A Lesson in Improv

Students performing group exercises in the Peoples Improv Theater during their Speech and Debate minor.

Students performing group exercises in the Peoples Improv Theater during their Speech and Debate minor class.

During the day, students enrolled in the Speech and Debate minor class went on a field trip to take lessons in Improv Comedy. Once they arrived, a professional directed them in the different methods used by actors to perform a captivating story on the spot without any prior planning.

Some of the exercises included pairs acting out a scene based on one word given to them by the audience, games to help understand the use of patterns to portray comedy or drama, and creating a commercial in a group with only 5 minutes to plan it out. The entire class took place in the Peoples Improv Theater to help students come out of their shells and express themselves on stage through engaging group activities.

Greenwich Village Ghost Tour

Today we brought the students on a tour around lower Manhattan to explore 13 haunted buildings that are held in Greenwich Village. Our tour guide brought them to the home of Edgar Allen Poe and Emma Lazarus, the writer of “The New Colossus” that is inscribed on the Statue of Liberty. The renovated Triangle Shirtwaist factory was another stop on the trip that allowed them to see how events and time has changed a historic building.

During the tour, they walked through the neighborhood that houses New York University until they concluded in Washington Square Park. A special thanks to Robert from Haunted Manhattan for being the tour guide and presenting the ghost stories in a real and exciting way to our students!

Ghost Tour

Karaoke Night (Round 2)

New York’s best singers were revealed when our students grabbed hold of the microphones Sunday night! Due to the students’ popular request, this was our second karaoke night that allowed them to sing to their hearts content while performing to an audience filled with their program friends.Whether they were shy to go up or not, everyone supported the next person who picked up the mic and requested a song.

The students especially loved group sing-along’s! The crowd joined in to help perform songs such as “Break Free” from High School Musical. It was a night filled with perfectly conducted duets, funny moments, and magnificent voices!

School of Rock

The famed composer, king of the British poperetta, Andrew Lloyd Weber, rocks the Winter Garden Theater on school days and weekends with his “School of Rock”, and today’s Sunday matinée rocked the students’ world. While they enjoyed the experience of seeing a Broadway musical, what they appreciated most was seeing people their own age charm audiences with their impressive musical talent and virtuosity.


NYCE Director’s Update: Week Two

Parents and Guardians,

We have reached the halfway point in our summer program; students have successfully completed two full weeks of classes. Budding filmmakers shot footage on location in Central Park; the International Business class and the Economics class toured the vaults of gold under the Federal Reserve; and the Humans Rights students and journalists went to tour the United Nations.

To celebrate this two-week midpoint milestone, all students were able to swap Major and Minor classes for today only. The purpose of ‘Swap Day’ is to allow students to get a taste of the other subjects and meet some of the other teachers of the NYCE.  It was a great chance for friends to see what their peers were studying. Filmmaking students had the chance to explore how a camera works; Genetics students did a quick experiment; and many other students had the chance to explore the fashion world or musical theater. Swap Day is fun for both the faculty and entire student body.

The activities directors have done well in finding unusual offerings only possible here in the Big Apple. Tuesday’s Mets Game was enjoyed by 130 students, even if the home team lost. Students enjoyed a neighborhood tour of Chinatown, some shopping in Soho and the East Village, and a trip to the Top of the Rock – Rockefeller Center’s Rooftop Observation deck. Next week holds even more in store. Interested students can take a ghost tour of Greenwich Village, listen to a New York District Attorney talk about his caseload, and visit Brooklyn’s Coney Island, a New York vacation destination since the 1830s.

As mentioned in last week’s missive, all students attended admissions information sessions and tours at Brown, Yale, Princeton, NYU, Columbia, or UPenn on Thursday.  Many students have been sporting new apparel from those schools around campus. Next week, they will be boarding buses again to tour another hallowed hall of Ivy.

Students are enjoying their “college experience” here in New York. These next two weeks will fly by quickly!

Kevin B. Held
NYCE Director

A Party That Was Out of This World!

