Anyone You Know Did The YESS Program?

YESS is a 3 week summer program at Caltech; I was about to apply for it last year, but I couldn’t find any teachers that were about to recommend me :confused: They said I was too lazy and was capable of more. So its my Junior year and I am determined about school, I want to get into the YESS program. Its not whether I get in or not thats the problem, but what is expected when I actually go? From what I can infer from the website is that its an academic camp, pretty much eat sleep and study there. That sounds like fun, but is it the subjects I like? Obviously robotics and computer science is my top favorite; the website says it will be about physics and biology. Now how much will that benefit me in the future? Will it give me a glimpse of a college life (minus the parties and ect)? Will it benefit me in my future endeavours as a programmer? It might benefit me to finish within deadlines.

I want to hear from previous YESS experiences:
How fun was it? (I mean like nerdy fun too)
What did you benefit from it? (short term and long term)
How hard is it to actually get accepted?
Was it worth the time and work?
What is the one thing you took away from that experience?
How hard was the work?

edit: also one more thing: How can I get “academic awards and honors”? The application has a whole essay to write about those… I do not have any… How do I acquire one of those?

YESS essentially exists at a lot of different universities. A three week program where you take an intensive class for credit / get a “pre college” experience is at a lot of places. I would recommend you look into more than just Caltech’s program.

In particular, the YESS program is targeted toward “high school sophomores or juniors who are traditionally underrepresented in science and engineering fields (Native Americans, Latinos, and African-Americans)”. If I recall correctly you’re not a ‘traditionally underrepresented’ type of person so you will have a lot more trouble getting in. My junior year, I applied to the program and didn’t get in with a few very kind recommendation letters and great grades and awards over my high school career.

However, I had no trouble getting into numerous other programs at different universities that didn’t have this focus. Then again, I had no trouble getting a recommendation from my teachers and had achieved great success academically. It sounds like you have a bit of trouble with both, so I would seriously consider whether or not whatever program you look at is designed for you / of benefit to you (most are designed to be engaging to “gifted / talented” students in order to contrast with normal school, though once you get to high school they broaden quite a bit).

I do have to take a sidebar and point out something. If none of my teachers would be willing to give me a letter of recommendation, I would take that as a huge wake up call. Many teachers are willing to write letters for most of their students, even if they aren’t able to write something particularly complimentary. That not one of your teachers felt comfortable recommending you to an academic program really should be a huge red flag in regards to your academic performance, classroom attitude, and schoolwork as a whole.

Oh yea, gifted and talented program… I got kicked out of it right before entering highschool since I was a terrible student in middle school:confused:. Well the application said that they would not discriminate or anything based on race. I didn’t do so well in school, only got B’s by not studying and wasn’t very consistent with homework. I would call B’s mediocre grades. Well I am changing that this year. I am ready to get A’s…

Well Caltech is also the closest non junior college to my house.


The Young Engineering and Science Scholars (YESS) program at Caltech is a three-week summer residential program for exceptional underrepresented high school students and others who feel they would benefit from the program.
(emphasis added)


Outstanding high school sophomores or juniors who are traditionally underrepresented in science and engineering fields (Native Americans, Latinos, and African-Americans) and others who believe they would benefit from this program are encouraged to apply to the program. We accept and review applications from all applicants.
(emphasis added).

Talk to your teachers that did not recommend you and ask what it would take for you to do the first semester to prove you are worth recommending. Then do those things. It may be harder then just getting a few A’s.

Thats the application: Note No information will be used discriminatory manner… ::rtm::

I know exactly my problem was, I was not showing effort; I was doing great on tests but my class work and or my homework showed ■■■■ poor effort. I was going to minimum too, I should go above and beyond this year

That means they won’t say “oh he did really good for his / her race let’s let them in”, but considering the aim of the program is specifically for underrepresented groups of people and my personal experience and inquiries, you probably won’t get in.

I know exactly my problem was, I was not showing effort; I was doing great on tests but my class work and or my homework showed ■■■■ poor effort. I was going to minimum too, I should go above and beyond this year

Even if that was the case I bet at least one teacher would be willing to write a letter saying “he’s really great but didn’t live up to his potential” or whatever. Do you have any problems with attitude or participation in addition to this stuff?

Honestly with the attitude; I was a quiet kid, possibly to the point I was lacking participation. Now should I speak up more? In any debates though, I am very opinionated and just let loose. Honestly I have been getting that same response ever since I came to the US, “You are a very smart kid, you just don’t show it” Or “You don’t put enough effort into it” Thats my Achilles heel, I always try to get by with my knowledge. That is why this year I made an oath to put forth effort and actually study before taking tests and not just wing it like I did previously. I am sure this year it won’t be hard to get recommendations. I just got to kiss up now :smiley:

edit: now before HS, I was the loud kid, I talked wa too much and my citizen ship grade showed it, thats why I changed to be serious in class and just listen…

Check out the CTD program at Northwestern University, it is pretty awesome.

I took a class that I knew nothing about at CTD (AP Java Programming) and suddenly I learned how to study and teach myself something I knew nothing about. Take a class totally out of your comfort zone because that’s what is going to happen in college.

Good luck turning your school work around, it will be a challenge.

