• Cushing
July 1 - August 3

College Prep

College Prep - Stepping up to challenges for college
Academic Programs for Ages 14-18, rising 9th-12th graders

If you are a bright, hard-working, and highly motivated student, Cushing’s College Prep Program offers a five-week learning experience to help prepare you to meet the challenge of a college-level curriculum.

Upon successful completion of the course you enroll in, Cushing will award you a full year’s academic credit. Of course, you must be in attendance for the entire session in order to receive credit.

NOTE: If you are seeking to transfer credit to another school, you should make prior arrangements with that school and notify the Summer Session Office of those arrangements.

You may choose one of the following courses from the humanities, mathematics, or the sciences. On a typical day, each College Prep course meets for five hours; students receive a total of 120 hours of instruction in their chosen course.


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  • English - Responding to Literature Through Critical & Creative Writing

    “Of all those arts in which the wise excel, Nature’s chief masterpiece is writing well.”
     — Duke of Buckingham Sheffield (1649–1720), “Essay on Poetry”

    Perhaps no other skill is as important to your academic and professional success as writing. In this course you, your classmates, and teacher pay close attention to the writing process as well as to the different kinds of writing that allow you to stretch your mind and talents.

    The course draws upon a variety of acclaimed short stories, poems, essays, and novels to illustrate various genres of writing for different purposes. After reading and discussing these works, you engage in expressive writing that comes from personal experience, including description and narration. You then turn to an extensive study and practice of the different kinds of expository writing, including definition, classification, illustration, comparison and contrast, argumentation and critical analysis. Frequent in- and out-of class essays build your ease and effectiveness as a writer.

    Having gained a solid foundation in the various modes of discourse and in the writing process itself, you explore the world of writing by composing original work in any of the creative forms that appeal to you, including fiction, poetry and drama. By the end of the course, you have built a portfolio of your writing that is bound and, if you choose, shared with the rest of your class. If you wish, you may share your work with the entire community at an all-school assembly in the final weeks of Summer Session.

  • History - United States History

    Over 500 years in the making, the United States of America was created by a wide diversity of people from around the world, perhaps including your distant or recent ancestors. In this class you examine the emergence of a multi-racial, multi-ethnic society in British North America, beginning with the pattern of colonial settlement and the development of American culture. You will investigate the causes of the American Revolution, the process of writing and ratifying the Constitution and the development of a two-party system of government.

    The major political, economic, social and cultural forces that shaped America from the early 19th to the early 20th century are explored in depth. You conclude this intensive historical survey course by touching upon the emergence of the United States as a world power from 1898 through two World Wars, the Vietnam conflict, and the end of the Cold War. Materials include a textbook augmented by secondary works, films, guest speakers, original source materials, and class trips to historic sites in New England.

College Advising

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  • College Advising Workshop

    Rising juniors (11th graders) and seniors (12th graders) from the U.S. and abroad - if you are interested in getting a head start on your college applications, take advantage of this unique new opportunity to spend five weeks learning all aspects of the U.S. university admission process with Cushing’s College Counseling Director.  Not only will you explore your interests and research potential college majors online, but you will also practice effective strategies for ensuring a successful interview.  Twice a week, you will travel off campus to tour a variety of New England universities, including Harvard College, Boston University, Babson College, and MIT in Boston and Dartmouth College in New Hampshire.  You will also complete the Common Application and write a variety of responses to questions on application supplements.  Each night during study hall, you will do practice exercises to improve your performance on standardized tests, particularly the SAT and PSAT. 

    At the end of five weeks, each participant in this non-credit workshop will return home with:
    • a list of appropriate colleges for further exploration,
    • strategies and skills for improved performance on the PSAT and SAT,
    • a notebook of tips and information for future reference,
    • a completed Common Application, and
    • a portfolio of your essays, short  responses, and answers to practice application questions.
    Enrolling in the university of your choice requires strategic behind-the-scenes effort, including competent advising, careful research, and a thorough knowledge of the application process.  Why not give yourself the competitive edge by investing five weeks this summer in preparing for one of the most important decisions of your life?


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  • Algebra I

    Beginning with an intensive review of arithmetic before moving on to the basic concepts of algebra, you will learn all of the concepts that are typically covered in a yearlong Algebra I course, including linear and quadratic equations, the laws of exponents, radical and rational functions, solving equations, and inequalities. Not only will you build a strong algebra foundation, but you will also sharpen your analytical skills so that you are able to solve complex problems successfully in future mathematics and science courses.
  • Algebra II

    If you are in transition to higher level math, enrolling in Algebra II is an excellent choice for the summer. Topics investigated in this course include linear relations, quadratic functions, exponents, and logarithms and their applications. Successful completion of both Algebra I and Geometry is a prerequisite.
  • Geometry

    In this intensive geometry course, you will:
    • solidify your understanding of the properties of two and three-dimensional figures,
    • work with visual perceptions of three-dimensional
    • develop skills for effective use of deductive reasoning as a primary problem-solving tool.

    Some of the topics you will cover include: parallel lines and planes; properties of triangles, quadrilaterals and circles; congruent and similar triangles, area of polygons; trigonometry and coordinate geometry. Successful completion of Algebra I is a prerequisite for enrolling in this course.

