Courses and Electives in the High School Summer Program at Saint Vincent College

Featuring three academic courses: Learning Strategies Core Course, Writing Class and an Elective


Learning Strategies Seminar

All students will enroll in Learning Strategies Seminar (LSS), which will provide a foundation for all other courses and activities in the summer program. In this course, students will explore the science behind learning—from how our brain processes information to how factors such as nutrition, sleep, exercise, and learning differences affect how we learn. LSS will also reveal the art of learning by integrating a variety of learning strategies that can improve each student's ability to learn, including the use of technology. The course will cover such important areas as perception, attention, emotion, memory, and motivation, as well as how we communicate what we learn through speech and writing. LSS orients students to elements of goal setting, organization of time, materials, project planning, strategic learning, self-advocacy, and metacognition through a highly interactive hands-on curriculum. Students will consider their own learning styles and diagnoses as they study brain-based research about learning. The use of technology will be discussed, and the skills of active reading, note-taking, test taking, and summary writing will be introduced. Students will practice these skills and make an oral presentation focusing on their individual learning profiles.

Writing Classes

All writing classes in the Summer High School Program cover the basics of good writing: coherent thinking, expressive presentation, individual style, and use of appropriate language. Students may choose from three different offerings based on their individual needs: 

Research and Writing
This course introduces students to the requirements and expectations of college-level writing. Students will learn how to structure and develop essays for college, including how to write research papers with in-text citations and lists of sources. Research & Writing will focus on active reading and on opportunities to research and write the research essay. Students will write two or more essays. The first essay will be a description and reflection on one or more personal adventures of special significance. The second essay will concentrate on an investigation and analysis of a journey of historical importance.

Building Confidence as Writers
For many people, producing writing on a deadline is a challenge. This course is designed for students who find it difficult to generate effective writing in an academic setting in spite of their honest efforts to do so. By focusing on structure, process, and self-understanding, students will develop strategies and approaches to increase their success. High interest topics and assignments are designed to engage students and to encourage them to find meaningful connections to their writing.

Writing Effective Essays
Writing that is clear, honest, concise, and persuasive is a general requirement for academic success at the college level, and it is what colleges look for in application essays. Students will be introduced to the goals and structures of personal and persuasive writing and will work to develop a personalized and strategic approach to their own writing process. Using prompts typically found on college applications, students will write an essay that can be used as a model for their own college application essay.


All students will choose a single elective course to participate in throughout the program. At Saint Vincent College, the electives are:

Acting Fundamentals
Students will have the opportunity to experience multiple aspects of the theater, including movement, improvisation, vocal expression, and character development.  In the course, students should expect hands-on experience that will end with a performance opportunity.  Each class will have students up and moving and becoming comfortable performing in front of an audience and working in a group with others.

Digital Media Production     
This course provides students a broad introduction, both historical and practical, to the instruments and techniques used in modern visual communication, most notably digital video. Camera work, lighting, sound manipulation, and non-linear editing will be studied and analyzed in order to determine how digital media has affected the ways in which we communicate. Students will also examine what effects social media and numerous viral videos have had on our culture.

Society and the Environment
This course provides students with an appreciation and understanding of the fundamental concepts and theoretical background of environmental science. It involves the study of traditional environmental problems and the application to current local and global issues. The class begins with the study of the intertwining relationships of ecology and how they apply to Western Pennsylvania’s ecosystem. Then students will explore other topics, including past and current global issues, dwindling resource supplies, and pollution. At the conclusion of the class, students will have developed an understanding of how nature and humankind can coexsist to ensure the existence of a sustainable planet. The class will include hands-on science, demonstrations, labs, field studies, and computer modeling. 

Learn more about:


Office of Admissions at Landmark College