Wait wait wait… I googled it and it says I can do Calculus in 3 weeks? and get credit for it? Now my school only offers AP Calc AB and BC (what ever the lettering is) so Will I get that credit for the summer program? Java is not what I want to do; I just know too much of programming than the program offers. Too bad its not in California though, I will look for similar program at USC or UCLA or something, may be even Occidental

Calculus in three weeks is probably one of the hardest courses CTD offers. AP courses at CTD that aren’t Computer Science are absolute nightmares if you don’t have the discipline to study constantly, moreso than other courses there. However, I know from experience that CTD is an outstanding program with great classes for those who qualify.

Why not travel a little bit and experience something new? I promise that it probably won’t kill you.

So um… not a good start to my Junior Year; I got a D on my Pre Calculus test (which was really all review), and a C in my AP Physics test (I didn’t even try the FR, since I was being a dummy) But APUSH, I did fine, a B on the test and quiet satisfied, but I need As. So any advice? First of all, actually studying; I never really studied in my life -_-. Any advice on studying? I get the concepts just like that (the only reason for low grade on my tests were the formulas; I forgot some) For some reason I always had trouble with formulas, everything else is easy. The concepts are easy (which explains how I did well on the APUSH test), now how do I supplement my memory to memorize those formulas? I know AP Physics is heavy on formulas, so that can be the difference from an A or an F for me.

[mini rant]
Who in the world cares about Point Slope form vs General form vs Y intercept form? So useless IMHO. Just use one formula, you get the same results… I got such a low score on the Precalc test because I forgot which forms were which…
[/mini rant]

Personally I don’t ask for help; it is just not me. The fact that I am admitting my studying habits are messed up must mean I am serious. First of all, I need to get off the computer.

I this is off topic, but as far as some studying ideas…

  • Take notes in class: normally the teacher tests on what they think is important, and that’s what they will talk about in class
  • Copy your class notes onto other paper neatly (sooner the better)
  • Make flashcards
  • Knowing the concepts is critical: if you can derive the formulas then you don’t have to memorize so many formuals!
  • Take notes while reading.
  • Ask your teachers for more explanation if you don’t completely
    understand a concept

This is what I do, and since it was mentioned, I thought I’d share… :rolleyes:

Now I’m no older than you are, taking pretty similar classes, so really, I don’t have much room to talk. But honestly I’m kinda in the same boat. This is the first time in my life I’ve been legitimately challenged in all my classes.

But two weeks into junior year, I think the biggest thing is losing the distractions. Computers, TV, internet, they kill productivity. Just by cutting myself off during studying/homework time has allowed to survive loads that are literally double or triple what I had last year.

As for formulas, I totally sympathise. It absolutely seems pointless. The only real aid is that in certain cases, it is somewhat simpler to use one form over another.

As for remembering formulas, only two things have really worked for me: flashcards and tons of practice. Personally, just by using formulas so many times it’ll ingrain, I don’t know if you’re the same way but it seems like it makes sense.

Edit: Final thing, if you know what the teacher will be lecturing on, read that section of the book before class, and use class to make sure you understand, not learning for the first time.

Anyway, best of luck. I’m sure the above is what almost everyone says, but hey, additional advice can’t hurt.

Thanks for the advice guys. I better pick up index cards:rolleyes: . Since it seems to help others

With respect to taking notes: If you have a laptop that you take notes on, ditch it, IMO. I get one of those 80-page lab-type notebooks and take notes in it–I can get about a semester of notes for 3-4 classes into one of those, and they’re cheap. Taking notes on the laptop, I was more inclined to play computer games or mess around a bit.

Why there are different formulas for the same thing is a bit tougher, but it’s easier to graph an equation in some forms than in others. And if you ever take Differential Equations, there are probably about 3-4 ways to solve any given differential equation. And every last one of them has a different procedure…

One thing that has come up a few times in this thread is not understanding the value of certain things being taught. I have been amazed at how many worthless things I was taught that I ended up needing to know. School cannot teach everything you need to know so they teach you how to learn. The only way you will remember the formulas, for example, is to do lots of problems until you get the feel for which one to use when. It takes hard work but you are really preparing for your entire carreer. You will need to know how to learn things that do not immediately interest you as nobody gets a job doing exactly what they want, especially at first. If you are lucky as the years go by you will be able to work your way into your dream job and you may change your mind before you get there. Lastly, you are asking CD for advice on this. I think you need to ask your teachers. We can only give general advice whereas they can give much more valuable help, and most all teachers want to help a student who is really trying.

Eric: LOL Your school allows laptops at your school? Oh wait, my school is just slow to recognize that we are in the 21st century -_-… Yea I put all my notes on actual paper, just they can be very skimpy, messy and I am just terrible notetaker. I need to improve that too.

KSTL: Yea I am loving AP Physics right now, its very very easy when I know the formulas, its basics algebra with a dash of Trig in there. Its very relevant to my future career, and I am actually anxious to learn new things in that class. I didn’t go to my teachers because I usually have a very tight schedule I have to abide by, especially during lunch. I go out for lunch every day, so I might not have time if I stay and talk… And I have personal issue about a certain teacher; I won’t say because I will get in trouble. Lets say it goes against my morals

My college actually pretty much requires laptops.

The fun part is that most of the professors after the first year don’t do anything with the computing power they have available…

Pretty much any college in the US allows and basically requires laptops. It’s just how it is.