Student’s celebrated their Saturday night with an “Outer Space & Glow in the Dark” party. A combination of today’s biggest hits mixed with glow sticks and a giant inflatable alien transformed the Barnard Hall James Room into a huge celebration to wrap up a week of classes and activities. Even the Activities Directors and some program staff joined in the fun to keep the energy going. The students organized a game of glow in the dark limbo until it was interrupted by their favorite Beyoncé songs; then it was back to the dance floor!

Overall, the New York College Experience students enjoyed our second program dance and will have a chance to keep the party going next weekend during our “Under the Sea” themed dance!

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Casino Night

Our program spent the night in “Oxbridge Las Vegas” yesterday by holding our second annual NYCE Candy Casino Night. Students came in their best dressed attire to play games for candy and chocolate prizes while trying their chances at popular casino games like blackjack, Texas Hold’em poker, and roulette. Everyone walked out a winner with a handful of Snickers, Kit Kats, Jolly Ranchers, and much much more. One student managed to win $3,000 worth of chips which she turned in to receive her own bag of delicious treats! It was a night to remember for our students as they got a chance to win big while looking their best.

Fully Immersed in the College Experience!

Thursday was a great day for students to see the Ivy League schools in person – 13 went to Princeton, 49 to Yale, 32 to UPenn, 34 to Columbia University across the street, and 45 to Brown University all the way in little Rhode Island.  Everyone returned sporting their college swag of choice and much more informed about the college application process.

Friday was a full day of major and minor classes. Sports Business students went to tour Madison Square Gardens; The Politics and Human Rights class and the Journalism in the Information Age class went to the offices of Buzzfeed; budding filmmakers went to MOMA; the Math and Engineering classes headed down to the Empire State Building, and the Photography students took pictures in Chinatown.

Saturday will be the midpoint of the program and a chance for students to try something different. They will swap classes with their peers and try a new subject for an hour. Musical Theater students might try a Genetics Course; Math and Engineering students will find themselves in Creative Writing – everyone walks away from the day with a fun lesson in a subject that they did not get the chance to take.

Oxford Tutors Teaches Essay Essentials


As our students prepare to go on their college visits, they received help with constructing the perfect college essay. An essay is what allows a student to stand out from the rest of the crowd when applying to the college of their choice. It is the first chance for an admissions officer to get an idea of the type of student that will be trying to secure a spot in that college or university. Because hundreds of students apply at a time, the first paragraph of that essay could be what moves their application to the accepted pile.

Today our students were given a talk by an Oxford Tutor to clarify what topics will make that essay a great one. He answered questions about the admissions process as well as showed examples of what makes a good essay versus what makes a bad one. The key is in the subject you focus on and the wording. Grabbing the admissions officer’s attention as fast as possible while ensuring that they feel an emotional connection to your story was just one of the tips he gave our students.

The Oxford Tutors (NYC) is a tutoring collective dedicated to helping students recognize their unique intelligence and potential. At the core of their approach is the famous methodology established by Oxford University, the “Oxford tutorial system.” The tutors will return on July 15 to educate students about the college interview process as well as provide ore advise for applying to university and colleges in the United States.

Fourth of July Fun


International Business Students at Grant’s Tomb

In honor of Uncle Sam’s birthday, yesterday students donned star-spangled socks, flag print shirts, and other garments in the traditional red, white, and blue, and headed to Sheep Meadow in Central Park for a festive Fourth of July picnic. Some lounged under the cloudy sky, others played soccer and wiffle ball, and four brave souls participated in the first ever NYCE Frozen T-shirt contest, which was so much fun that a re-match has been demanded. Students refreshed themselves with watermelon, cookies, and lemonade and made it back to campus – happy but tired – just in time for the rain.


Fourth of July Picnic in Sheep Meadow in Central Park

Right now, on this seasonably warm and humid night, students, teachers, and administrators are at Citi Field engaging in one of the most beloved American, summer pastimes – watching a baseball game. No doubt, students are enjoying peanuts and Cracker Jack as they watch the Mets and Marlins and cheer along with fans.


Citi Field