College Prep Week introduces students to GVSU
Dozens of students from GVSU-authorized charter schools experienced their first taste of college life this week, thanks to the Charter Schools Office’s College Prep Week.
Since 2010, the Charter Schools Office has provided this introductory look at what it’s like to be a college student. More than 100 students participated in this year’s event, either living on the Allendale Campus, or engaging online.
“The goal is we want to create an experience where students get a real feel of what it’s like to be a college student,” said Barry Hall, assistant director of Charter Through College programs. “We want to create confidence. By the end of the week, we want them to know they can be a college student, and It’s attainable.”
Students got a glimpse of what awaits them in college through four academic sessions focused on financial aid, admissions, college readiness and academic success, and financial literacy. They also toured the Cook-DeVos Center for Health Sciences, visiting the center’s Simulation Center.
It wasn’t all about academics during the week. In the evenings, students had free time to use the Recreation Center, explore downtown Grand Rapids and visit Saugatuck.
Their week concluded with a day at the REP4 Learning Summit, providing insight into what they want from a university and the higher education experience.
Hall said on average about 85 percent of the program’s participants will enroll at Grand Valley.
“We’re very intentional in what we put in front of the kids to make connections,” said Hall. “When you’re here for a full week, you make a lot of strong connections because you’re seeing us every day.”
Shelby Powell, graduate assistant for the Charter Through College programs, is one example of College Prep Week’s success. Powell said when she participated in the week, she was a shy high school student.
“By the end of the week, I was crying because I didn’t want to leave,” said Powell. “I made connections with people whom I’m still friends with to this day. It’s a great experience to get kids exposure to different connections and resources on campus.”
Hall said many of the students are not from the Grand Rapids area, and for some it’s their first time in West Michigan or away from home on their own.
“Every year we do this program, we always talk about the growth,” said Hall. “By the end of the week, students are bubbling. Leadership skills are showing. People don’t want to go home. We see that confidence come out, and students say they either want to come to Grand Valley or they want to be a college student.”