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Monday, March 28, 2011

BY GERALD M. BRADSHAW

gerald_bradshaw@post.harvard.edu

Bradshaw College Consulting

(219) 663-3041

Dear Mr. Bradshaw: -- As parents weíre looking for a summer camp for our 12-year old son. He is a straight ďAĒ student and we want him to have a good time but we also want to give him a jump start on thinking about college and choosing a career. He and his friends play video games and skateboard and do other things typical of boys his age. Is it too early to encourage him to start thinking about a career?

Program aimed at young video gamers



Dear Parent --

While it may seem early for you to start worrying about your sonís career aspirations, it certainly isnít too soon for you to think about what the requirements are for him to become a success in a field that interests him.

Because your concerns are reflected by a growing number of parents, my role as a college consultant is increasingly taking on the role of career adviser. A number of colleges and universities have summer programs that focus on developing leadership skills and offer classes for academic credit.

A growing number of schools offer summer programs in computer and technology applications. Many of these programs are available to kids as young as 6 years old.

One program located close to you is held at the University of Chicago. The schoolís Digital Media Academy is a program where your son can see the possibilities of turning his interest in video games into a career.

Teens and pre-teens can explore game programming with Python or C++, digital filmmaking, 3-D game development, music and video production, or 3-D role-playing games and strategy. Kids aged 6 through 12 embark on adventures in comic creation, digital photography, and Web design.

Digital Media Academy campers at the University of Chicago may also enroll in a pre-college experience and produce digital projects of their very own. A two-week program for day students age 12 through 17 costs $1,885. Overnight students pay $2,799. One-week programs are also available. See www.digitalmediaacademy.org/teens-kids-camp/locations-dates/the-university-of-chicago/ for registration and course descriptions.

If you would like to have your son attend a Digital Media Academy camp at a more distant location, the following universities offer excellent programs and accommodations: Harvard, Stanford, the University of California San Diego, UCLA, University of British Columbia, George Washington University and the University of Texas at Austin.

I recommend these programs because they are narrowly focused on students who have similar interests. The 12- through 17-year-old age groups offer the opportunity to interact with students who are his age or slightly older. Since most careers in technology require working as part of a team, this should give him that jump-start that you are looking for.




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