College Prep Week offers look at college life for high school students

Students at the College Prep Week get a tour of the Sustainable Agriculture Project.
Juniors and seniors from GVSU-authorized charter schools will be spending the week on the Allendale Campus as part of the Charter Schools Office's College Prep Week. One of this year's tours included a stop at GVSU's Sustainable Agriculture Project.

More than 100 high school students from GVSU-authorized charter schools across the state are spending this week living on the Allendale Campus as part of the Charter Schools Office’s College Prep Week. 

In its 13th year, the camp is designed to show the juniors and seniors what life as a college student is like and help build confidence in their academic skills, said Barry Hall, director of the Charter Through College programs. 

“Their school counselors and principals say those students that come back from College Prep Week are more confident than they were before,” Hall said. “They’re asking questions and asking to meet with counselors about going to college.” 

As well as living on campus for the week, students will meet with faculty members and advisors discussing financial aid, admissions, college readiness and academic success, financial literacy and other resources available to them. 

Students also have the opportunity to explore GVSU beyond the classroom. On July 18, one group visited the DeVos Center for Interprofessional Health while another spent the morning at the Sustainable Agriculture Project, learning about the project’s farming methods and its apiary. 

Student gets closer look at bees congregating on a hive frame.
Bees clinging to a hive frame.
This year, students participating in the College Prep Week visited the Sustainable Agriculture Project and its apiary.

Hall said since the pandemic he’s seen a change among the visiting juniors and seniors in how they approach the week. After two years of online learning, students are eager to see a college campus.

“Students have a different mindset since the pandemic,” Hall said. “It’s more about them learning what programs they can learn for a career. When they're on the campus, they are coming here with a purpose where before it was just an experience.”

Shelby Powell, a specialist with the CSO’s Charter Through College program, knows what the week can mean for these students. 

Powell said she had visited campus previously on admission tours, it was when she participated in the camp as a junior at GVSU-authorized Michigan Math and Science Academy that solidified her decision to attend Grand Valley. 

“When I came for the camp, it was a different experience than an admissions tour because you make connections with people from Grand Valley that are really meaningful, and you see the support that’s there for you,” Powell said.

“That’s what drew me in is that connection and making me feel important and making me feel like I have the resources to be successful when I came here.”


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