High Schoolers Preview College, Learn How to Prepare

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

“School’s out!”  But not for 40 high schoolers who spent three weeks at Saint Joseph’s University getting a preview of what college is all about and what they need to do to get there.

They participated in the Ignatian College Connection (ICC), a three-week educational enrichment program offering college preparation courses and an up-close look at higher education.  Now in its seventh year, the program is geared for students from racially, culturally and socio-economically diverse backgrounds who may need extra support to make the dream of a college education attainable.  The curriculum for this year’s program, which concluded July 15, included writing, math and literature as well as courses in cultural anthropology and criminal justice.

“Our message to students is ‘Yes, you can,” said Valerie Dudley, Ph.D., director of institutional diversity at Saint Joseph’s. “Our mission is to help the ICC students feel comfortable with the idea of going to college and realize that it’s attainable.”

Workshops on time management, study skills, SAT preparation and the admissions process introduced the soon-to-be high school sophomores, juniors and seniors to some of the tools they’ll need as they look ahead to college.

Though many ICC participants go on to college at other institutions, a select group each year is offered ICC scholarships to attend Saint Joseph’s. In order to qualify, these students must demonstrate academic excellence, leadership ability and a commitment to academic achievement as well as financial need. Once these requirements are met, students maintain their relationship with the ICC through regular meetings with an ICC mentor, and may continue to work with the program as volunteers to help new students.

The ICC received the Distinguished Program Award at this year’s Conference on Multicultural Affairs sponsored by the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities.

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