High schoolers sample college life

Aman Ali

Shaiana Jones, freshman at Buchtel High School in Akron, attends a college algebra class yesterday with her sister Ebony Jones, freshman nursing major. Shaiana participated in Upward Bound’s “A Day in the Life” program that pairs Kent State students with

Credit: Carl Schierhorn

On President’s Day, around 120 high school students came to Kent State on a day they might have otherwise been sleeping in.

Students from Akron, Kent, Warren, Lorain, Canton and Columbus area schools were here yesterday for “A Day in the Life of a College Student,” an annual program put together by Kent State’s Upward Bound program since 1971.

“This is an opportunity for students to get first-hand experience of what the classes, expectations and the environment here are like,” said Timothy Moore, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

Moore said he attended a program similar to Upward Bound when he visited Kent State as a high school student in 1967.

“I remember how my bus pulled in front of Bowman Hall,” Moore said. “Now, that’s where my office is.”

Upward Bound is a federal program created by the U.S. Department of Education. According to its official Web site, Upward Bound encourages high school students from low-income families to pursue post-secondary education.

Kendra Preer, assistant director for Kent State’s Upward Bound program, said the university chooses the high school students in “communities that have a high need.” Students have to go through an application process and interview at their high school in order to get accepted.

“I had to fill out this really thick packet for the program,” said Samantha Fink, a freshman at Warren G. Harding High School in Warren. “I’ve been to this school before but I want to see if I can learn anything new.”

The high school students were paired up with Kent State mentors, who are all alumni of the university’s Upward Bound program. The mentors gave the high school students tips about college and gave them the opportunity to attend a few classes.

“I want them to be prepared for college,” said Ryan Edmonson, senior sports management major. “This program gives you exposure to a college environment. When they come to college, now they won’t be shocked about anything.”

For high school students who didn’t have classes to attend, Moore put on a “mock class” about grade point averages.

“I want to help these students understand the importance of starting school off with a high GPA,” Moore said. “They should be protecting their GPA. Those numbers are what people are going to look at.”

After classes, the high school students were able to ask questions about college during the workshops held in the afternoon. Many parents were also there at the workshops with college questions of their own.

“I’m trying to find out the cost of my granddaughter’s education and more or less how high she can go,” said Mike Robinson, whose granddaughter Candace Spencer is a senior at Beechcroft High School in Columbus. “This is the first time she’ll be away from home so we want to know how she’ll adapt.”

Robinson came with a group of parents from Refuge Missionary Baptist Church in Columbus.

“I keep bringing people from my church here,” said Columbus resident Geraldine Hayes, whose daughter and granddaughter are both Kent State alumnae. “I just believe in this school.”

It seems many of the Upward Bound participants also believe in Kent State. Preer estimated approximately 70 percent to 75 percent of its participants end up coming here for school.

Contact student affairs reporter Aman Ali at [email protected]