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Rural Wisconsin Pre-College Program provides high school students a taste of college life

Eighteen high school students from throughout Wisconsin recently came to UW Oshkosh for the Rural Wisconsin Pre-College Program.

Offered by the College of Education and Human Services, and supported by the UW Oshkosh Center for Academic Support and Diversity and the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, this week-long program brought to campus rural Wisconsin high school students who have strong academic and leadership backgrounds and may be first-generation college students.

Students attending the program are often not aware of the opportunities that college may hold for them. “Our goal is to provide a meaningful academic and social program that encourages these high school students to see college as a viable option,” said Courtney Bauder, program director and Educational Foundations instructor for the College of Education and Human Services.

“It was a really wonderful experience,” said Lucy Burr, a senior at Gresham Community School who has attended the program for the last three years. “I’m looking at attending UW Oshkosh and this program has definitely given me a head start to know what college will be like”

Students stayed in Gruenhagen Conference Center which provided their dormitory life experience during their week’s stay. And like true college students, they were responsible for getting themselves up, getting their meals and getting to their classes on time.

Classes for the 2010 program included a writing course taught by UW Oshkosh English professor Miriam Schacht, followed by a math course taught by Oshkosh North High School teacher Kevin Santry. “The writing course offered students an opportunity for self discovery and reflection, while the math course provided pragmatic, hands-on life skills for using mathematics,” said Bauder.

“All the classes were really well organized, but the creative writing class was my favorite,” said Burr, “as I hope to go on to become a high school English teacher.

For the science portion of the program, students traveled to the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) to explore aviation. They studied flight, made their own flying objects and had an opportunity to go up in one of the planes. The students also attended a multicultural education class, where they heard from a holocaust survivor, learned about Islamic culture, Native American culture and opportunities for studying abroad in college.

Students had the opportunity to get to know one another socially through team building activities, a ropes course and different recreational activities every evening. “I really enjoyed meeting people from different cultural backgrounds and the program has helped me become a lot more outgoing and at ease with meeting with new people,” said Burr.

“By the end of the program, it is our hope that for students considering going to a college that they will choose UW Oshkosh,” said Bauder. “For other students who are unsure of what they want to do after high school, we hope the program helps them see opportunities of which they might not have been previously aware and the importance of doing well in school so they have a wide range of opportunities for the future.”


By Tim Holdsworth

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