Which STEM summer programs will help for planning my college ?
Which STEM summer programs will help for a college application (mostly Mech Engg) as I'll be a sophomore high school in Summer 2021?
There are things such as MITES (Minority Introduction to Engineering) as well as numerous Top 20 colleges hosting their own math camps (from my knowledge, you do need a good grip in math to get anywhere in the field). Notably, Standford and UPenn have one of these (with UPenn having an engineering one as well). John Hopkins also has an Engineering summer camp. There is also the Summer Academy for Math and Science. Notre Dame has programs in both math and engineering. This is all without mentioning the number of summer camps that may be hosted by local colleges.
Quick Edit: You should know what to look for in a summer program as well. Great summer programs aren't just hosted by top universities, but also have no fees involved (beyond traveling to the campus). They should also have notable alumni. Don't get lead astray by programs boasting how much of their alumni get into top colleges, since there is a good likely hood the program was meant to capstone or just be for fun for these people. (Like the National Leadership Conference, if you want a great example). Summer programs can be a big part of your application since it is where you have the free time but be involved in school and keep an eye out for opportunities during the school year. Even if you don't think you will get in, still apply! I cannot emphasize this enough. I recently applied for a leadership position at a club and got rejected, but I got a free resume out of it. You will learn things, even if they are failures. And there is always a chance you will get in. But you will never know if you don't try.
I like to keep a Google Doc and update it when I hear of (ANNUAL, WHICH MEANS THEY REPEAT EVERY YEAR) opportunities. Then start prepping my application for those things (which you can typically find online). When you start taking more rigorous (my school only allows Juniors and up to take AP/ Dual Credit classes) classes, you will not have the free time to spend 40+ hours on an application especially if you aren't good at time management. If a once in a lifetime opportunity comes by, TAKE IT. (Think of stuff that only applies to a specific year of high school.) Depending on when the deadline is, just sit down on a Saturday and work on the application. When you have the major parts down, you can fine-tune them without having to rush. (I will never forget when I procrastinated and had to spend an hour writing not only an essay but five short answer applications.)
Friendly advice from a Junior who has to deal with all of this. :)