  • Precalculus

    Have you ever wondered how your previous mathematics courses fit together? In College Prep Precalculus not only will you review important concepts from algebra, geometry, and basic trigonometry, but you will also explore how they interconnect and pave the way for delving into higher-level mathematics. Topics covered in this course include functions (linear, polynomial, rational, exponential, logarithmic) and their graphs, trigonometric functions, conic sections and systems of equations. Successful completion of Algebra I, Geometry and Algebra II is a prerequisite.
  • Statistics

    We live in a data-driven world, bombarded daily with information in all aspects of life.  In order to use that information wisely, we need to understand where data comes from and how it is collected and analyzed.  Since statistics is the science of collecting, analyzing, and transforming data into information, students need to under-stand its concepts and procedures in order to identify patterns, draw conclusions, reason successfully about events, and grasp the logic of making decisions in the presence of uncertainty.
    This five-week course focuses on the processes of reasoning about data through simulated samples, distributions, summary statistics, graphs, and problem sets from the textbook.  After formulating questions that can be addressed with data, students then collect data through observational studies, sample surveys, experiments, and real-time downloads of data from a variety of online sources.  Afterwards, they select and apply appropriate statistical analyses in order to answer their questions.  In doing so, the students learn to:
    • Extract information from data and determine what these data say,  
    • Determine the type of presentation most appropriate to display the data,
    • Model real world phenomena, and
    • Apply concepts of probability and relative frequency.
    Essential Questions:
    • Which ideas are central to understanding how to process information and use it wisely?
    • How can we make sound decisions and imagine the future through problem solving, forecasting, and scenario building?
    • How can students become informed and responsible members of the community by understanding the data that confronts them in every aspect of life?
    • Since computer technology yields an overwhelming amount of data, how do students link statistics and its myriad real world applications?
    • How can we create clear, unambiguous surveys?
    • How can randomization reduce bias in surveys and studies?
    Topics include:
    Basics of Statistics & Descriptive Statistics
    • Experimental Design
    • Data Collection
    • Differences between a Population and a Sample
    • Frequency Distributions
    • Graphing Data Sets in a Variety of Ways
    • Measuring Variations
    • Conditional Probability
    • Discrete Probability Distributions
    • Binomial Distributions
    • Normal Probability Distributions and Standard Normal Distribution
    • Finding Probabilities
    • Sampling Distributions and Central Limit Theorem
    Confidence Intervals and Hypothesis Testing
    • Confidence Intervals for the Mean of Large and Small Samples
    • Hypothesis Testing for the Mean of Large and Small Samples
    • Testing the Difference between the Means of Independent Samples
    • Correlation
    • Linear Regression
    • Chi Test


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  • College-level Scientific Research - NEW for 2018!

    Our College-level Scientific Research program provides high school scholars with a hands-on research experience across several disciplines. Students will conduct research in a chosen field and acquire critical analytical skills through the scientific process (inquiry, research, hypothesis, testing, analysis). This non-credit course culminates in a formal research paper and presentation.
  • Biology

    During the first two weeks of Biology, you become familiar with the chemical structures within cells. The second two weeks emphasize the basic principles, terminology and methodology of genetics. In the final week, you study complex organisms and systems. How these systems work to maintain homeostasis (dynamic balance) and to respond to stresses placed upon them becomes the major emphasis by the end of the course.

    Throughout, you learn to use various methods of scientific investigation while collecting data, making careful observations and interpreting results. You spend significant time in the laboratory, where you become familiar with research instruments including microscopes, spectrophotometers, pH meters, conductivity meters, analytical balances, water baths and Van Doren bottles.

  • Chemistry

    Chemistry deals with the myriad of substances that make up our environment, their relationships to each other and their transformations. You begin the study of chemistry by learning about the units of science, the manipulation of numbers in science, types of matter and atomic theory. You then master the symbols, formulas and equations that make up the language of chemistry and explore the ways in which they are used.

    Kinetic theory, with particular application to the states of matter, lays the foundation for further investigation of thermodynamics, solutions, kinetics and equilibrium, acids and bases. At the end of the course, special topics are introduced. The laboratory plays an important role in this course because experiments are designed to enable you to use standard chemical equipment and procedures. Successful completion of Algebra II and Biology is a prerequisite.

  • Physics

    In this course you develop a thorough understanding of mechanics and the major conservation laws of energy and momentum. You come to understand and appreciate these ideas as you apply them to the workings of the universe. Toward that end, you study the principles of electricity, optics and Newtonian mechanics.

    Through experiments and labs, you learn to organize, manipulate and summarize experimental data into charts, graphs and tables, propose and justify a sequence of steps leading to a solution, and evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of a solution to a physics problem. Successful completion of Algebra II, Chemistry and Trigonometry is a prerequisite for enrolling in Physics.

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Cushing Academy Summer Session

39 School Street
Ashburnham, MA 01430-8000

Tel: 978.827.7700
Fax: 978.827.7087

Cushing Academy

39 School Street
Ashburnham, Massachusetts 01430

Cushing Academy

Cushing Academy is a coed, college preparatory day and boarding school for grades 9-12 and PG. Our students, who come from over 30 states and 30 countries, excel in and out of the classroom through outstanding academic, art and athletic offerings. Visit our welcoming community and beautiful 162-acre campus in Ashburnham, Mass., one hour from Boston, to experience all that Cushing has to offer.