High schoolers get a Summer Experience to remember



Eat in a dining hall. Go to the grotto. Stay up until 2 a.m. talking in a dorm room.

These are some of the experiences that prospective University students want. But they get so much more from the Summer Experience program.

In addition to taking classes from professors, they also visit the Universitys nonprofit community partners, like the Center for the Homeless andRobinsonCommunity Center. One-day field trips toChicagoare also de rigueur.

We want them to have the whole experience,says Joan Martel Ball, director of Pre-College Programs,and part of that is realizing just how closeChicagois with all of its opportunities for learning.

Since June 26, some 200 Summer Experiencers have converged on campus for two weeks. In addition to the off-campus activities, theyll take classes in one of eight subject tracks: business and entrepreneurship, film, life sciences, literature, policy/debate/public speaking, psychology, pre-law, or theology.

These are top students in their high schools, says Ball.We aim at students who could become students here. That means looking at their grade point average, their ranking in their class, their test scores and the rigor of their program. And, we have become more selective every year.

The program started the summer of 2000, with prompting from University Provost Nathan Hatch.The University wanted to start some academic programs for outstanding high school students,says Ball.There were already so many summer sports programs on campus.

The program is so much more than going to class. Film students make their own short films. Business students visit the Mercantile Exchange in Chicago. Students can learn, in a separate workshop, how to becomehighly effective teenagers.There are also just-for-fun activities like bowling or rafting down the East Race.

The students come from all over theU.S., and this year there will be 12 from foreign countries includingItalyand thePhilippines. The primary source of marketing is the pre-college program website (http://precollege.nd.edu).About 60 percent of our students have found us on the Internet,says Ball.I have never done a printed brochure.

During a three-week period in July, Pre-College Programs will also welcome another 120 students to its three Leadership Development Seminars. Each seminar helps 40 high schoolers confront issues with a Catholic social perspective.

The Global Issues seminar (July 24-31) will explore the prospects for Christian-Muslim dialogue, and the challenge of living in a post-9/11 world. The director is George Lopez, professor of political science and the Senior Fellow of the Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies.

The other two leadership seminars are the African American Catholic Leadership Seminar (July 17-24), which includes a trip to the DuSable Museum of African American History in Chicago; and the Latino Community Leadership Seminar (July 10-17), which includes a trip to The Resurrection Project, a Latino community-building project in Chicago.

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