectives and assumptions in light of what others think/believe.
  • Learn by focusing on the metacognitive level so learners go beyond the experience to reflect on it’s meaning to transform ideas and theories into action.

“I am committed to being more of a leader in the classroom in the sense that I am more fearless with my contributions in class, whether they are in the form of questions, answers, opinions, or arguments.”


Six Weeks of Deeper Learning

Building Academic Competencies

Students participate in two core academic courses –one in Humanities and one in a STEM area–designed to simulate college courses in terms of workload as well as in style–with lecture-based seminars and small group discussions.

These courses are designed to pique students’ curiosity and will focus on developing student competencies in perspective-taking/empathy and taking a critical lens with an emphasis on encouraging students to find and use their voices. In our coursework, Fellows will have the opportunity to practice both quantitative reasoning and essay writing—two areas that research shows presents academic challenges in the first year of college.

Becoming Independent Learners

The transition to college is a part of a larger life transition to adulthood and being more independent. Students will need to become self-regulated in their learning–this means they will need to build awareness of their own strengths and challenges and adjust the strategies to meet each task or challenge they face. In the summer program, students will practice managing academic and social challenges often encountered when transitioning to college, including goal setting, study skills, time management, self advocacy and relationship-building.

Our program will help students develop their skills and mindsets in seven critical competencies. We view these competencies as keys to unlocking college-level academics and they will help students successfully navigate their transition to college and life beyond.

Uncovering the Hidden Curriculum

Part of preparing for college is knowing the information necessary to make informed choices in terms of classes, major, and career path. Students who are first in their family to go to college often haven’t had access to “social capital”–those networks of shared understandings and values that facilitate access to knowledge and resources about how to navigate college as well as internships and mentorship. Building social capital is important as a source of power and influence that helps people to ‘get by’ and ‘get ahead’. 

”During a daily workshop  students will practice applying their understanding of common challenges in the transition to college including how financial aid works, accessing college support resources and building a peer support network as well as finding mentorship on campus. Using the case study method, students deeply explore topics including “confronting imposter syndrome, the challenge of navigating familial expectations, and choosing a major. With this preparation, fellows to feel confident when they arrive on campus.

We invite a wide variety of guest speakers and panelists to share their experiences and expertise from a diversity of colleges and professions. We also have a career exploration series including fields like business, health care, education, engineering, and more.

Understanding Self & My First-Year College ExperienceQ: What will the first-year look like for me and what do I already know about myself that will help me be successful?
Finding My Community & Building Personal Relationships Q: How will I find my social networks and build my own community to support my social and emotional needs and ultimately feel connected to my college community?
Exploring My Web of Supports on Campus For Academic and Professional SuccessQ: How am I getting what I need to persist in college academically, personally and professionally? What resources do I have access to when I get to college and how do I advocate for what I need?
Financial Aid & Financial LiteracyQ: How will I/my family afford college? What habits do I need to develop in college that will help me post-graduation?

WPS · 196 Herrick Rd. · Newton, MA · 02459 · info@wpsinstitute.org